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  1. #1
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Should I blog in my native language or in english?

    I'm about the re-launch my blog this fall, but what I can't decide is wheter I should blog in swedish or in english. So I'd like to hear some pieces of advice from you...

    I'll be wirting mainly within the field of design, but everyday things that crosses my mind might also get published. The thing is that I'm pretty darn good at writing. I don't mean to brag, but I am. But my abilities to express myself in english is not even close to as good as what I can do in swedish. I can write pretty good english after all and I can easily be understood and have a good knowledge about everyday phrases and different sayings. But even so, my vocabulary is not top-notch.

    It may seem like a matter of course to you that I should write in swedish, but it's not just a matter of linquistic abilities. Considering the the nature of the internet itself, I have the possibility to reach out to an international audience with my blog if I write in english, not just a domestic one. BUT, the international blogging scene is enormous, and chances are that my blog will just be another drop in the ocean. The chance of getting noticed in this huge crowd of bloggers is in other words far from easy.

    Blogging as a concept is fairly new here in Sweden, maybe not to people like myself who do web design, but to the general public. Unsruprisingly, the amount of bloggers are not even close to what you might find in the US or any other bigger country, but still, there's quite a few of them. Still. the chance of making it on the national scene seems to me alot easier that on the international.

    So let's say, hypotheticly, that my blog makes it to an "above avrage" level. After all, getting people to read your blog is the goal for every blogger.
    If I wirte in english, the international audience will allow me to get much more readers, but not necessarily a whole lot more swedish readers since the focus of my blog will not be within the national borders, so to speak.
    If I chose to run my blog in swedish and choose to target the national design market, I'd most likely get a much smaller audience. But I feel that I might get more attention from the swedish design audience compared to what I'd get from the international if I were to write in english, seen from a relative point of view.

    You see, my plan is to someday start my own business and I'm thinking that if my blog makes it and I get my name around the street, kicking off that business will be a little easier.

    So what's your take on this? Would I, as the person behind this blog, benefit more from targeting an international audience than a national one, or vice versa? Anyone that blog in their native tounge that can share some experiences?
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
    Not rebootin' on November 1st! (but shortly after)
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  2. #2
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    Hello,

    First of all, let me point out to you by reading what you just wrote made me feel like you are an English native. Not one grammatical mistake! Bravo!!

    As far as your question goes, let me give you an advice that one of my teacher back in college gave me, and has been one of my ideologies: "When you see a fork, take it." By fork, one would understand that it is not the ustensil you find on the table, but rather a road that splits in two. So the point is that don't blog just in english or just in swedish, but do both.

    As far as my own advice goes, I would personally target the local audience (Sweden), and then go International.

    Hope it helps.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steven Janes; Aug 30, 2005 at 05:30.

  3. #3
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    I'd have to agree, use both. (and as a bonus you'll get better at English by doing it - not that you need any improvement, your better than me at it and it's my native language)

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy conradical's Avatar
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    What about a bilingual blog? I'm not sure if there are language packs for the blog engine you are using (what is it WP?) So maybe you can have the default in swedish and grow locally and then expand to catch the international crowd.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast PixelStyles's Avatar
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    It's all about knowing your audience. If you want to reach the world, I would use English since almost every country teaches english at some point in the education system.

  6. #6
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    erm well...

    So maybe you can have the default in swedish and grow locally and then expand to catch the international crowd.
    nuff said!

  7. #7
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input guys.

    The thought of running a bilingual blog have crossed my mind, but I'm not convinced that it's good idea.

    If I were to write all posts in two languages, it would literraly double the amount of time and effort that I'd have to put into it. And I must admit that I'm not too fond of that idea. Especially when you consider the fact that the readers who know swedish also will be able to understand english (to different extents of course, but they'd all be able to understand what I was writing). So, writing in swedish too if I write in english seems unecessay to me.

    But if I only write a selection of posts in both english and swedish, it would to me look inconsitent. In general, people don't like inconsistensy and especially non-swedish readers won't know if my next post will be in swedish or in english (and thereby understandable to them), and might therefore run away looking for an all-english blog. And that I don't want.

    I might be wrong though and perhaps I worry too much. But I do wan't my blog to succeed, and the least I can do is to plan it before I launch it .
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
    Not rebootin' on November 1st! (but shortly after)
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    well, blogging in English will certainly give you a possibility of a wider audience than blogging in Swedish, but the count of audience will depend on how good you write(whether its useful to anyone), what you write, how often you write & how you promote. for all you know, you might get 50 people a day for your English blog & 100 people a day for your Swedish blog.

    But since you say that you can write Swedish better than English(you are not as unlucky as me, I'm quite rusty in my native language as I have written nothing but English for the past 5 years or so), I think that you should go ahead with your native language, as you also want to crack on the local scene(which you can also by writing in English, depending on the penetration of the language in your country).

