Writing your blog in English vs. your mother tongue

It has been some time that the idea of creating a real blog was tempting me and as I started working on the NapTime project as the communication manager, I thought it would be an opportunity to start one.
The purpose of this blog is to have somewhere to share my discoveries about the topics that I care about, and eventually showcase my projects for anyone that would be interested.

The dilemma

While installing WordPress on my server and thinking about the first post that I would write, I suddenly wondered: should I write in French (my mother tongue) or in English?
I took some time to think about it and I’ve summed up what I believe to be important considerations when it comes to deciding of your blog language.
I hope that this post will help anyone struggling on the same existential question.

Translating all my posts?

For a while, I considered writing every single post in both languages, French and English. But as I was searching for the most efficient way to do it with WordPress, I began dreading that writing this blog in two languages would turn into a tedious translating task, that would discourage me from writing new posts.
I also thought of writing some posts in a language or another, depending on the context (and my mood!) but I disliked the idea of being inconsistent.
So I decided I would go with only one language. But I still had to choose which one.

My advice: If you’re totally determined to write in two languages, I strongly encourage you to do so. I did not choose this way because I wanted to write posts quite spontaneously and having to translate everything would be make things less simple. Keep in mind that you’ll need to install translation plugins on WordPress. A very good one is Polylang.

Audience vs. Writing quality

Each language has its own advantages and drawbacks : writing in English would allow me to reach and be understood by a broader audience but my writing skills are way better for French. By choosing to write in English, I was afraid that I would not be able to accurately express what I had to say with all the shades and subtlety that I wanted…

My advice: Even if writing in another language is a great way to improve your writing skill, you have to consider your current level in the target language as an important parameter that has to be taken into account in your reflection. Also, see the next part for more info.

Decide according to your content

What you have to do is asking your self the right questions. In this case, the question is: what the content of blog will be?

After some thinking, I realized that the purpose of this blog would not be to write a novel online (even if that would be a great project), but mainly posts which vocabulary would be more technical than epic. I estimated my English writing level was fair enough to communicate my ideas without altering my personal touch.

My advice: the key is to define the importance of your writing quality for the project you want to start. As an example, my blog is more likely to contain technological entries, hence my choice for English. But if I had to write a blog on personal development, I would have chosen my mother tongue.

By now, you should have enough information to decide what language you’ll pick. But here is an extra thought for some special cases :

The expert?

As with everything, there is an exception to what I said previously. If your goal is to specialize in a field, publish all the latest news and position yourself as an expert, you have to be aware that there are probably several existing blogs written in English whose authors are at least as good as you. That’s some tough competition.

However, that might not be the case in your country: there is probably less/no competition that is publishing the same kind of content in your mother tongue. Even if the audience is narrower, the fact that you write using your language will provide added value to the information you give, and therefore you may be able to create some stronger relationship with your readers.

In my case, I’m not claiming to be an expert of anything, which let me choose freely in which language I want to write, without having to worry about competitors. Moreover, I’d love to get to work in an English-speaking country and this blog can be a way to introduce myself and my creations to a broader audience than the sole French-speaking audience.

I hope this post will help you decide in which language you’ll start you blog. Please tell me in the comments if you are/were hesitating between two languages!

J’espère que ce billet vous aura aidé à vous décider ! Laissez un commentaire pour me dire si vous aussi hésitez/avez hésité entre deux langues pour un blog!

Writing your blog in English vs. your mother tongue was last modified: September 3rd, 2015 by Tom Guillermin

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