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:
- Write the story in Dutch.
- Submit the Dutch version to the Harland Awards.
- Create an English translation.
- Submit the English translation to my online writers group, the Villa Diodati Expat Writers Workshop.
- Strand in 19th place in the Harland Awards, and receive a ton of harsh and not too useful feedback in the judges’ report.
- Receive a ton of similar, but useful feedback from Villa Diodati.
- Begin to edit the English version because the deadline for the Dutch version is approaching rapidly.
- Complete the edits to the English version in time for a final round of critique.
- 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.
- Bless Microsoft Word‘s Compare Documents feature and the fact that I still possessed both the Villa Diodati version and the revised version.
- Use the Compare result to identify all edits, and painstakingly apply them, with modifications if necessary, to the Dutch version.
- Complete the revision of the Dutch version this way.
- Get the results of the final critiques on the English version back.
- Apply the feedback to both versions simultaneously.
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.