    Blogging in 2 languages is cool as well, but you are right, doing it regularly is not easy and I doubt there are any free translation services like Babelfish available for Swedish-English for people(who don't know Swedish) to read. But its not as you said that people who know both languages will have to read both. If you plan to write in both languages, you can have it setup so that people get the Swedish version of the blog-post with a link(at the starting) to the English version which remains hidden otherwise. I seem to remember that there was a plugin for this sort of thing for WP, never tried it though.
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    My blog is bi-lingual (English and Swedish) and that's not something I'd recommend. As you said, it takes twice the time to do everything. I'm actually considering dropping the Swedish part.

    There is a shortage of quality web design blogs in Swedish, but it's also a very small market. I rarely get any comments on the Swedish pages (I get no comments at all at the moment, because I had to disable comments because of spammers).

    My advice would be to blog in English only. Roger and Robert do it, after all.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo
    I get no comments at all at the moment, because I had to disable comments because of spammers
    Off Topic:


    what blog software do you use?
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by asp_funda
    Off Topic:


    what blog software do you use?
    My own!

    I'm rewriting it, but it takes longer than I expected.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo
    My own!

    I'm rewriting it, but it takes longer than I expected.
    Off Topic:


    well, you can use Bad Behavior to put a cap on comment spam(instead of shutting down comments), or if you feel like migrating to another blog software, I recommend WordPress with SpamKarma2. Its been about 20 days since I upgraded to SK2 & its caught all of the 1600+ comment spam, no false positives & the earlier v1 wasn't too bad either, just 4-5 false positives(which ended in moderation queue) in 5000+ comment spam.
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  13. #13
    monitormensch oerdec's Avatar
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    When I started my own weblog I asked this question myself too. I decided to write in my native language because of two reasons.
    At first I don´t have much time - posting in German is much easier and faster for me. The second reason is I don´t want to reach an international audience - it´s only a little website for people I meet in real life.

    Ask yourself what do you want to achieve with you blog?

    PS: OK, the third reason is my English.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oerdec
    PS: OK, the third reason is my English.
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  15. #15
    The MacGyver of Design bronze trophy Johan Dahlström's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutisticCuckoo
    [...] There is a shortage of quality web design blogs in Swedish, but it's also a very small market. I rarely get any comments on the Swedish pages [...]
    This is interesting... Of course, all I can do is guess, but to be honest, I think you'd get more readers if you focused entirely on the swedish market. Cause you see, I've read you blog quite a number of times and you write quality content. Unfortunately I can't, but if I could I'd love to tell you why I don't come back to read your blog on a regular basis.

    There is, judging from your (and my own) opinion, a potential hole to fill in the swedish web design blog field. And this is what's giving me a headache. We have a (very) small market but with better chances of succeding on one side, and an incredibly larger market but with smaller chances to be noticed on the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by oerdec
    Ask yourself what do you want to achieve with you blog?
    In short terms: recognition.
    http://www.johandahlstrom.se
    Not rebootin' on November 1st! (but shortly after)
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

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    If you want recognition by a couple of dozen people, then write quality articles about standards-based web design in Swedish.

    If you want to reach out to a larger audience, blog in English.

    Personally, I don't feel it's worth all the extra work to write in Swedish, since there are so few readers.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy conradical's Avatar
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    I found a translate plug-in for wordpress if thats what you use but swedish is not there as an option. However it might be of help to other readers.

  18. #18
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    I don't see any problem if you use your native language. But I think, if you like to have a lot of viewers for your blog, you should use the universal language which is english. Though you won't be that formal because usually when your dealing with blogs, you may use any expression... like for isntance hahaha. when you posted a funny blogs... blah blah blah... Start making blogs the way you feel writing it... doesnt matter if its in english or in your native language... gudluk

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by conradical
    I found a translate plug-in for wordpress if thats what you use but swedish is not there as an option.
    I believe I already mentioned that, Swedish is not available as an option with Babelfish or any other online machine translation service, as I know of!!

    Quote Originally Posted by conradical
    However it might be of help to other readers.
    yeah, someone else might find it useful!!
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  20. #20
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    If I were in your shoes, I'd take the international route. You mentioned the whole blogging hype is fresh in Sweden, but even so, are the Swedish designers reading local blogs written in your language, or are they reading english blogs from the rest of the world, like the most of us?

    Specifically, I'd write in English, but include Swedish news, great designs, and what-not. Not to the point of having the whole blog written about my nation, but bits here and there, that'll attract your people, and will also be of interest to the other nations.
    Last edited by Egor; Sep 8, 2005 at 00:01.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool thoughts Egor!! Till now I thought of you as a ....., but I think my views about you are beginning to change!!
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  22. #22
    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asp_funda
    Cool thoughts Egor!! Till now I thought of you as a ....., but I think my views about you are beginning to change!!
    Off Topic:


    Grr! Arr! Ahh, what the heck! I'll take it as a compliment.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy asp_funda's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Egor
    Ahh, what the heck! I'll take it as a compliment.
    Off Topic:


    see there, already making improvements, aren't we??
    Our lives teach us who we are.
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Zealot swiftone's Avatar
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    It depends on what audience you want to appeal to.
    Happy Coding,
    Swiftone

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  25. #25
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    Definitely both. I'm sure the search engines with love you for it

    My motto is; more quality words the better!


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