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I'm writing the thesis for my master degree, some of the very very old articles I have to cite are in a foreign language I don't understand (usually German and French). Most of them have been translated in my native language and/or English, but in some cases I didn't find a translation.

Even if I'm asking it for the thesis I think it does apply in more serious cases of research too.

An example would be for example if I write that the Friedman Lemaitre Robertson Walker metric in general relativity was first derived by Lemaitre in 1922. If I cite his original article in French at this point, would I be doing something wrong since I don't understand French and I can't understand what's written there? This is just an example, I'm pretty sure an English version of Lemaitre article exists, I just didn't check.

I mean I assume that when someone cites an article he' read and understood it.

My opinion is that I shouldn't cite the original article at all but cite someone else who cites it, knowing what was written in the original article.

Am I overthinking it and I should just simply cite these articles or is there a better procedure?

I don't know if it can be relevant but these articles appears mainly in the very beginning of the work, which is just an introduction to the topic of the work

marked as duplicate by Run like hell, user2768, Anyon, Scientist, user68958 Jul 1 at 19:06

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  • @Anyon Thank you, sorry I missed it, very poor search on my side. – Run like hell Jul 1 at 16:20
  • For most things, Google Translate will let you know enough of the idea of the paper to know if it should be cited or not. That can be harder in math and some other fields that rely on specialized notation, of course. – Buffy Jul 1 at 16:24