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“Lost” in translations? Aigoo [Oh no]

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Adams, A. (2021, May 31). “Lost” in translations? Aigoo [Oh no]. APA Style.

“Lost” in translations? Aigoo [Oh no]

If you are a multilingual writer or a writer who enjoys reading, watching, or listening to works from around the globe and you want to share information on these works with other polyglots or cosmopolites, you may wonder how to cite works in another language in APA Style.

It seems like a tricky situation to have to translate every element in a reference that is not in the language in which you are submitting your work—but don’t fret because it is much simpler than that. When creating an APA Style reference list entry for a work in another language, provide the reference information in the work’s original language. Then, add a translation of only the title of the work in the language you are writing in within square brackets after the original title, as shown in the following example.

Authored book with a Spanish-language title

Correa, A. L. (2019). La hija olvidada [The daughter’s tale]. Atria Books.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Correa, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Correa (2019)

In the example, the author, year of publication, title, and source (the publisher name) are all provided as shown on the Spanish-language work. Only the title is translated into English (because in this example the reference will be included in a paper written in English). This guidance applies to works other than books; see the reference example of a film or movie in another language on the Film and Television References page.

How literal should the title translation be?

When a publisher provides an official translation for a work’s title (which is the case for La Hija Olvidada), use that in the reference list entry. Otherwise, translate the title yourself, ensuring that your translation captures the meaning of the title. The translation does not have to be literal; the purpose of including the translation is to give readers a sense of what the work is about.

For more information on how to cite works in another language, please see Section 9.38 and the reference examples in Chapter 10 in the Publication Manual and the Concise Guide to APA Style.

Boa sorte com a sua escrita! [Good luck with your writing!]