Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thoughts Dear Readers?


Since I started my series Your Blog, Your Way on Create Mixed Media, I have received emails from a number of people with specific questions about the process of creating and maintaining a blog. I recently received an email about an issue related to culture and language and thought that I would reach out to all of you for your opinions. If you have a moment, please read through this post and feel free to share your thoughts in a comment. I know there is one future blogger who will benefit greatly from your opinions but I imagine that there are other bloggers out there with the same set of questions.


The (paraphrased) brief:

"My mother tongue is French. I am torn between joining the Anglophone community of bloggers (very large) or the Francophone community (small). There is little done in French in the mixed media realm, so it would also be a matter of building the community. Or I thought I could blog in both languages. This could possibly provide me with a balance of joining an existing group and starting one of my own. However I wonder if the objective of writing one post in French and one in English is a good thing when it comes to continuity. At the moment I am not able to commit to more time wise, yet hesitate to let go of either language."

Thoughts dear readers?

41 comments:

PamelaArtsinSF said...

Why not blog in both languages -- one paragraph French, one English? And there is always google translate. I follow a couple of blogs that are in dual languages - pas de problem. And, if time is a problem just post once a week.

Kathleen said...

How about alternate between French and English. A post in French and then the next post in English that way you are targeting both audiences.

lynne h said...

blog in french and put the translator widget at the top of the page so readers can easily translate to their own language. xo

paula said...

your gut probably tells you which audience you would feel happiest speaking their language, dont think, do it.

Lost Aussie said...

Post in the language that you feel most comfortable writing in and let your art speak for itself.
I often translate blogs in other languages so that I can better understand the context of the message. A translate widget will keep everyone happy.

Charade said...

Here is a great example of a blog that straddles two languages - English and German. The blogger is a talented jewelry artist, cook, and antique hound. People comment in both languages, and the whole thing works very well for her nearly 500 followers.

http://stefaniessammelsurium.blogspot.com/

Julie said...

I have trouble mastering one language...but fiddle around with the translations on this blog and love how they flow at the click of a button:

http://www.garancedore.fr/

donnaj said...

I read blogs that are in other languages if they have google translate. I've seen some that are written in both (which seems like alot more work) If the artwork is interesting i'll at least look at the blog~art doesn't always need words.

rObfOs said...

I read a very nice blog called "Me and Alice" which combines both native tongue and English, sometimes one, sometimes both. As I can only read English, it's nice to have some English to make me feel I can understand a little of the site, but am happy to use the google translate widget for sites with a large percentage of, for me, foreign tongue. Hope this helps.

Dandelion and Daisy said...

I try to communicate with several relatives in Norway and Sweden and I have not found a translator that really works,so often, I don't even try to read their posts. If, it isn't easy readers will not take the time or effort and will become discouraged, that would be my concern.

Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

I agree with everyone who suggested making post in both languages. There are lots of blogs out there that post a single entry in two languages.

I think it's important that your blog reflect YOU and if that means you have a bilingual blog, then so be it! It will be what sets you apart from other blogs and will engage your readers, in both languages.

I get what you're saying about wanting your blog to appeal to the mixed media community, most of which in North America, is English speaking.

As a Canadian, I feel really strongly that it's important to celebrate your culture and heritage. Any time and any way you can do this, I say go for it! Your blog is your opportunity to teach others about your world. What makes us different is what makes us interesting.

Bonne chance! And send us a link when you get up and running!

Ro Bruhn said...

I agree with those who say both languages. I get disappointed when I visit a blog in a language I'm not familiar with and find it hard to interpret the detail of the work or intention of the artist. Well done to all of the multi linguists out there who have the advantage over the rest of us.

Caatje said...

I'm Dutch and consciously decided to blog in English. Before I started blogging I was already part of an international art trading community on yahoo and it seemed strange to start to write in Dutch when I had already acquired contacts all over the world. I also consciously decided not to go bilingual. Why? It's just too much work. I'm wordy and then I would have to be wordy twice! A logical thought for me was also that most Dutch people speak English anyway, while very few English speaking people speak Dutch. So most Dutchies could still follow my blog (and they do). I don't know how this is for French people though. I would say: think about who you're keeping your blog for and adjust the language to them. Mine is intended to be international, so I'm using an 'international' language. Good luck!

Bozena Wojtaszek said...

Both languages, definietly! Said Polish woman blogging in Polish and English.
Of course there's many traps on this way (and that's why I'm against translator's widgets) but they make it even more interesting. It's while blogging in both languages when I discovered some impossible-to-translate sentences which opened my eyes for cultural differences I wouldn't even think of.
All in all great experience for the blogger and his audience.

Nancy Wethington said...

Google offers a translate option for anyone viewing a blog. You can translate almost any language in the world to your native language. I follow many blogs written in French, Polish, German, etc . . . and all translated to English for me via Google.

apaperbear said...

I agree blog in both languages. I follow a couple blogs that are in dual languages. They are on my blog roll.

Caterina Giglio said...

sheesh, IF ONLY I could blog in Italian and English! If the blogger can write a post in both languages that would be ideal in my opinion. I have a translate button on my blog but I know it murders the translation. I think that a personal translation would be best. a translate button is wonderful however because it covers so many different languages and the idea is to attract readers... correct?

Shirley said...

I follow two blogs where the narrative is written in two separate paragraphs - one in their native language and one in English. They are art blogs, so the text in only 1-2 paragraphs, but I go directly to the second section on both for English.

The native text is also italicized, so it really is clear where I should start reading.

Just Jen said...

+1 on blogging in both (or more) languages. I follow many that are in native tongue with translation at the bottom. sometimes just a one line synopsis. granted these are visual blogs so the words are less important. but it works for me. :)

Holly Dean said...

Wow! What a lot of great feedback. I think once you have read through it, you will be better able to make a decision. Go with your instincts and remember, you can change your mind if what you choose doesn't work for you. The big thing is to start! Bonne chance and be sure to send a link :)

Billie said...

Blogs can be quite time consuming, to try to translate as you go or blog twice would add to that. It would be a shame to overload yourself and end up resenting the time it takes up.

I'm English and so write my blog in English but I've put a link to Google translate so that people wanting the blog translated to their own language can do this easily.

I read blogs from people around the world. When I find an artist I like, its no hardship to use a translator to understand their writing.

Its a personal preference thing but as you mention being short on time, additional languages can add extra hours to the work load.

Billie

syd1 said...

I am trying to learn french since I live in a French speaking part of this very large country. Would love to see a blog in french about things I enjoy.

Marit said...

I 'know' Caatje (see comment somewhat above this one) and I have the same feelings as she has. I'm Dutch, but the circle (group) that is on the same 'wave' as I am, is the English speaking community (mixed media - art journal) I am on one Dutch forum and I comment at some of the Dutch bloggers in Dutch but I, myself, decided to blog in English to reach the 'biggest' audience. I, too, am wordy and my post would be too long if I posted in both languages. I know people who do, but they don't have much text on their blogs and, as Caatje says, most Dutchies understand English as well. I myself read Dutch, English and German. I never use translaters - if I visit a (for example) French or Russian blog - I just look at the art/pictures. The language you blog in depends on what group you want to reach I presume.

Margaret said...

I'd probably blog in my Mother Tongue, what comes from the heart is important.
I also use the translation tab on foreign blogs, it might not be 100% accurate but it's usually enough to understand whatis meant.

missy majchrzak buckley said...

Blog in the language that makes you happy. Maybe one day you're feeling French, and maybe the next day not so much... just add the translate widget and everyone can enjoy your blog!

bockel24 said...

I´m German and only post in English because most of my readers are native English/American speakers and most Germans are able to read English. I know it´s a hard decision, but personally I don´t like blogs written in two languages. I have a few French readers, and they seem to be able to read my blog as it is.

ART*ticulation said...

I have seen a blog in both languages and it worked very well. Even tough there is not many in France creating Mixed Media you can be the trail blazer. You never know till you go for it:>)

Anonymous said...

Make a translator widgit available, at the very least. Isn't English the universal language. As you see from the many posts here today from so many different countries, using a standard language is what makes it work.

Jan said...

Either post in both languages or in French with the translater tab. Both sounds fine to me. It might increase the overall French participation in mixed media. Waiting to see it!

Carol said...

i agree with those who say both languages if you can-but also "a picture is worth a thousand words". I follow a French blog simply for the pictures-they are so beautiful-I don't even care what it says. I think pictures are just as important as the writing-they are what pull people in. Good luck!

quinncreative said...

I follow several bi-lingual posts, and several non-English posts. They present themselves in different ways--two-column formats, translations (on alternate days), text in one language fat captions (under photographs) in the other. I like all those ways. I'm not crazy about translation software since it is often stiff or wrong. Photos are a must, though.

urbandon (Don Pezzano) said...

Use the translate widget. It may not be accurate all the time. I have also seen two languages and that is good two.
That said, people are visual, have little time is it is ALL(most) about the images.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I agree with the comments saying blog in your own language and add a translate option. Readers will translate it of the photos leave us wanting to know more. Good photos I think would be vital to help over come the potential language barrier.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I've joined several swaps where the artist used one paragraph for English, then the chosen language right below it. I like that if there are plenty of photos to accompany the piece, so you don't get lost.

I keep a translation widget on my sidebar. It may not give the best translation, but I am confident it will give people the gist of the piece, especially since I try to detail everything (and every detail) I put on my blog with both pictures and words.

I wish this blogger a world of luck in whatever language the author chooses to use.

Shayla said...

As a francophone, I have the same issue and there is not one right answer, in my opinion. There are advantages to blogging bilingually (a few sentences in each language in the same post), an all English blog and an all French blog. I've seen English people follow all French blogs that have lots of photos. It comes down to what you would enjoy doing and how much time you want to spend doing that.

Reiko said...

I began my blog in french but recently i decided to use both french and english because the Mixed Media community mainly speaks english.Of course it takes a little more time but if i have to do a choice in the future for a lack of time, i will prefer english for sure.

Indira said...

I am originally from India and like most educated Indians in the polyglot-polyphonic India, I am fluent in three languages: Tamil (mother tongue), Hindi (national language) and English (international lingua franca). When I started my blog, there was never any question on my mind that it would be in English, since I knew that readers of my blog, both Indians and non-Indians would be comfortable reading it in English. I do use a lot of Indian words when appropriate to the subject matter, with English translation in parenthesis.

BTW, I am not very confident that Google translator does good translation. Once, for fun, I translated one of my posts on powerful Indian female politicians in Hindi. It translated "women of power" to mean "women of electricity", it did not know how to translate babes and it showed up as "babes", and the whole translation had me in splits for hours! I think this is true not just for Indian languages but other languages also.

Luthien said...

a very common dilemma indeed. i speak 3 languages ... English, Malay and Cantonese. since i cannot for my life write in Chinese :P and the mixed media community is close to non existence in my country, i would have no other choice but to blog in English and reach out to the English speaking audience. i have come across plenty of blogs in other languages. first, i will look at the images ... as i am a visual person, images, good ones are very important to me. i know that sometimes when i am out of time, i visit and just look at pictures. i also see if the work attracts me ... only if it does, i shall then strive to look for a translator on the blog. tho the google translator might be inaccurate sometimes ... it does tell you generally what the writer says, so it's perfectly fine to me if some words translate weirdly.

i guess if you're just starting out and trying to reach out to audiences ... i would say English. then perhaps in time you may start another blog for your country people.

deb said...

I read a Polish blog that is in both languages, I would also take the time to use a translator (although I can read French) which I frequently do if I like the work

martha brown said...

I read many blogs that are in 2 languages -- and a few that are just a language other than english. I like the ones that post first in the home language, and then at the bottom put the english translation -- or a few key sentences in English. I am usually too lazy to use the translator :)But for me, the blogs are mostly about the pictures anyway :)If I really wanted to read it, I would use the translator -- but only if the widget was there!

Lise said...

Hi there ! French is my language too. While I participate and read an amazing number of blogs in English, I decided to continue to write mine in French.

To my mind, it is easier to write only in 1 language. I added Google Translator in the sidebar. I know that some of my reader are English-speakers and it is not a problem.
Also, it is no issue for me to answer to english comments.

Take care,
Lise