In today’s modern world, it’s easier than ever to find sources from all over the world (thanks, Internet!) to include in your academic papers. Your studies may lead you down paths where you frequently encounter sources that are written in foreign languages. Though these sources are valuable, it can be tricky to create accurate citations for them. So, how do you cite a source written in a foreign language? Let’s tackle this problem in three popular citation styles: MLA, APA, and Harvard referencing.

Here is the information you should locate before starting to create your citation:

  • Author name(s)
  • Title of the work* (you may need the original title, depending on your citation style)
  • Where the work was published
  • The date the work was published

For each style, we’ve included a formula citation and a corresponding example for the work La psychologie de l’enfant by Jean Piaget.

Formula for citing a foreign language source in MLA:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title in the Original Language [Translated Title]. Publisher, Year.

MLA citation example:

Piaget, Jean. La Psychologie de l’enfant [The Psychology of the Child]. U of Paris P, 1966.

*Note it is only necessary to include the translated title if your audience would otherwise be unfamiliar with the source. 

Formula for citing a foreign language source in APA:

Author Last Name, First Initial. (Year Published). Title in the original language [Translated title]. Place of Publication: Publisher.

APA citation example:

Piaget, J. (1966). La psychologie de l’enfant [The psychology of the child]. Paris, France: University of Paris Press.

Formula for citing a foreign language source in Harvard:

Author Last Name, First Initial (Year Published). Original title. Place of publication: Publisher.

Harvard citation example:

Piaget, J (1966). La psychologie de l’enfant. Paris, France: University of Paris Press.

More citation guides are ready for you on! Find info Chicago format, learn how to do an in-text citation, review an example of an annotated bibliography, and more!