Q. How do I quote music lyrics from another language in my English essay in APA style?

For example, the lyrics I want to use are in Japanese, but my essay is written in English.


Thank you for your question about APA and translations.

There are two ways to cite the lyrics from another language.

1--If citing an already published translation: The offical APA style blog says:

  • For an English translation of a foreign work, the author, title, and so forth come from the version you read, with a nod to the translator:
Piaget, J. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, 
     Trans.). New York, NY: Basic Books.
  •  Cite the lyrics from the songwriter who wrote them, but include the name of the Translator in parentheses.
  •  If you got the translation from a website, use Retrieved from and the website address at the end.

2--If you are translating Japanese into English for your reader:

  • APA considers that to be a paraphrase.
  • Use a regular paraphrase in-text citation of (author, date)--though it would be helpful in this instance to also include the page or paragraph number to help your reader.
  • For your References page, cite the original work as you found it (Japanese title and all), but also give an English translation for the title in brackets after the Japanese title (no italics on the English one).
  • You do not need to list yourself as the translator anywhere in your paper or your references.

Example-- Zamaripa, A. (2013). Los hijos crecieron bien [The kids grew up well]. Retrieved from website address.

Thank you for using ASK US. Please contact your Campus Library/ARC if you need additional assistance.


  • Last Updated Jun 13, 2019
  • Views 642
  • Answered By Baker Librarians

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