I am currently writing my master's thesis in English in Germany. One of the sources I found has a relevant figure that I would like to show and properly cite in my thesis, however this figure is in German.

Is it okay to show the same figure in German in my English-written thesis? Or should I adapt the figure (if possible) to English while still citing the source?

2 Answers 2


I suggest you reference the source and add a note that you did the translation for the figure you show in your thesis.

  • @JPMG If a figure is edited or a figure created on the basis of another then you do need to give reference to the original source. There is a DIN for that regarding OP is publishing in Germany. And I would translate the figure, if not for enabling the reader to understand it, at least for aesthetic reasons.
    – GittingGud
    Mar 21, 2019 at 14:01

A common approach is to show the figure in its original form, in much the same way as you would quote someone verbatim. Then, you would provide a translation of the important pieces in the caption. My recommendation would be to leave the figure itself unaltered since that allows you to preserve its authenticity and historical context.

In the end, this is the wrong forum to ask the question. The only person who can give you definitive advice on how to deal with the situation are the people who will need to approve your thesis. The first person to ask, therefore, would be your thesis adviser.

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