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If I use Google Translate to help me understand sources, do I need to create a works-cited-list entry for it?

No, but if you are relying on Google Translate, we recommend that you alert your instructor as early as possible. If you are unable to talk with your instructor, indicate in an endnote in your paper that you have used Google’s translation tool.
Keep in mind, though, that Google Translate does not always translate accurately. As the Princeton University professor Simon Gikandi notes, “When I ask Google to translate ‘Call an ambulance’ into Swahili, it suggests ‘beat up the vehicle that carries sick people’” (qtd. in Jaschik).
Work Cited
Jaschik, Scott. “Computer Science as (Foreign Language) Admissions Requirement.”  . . .

Published 26 February 2019

How do I create an in-text citation for a note or marginalia by an editor or translator in a work listed under the author’s name?

If you are citing an editor’s or translator’s note for a work listed under the author’s name, create a works-cited-list entry for the work as a whole and key your in-text citation to the first element of the entry—that is, the author’s name. In your prose, make clear that you are referring to a comment by the editor or translator:

Zola’s translator explains that the name of the town Le Voreux “suggests the ‘voracious’ nature of the mine” (533n2).
Work Cited
Zola, Émile. Germinal. Translated by Roger Pearson, Penguin Books, 2004.

If the notes are not numbered (e.g., if they are set as footnotes indicated by symbols or appear in a headnote or marginalia), . . .

Published 21 February 2019

How do I indicate that the editor of a work is also its translator in my works-cited-list entry?

When an individual is both the editor and translator of a work, put the name of the editor-translator in the “Author” slot, followed by the designation editor and translator:

Kepner, Susan Fulop, editor and translator. The Lioness in Bloom: Modern Thai Fiction about Women. U of California P, 1996.

If the work has an author in addition to an editor-translator, list the author in the “Author” slot and the editor-translator in the “Other contributors” slot:

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Edited and translated by James Strachey, W. W. Norton, 2005. 

If your focus is on the contribution of the editor-translator, . . .

Published 7 January 2019

I am writing a paper in English. I have used the French edition of a book originally published in Dutch. Do I need to include both the French and Dutch editions in my works-cited list?

List only the version you are using—in this case, the French edition. You do not need to indicate in your entry the language in which the work was originally published or to provide original publication details, but if you wish to do so, you may include the information in the optional-element slot at the end:

Benali, Abdelkader. Le tant attendu. Translated by Daniel Cunin, Actes Sud, 2011. Originally published in Dutch as De langverwachte (Vassallucci, 2002).

Alternatively, you may provide the original publication details in an endnote at first mention of the work in your prose.
  . . .

Published 9 October 2018

How do I indicate in my work-cited-list entry that the translator of a work is the same as the author of a work?

If the version of the work you are citing indicates that the author is also the translator of the work, repeat the author’s last name in the “Other contributor” slot:

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. Translated by Beckett, Grove Press, 1954.

If, however, you are citing a work known to be translated by its author but not presented as a translation, do not list the author as the translator:

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Wizard of the Crow. Anchor Books, 2007. 

If it is important for your reader to know that the author is also the translator of the work, . . .

Published 29 March 2018

How do I cite a Bible app with more than one translation?

There are two ways to identify a translation in a Bible app: in the text or in the works-cited-list entry.
Translation Identified in the Text
Suppose that you wish to illustrate how translations of the Bible differ by comparing the recent New Living Translation with the traditional King James Version. One way to identify the translations is to mention them in your prose and then cite the Bible app in your works-cited-list entry as the anthology containing the translations:

For Matthew 7.7, the King James Version reads, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: .

Published 23 March 2018

How do I cite an unpublished translation?

Cite an unpublished translation by following the MLA format template. List the author of the work, the title of the translation in quotation marks (since it is an unpublished work), and the name of the translator. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, indicate the format:

Wallace, David Foster. “Ludus infinitus.” Translated by Publius Vergilius Maro. Typescript.

When you refer to the translation in your prose, indicate the original title:

In what follows, I provide a thorough analysis of “Ludus infinitus,” the Latin translation of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.  . . .

Published 12 March 2018

Should my student provide both English and Chinese versions of a works-cited-list entry when citing a work in Chinese?

In its publications, the MLA prefers to provide works-cited-list entries in the original script, along with a translation and sometimes a transliteration, for works not written in roman characters (see our previous post). In a teaching context, however, it is fine to allow students to provide works-cited-list entries in English only.

Published 28 February 2018

When translating from a language that does not use roman characters, like Chinese, do I include the original characters or a transliteration? And how do I alphabetize titles of nonroman works?

In its publications, the MLA prefers to give the original characters (script) and a translation for titles and quotations; it also includes transliteration in some of its publications, especially those geared for nonspecialists. Nowadays all three elements can be useful to readers searching for a source on the Internet. Aside from this practical reason, we feel that using the original characters shows a respect for the foreign language that once was generally not shown in academic work.
In the text of your essay, include the elements in whatever order makes sense in your discussion. For example, there is more than one way to present an Arabic term:
matn (متن; . . .

Published 8 February 2017

Can I use et al. in place of translators’ names in a works-cited-list entry?

Yes. As page 22 of the MLA Handbook notes, the use of et al. for three or more authors extends to other types of creators and contributors. For a source that has three or more translators, give only the name of the first translator and follow it with et al.
Balibar, Étienne. Politics and the Other Scene. Translated by Christine Jones et al., Verso, 2002.

Published 27 July 2016

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