Seeking project advice on writing 2 versions of the same book in 2 languages

I am writing a memoir in Russian and I would like to create an English version as I go on. I think, it makes sense to use the same project for both books because they can share resources such as photographs.

My project structure under “Manuscript” has 3 levels:
Part Heading
Chapter Heading

When I finish a chapter in one language, I can duplicate it (including the linked photos) and translate the text using the split view in the editor keeping the original in one pane and the translated version in the other.

I can see 2 ways of organizing the project.

  1. Move everything under the “Manuscript” one level down and create 2 subtrees: “Russian Version” and “English Version”
  2. Have 2 language versions of each chapter in the original tree. For compilations I could use color coding or create 2 search collections using RegExp-s for the two language character sets.

It seems the first method is cleaner with the drawback of not being able to view the two major subtrees in parallel in the binder.

I’d appreciate any advice on this subject. Thank you, Zach

Moved to Using Scrivener forum because this is mostly platform-independent. – Katherine

I did this twice a few years ago. (two books)
My solution was to write the first book, edit, revise, etc until it was completely finished. I then copied the project, moved the finished book into Research and wrote the second one, translating paragraphs one by one.

I’m with Lunk. When ever I have my writings translated into another language (Russian, German, Spanish, French and Croatian) I always send them a finished product.

You can split the Editor and configure one pane as an Outline view in order to see both subtrees.

Having two separate subtrees will definitely be easier when Compile time comes along, unless you’re trying to create a dual-language version.


Writing both versions in parallel seems like a bad idea, because you will needlessly double your editing time. Any chapter editing you do later will have to be done in both language chapter drafts. Doing the complete book in one language first — and editing and rereading to your satisfaction — will save you a lot (though certainly not all) of that sort of duplicated effort.


I won’t weigh in on doing both at the same time, but I do have one suggestion.

I work on translation (Chinese → English and English → Chinese) with my collaborator. Often, these texts are needed for final compilation in dual-text mode of alternating paragraphs. I set the project up with alternating documents labelled as English or Chinese, with “Show label colour in binder”, and I set up search collections for each language based on the label. That way we can work with source language in one split and target language in the other, but at any time we can produce a dual-text compile or compile the languages separately as we need.

Just a thought.



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Thank you everybody. I marvel at the Scrivener design. Both complexity and clarity.