I am an English speaker who is slowly learning Italian through textbooks and sites like this, but I have little command over the Italian language itself.

I am wondering if it is alright to ask for a translation or phrase without attempting a translation myself (for fear of butchering it), or is it encouraged/required for the OP to give their best attempts?

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    Welcome to Italian.SE! :) – Charo May 1 '15 at 15:19

It's always better to give your best attempt to translate the sentence. See https://italian.meta.stackexchange.com/a/14/707.

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My Italian is even more "basic" than yours, so I am answering based on sites where I am stronger. Here's something I wrote on the Spanish SE site.

You should always give a "best efforts" translation, so that people can gauge your level of proficiency, and tailor their answers to that level. That is to say, people will think, "he knows X, so I won't bother with that but I need to help him correct Y." Also, it shows that you are making a bona fide attempt to learn the language for the long term, rather than just using a quick (and free) translation "service."

We all make mistakes in learning a language. Even native speakers (when they were younger). That's just part of the "drill." So don't worry about "butchering" anything. Over time, you will improve by making mistakes.

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