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Bloggers from Non English Speaking Backgrounds – Share Your Tips and Stories Here

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of January 2010 Reader Questions 0 Comments

If you’re a blogger where English is not your first language – I’d love to get your participation in this discussion.

Recently I surveyed subscribers to my newsletter on the challenges that face them going into 2010. Quite a few of the responses to that question came from bloggers for whom English was not a first language.

The problems that this group of bloggers presented to me were numerous but two recurring challenges were:

  • Not knowing which language that they should blog in – should they blog in their own first language and have a smaller potential readership or blog in English where their readership could be larger but where they had challenges in writing as well?
  • Feeling isolated from other bloggers – a number reflected that at times they felt that they were not taken as seriously by bloggers in other parts of the world and found networking difficult.

As a blogger who speaks no other language but English I’m probably not the person to bring much wisdom to this topic – however I’d love to get the thoughts, experiences, tips and stories of bloggers who have been in this situation in comments below.

My hope is that this post will not only give bloggers struggling with these and other issues a place to tell of their challenges – but that some might also share how they approach the challenges and give some tips and advice for bloggers from a non English speaking background. I’d also love to hear stories of (and see examples of) your successes (and those of others) as I know that the blogosphere is alive and well in all corners of the globe.

If you’d like to share in your own language and/or English I’m happy for you to do so in any way that you feel comfortable.

I’m looking forward to reading what is shared below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. It’s a very interesting topics! This is the topic that I’ve been looking for.

    Yes, those are definitely the challenges I have to struggle with. There’s no way I should do except improve my English skills… :)

    My blog is in English. Sometimes I feel frustrated because I can’t address what I want to tell or what I’m thinking of to my readers…. :(
    I ended up with just write it in simple english with a very limited vocabularies that I have, or I just simply didn’t write what I suppose to/want to write.

    Thanks for all the tips and advice I found here. It’s very helpful for me, as a non-english speaking background bloggers.
    And thanks Darren, for posting this topic.

  2. I am French but I live in the States. I have a pretty successful iPhone blog. I get over 700,000 unique visits/month so I guess I can call it a successful blog.

    I write in English because I obviously target the US and english speaking countries. A few of my friends back at home asked me why I didn’t make a French version of the blog. Well, why would I bother spending time translating into French for such a small market. That would be a huge waste of time, thus money for me.

    What I find difficult when blogging in English it to sometimes get my ideas across. I know what I want to say but I don’t have the right words or expressions to say it.

    Sometimes my readers comment that I didn’t really make sense in a sentence I write. Most of my readers know I am French but I sometimes have to apologize for the bad English.

    In the end, I don’t think of it as a challenge. It’s just the way it is. I’ve been living in the States for 6 years and my English is getting better. By reading other blogs or books, I learn more and more of these little expressions that make articles sound more “localized”.

  3. I certainly cannot blog in my mother tongue, I dont even know how to type in Chinese.
    Anyway there are so many Chinese blogs around, I dont want to join the crowd! It’s better for me to stick to English language, despite my completely rotten grammar.

  4. English came as the 3rd language I learned in primary school. Before I stepped into social media blogging, I was incredibly insecure of my presentation in English (still a little timid if you ask me now), but one good thing is, I’ve always loved TV/movies/music. Therefore, I trained myself to start a drama-blog where I need to update the summary of Prison Break weekly. Later I wrote movie reviews too and submitted to IMDB as well.

    After switching my niche to social media, I tend to read/write even more. Now I’m happy to say I’ve survived through 11 months and still loving every second of it! Although I’m still far from being good in English but at least I feel more comfortable with it. :)

    So for my case: to learn English by integrating your passion/interests in it. It helps a lot!

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  5. Hi Darren thank you for bringing this up.

    Anyway, I’m one of those bloggers who’s not a native English-speaker. I’m from the Philippines and my first language is Filipino.

    I speak English and a little bit in French however most of the time I blog in English. On my other sites like plurk, tumblr, or facebook, I speak in Filipino because I share these sites with my friends although this is also in combination with English.

    I think blogging in English is great since a lot of the Blogger jobs available is mostly in English and keeping an English blog, helps you improve your craft. It’s also a great way to reach out to others who could speak English.

