The “What to Do and When” Steps to Publication Series—Write in English, Publish in Second Language

As I wrote in my lead blog for this series, publishing involves a series of steps. Whatever the publication, the steps follow a general process of defining, creating, refining, refining more, and publishing.

Every step in the process adds to the original and transforms it; at each stage, a publishing team looks to ensure that all the old was retained or improved and what was added works for the ultimate goals of the publication. So, for example, when a book is first laid out in designed pages, it is checked to make sure that the design has been applied consistently, that all the finalized text and visuals appear in the laid-out pages, and that everything is working.

Based on my experience, this is true for publication in English but also in other languages. On that point, here’s an example of the process for writing in English and publishing in a second language.

Process: Single Author to Write in English a Book to Be Published Traditionally in a Second Language

  1. Define the project
    • develop the expertise—including translator, second-language editor and proofreader, and designer experienced with multiple languages
    • draft a proposal (that answers what the subject is, who the target readers are, why, and how)
    • draft an outline
    • pitch the publication
    • revise the outline
    • develop the budget, including for English-language editorial, translation, second-language editorial, designer
  2. Create it
    • research further
    • draft the manuscript part by part
    • solicit response in cycles from peer reviewers and editor (and with reference to those questions what, who, why, and how again)
  3. Refine it
    • send to editor as whole and get feedback
    • draft to address gaps and revisions decided upon
    • send to editor for structural and stylistic edit
    • respond to structural and stylistic edit
    • finalize draft with editor (and with reference to those questions what, who, why, and how again)
  4. Refine it more
    • send to copy editor for a light* copy edit (* knowing that it will be translated)
    • review copy edit and respond
    • finalize manuscript to go to translator
    • send manuscript to designer at the same time for design development and rough layout in English, to specifications
    • review design with English-language text and respond while translation is being completed
    • translated manuscript to go to second-language editor for review
    • finalized translated manuscript to replace rough layout in English
    • finalize designed/laid-out publication to go to proofreader (possibly two proofreaders—one for layout and one for second language)
    • final changes by design
    • final check of changes by second language editor
  5. Publish
    • go to print


© Laura Edlund 2010