I am a bilingual student and soon starting on thesis. I will be writing it in English although my native language is French and I am considering writing it in both languages so that the people closer to me can also read it. This is obviously more work but I am wondering if there would be any other advantages/disadvantages to writing papers in two languages. For example, would this increase the chance of publication? Would this make tracking citations more difficult?

I already saw another question regarding if it's better to write in X language first but I am not specifically wondering about the order in which it should be done.

  • 1
    You should not and generally will not be allowed to publish the same paper in both languages. (However, a thesis does not count as a publication for this purpose, so you could write the thesis in one language and publish in a journal in the other. If you are a field where ArXiv or some similar repository exists, you could also put both on (with a note that they are the same paper).) – Alexander Woo Aug 19 '15 at 6:14
  • 4
    How many people are there that could understand your thesis if it were written in French, but not if it were written in English? I am asking because for my thesis (and most theses in my field) I am pretty confident that there isn’t a single person in the world matching this criterion. – Wrzlprmft Aug 19 '15 at 7:22
  • 2
  • 5
    This seems like a giant waste of effort. Personally, I spend a great amount of time to get the phrasing just right, so I don't even want to think about doing that twice. – Marc Claesen Aug 19 '15 at 7:43
  • 1
    @Wrzlprmft that's going to be highly field dependent. In the literature world, if you write it in any language other than the language of the work itself (presuming it's a language still spoken/used), then there's a chance writing in English/[insert native language] might limit the audience, but for comp lit researchers, it can be beneficial to have it in English/[other language] as well. – user0721090601 Aug 19 '15 at 13:48

so that the people closer to me can also read it

is one of the best reasons I can think of for doing two versions.

Occasionally I write two versions of a letter, in my role as a bilingual volunteer advocate for a child with special needs. I've noticed that after writing the letter in language A, and then writing it in language B, I am then able to go back to language A and make some improvements that I am sure would not have occurred to me through the normal single-language editing process.

I would just caution you, if it starts to be more trouble than it's worth, to keep both versions chugging along strongly, don't get frustrated with yourself if you decide not to keep going with the French version.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.