How to cite a translation in MLA style

Written by kassie jones
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How to cite a translation in MLA style
When writing a college paper using translated sources, you should cite that source according to MLA style. (writing image by jimcox40 from

Academic papers often require you to cite your sources -- it prevents plagiarism. If a work you are citing in your college paper is taken from a translation, you have to mention that according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Make sure you know the name of the person who translated the work you are citing, because you will use that name for documentation in your bibliography.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Translator's name

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  1. 1

    Cite the author. You can do this with a signal phrase, where you include the author's name in your sentence, or by including the author's name in parenthesis. The first time the author is mentioned, use the author's full name (unless in parenthesis). Afterwards, you can just use the author's last name. Always only use the last name when putting the author's name in parenthesis. Remember, this is the author, not the translator.

  2. 2

    Include the page number. The page number is placed after the information or quote from your source in parenthesis. If the author's name isn't in the signal phrase, then place it in the parenthesis, followed by the page number.

    Here's and example from the book "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle," written by Haruki Murakami :

    Haruki Murakami's novel begins with a music reference (1).

    The novel begins with a music reference (Murakami 1).

  3. 3

    Enclose direct quotes in quotation marks. When the quote ends, close the quotation marks, add your citation in parenthesis, then place the period to end the sentence.

    For example:

    "When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini's 'The Thieving Magpie', which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta" (Murakami 1).

  4. 4

    Document your source in a works cited page, or a bibliography. Begin with the author's name (last name listed first), a period, then the book title in italics or underlined, followed by another period. At this point insert "Trans." followed by the translator's name, followed by a period. List the city, colon, publisher, comma, the year it was published and end it with a period.

    For example:

    Murakami, Haruki. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Trans. Jay Rubin. New York: Random House, 1997.

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