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I need to quote from a journal written in Arabic. What should I do? Write it first in Arabic then followed by translation and indicating that it is my own translation (translated by author)? Can I avoid this by paraphrasing? I mean if I'm not quoting the original source directly would it be OK to not state that it is my translation?

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migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jan 25 '13 at 9:42

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

Are you writing a journal article or other academic paper? If so, what style guide does the journal you're submitting to require? If it's not a journal article, some schools have their own style guide that might help answer this. – Neil Fein Jan 28 '13 at 1:17

I think if you indicated somewhere (preface, end notes, first footnote) that the translations are all yours, you could either write the Arabic and then your translation, or write it in English (or whatever language) and footnote it and have the referent be the original Arabic with the citation information.

As a reader, I would assume any translation I'm reading would be done by the author, unless it's otherwise explicitly noted, but it never hurts to say it anyway.

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I've seen footnotes that follow the usual format -- title, author, publication information, whatever -- and then add "(author's translation)" or similar words. I don't think there's anything to be gained by inserting the original Arabic unless you have reason to believe that a significant percentage of your readers can read Arabic. – Jay Jan 25 '13 at 15:31
Good point about the original Arabic. But then, in translated works like Dante's Inferno or Beowulf, I've seen the original right across from the translation on the same spread. So as a reader, even if I didn't read Arabic, I wouldn't balk at seeing it. It would mean that the author was literally showing his/her work, so we could check that the translation wasn't hugely off. – Lauren Ipsum Jan 25 '13 at 20:29

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