Blogging in different languages

, posted: 25-Feb-2007 10:20

English is the language of the Internet, and is spoken by an estimated billion people or more around the world. That's no reason to overlook other languages however. There are half as many Spanish speakers for instance, and even more who converse in Mandarin.

The China Internet Network Information Centre reckon there are 123 to 137 million netizens in the Middle Kingdom but according to Internetworldstats, the number of people speaking Chinese is growing at a rate of knots. The same is true for other big languages like French, Portuguse, Spanish and Arabic, it seems.

That means it's probably worth the effort to start blogging in another language, if you want to widen your audience. Many people who aren't native English speakers are more comfortable in their own language and to be honest, there are some things that just don't translate very well, like humour and cultural matters.

If nothing else, it's good practice. I could probably blog in a few European languages that are now, I'm sad to say, starting to feel rusty for me. Languages are living things that change fast, a fact that was driven home last weekend at the reception here in Auckland for the Finnish President, Tarja Halonen. I don't get to speak Finnish much in New Zealand, and had forgotten how fast it is compared to English. There are many new words that I had to think about, something that I notice when reading Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and other European non-English news sites on the web as well. Do Swedes really call a mobile phone "nalle"? Hmm.

Blogging in Mandarin would be cool, but I only know enough to be dangerous in "my hovercraft is full of eels" stylee. That would of course have much entertainment value, but I think I'll play it safe here. Also, there's the slight problem of entering Chinese characters to think about...

Just something worth considering if you're looking for a different angle for your blogging, I feel.

Update "Different" sounds better than "other"....

Other related posts:
Video: Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortman at the IITP Mega breakfast
Two-factor authentication broken
The problem with naming and shaming

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