How to Cite a Translation

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Students, journalists and authors are often required to cite sources they used in their research, and those sources aren't always in English. When citing a translated work, the writer should give credit to the translator as well as the author. Many writings -- particularly classic books and texts -- have several different translations.

  • Cite translated works in the “works cited” or bibliography section according to the examples given below, putting the title of the work in italics:

    MLA Format:
    Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Trans. Rosemary Edmons. New York: Penguin

      Books,1954. Print.

    APA Format:
    Tolstoy, L. (1954). Anna Karenina. (R. Edmons, Trans.). New York, NY: Penguin

      Books. (Original work published 1878).

    Chicago Format:
    Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Translated by Rosemary Edmons. New York:

      Penguin Books,1954.
  • Add parenthetical citations when citing a translated work in text in the MLA or APA format. Use the same rules you would use when citing any other work – use the author’s name, not the translators. When using APA style, use both date of translation and date of original publication.

    Examples:

    MLA Format
    Use only the page number when referring to the author in the text. Include the chapter to make information in a novel easier to find:
    In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes that all happy families are alike (13; ch.1).

    Include the author’s name in the citation if not referring to him in the text:
    Prince Stepan Arkadyevich usually woke up at eight o’clock (Tolstoy 13; ch.1)

    APA Format
    Include only the year if referring to the author in the text. Remember to include both translation date and date of publication:
    In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes that all happy families are alike (1878/1954).

    Include the author’s name if not referring to him in the text:
    Prince Stepan Arkadyevich usually woke up at eight o’clock (Tolstoy, 1878/1954).

  • Write footnotes instead of parenthetical citations when writing in Chicago Style. The first footnote should include publishing information and page number. Place the title of the work in italics:

    Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, trans. Rosemary Edmons (New York: Penguin, 1954), 13.

    When citing the translated work additional times, only include the original author’s last name, a short form of the title and the cited page number in the footnote. Use italics to format the title of the work:

    Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 13.

    When citing the same work two or more times in a row, you can use “Ibid.” for the second and additional footnotes:

    Ibid., 174

References

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