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Temporary copy of "Guidelines and Rules" page:

Guidelines and Rules


We want complete sentences.

  • We don't want just words and phrases.
  • Phrases used as complete utterances in everyday conversation are OK if included in a dialog, showing their use in context.
  • Example: "When did Tom arrive?" "Just before Mary did."

Don't change sentences that are correct.

  • Remember that even if a sentence sounds a bit unnatural to you, it may be correct in another dialect of your language, so don't make changes unless you are 100% sure it is wrong.
  • In such a case, go to one of the linked sentences in a language you understand and contribute an alternate translation.
  • At this time, the Tatoeba Project seems to prefer to keep sentences using archaic language.

Don't add sentences from copyrighted sources.

  • The Tatoeba Corpus is available under a license that doesn't allow this.

We want natural-sounding translations, not word-for-word direct translations.

  • We don't want those awkward, unnatural-sounding translations seen in textbooks to help students understand how another language is constructed.
  • We want sentences that a native speaker would actually use.

Make a good translation of the sentence that you are translating. Don't let translations into other languages influence you.

  • Your translation should be a good translation into your language and doesn't need to include all the nuances as translated by others into other languages.

Don't include annotations as part of sentences.

  • Don't include things like the following inside your sentences.
  • He/she (He/she said it was hot.)
  • Instead, you should submit 2 sentences.
    • He said it was hot.
    • She said it was hot.
  • (Female Speaker)
    • Instead, put this as a comment and ask for someone to add it as a tag.
    • If you have tagging rights, then tag it yourself.
  • (By Mark Twain)
    • Instead, put this as a comment and ask for someone to add it as a tag.
    • If you have tagging rights, then tag it yourself.

Don't forget capitalization and punctuation.

  • Sentences should be written in the normal way that an educated native speaker would write them.

Only adopt "orphan" sentences in your own native language.

  • Adopting is a way to give your "stamp of approval."
  • A "stamp of approval" by a native speaker means more, so that's why we have this guideline.

Behave like mature adults.

  • Collaborative projects such as ours work best when people cooperate and get along with each other.
  • Read details: Rules Against Bad Behavior

Hints and Suggestions

When contributing new sentences that are not translations of other sentences, search first to help avoid submitting duplicates.

  • Some duplicates are created naturally as you add translations to sentences. Our duplicate-merging script will eventually take care of these.
  • However, if you are contributing a new sentence that is not a translation and that sentence is a duplicate, you waste other members' time, because they will unnecessarily translate a duplicate that has likely already been translated.
  • Read details: How to Search for Text

Suggested New Guidelines - Not Yet Official

Don't submit strange sentences and translations

  • For example, don't translate a person's name, such as Dick, into the word "Haystack."
  • FRENCH: Dick essaya en vain de résoudre le problème.
  • ENGLISH: Haystack tried in vain to solve the problem.

Short Link to this Page

Regular members can use this link to direct new members to this page.