elative to the total volume of the book (600 pages), there is actually not that much text: 2 author's one-sheets, i.e. 80 thousand characters, in each language version. But because of the bilingualism and the specific format of both the book and the texts, there were many nuances.

The text in the book is rendered quite unusually. It is basically Olya's dialogue with Slava and Alex. Initially, it was thought that the interviews would be turned into third-person narratives, but after the first drafts, it became clear that this format did not fit the spirit of the book. We decided to keep a more lively and less processed form of dialogues so that it would be clear that these are friends talking to each other. Sharing memories, joking, arguing, poking fun at each other. It was more interesting to read this way.

Initially all the texts were in Russian. Olya translated them into Belarusian, and we learnt a lot of new things. For example, the word "ice drift" has two variants in Belarusian:

During the translation, Olya made sure to make edits to the Russian version, as it was intended to be translated into English. Our translator Dasha is bilingual. She speaks both Russian and English natively, with English actually being her mother tongue.

A bit of Jakub Kolas’ poem that we translated ourselves

When the Belarusian translation was ready, it went to Nadia for proofreading and the Russian text to Dasha for translating.

As they both worked on the texts, it was once again crucial to make sure that all the nuances, changes of phrases and subtleties of meaning were reflected in both versions.

An unexpected issue that had to be solved was the way we write Belarusian geographical names. Until 2022, according to the law, all geographical names had to be written in the Belarusian Latin alphabet and had to be transliterated only from the Belarusian language. This rule had existed for more than 20 years. According to a new law, toponyms can also be transliterated from the Russian language, and instead of the traditional Latin script, a simplified version of the spelling can be used.

We decided to use the traditional variation, but some toponyms looked quite unfamiliar. For example, the Naliboki Forest was Nalibockaja pušča. We were worried that it would not be very clear to our foreign readers and it wasn’t easy to Google. In the end, we decided to duplicate the most famous places with a translation from Russian into English:

Another very important text in the book is the captions of the photos. In the process of working on the layout, we decided to caption all the photos. May I remind you that there are about 800 of them?

Хацелі, каб было, як у музеі: ходзіш і глядзіш на карціны, але можаш спыніцца і прачытаць падрабязней пра тое, што табе цікава.

Since the task of "captioning all photos" is extremely time-consuming, we tried to use available models. But in the end, we captioned them all manually anyway.

The photos were first captioned by Olya-the-editor and then discussed with Olya-the-designer to see what was missing. After several attempts they decided on this: a mandatory caption for every new location and a caption for every third photo, if one location has many photos connected to it.

After the pilot version had already been printed, we started to make edits to the final layout. Or, as the proofreader used to say, "catching all the fleas". It took about five iterations so that both texts, Belarusian and English, were identical and sounded good in each language. The last thing that Olya asked me to correct in the final layout, which was at this point practically lying in the inbox of the printers, was the definition of “tarpans” (wild horses).

The final edit to the text of the book