My colleague's article was translated by another person and republished in the translated language. My colleague became the first author, and the translator became second author. Did my colleague or the translator thereby plagiarize the original article, as they published the same paper twice?


1 Answer 1


Publishing a translation of your own article is not plagiarism, or any other kind of misconduct, as long as it is clearly identified as a translation. Usually this means that the first page of the article says something like "Translation of [original title], published in [journal, volume, date]". The editors of the new journal should be aware that it is a translation, not a new paper. The publishers of the first journal should also give permission (this may be legally required if the author has transferred copyright to them).

The author should not try to "count" the translation as a separate paper, or otherwise mislead people into thinking that they are two independent papers. For instance, his CV should show one paper as a translation of the other, or list them together as a single publication.

However, translators are not normally credited as authors, unless they have made an intellectual contribution to the text of the paper, beyond simply trying to translate it faithfully and idiomatically. Likewise, the translator should not try to take credit for the translated paper as a publication on a CV, etc (unless as a separate section from papers they authored).

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    Nitpicking: Even an unmarked translation of your own work is not plagiarism. It is double-publication of a paper, and as such still is academic misconduct though.
    – Arno
    May 26, 2018 at 8:29
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    @Arno: It is not misconduct if both journals and all of the authors are aware and give permission.
    – aeismail
    May 26, 2018 at 18:37
  • @aeismail Maybe you have misunderstood my comment? Permission of all involved journals and authors certainly would not allow to republish an article without making it abundantly clear that this is a republication, whatever languages these are written in.
    – Arno
    May 26, 2018 at 18:53
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    And even if all the authors and journals are okay with publishing a translation without indicating to readers that it is a translation, it does not mean that it is not misconduct. It just means that many people are involved in the misconduct.
    – user9646
    May 26, 2018 at 22:31
  • BTW, German copyright by default treats a human-made translation as an adaption that required sufficient intellectual contribution by the translator to become a work in its own right. I.e. the translator does become (co)author in the legal sense. From an academic point of view: a) as the coauthors did not all contribute the same (i.e. to all aspects of the translation), their specific contributions anyways need be made clear and that would naturally lead to the translator being named as translator. And the translation would need to refer to the original paper as highly relevant existing work. May 27, 2018 at 11:03

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