I would like to use a translated quote from Cicero as an epigraph for my thesis. However I am not sure in which language to write the name of the source:

a) English: On the Nature of the Gods
b) Latin: De Natura Deorum
c) Latin with English: De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods)

What is the common standard for this purpose?

closed as primarily opinion-based by BladorthinTheGrey, Hellion, Hank, Dan Bron, Rory Alsop Feb 11 '17 at 11:57

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    If you think your audience knows Latin, use (b). If not, use (c), unless you think they'd freak out at a plural genitive noun instead of a preposition; in that case, use (a). – John Lawler Feb 8 '17 at 16:39
  • For what discipline is the thesis written? – J. Taylor Feb 8 '17 at 16:39
  • Machine Learning, so I am not assuming that the audience is familiar with Latin. – Shifty Scales Feb 8 '17 at 16:41
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    One normally cites the title of the publication as it was published. A work in Latin normally has a Latin title, but a translation will have a translated title. Don't forget to mention the translator, unless it is you. At any rate, common sense trumps all: if you use a Latin title and you think it could be of use to your readers, by all means add the translation in brackets. – Cerberus Feb 8 '17 at 16:52
  • Thanks for the comments. As it is an epigraph and not something related to the main text of the thesis or very useful for the readers, I would prefer to keep it as short as possible, so including the name of a translator there seems like a bit of an overkill for me. – Shifty Scales Feb 8 '17 at 17:00

This is essentially a referencing question. Since translations differ, sometimes in crucial respects, it is important to give the exact source. If you are writing a thesis, your educational institution will normally have a policy on which referencing style you are to use, e.g. Chicago, APA, IEEE. If not, chose one that is appropriate and use it consistently. Since you are quoting from a translated book you should include the reference to that book in the selected style.

If you are using Chicago Style, this summary may help, otherwise refer to the full Style Manual: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

  • I did think about it in this way, but it seemed excessive and unusual to have a reference in epigraph. Would please you point me to an example where it's done? – Shifty Scales Feb 9 '17 at 18:07

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