05 February 2009

Blogging Tips : Q&A: Should I Translate My Content in English?

Blpgirl asks:

I have been writing a blog in Spanish for a while now, and since i decide to start doing things to increase the traffic i´m wondering if i´m leaving a big audience out for not blogging in English. So, i guess my question is: would you recommend to a blogger that blogs in a foreign language to translate the same content to English just to capture greater audience? if so, would you say an automatic widget is enough or better to do it manually?

This is a frequent question among bloggers that speak English as a second language. Yes you are inevitably leaving out a big audience if your content is not in English. If you consider native speakers only, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. If you consider people that also speak the language as a second language, or that are at least able to understand it, I would guess that English is still the most popular language.

That being said, targeting only a specific audience, say the Spanish or the Portuguese one, can be a good strategy too. You need to consider both sides of the coin.

From one side, writing in English will exposure you to a bigger audience. From the other side, it will also put you in competition with a much larger number of websites.

Depending on the topic of your blog, choosing to blog in your local language might also have other benefits, including the possibility to network with local bloggers, to attend local events and to get exposure with mainstream media and newspapers.

Now you also ask about translating your blog content to English. If your objective is to increase the amount of quality traffic that you have, then you would need to have a human translator working on the content. Computer based translation is still not good enough to serve readers looking for good information.

It might work for search engine traffic though. I have experimented in the past with translator plugins, and they did manage to boost my organic traffic. I found that the results were not that good though, because most of that traffic would bounce back once they saw the quality of the translation….

The final answer will only be found after some testing. Try using an automatic translator plugin or widget and see how it will work. Ask feedback to your readers and so on. Then try with a human translator and see if the returns will justify the costs.

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