Academic texts often include translations of terms, and these are included in parentheses. Is there a standard to use when including foreign language text (e.g. Arabic, Russian, Chinese, etc.)?

Let's say we include a term in Russian, perestroika or перестро́йка.

The essay might include the sentence:

"Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the political reforms of 'restructuring' or 'perestroika'".

However, I would like to include the original Russian word as well. How does one do this? What order should the words be in, i.e. the translation in English, the transliterated English, and the original word?

Another example:

"Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto (坂本 九 ) became famous in the West for the hit "I look up as I walk" or "上を向いて歩こう" (Ue o Muite Arukō)."

What is the correct style to use? What should the correct order be?

  • I'm not sure it will make a difference for the conventions used but, to narrow the field of inquiry, which academic style will you be using? APA, Chicago, MLA, another?
    – JEL
    Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 21:03
  • @JEL I am currently using APA format for the article I'm writing, but MLA is often used as well. Perhaps the two format styles differ... Commented Nov 8, 2015 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


Your example "Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto (坂本 九 )" is quite good. You could try to write your essay similarly: "Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the political reforms of 'restructuring' or 'perestroika' (перестройка)" - and use original word only once (for the first mentioning). The same way is used in Russian.


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