Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. When using foreign-language archival sources, what parts of the citation should be translated into English and what parts should be left in the original language? The name of the organization where the archive is kept (Indonesian Ministry of Culture)? The name of the archive (Dutch East India Company Archive) or the section of the archive (Police Reports)? The descriptive title of the document (“report on the reorganization of the regional police force by Chief of Police S. L. Scheepmaker, chapter 2”)? In all these cases, the original language can make it easier for other researchers to find the document if they wish. But including the translation makes it easier for readers to understand the nature of the source.

A. Exactly—so you have to decide what your readers need and provide it. In other words, it’s something for the writer and editor to work out. (It almost goes without saying that you should not attempt translation unless you’re certain you’re doing it correctly.)