I'm not sure why this topic has been bounced between two language sites so could you offer suggestions on improving this question. This is definitely a request for English Language & Usage. Thanks in advance.

A word or phrase to express "écrivain engagé", a committed writer?

  • 1
    Related: Should we allow 'semi-translation' questions? and this TL;DR.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 9:07
  • @ЯegDwight That's a valid point of view. Maybe there is a grey area that needs debating here.
    – James P.
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 21:13
  • It's not so much that it's valid, but rather that it's current. The site has undergone changes in the past; it may undergo further changes in the future.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, we discourage straight translation questions on this site. It is a slippery slope and we are pretty quick to close questions that are just a matter of how to translate a word or phrase into English.

You have noticed other questions that probably (justifiably) seem like translation questions, relating to how particular concepts or idioms might be expressed in English. These questions can be engaging and useful, as long as they fulfill certain criteria.

These questions at their core should be single-word-requests or phrase-requests, in which the OP expresses the concept or idiom they are seeking. The language of origin should only be a secondary consideration. Because of this requirement, they must also fit the criteria for a single word request or phrase request (which is essentially the same as a single word request). The language of origin can help to fill in the context somewhat, and personally I think it goes a long way toward making these types of questions more interesting.

However, the question must be squarely aimed at finding a word or phrase for a concept or idiom that you can define clearly in context in English. We will not entertain questions about how to improve Google Translated texts, for instance. But questions like yours have lead us to some wonderful new phrases like conversational dieseling, and so long as they are carefully constructed, they are welcomed here.


It was a mistake, subsequently corrected. The question was returned to ELU, and will probably get re-opened (it already has 4 votes, and only needs 1 more).

I don't know (or care) who migrated and closed it, but I think they were all just somewhat hasty. The fact that OP happened to give a relatively well-known (or intuitively comprehensible) French term for what he described more fully in English doesn't make it a "please translate this" type of question.

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    And here is the 5th. A tout seigneur tout honneur ;-) Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 3:09

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