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Diacritics, or tone marks (as what they're called in my language), are symbols added to letters to change their sound. For example, diacritics for the letter a in my language can be ă, â, à, á, ả, ã, ạ, ắ, ẳ, etc.

What should I do with papers written in such language when citing them in an English context?

For example, the APA Style guide says:

Book/article titles and names written in Latin-based scripts (French, Spanish, German, etc.) can be cited with only minor adjustments.

My language (Vietnamese) uses Latin script, so logically, I should preserve the diacritics. However, I think the guideline is only aware of Western languages, which may not have so many diacritics. If I follow the guideline, the title of my work may be cited like this:

So sánh năng lượng liên kết tĩnh điện giữa các thể đột biến của protease HIV-1 khi liên kết với thuốc lopinavir (Compare the Electrostatic Energy between Mutants of HIV-1 Protease when binding to lopinavir)

Is there any problem if I keep the diacritics? I think the title will only be copy-pasted, so there is no big problem if I cite it like that. It may be hard for foreign readers to read, but I think they wouldn't care at all; there is a translation of it in the bracket anyway. A common practice is to "transliterate" it to a non-diacritic version, which can be typed in any unsupported keyboard, and that is readable to the native speakers. However, it will make a lot of adjustments, and regarding to the guideline, this should only be used for non-Latin scripts.

I choose the APA style because it is the first thing come up in my mind. I think other styles will recommend the same. Some other styles suggest that I just need to provide the translation, but that is the easy case.

1 Answer 1

Nowadays, every sufficiently recent typesetting system is able to deal with diacritics. When submitting to journals, the real problem are the publishers' typesetters, who are -- at least in my experience -- frequently careless in copying letters with diacritics.

So, my advice is: keep the diacritics, as the style guides and common sense suggest, but check carefully the proofs received from the publisher.