Finishing Two Language Versions Of A Story At Once


[ Read this in Dutch ]

There once was a Dutch-language science fiction story I attempted to win the Harland Awards short story contest with. I subsequently translated it into English, aiming to have both versions ripe for submission at the same time: the deadline for the new Dutch Edge ZERO market.

The process to complete revisions on both versions at the same time, which I recommend only to the most masochistic of bilingual writers, went something like this:

  1. Write the story in Dutch.
  2. Submit the Dutch version to the Harland Awards.
  3. Create an English translation.
  4. Submit the English translation to my online writers group, the Villa Diodati Expat Writers Workshop.
  5. Strand in 19th place in the Harland Awards, and receive a ton of harsh and not too useful feedback in the judges’ report.
  6. Receive a ton of similar, but useful feedback from Villa Diodati.
  7. Begin to edit the English version because the deadline for the Dutch version is approaching rapidly.
  8. Complete the edits to the English version in time for a final round of critique.
  9. Realize too late that I now need to track down all English-language edits in order to apply them to the Dutch version as well.
  10. Bless Microsoft Word‘s Compare Documents feature and the fact that I still possessed both the Villa Diodati version and the revised version.
  11. Use the Compare result to identify all edits, and painstakingly apply them, with modifications if necessary, to the Dutch version.
  12. Complete the revision of the Dutch version this way.
  13. Get the results of the final critiques on the English version back.
  14. Apply the feedback to both versions simultaneously.
  15. Submit!

The only way I’m ever touching this story again is if an editor buys it and asks for edits. Other than that, I am now officially so sick of it that my doctor recommends I refrain from even looking at the file icon on disk.