I use BibTeX, the standard bibliography style "alpha". I wish to cite an article in Russian. The work has been translated into English, and I expect the majority of the readers will want to read the translation, not the original. Thus, I want to include bibliographic data for both the original and the translation in the same BibTeX entry. Is there an elegant way to do it?


2 Answers 2


If you don't mind using biblatex (which has a built-in field for translator and other additional features), you can produce something like the following:

Here's the code:






and the database biblio.bib:

  hyphenation     = {german},
  author      = {Cicero, Marcus Tullius},
  editor      = {Blank-Sangmeister, Ursula},
  translator      = {Blank-Sangmeister, Ursula},
  afterword   = {Thraede, Klaus},
  indextitle      = {De natura deorum},
  title       = {De natura deorum. {\"U}ber das Wesen der G{\"o}tter},
  shorttitle      = {De natura deorum},
  language    = {langlatin and langgerman},
  publisher   = {Reclam},
  location    = {Stuttgart},
  date        = {1995},
  annotation      = {A bilingual edition of Cicero's \emph{De natura deorum}, with a German
            translation. Note the format of the \texttt{language} field in the database
            file, the concatenation of the \texttt{editor} and \texttt{translator} fields,
            and the \texttt{afterword} field}
  • 5
    I do not need to include the name of the translator, but the whole citation for the translation (it appeared a couple years later, in a different place, etc)
    – Boris Bukh
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 16:48
  • 6
    Then you could use different entries and perhaps make a cross.reference form one to the other. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 16:53
  • what's the afterword field here? Is there a preface one (I have not checked)
    – pluton
    Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 14:52
  • @pluton: there is an introduction and also a foreword field. Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 15:40
  • Another problem is that the original and the translation have different bibliographic data (place and year of publication…). One might want to know that the original was published 45 BC in Rome. Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 11:06

For me, field note does the job. Try to see the result of the record in bib file (real life example)

  title = {Properties of a 2D electron gas with lifted spectral degeneracy},
  author = {Y. A. Bychkov and E. Rashba},
  journal = {JETP Lett.},
  volume = {39},
  pages = {78},
  year = {1984},
  note = {[Pis'ma Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. {\bf 39}, 66 (1984)]}

Disadvantage: you should format translation record yourself.

Advantage: works with more or less all styles.

  • Misha, I like this approach, but I am not sure what details are being suggested. What is communicated in the note? Who is the translator?
    – Mars
    Commented Mar 16, 2018 at 3:00
  • @Mars In this particular case, I guess it is not that important who the translator is. The Soviet Union published complete English editions of several of its journals (including ЖЭТФ = JETP, both vanilla and Письма = Letters) and selected papers from others (like J. Sov. Math., compiled from Academy proceedings). These were prepared by the same editorial staff as in the original Russian. English-language papers usually reference those translations without giving much thought to the fact that they are not the originals; this answer represents an attempt to improve on that. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 14:49
  • A slight problem with this, at least with revtex4-1, is that the material in brackets will be offset with a comma, whereas Physical Review style guide (p. 8) requires no comma, like this: J. M. Smith, Zh. Eksp. Teor. Fiz. 51, 165 (1966) [Sov. Phys. JETP 24, 11 (1967)]. True, I don't think the editors ever require that this be corrected, so that maybe the version with the comma is the de facto standard by now, precisely because people use the note= method to typeset it. However, 'officially', there should be no comma. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 19:06
  • (Incidentally, note that the Physical Review style guide says that the original should be the main citation, and the translation should be in brackets. But, once again, I don't think the editors ever make anyone correct this if they put it the other way around.) Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 19:09

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