I have the translation of a work in front of me and want to quote it. The translation reads:

"This is the right decision, and yet it is the wrong [one]"

The translator added the 'one' in brackets to make sure to indicate that he added this for comprehension etc. but that the original did not have this word. Fair enough. Now to my question.

  • How do I cite this? I want to take it over completely like it reads here (that is, incl. the translators note). Will I have to somehow indicate that this was added by the translators and not me?

Also, out of curiosity: Do these bracketed explanatory words in translations have a certain name?

  • How many of such instances occur in your document, anyway? – Ébe Isaac Aug 24 '16 at 16:35
  • I know it's not a question asked everyday, and I don't know your field, but there are several (>5) instances of this per page in the texts I am working with right now. – Matthias Neumann Aug 24 '16 at 19:40

The bracketed annotation is a gloss to support readability. When you quote this translation, verbatim, just cite the quote and have the bibliographic entry identify the translation (rather than allowing the reader to conclude that you did the job).

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    Could you give an example, please? What will it look like? "This is the right decision, and yet it is the wrong [gloss by Mr. Translator: one]"? – O. R. Mapper Aug 24 '16 at 5:57
  • I think this information goes in the citation. The last example on this page shows how a translated work may appear in a bibliography: blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2012/12/… – Aaron Brick Aug 24 '16 at 15:18
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    So, again, what does the quotation concretely look like then? "This is the right decision, and yet it is the wrong [gloss by translator: one]" (the translator's name being mentioned in the bibliography)? – O. R. Mapper Aug 24 '16 at 15:36
  • "This is the right decision, and yet it is the wrong [one]"^123 ... then bibliography entry 123 describes a translated work like in the above link. I don't think the bracketed terms change the citation style at all, and I am editing my response to reflect that. – Aaron Brick Aug 25 '16 at 1:20
  • Then how does the reader know who inserted the "[one]", the cited translator or the citing author? That's what the question is about, after all ... – O. R. Mapper Aug 25 '16 at 4:41

The content in the square brackets it's not necessarily part of the translation/transliteration but added for clarity. Cite the translated document as you would do normally.

In APA style:

Original Author (Year). Translated article title (Translator, Trans.). Place: Publisher


Piaget, J. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, Trans.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

If you are concerned about attributing the added content in favor of the translator, you may do so as a footnote right after the square brackets.

You may refer this post.

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