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Answered By: Mindy Kent
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2023     Views: 25

Instructions for citing foreign (non-English) materials are provided in detail in Rule 20.2 and in the individual country sections in Table T2 (which is freely available online; note not every jurisdiction is covered).  

Tip: Bluebook rules for citing foreign sources often overlap and contradict each other; do your best to follow the examples. Remember, the purpose of citation is to make it as easy as possible for someone to find your cited source. If adding additional information to your citations will help your reader, then do it even if it's not in the Bluebook.


Generally, when it comes to language version, you need to cite the source you are referring to, as detailed in rules 20.2.2 and 20.2.5.

If you are referring to a non-English primary source in its original language, you should cite the original-language version.  Here's an example of this from the German version of the Political Parties Act:

“Mitglieder einer Partei können nur natürliche Personen sein.”  Gesetz über die Politischen Parteien (PartG) [Political Parties Act], Jan. 31, 1994, BGBl. I at 149, § 2 (Ger.).


If you are referring to a primary source that was translated into English, you should cite the translated version.  Here's an example of this from an English-language translation of the Swiss Civil Procedure Code that is available on the Swiss government's website:

“Unnecessary costs are charged to the party that caused them.” Swiss Civil Procedure Code, Dec. 19, 2008, SR 272, art. 108 (Switz.),


Cite foreign books just like U.S. books according to rule 15. For articles from foreign periodicals and newspapers, see rule 20.6

Providing an English-language translation of foreign-language article titles is permitted, but not necessary. There is no stated rule for providing translations of book titles.  Remember, however, if your paper is targeting a U.S. audience, many readers will find those kinds of translations helpful.

Answered by Mindy Kent
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2023     Views: 25

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