I have a question and I searched a lot but couldn't find its answer. I write in English and there are a few books which are originally written in German and French, and unfortunately there is no English translation of them. I don't know these two languages but can read the Arabic translation of these books. How can I include them in the bibliography, according to APA or ASA citation styles? I think I should transliterate the titles and then I don't know if I should put their original titles or the English translation of the titles or maybe both of them. could anyone please help me?

  • Possibly a duplicate of How reference a translation of an already translated text?
    – svavil
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 18:43
  • I think there are sufficient differences between the two situations: In the other question, there are translations from A to B and from B to C, here there is just a translation from A to B and a paper written in C. Moreover, the original language in the other question is a dead language, all languages involved in the current one are active.
    – Arno
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:53

2 Answers 2


Unless your specific field indicates otherwise, I would consider German and French to be more widespread as scientific languages than Arabic. Thus, the primary version to cite should be the original. To safeguard against potential mistakes through translation, you can add a note that you accessed the Arabic translation.

As there is no English translation of these books, translating the titles into English would be massively misleading. Don't do that.

[I am not familiar with APA or ASA citation styles, so this is just a "common sense" answer.]


If you are citing something as an origin of the idea or because it discusses a certain point, feel free to cite the original. These are unlikely to be lost in translation. (Of course, if you think they have been lost in translation, cite what you have read.)

If you are citing something because you are relying on the precise contents of it, cite whatever you have read and are using. This might be the precise definition of some concept or a philosophical argument relying on the used vocabulary, a result in mathematics, or something else that depends on the particulars of how it has been written.

In the bibliography you can probably add a note which mentions the original work.

Citation format

It seems that in APA you write in the original title (transliterated) plus an English translation of that, in a particular format: https://penandthepad.com/cite-work-foreign-language-apa-12087187.html

I did not find information for ASA, but using similar ideas should not go terribly wrong.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .