For your question to be on topic, it has to meet some requirements, fulfilling which is not only easy in most cases but also likely to improve question and answers:
Indicate prior research effort
In most cases, this strict requirement can be met by consulting some dictionaries and similar resources. The benefits of this are twofold:
If a dictionary answers your question to your satisfaction, it would most likely be off-topic here, since it does not concern the finer points of the language – this site neither aims at nor is suited for replacing dictionaries. (Also, as a by-product, your question is answered.)
If the answers obtained from a dictionary fail to satisfy you, elaborating on the reasons for this will not only indicate your research effort, but is very likely to clarify and improve your question (see below).
Ask a question of general interest
The most common ways to fail this are to directly ask for a translation of the specific sentence you are struggling with or assume a highly specific context. While there is nothing wrong with using your specific problem as an example, your question should be asked such that answers to it are useful to others. You can ensure this in the following ways:
- There usually is one word or phrase for which you have no translations or too many translations between which you cannot decide. Your question should be about this and not a whole sentence.
- Try to boil down your example by removing parts of the sentence that do not matter for your problem. Maybe what remains is already a frequently used phrase and thus of general interest. However, think twice before relying on the boilt-down example only, lest your question becomes unclear or too broad.
- Find other example sentences.
That being said, some sentences are used so frequently or prominently that their translation is of general interest.
Explain and clarify
As for every question, the more information you provide, the more likely is your question to be understood and the more helpful will answers be for you. You should consider in particular:
- Provide some example context.
- If you are asking for the translation of a word or phrase, make sure that it is clear and disambiguous, if necessary by defining or paraphrasing it. After all, we can only translate what we know. This particularly holds if dictionaries do not contain the word and if the translation is not between German and English.
- If asking for differences, try to explain why you think in the first place that the meanings of two words or phrases overlap.
Some example questions
- Translations to German:
- Translations from German: