Disclaimer –> Most of my daily life is in English but I’m not a mother tongue. I’ve started to write in English 1 year ago after having lived in Ireland for the past 6 years; I’ve been writing for the past 16 years and in translation for the past 13 years but starting to write in English has been a huge step for me and my career that I’ve made when I decided to start working almost exclusively with the English market. I still make a lot of mistakes and I’ll never be an English mother tongue but living and breathing English everyday allows me to handle projects in English without improvising.
Blogging in a foreign language can sound smart especially if you think you can reach a broader audience and bring your blog to a different level. But how ready are you for the challenge? Blogging in a foreign language is anything but easy and it requires skills and motivation but also, above all, requires that you have a long-term goals and you really want to pursue them.
The questions to ask yourself before starting to write in a different language
1. How much do you know the language? How many times, when writing, you need to consult an online translator? Can you build complex phrases?
2. Which is your reference market? And, most importantly, what market are you looking to attract?
3. If you start blogging, let’s say, in Spanish what happens if a customer offers you a job in Spanish? Are you really ready to take charge of a project in a different language? Are you really sure you can lie to yourself and your employer about your skills even if your employee is not a Spanish speaker? Do you know that writing a post using the translator is different from working daily with a language different from yours if you do not know much about it?
4. Do you really want to make a fool of yourself in front of the whole world? You know how to handle the technical aspects of a multilingual website? And you know how to fix a broken reputation if a company is involved in your bad writing?
5. What do you want to achieve by writing in a different language? More readers? Engagement with companies? Showing you are different and better than many other bloggers? Rewind the tape: How do you beat the competition? You know you have to consider an undefined geographic target and tons of people able to write better than you in the same language? What is your real target and, most of all, do you have one?
Writing or not in a foreign language
When people ask me, as a blogger, if writing or not in a foreign language I always say:
YES —> only and only if you can do it well, if you’re consistent, if you have a focused and sustainable goal and if you are 100% sure of being able to be able to work on an entire project, for others, in the language you’ve picked. The excuse of rising readers will not stand because if new readers arrive and they read a badly written blog they run away and never return so what’s the advantage?
NO —> if you can not write without a translator, if you can’t write or pronounce many words in the language you’ve chosen and if you are 100% sure of not being able to be able to work on an entire project, for others, in the language you’ve picked. Not even if you do not have measurable objectives, strategies, and if your target market is different.
What do you need to write well in a different language than yours
You have to think like a speaking person from that particular country (Spain or Latin America for example), never translate but contextualize, you have to know what works and what does not. You have to know how to manage the language from a technical point of view and understand the strategies you used for your product in your country do not work abroad. Only if you practice daily and on site you are ready to face the challenge of a different language because you’ll arrive at a certain point in your life when you will begin to think in the second language and writing in your first one will be way more difficult.
What’s the end of the story?
Would you ever assign a writing job to a foreigner who uses your primary language in his own way, maybe he lives in Barcelona but has well thought of writing in English by improvising and removing some letters from words? I wouldn’t and so do those who speak a different language! They assign a job to those who really know how to write and speak seriously the language, to those that if you put them in front of an entire project in the chosen language always will how to handle it or how to be part of it.