How I choose when to write a blog post in French, or in English

Creative Commons: http://j.mp/1alF3Yn

Creative Commons: http://j.mp/1alF3Yn

This is a question I get quite often from people who are blogging or think about starting to blog. They are trying to find if they should blog in their mother tongue, or in English, or even if they should do both like me. They want to know why I choose to do both, and when I choose to write my posts in French, or in English.

Firstly, English is kind of new to me, so the first couple of years I blogged, it was in French only. When I started to learn English, I was wondering if I had to change the languages of my posts. To help me think about it, I asked myself three questions, that you may want to ask yourself too:

  1. What is my goal for blogging?
  2. What would be the advantages of blogging in my mother tongue?
  3. What would be the advantages of blogging in the foreign language?

What is my goal for blogging?

For me, blogging was, and will always be about myself. Unless I write on companies’ blog, I blog because I like it, and because I want to share my opinions with others. It’s not because I want to make money, be famous, or any other reasons: if these happen, it’s a bonus, a nice one, but still a bonus. With this in mind, my choice of languages wouldn’t be about anything else than a personal decision. Of course, I’m not stupid either, if I didn’t have readers to share my thoughts with, I wouldn’t have started a blog, but a personal diary on paper! The only thing is that I’ll never publish something to please others, but I wanted people to read me, of course. This question helped me, and will help you to set the table for the next two.

What would be the advantage of blogging in my mother tongue?

My mother tongue being French, what would be the advantages to continue to blog in French only? It would be easier for me to do so, as it’s simpler for me to write in French, of course. I also already had a French blog, with a French domain name: moving to an English one would be more trouble. Since I had this blog, I had readers I didn’t want to loose: they may be upset if I blog only in English from this day forwards. All of these elements were part of my thinking about the languages I’ll use in the future.

What would be the advantage of blogging in the foreign language?

What about doing it in English? It would help me practice a lot more my writing skill, and this skill was very important for my professional life, but also, let’s be honest, for my personal life too. I may have to move to a new domain name as I highlighted when I thought about blogging in French, but it was not a big deal from my point of view: for me, it was important to have a domain name English people will understand. I’ll also be capable to reach way more people by doing so, and most French people understand English enough to be able to read, so I may not lose many readers: at the end, I didn’t have a crazy amount of readers at that time, but I still wanted to respect them. Since I was doing many events outside of Quebec, I wanted my new connections to be able to read my thoughts, as mostly everybody outside of Quebec (or some places in Europe) don’t read French.

The result

In my case, I finally decide to mostly do all my blog posts in English, but once in a while continue to do French blogging. I didn’t want to manage two blogs, or translate all my posts in both languages, so I decided to use only one blog (this one that I created), but have two categories: French posts, and English ones. People usually try to avoid this as it’s not a good practice, but for me, it’s working: French readers can follow the French category, and English people can avoid the French posts I’m doing once in a while. The result: I don’t have to manage more blog, and I have a lot more readers (keep in mind also that I reach a lot of people in my job, and public speaking, so that’s helping).

How I choose when to write a blog post in English, or in French?

In my case, the equation is simple. Is the subject for French people only, or about something that is happening in French (a French event, something specific about Québec…)? If it’s the case, I write the post in French. Everything else is written in English for the reason above: practicing my English, and reaching more people. Even if all the experts usually suggest to either, write only with one language, have two separate blogs or translate everything, I choose to go upstream, and it’s working perfectly for me. Note that you may not have the same result, but without trying you won’t know. I would haven’t done it that way if it was for a company blog, but since I’m blogging for myself, if readers aren’t happy, there are plenty of other blogs on the Internet.

For me, it was a way to reach more people, grow my blog, continue my passion of blogging, share more of my thoughts or opinions, and improve a lot my English. So, are you blogging? What are the topics you like to cover? Do you blog in your mother tongue or any other languages? Share your thoughts!

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/*Comments*/

  1. This is very true. As a francophone gamer, one of the reasons I chose to post in English, beyond reaching a larger audience, was to get better as a writer.

    It worked. I posted more than 800 articles in 6 years. I’m a WAY better writer, both in English and French, than I was back in 2007. Good enough that I was recently hired as a Video Game scriptwriter.

    09/05/2013 11:24AM
    • This is good news Chatty! I was lucky enough to get a job where English was critical, but with an employer who believed enough in myself to help me reach that level as I wasn’t comfortable at all with this language.

      09/05/2013 11:45AM
  2. Thank you for this post, Fred.
    Right now I am blogging only in spanish, but I also have the idea to use both languges sometimes.

    In my case I think I still need to find the best idea. Don’t know I am going to have a lot of english speaking readers, not many english speaking people know me.

    Though, I don’t want to loose the chance to connect with some interesting people outside my usual circle like it is happening.

    09/05/2013 05:22PM
    • So…probably by now, main content in spanish with some english contents.

      Who knows what will I make in the future?

      09/05/2013 05:23PM
    • Keep in mind that there is no final decision. This blog is my third personal blog: the first was just in French with a high intimate twist. The last one was simply in French a little more professional, and this one is the latest, and final blog. It’s in both languages, but when I say final, is that I won’t change the URL, but the theme, type of posts or languages may change: at the end, this is my blog, so I can do whatever I want. It’s the same for you!

      09/07/2013 10:44AM
  3. Quand je veux faire “la rumpy-pumpy” avec ma “amie avec benefits”, je prefere parler la langue d’amour.

    And I always fall back on the most useful Spanish phrase I know: “Donde son los spectaculos con action caliente “chica sur chica”?

    09/06/2013 09:51PM
    • The only thing I can say about your comment is that if you didn’t exist, we would have to invent you Joey!

      09/07/2013 10:41AM

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