I am a few more posts into my blogging journey, and I feel like I am hitting a good stride. I’ve got readers, comments, spam…the whole shebang. Looking at my stats and feedback though, I have found a minor issue that I need to address.
I’m finding that an English only blog is ostracizing quite a few people who would like to read what I post, but do not speak English. Felipe’s mom for one. She always asks me how things are going and what I am writing about. I’m also getting a lot more hits from people in Spanish speaking countries. It isn’t a surprise, but I want to make sure I accommodate and encourage it. So, instead of leaving out Chileans and other Spanish speaking people, I have made a decision to make a Spanish blog.
I’ve done some research into writing a bilingual blog. The most common problem that people run into with doing such a thing is the time and effort that must be put into writing and translating every post. Many people avoid this and use a Google translation or similar plug-in, but it gives imperfect results. Machine translating is not a good replacement.
I have no job right now, and will not for a while, so I don’t have a problem with putting the time and/or effort into making a bilingual blog. To be honest, I really need the practice as well. My speaking has improved immensely living here, but Spanish writing and grammar…well, they aren’t my strongest suit. I got A’s in school, but I need real samples to provide to potential employers when I am finally able to look for work. Translating my own work seems like the ideal way to obtain such a thing.
I read a good article on Ten Commandments of Bilingual Blogging, and while the site it is on doesn’t quite follow all of the “commandments,” the author has good advice for those who want a truly bilingual blog.
Unfortunately, WordPress does not allow for easy bilingual blogging within the same site. On WordPress, each site can only have one “official” language. TimeThief, a WordPress blogging tip writer, has a good article here on how to make a custom menu and provide readers with a bilingual blogging experience. It seems simple enough, but it breaks one of the ten commandments that I actually found to be extremely important: Creating a separate interface that has everything (links, sidebars, headers, menus, etc.) in the second language, not just the post.
If you don’t have a separate interface, some readers may not be able to access the rest of your site or other posts, which, could turn them away.
Therefore, I am going a bit of a different route with my bilingual blog. I intend to create a second blog with a wholly Spanish interface. It will be a replica of this one, just in Spanish. Links will be created at the end of each blog post to guide people to the Spanish/English version should they prefer to read that. I also will be posting a link in my sidebar, and on my homepage to guide people. It will be like having a bilingual blog, but in all technicalities it will be on separate websites.
I’m pretty excited about this idea! This next week, my time will be spent translating the posts I already have and posting them to the new site. I haven’t created it yet, but I will post a new blog in the English blog once the Spanish one is up and running so you can check it out. Don’t expect new content until April, though. Luckily, I am in the early stages and can go back and translate all of my posts easily, but it is going to take a bit of time nonetheless.
If you have any advice for me or other comments, please let me know! I’ll need all the encouragement I can get.