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Cite Your Sources: Citing Chinese and World Language Sources

This page has lots of resources to help you create citations for your research assignments.

Formatting Rules and Examples

General Formatting Rules: Use the same general citation form and rules that already exist in the corresponding citation style guide. For guidance on how to format an MLA citation, refer back to the other pages of this Libguide.

MLA recommends you include:

  • The title in the original script
  • A transliteration of the Chinese characters in works geared to non-specialists (optional)
  • An English translation of the title in square brackets and
  • A transliteration of the name of a person or publisher

These three elements should be included in this order: original characters, then transliteration (if included), then translation.


Author: 學愚

Title: 中國佛教的社會主義改造

Citation: Xue Yu. 中國佛教的社會主義改造 Zhongguo fojiao de shehuizhuyi gaizao [The socialist transformation of Chinese Buddhism]. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 2015.


Other Examples:

From a book:

Author. Title of Book. Other Contributors, edition ed., vol. #, Publisher, Year.

Hao Chunwen.  唐后期五代宋初敦煌僧尼的社会生活 Tang houqi wudai Songchu Dunhuang sengni de shehui shenghuo [The social existence of monks and nuns in Dunhuang during the late Tang, Five Dynasties and early Song]. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1998.

Intext citation: (Hao pg#)


From a website:

Author. "Title of Article/Page." Other Contributors. Name of Website, Publisher, Date of Publication, URL. Date of Access.

“Quanmian zhengque lijie shehuizhuyi xinnongcun jianshe 全面正确理解社会主义新农村建设” ["Fully and correctly understand the building of a new socialist countryside"]. State Council 国务院. 15 March, 2006, Accessed 11 March 2021.

Intext citation: ("Quanmian"). In this example, the transliteration is before the original script. The assumption is that a non-specialist is reading this paper and so would need the in-text citation to be in pinyin.


Examples are from Yale University Library and Duke University Libraries


Quotations and Translations

Translating Titles: If your readers are unlikely to understand the title of a non-English-language work in your essay, provide a translation in a parenthesis:

Isabelle Allende based her novel La casa de los espiritus (The House of the Spirits) on a letter she had written to her dying grandfather.

If the title is not written using the Latin alphabet (e.g. Chinese, Arabic), give the titles and quotations from them consistently in the original writing system or in romanization (e.g. Pinyin)

ثرثرة فوق النيل‎‎ (Adrift on the Nile)

or a transliterated spelling

Thartharah fawqa al- Nīl (Adrift on the Nile)

From the EE Guide

Referencing sources not in the language of submission

An extended essay can use sources in languages other than that of submission where appropriate. In these situations, the IB advises that the sources be used as necessary, and that

1. When referred to in the body of the extended essay as a quotation, the translation is given and the original quotation is placed as a footnote.

2. When a source is acknowledged in the bibliography, it should be referenced in its original language. Where there is no official published translation, the student should write a brief summary alongside the source in the language of submission of

a) the title,

b) name of the author,

c) the focus of the work and

d) any other relevant details.

This way, the examiner can assess the relevance and suitability of the source as required.

3. The translation of the text should be done by the student if there is no official translation. The supervisor should help ensure as best as possible that the translation is accurate and representative of the original text. If the student finds the translation task beyond their capabilities, then it is advisable not to include that source in his/her research. In selecting sources, the nature of the subject in question needs to be considered—for example, in a language acquisition essay, it is vital that students work mostly with authentic materials in the target language.

From the EE Guide (2018), pg. 87