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December 06, 2012

Citing Translated Sources in APA Style




by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

Dear Style Experts,

For my paper, I’m using several sources that I read in foreign languages. Some of my other sources were originally written in foreign languages, but I read them in an English translation. How should I cite these works?
--Polly Glodt

Dear Polly,

For foreign or translated works, a reference follows the basic APA Style templates, but you may need to add some additional information to get your reader to the source you used.

For example, here’s how you would cite the original French edition of a work by Piaget (note that an English translation of the title is included in brackets):

Piaget, J. (1966). La psychologie de l’enfant [The psychology of 
the child]. Paris, France: Presses Universitaires de France.


Here’s another example, from a German journal. Again, brackets contain an English translation of the work’s title (the article, not the journal).

Janzen, G., & Hawlik, M. (2005). Orientierung im Raum: Befunde zu 
Entscheidungspunkten [Orientation in space: Findings about
decision points]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 213(4),
179–186. doi:10.1026/0044-3409.213.4.179

You may have noticed that the capitalization of the article’s title is a bit unusual. That’s because in German, nouns are always capitalized. Since the capitalization carries grammatical weight (much like the capitalization of proper nouns in English), it’s preserved in the reference list.

If you read an English translation of a foreign work, the author, title, and so forth come from the version you read, with a nod to the translator:

Piaget, J. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, 
Trans.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

A Note About Foreign Alphabets
If you are citing a work written in a non-Latin script (e.g., Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Russian), the reference must be transliterated into the English alphabet. See "Apples to תפ׀חים" for more on this topic.




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