How to blog in more than one language: Plug-in Test

Feb 05

The fact that you reach more people with a blog in English may be self-evident. The German-speaking blogger who has ever written a post or blog in English or run an English website know what I’m talking about. From the word ‘go’, you feel part of a large community, a fact that has probably to do with the particularly communicative, shall we say ‘Anglo-American Scene’. At the same time, you don’t have the feeling that you exclude a large part of the world from your own, enormously important thoughts …

One Year of Keen Eye: Two Blogs are One Too Many

On Schauplatz, I’ve been thinking, in German, about photography and the art of seeing for two years (yes, I simply missed ‘my’ second birthday last Saturday!). Just about one year ago, I became aware of the limitation of writing in German, and startet Keen Eye, a parallel blog in English. Under the name of ‘Schauplatz Weekly’, the idea was to write a weekly column. I never really made it, though, and so I decided to offer simply additional content in English. Unfortunately, the whole thing never really came off. It was simply overpowering to divide my sparse spare time between two blogs: I merely managed to write 25 posts within one year.

Bridge Blogging with WordPress Plugin

When Robert Basic of Basicthinking recently mused about the pros and cons of ‘Bridge Blogging‘, the problem reared its ugly head again. In the comments to his post, I discovered Nils’ bilingual business blog KingNils. He uses the wordpress plugin JLanguage – a solution I rather like. I may translate the current entry, but I don’t have to. The user may decide which language to use by clicking the little language flag in each post. There’s also an option for a global change of language, but it’s not implemented yet in this blog. This post is the first test of JLanguage.

There’s a few drawbacks to this method: The ‘system language’ of the blog is either German or English, i.e. the English-speaking visitors, at the moment, have to put up with German directions (‘3 Kommentare’ instead of ‘3 comments’ and so on). I can, of course, change the system to English, but this would mean re-translating or re-installing plugins previously translated into German, and then the German-speaking visitors would have to put up with an English system. Not that nice, but they actually may be able to handle it ;-).

Acceptable Compromise: Testing Bilingual Schauplatz

The biggest drawback is, I should actually go and translate the 158 posts I’ve written so far, at least partly, and the comments would still be German. The comment system might be a problem anyway: My English-speaking visitors will often not be able to understand German comments. By way of consolation, I will import the Keen Eye posts into their own category on this blog. Speaking of which, categories and tags would have to be bilingual, too. Oh well, I will run the new plugin a while, translate most new posts, and see how it goes.