How do you cite (in APA) the authors last name when it is a foreign language with special unknown characters that can't be identified by most word processors.

  • 6
    If you want to get the most helpful answer then you may benefit from saying what the character is, and what language it comes from. It may be worth looking how it's been cited in existing publications though.
    – Ian_Fin
    Oct 24, 2016 at 13:38
  • 22
    Most modern word processors support Unicode, which contains code points for the characters of basically every language on Earth. So unless your co-author is Klingon, I find it difficult to believe that your word processor does not support these characters. Maybe it is a problem with the font that you are using. (By the way, there is a proposal to include the Klingon alphabet in Unicode). Oct 24, 2016 at 13:44
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    @Greg if you do that, the citation won't be correct and harder to connect to the author's work
    – Emilie
    Oct 24, 2016 at 17:33
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    @Greg Then we also have the Đ letter. If you leave out -, you'll rename George into Dorde, which makes no sense and instead a different transliteration of Djordje is used, which probably won't be immediately obvious if you don't know the language.
    – AndrejaKo
    Oct 25, 2016 at 9:21
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    @Greg Or people could figure out that it's 21st century, not 19th and that other cultures exist too and not assume things about them. Also database point mentioned in the other comment is completely moot. If a database can't accept a Unicode name, maybe it's time for an update.
    – AndrejaKo
    Oct 25, 2016 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


Try shapecatcher.com and detexify.kirelabs.org to identify the characters. Then proceed from there by inserting a Unicode char in a Unicode font or a latex command (depending on whether you are using MSWord or some form of LaTeX). Once you have identified the character, also try an online search engine to find out spellings easier for you, e.g., the romanized ones.

If everything else fails, ask the sources where you got the name from. The contact person can be an editor, a publisher, a coauthor, or the author himself/herself. Some authors maintain homepages with a correct spelling of their name; if it is the case for the author in question, take a look at their HTML code.

  • 1
    One very important addendum to this answer. Detexify does not recognize most characters from foreign alphabets. Shapecatcher does. Oct 15, 2017 at 17:15

Google the webpage of the author. If this is unicode, then cut and paste the special character into Google. Otherwise, find his name rendered in unicode somewhere on the internet, and Google the character. This should take you to a webpage that tells you what the character is. You can then Google to find out how to type it in your word processor. Or (depending on the word processor) you can just cut and paste the unicode.

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