I interviewed a Spanish speaking individual with the help of a Spanish/English interpreter. I am writing an article about the individual and want to quote him in English. Can I use quotation marks around the interpreter's words and attribute them to the individual?

  • I won't make the change myself but I suggest chasing "interpreted" to "translated" in the title. The answers for the two most common meanings of "interpreted" will be very different.
    – Chris H
    Oct 28, 2015 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


You would use quotation marks when directly quoting the individual you interviewed. The use of a translator does not change the fact that the individual is a primary source, and the words he uses belong to the person being interviewed.


I would use a block quote format with a footnote explaining the situation.

  • This may have the makings of a useful and valid answer. Could you expand a little to include some supporting evidence, for example reference to a reputable style guide?
    – JHCL
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:35
  • Sportswriters use: Ramirez said (via his interpreter), "I just wanted to help the team win." Later translations are understood. I feel this is problematic because quoted material should be exactly what the person is saying. I use THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE. They recommend using the actual quotation followed by the translation in parentheses (13.73). However, if you use block quotations, then you don't have to worry about quotation marks at all and just explain using a following parentheses or footnote. If I were an editor, I would bong any submission that didn't explain a translator was used
    – Stu W
    Oct 28, 2015 at 21:30

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