If you, like me, are a person with English as your second language, you might be wondering whether or not you should write your posts in English, or in your own language.
In this post, I will share some information and some pros and cons in regards to this question.
Pros and cons of English vs your first language writing
- First and foremost you of course feel more secure in your own language when it comes to communication. You will have a better grip of local sayings and will be more likely to avoid misunderstanding.
- When writing in your own language (mine is Danish) your target group will be smaller, than writing in a global language like English – a language many Internet users speak. Writing in English you will naturally have a much bigger audience and more readers.
- The competition on the other hand will be significantly lower than if you choose to write in English. There are millions of blogs in English about all sorts of topics – that might not be the case, when in comes to less spoken languages.
- When it comes to cooperation, companies from your own region will be more interested in you, making it easier to go to meetings, events and get products for review for instance. I have experienced that companies refer me to their local department (if there is one) when they learn that I live in Denmark even though I write in English and the vast majority of the readers come from the US and the UK.
- When you write in your own language, you can build closer relationships with other bloggers from your region. I have experienced being invited to events in New York, which I couldn’t attend as easily as the ones in my own city.
- When it comes to social media, writing in English is also better, as for instance Twitter is not used as much in my country (this might be different for your country).
Some bloggers choose to write in their own language and write a short sentence describing what they wrote in English at the end of the post. This might work for sites that are mainly about showcasing pictures, but if your site is more about text, this will be confusing for the reader and time consuming for you.
I have chosen to have two different blogs – one in Danish and one in English in order to make the sites feel more homely and natural. This way, you also have more space to target two different audiences. Cultural differences apply in blogging too. So when I write about fashion for my American audience it differs from when I write about it to my Danish audience.
Bilingual Social Media
If you blog in two different languages, create two Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Your English speaking audience is not interested in seeing tweets in another language in their Twitter feed and will most likely unfollow you.
The same goes for Facebook. People like to feel that you’re writing to them and that they’re in the focus, so the second language adds to confusion and irritation.
Some bloggers even use Google Translate to add the English to their blog – don’t. As good as Google Translate is, if you don’t speak English at all, and can’t translate the text on your own, you shouldn’t translate it at all.
Other sites have a button that will automatically show the English page. This takes some effort, but this is the other and better option to having a blog in two languages.
When it comes to the domain name, choose one in English for your English site and the other in your own language, if possible. Most people from Denmark use google.dk and search in Danish for what they’re looking for, and having a domain name in your own language will then help you get the readers.
And remember, don’t expect the same readership numbers in your own language as those you might get in English. I hope you have found some answers about the bilingual question in this post!