On bilingual/multilingual writing and grant application


I recently learned a valuable lesson. I want to share it here, as I think it could be of some value to those bilingual/multilingual writers who are applying or planning to apply for grants to support their writing projects.

Many bilingual/multilingual writers would have produced work in languages other than English. Very often this work can help to demonstrate our experiences, achievements and insights as artists working across linguistic and cultural borders, so we should seriously consider including it in our grant applications.

To be in equal footing with all other applicants — and to make the job of the grant organisers and assessors much easier — we should consider including an English translation of this work. In my own case, I was recently offered an opportunity to provide an English translation for some material in Traditional Chinese that I included in one of my applications. Opportunities like this rarely happen, as we know that everything submitted should be in English. We also know the common rule that once we have made our submissions we could no longer modify them.

I should note here that in this case, what I included in my application are screenshots of two of my Chinese blog articles, as proof that I have done preliminary research and documented my findings. As it became clear that this work could help to demonstrate the importance of my proposed project, the grant organisers and assessors are willing to offer me a chance to translate it into English. I am grateful for this, as it shows that they are genuinely willing to give me a chance to prove myself. As industry professionals, they are interested in examining everything I submitted that supports my proposed project, instead of dismissing those aspects that they are unable to immediately and conveniently understand.

So, I would suggest all bilingual/multilingual writers to include in your present and future grant applications, anything and everything you have got that is relevant to your proposed project. Tidy up your support materials and present them in a clear chronological order, or in accordance with their relevancy to your project. If any content is in another language, do your best to provide an English translation, or at least an English summary of it. You can either do the translation yourself, or find someone capable and trustworthy to do it. If you have to outsource this work, request that a non-disclosure agreement is signed in order to protect your intellectual properties.

Image thanks to: 5 considerations for creating multilingual courses, eLearning Industry.


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