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Why the Future of Blogging Might Not Be In English

I spent two years teaching International students English at my University, and I truthfully feel that they taught me more in those two years than I taught them (although they will tell you, in English, this is not true). Although what I learned was not quite as clear cut as a language, I learned a lot about different countries and their Internet habits. During my time at The English Language Institute, I taught students from Japan, Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, France, Venezuela, Columbia, and Mexico. I discovered that in most of these countries, surfing the Internet in their native language was not quite as overwhelming as it is in English. They informed me that there is less content produced in their own languages, and this made sense. Now that I am a blogger, I cannot help but remember these students and ask myself: Should I be writing my content for languages other than English?

According to the Internet World Stats, English is the most used language on the Internet at 536.6 million users (Chinese comes in second with 444.9 million users). In this sense, we are lucky that we speak English fluently (as my students consistently reminded me) because we are able to write for a larger audience. However, there is no denying that reading something in your own language is preferred (ask anyone who is bilingual). Consider a few of the reasons translating your blog into other languages is worth your time.

Why English Only is So Last Year

Many business professionals are hesitant to go the “foreign language” route because it sounds like a lot of document management work (and managing documents in a foreign language is no easy feat). English is very obviously one of the most popular languages spoken around the world; however what businesses do not realize is that many of these English speakers speak English as a second language. Therefore, there are many benefits you should be factoring in when deciding whether or not to translate your blog into different languages:

  • You will have more eyes reading your content. If you have something important you have to say (and if you’re blogging you probably should…), you want to say it to as many people as possible.
  • You will be able to rank higher on search engines and local search engines in other languages because there is less competition.
  • Your blog will have new perspectives and opinions to discuss. If the comment is posted in another language, you can translate the comments quickly using websites such as Google Translate. However, you may find that those who find your blog in another language will comment in English.
  • Duplicate content doesn’t count across languages.

Translating blogs into different languages is still somewhat of a hidden secret. The benefits are great, but they are still for the most part untapped. The best part: creating the translation is simple.

How to Go from Awesome to ehrfürchtige

The easiest way to get started is by installing a WordPress plugin. There are several plugins to choose from; all of which will automatically translate your blog into a different language. Most plugins offer several languages, so all a visitor has to do is click on one of the languages and BAM!-your blog is in Norwegian. Although the translations are never absolutely perfect, the benefits will still remain consistent. Consider the two most popular plugins to make it happen:

  • Google Translate-This is by far the most popular route for bloggers, and is considered by most to be the quickest and cheapest. You can download Google Translate here, and then all you have to do is copy the code you are given onto your blog. Once you’re all set-up, Google will take care of the translating.

  • Global Translator-This service creates sub-directories for all of your translated content, so you will have a lot of extra pages on your blog. This is recommended for bloggers who expect their primary audience to be speaking something other than English. You can download it here.

Both of these services are easy to setup and all are completely free. Although the idea of translation wasn’t too big in 2011, I expect it to be much more popular in the near future. And with those thoughts I say to you buenas noches, ciao, 晚安, and au revoir.

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