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Mechanical Engineering Research Guide

Introductory guide to library research and resources for faculty, staff, and students in mechanical engineering.

Finding scientific translations

This page provides some very basic information on finding translations of journal articles originally published in languages other than English. If you need further assistance, please contact your librarian.

Journal translations

Some journals originally published in other languages exist in English translation. There is no one way to find these journals, but records in Quick Search will often contain information on whether a translation of a journal is available and, if so, what the title is. Here is an example of a Russian journal and its English translation:

Note that the description field of each record lists the title of the translation and other language-related details. The call numbers are also identical, except for the "E" added onto the English translation.

In other cases, the journal title may still appear in the original language, with "English" added to the end:

Translation indexes

Finding out whether the journal or article you're interested in is available in translation can be challenging, as the existence of translations is not always well-documented. Even when a title is known, differences in translation and transliteration can create difficulties. Here are some resources that can help identify whether a journal was published in translation:

Translations of technical reports

Technical reports translated into English can sometimes be found using NTRL/NTIS or OSTI. Note: "technical reports" may include individual journal articles that were translated into English outside of a translation journal.

The resource lists above were adapted from: Sherratt, C. (2019). Finding Scientific Translations Today: Do We Need Classical Footpaths in a Digital Age?. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (92). https://doi.org/10.29173/istl19

Translation services

In short: the ISU Library does not provide translation services.

Google Translate can translate both webpages and uploaded documents. While not completely accurate, it is quick and free, and can often help uncover the general meaning of a document. Smart phones can translate on the fly using the Google Translate app and the phone's camera.

Alternatively, researchers needing translations can check with the relevant academic department offices to see if there is anyone who can translate a particular language for them. For example, if you have a chemical journal article in Russian the Chemistry Department may have faculty or graduate students who read Russian and are willing to translate it for you. The World Languages & Cultures Department may also know of individuals who are willing to provide translations.

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Erin Thomas
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