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I have written an article in Persian and then translated it into English. Is it possible to send them to two different journals (one in Iran and the other one in Belgium)?

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    AFAIK, the language doesn't matter, it would still be "double" publishing or self-plagiarism. There are journals that accept it in that condition, but I do not think it is the rule... – Fábio Dias Oct 10 '15 at 15:29
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    Do not do it. Plain and simple. If this is a good publication, what will it offer you being published in Iranian? If it is not, 2 or 100 copies of the same paper will not do you any good. – Alexandros Oct 10 '15 at 16:39
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    This is plagiarism at worst, double submission at best: in any case it would be shady. – neuronet Oct 11 '15 at 3:44
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    @Alexandros: maybe it will offer the possibility to Iranians that does not speak English well to understand the content of the article? Not everybody can speak English – Taladris Oct 11 '15 at 4:29
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    @Taladris: that’s a good point, but it is served just as well by making the Persian version publicly available online in some other way (e.g. through the author’s website, or a preprint server). Printed journals are no longer the only means of public dissemination, and in many fields, are no longer the main one. – PLL Oct 11 '15 at 16:24
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Yes, this is a problem. You should not submit the same work to more than one journal at a time. This applies regardless of language - merely being in a different language does not make the actual work unique.

Further, consider some practical considerations - a simultaneous submission means that you'll have to go through peer-review for both papers and (assuming you don't get caught and summarily rejected) presumably have to make some changes. What if the changes don't align? Now you don't have two translations of the same paper, but two subtly different papers in two languages.

If you're genuinely interested in making your paper more accessible, either post a translation online, or wait until one paper is accepted and then approach a journal in the other language about posting a translation.

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    Could you cite the rule which includes the line "regardless of the language"? – Ébe Isaac Oct 10 '15 at 16:48
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    @ÉbeIsaac An example: "The American Journal of Epidemiology considers manuscripts for which copyright has not been assigned, that do not essentially duplicate already published material, and are not being simultaneously considered for publication elsewhere." You will note no exception for language. – Fomite Oct 10 '15 at 16:52
  • If no specification exists, how could you claim that it isn't allowed. There is proof that it is possible as historical articles of different languages have been published in various languages. Are they all guilty of plagiarism and double publication? – Ébe Isaac Oct 10 '15 at 16:57
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    @ÉbeIsaac A translation of a published article is substantially different from a simultaneous submission, which is the question. – Fomite Oct 10 '15 at 16:58
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    @ÉbeIsaac: By making simultaneous submissions as you describe, you are presenting both versions as independent original work — that’s the self-plagiarism/double publication. If you publish one version, and afterwards submit the other, clearly described as a translation of the first, then this would be fine, and analogous to the examples you mention. – PLL Oct 11 '15 at 16:22
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If you write an article in Persian, you have the legal right to translate it to English, as long as you haven't assigned the copyright to someone else (in which case, you have to obtain the right to create a derivative work from the copyright owner). Many journals require you to assign copyright when they publish an article, and require you to avow that you (still) have the right to assign that copyright. So if you have assigned the right to make copies (including translations) to one journal, you can't then truthfully vow to the other journal that you can assign the right to the derivative work in English.

Journals have two basic reasons for following a no double publishing rule. One is the aforementioned copyright problem, that it might put one journal in a bind with respect to copyright. If neither journal requires copyright assignment and only requires a non-exclusive license, then the second reason may also be applicable, which is that journals consider their space to be a valuable commodity, to be used only when there is sufficient justification. Basic academic quality is one reason, but novelty is another -- a journal's editor could well decide that it is not worthwhile to use journal space to publish a paper that has already been published.

Since this is a matter of editorial judgment, the solution is simply to ask each editor whether it is okay for you to also submit a version in the other language. If both editors agree (and assuming that you have stated the facts clearly enough), then there would be nothing problematic with submitting a version of a paper in Farsi to one journal and a version in English to another journal. Versions in French and English would be more problematic, because there is a reasonable expectation that scholars can read both languages, whereas there are relatively few areas where scholars are standardly expected to read both English and Farsi, and providing an English translation could be a significant contribution.

So, to repeat, ask the editors.

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    "because there is a reasonable expectation that scholars can read both languages"???? – Jorge Leitao Oct 10 '15 at 18:29
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    @user6726 They're contesting that French-English bilingualism is common enough for your expectation to be reasonable. – Fomite Oct 10 '15 at 18:42
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    I don't claim that anyone expects bilingualism, just that (depending on the field) a reading knowledge of French, or German, is normal, and often a forma; requirement for graduation. – user6726 Oct 10 '15 at 18:53
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    "Reasonable expectation" implies far more than just "sometimes this happens in some fields" – Fomite Oct 10 '15 at 19:00
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    I think this is the correct answer. I've done exactly what's being suggested here. I had one paper in my native language accepted, and I got permission from the editor to publish the same article in English. I then asked the editors of a couple of international journals if they would accept an English translation of my article. One journal said no, the other said yes (incidentally the top journal in the field), as long as the article made it perfectly clear how it related to the other article. Case closed (the final version ended up being a new paper, but that's a different story). – Sverre Oct 11 '15 at 8:03
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Publishing the same manuscript in more than one journal at a time is technically double submission. But this wouldn't be so if you consider one as a translated version of the other after one is published as long as you make this explicitly clear in the second paper. It isn't ethically wrong to publish your research in different language as it increases the visibility of your research in the right sense.

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    In this case you shouldn't just cite the already published paper; you should make it absolutely clear that the second paper is a translation of the first (e.g. in a footnote on the first page). – Pete L. Clark Oct 10 '15 at 16:58
  • Yes, that is my point, @PeteL.Clark. – Ébe Isaac Oct 10 '15 at 17:08
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I do not recommend it, for the following reasons:

Firstly, because the same ideas and results will appear on two different papers, and someone that wants to credit your findings (and reads both languages) doesn't know which paper to cite.

Secondly, if I would see your Iranian paper (in journal X) cited on paper Y but I would only know the English version of it (in journal Z), I would have to check that they are, in fact, the same scientific result.

Finally, in most journals publications are required to present new results. Pushing your case to the edge, I could write 2 papers in English: one in such a way that only a native speaker would understand, and another that my community would understand. This is not acceptable by most journals.

There are exceptions on which publishing the same results is acceptable, for instance, some journals do not require the results to be new. In this situation, I don't see the issue.

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