    I do not really feel that I am isolated from other bloggers because I’m not a native speaker…although I sometimes get filtered out automatically when applying for a blogger job as they prefer native English speakers. Sometimes I wish they base the screening on the skills not just on the nationality.

    Speaking for myself, I feel more conscious with my choice of words and sentence construction since it is not in my native language and I had to edit my posts twice if it’s in English than I normally would if it’s in Filipino. Which I think is great since we edit ourselves out automatically.

    I agree that you have to blog in the language of your target audience. But to that person who said that we should blog in Mandarin if we’re targeting Asia…are you serious?!

    Could you write in Chinese or are you gonna blog in Pinyin? Not everyone in Asia is Chinese or could speak Chinese. If you go to Asia you’d be surprised that a number of people already speak English and there’s a great demand for ESL schools all-over that English would still be a good choice for a blog that’s targeted for the Asian market.

    I guess what would be great though, if it’s for a speciific Asian country, then maybe you could have like a translated version on another page.

    Thank you!

  6. Hi Darren!

    Just the post that I’ve been looking for since forever! It’s true that we non-English speaking bloggers are treated ‘unfairly’ to a certain extent by the blogospehere, a virtual world where the complete hegemony of English and English speakers is so overwhelming.

    I’m Indonesian but I’ve learned English a lot. I’m running several blogs and all of them are in English. I can write in Indonesian but I’m afraid of not being able to monetize my blog in the long run. And the fact that Google Adsense only approves of blogs written in English or particular other languages has proved that we’re treated ‘differently’. Most of fellow Indonesian bloggers really want to sign up for GA but then they hesitate after they know in what language they should write their posts.

    With my language background, I also encounter some pitfalls:

    1. I wrote in English to get more traffic and more visitors but I fail, at least for now.

    2. As an Indonesian writing in English, I confuse my Indonesian visitors (they leave comments but rarely do they write relevant and meaningful comments, which frustrates me to no end). Most of them have no interest to contribute something to the discussion. I once provided ‘Google translate’ tool on my blog’s sidebar to enable my Indonesian visitors to translate my posts into Indonesian. That, however, brought no significant changes to blog’s traffic density. Perhaps because the translation result reads awkward? Uhm, go figure. I almost throw my towel.

    3. I hardly find non-Indonesian visitors dropping by. I occasionally found some organic search engine result directing towards my blog and they’re from countries other than Indonesia. But they leave no comments. I was wondering if this is because of my blog’s niche (I’m blogging about English learning). Should I shift my niche? But I pretty much know nothing else to blog about because English learning has been, perhaps, the most familiar field with me so far.

    4. I also started to work as a freelance content writer, proofreader, etc by signing up myself at some services like elance.com, craigslist.com, getafreelancer.com. The result, by far, cannot cheer me up.

    Language barriers may always be troublesome for most of non-English speaking bloggers to go global. That’s the bitter pill we have to swallow each day.

  7. Mustafa Mor says: 01/17/2010 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Darren,
    i come from germany and i`m turkish.
    My first language is german, second language is turkish and my third language is english.
    I`ve not started to blogging now but in the next days I wanna start to blog in german and maybe in turkish later.

    Viele grüße aus Deutschland^^,
    Mustafa Mor

  8. Just a little comment. I am a native-English speaking Australian. I learnt French & German at Uni, and can still read them easily. I also know some Japanese & lived in Japan for 10 months, although I am aware my grammar is poor & I am often inadvertently rude. I’m now learning Chinese.

    Has anyone done the reverse, so to speak? Blogged in a language other than English, even though English is their native language? What difficulties were there? Cultural ones, eg. inadvertent rudeness worry me more than poor grammar……. Is a disclaimer enough?

    (Darren, you mentioned on Twitter you wanted a new hobby – learn a language, mate!)

  9. Hi Darren,

    I’m from The Netherlands, and we don’t speak English as a first language, but almost everybody speaks english as a second. So blogging in English (as I do) is not that hard.

    What I do struggle with, is that I start to think in English and can’t express myself in Dutch always anymore. That is why I’ve started to blog in Dutch at the Dutch version of Lifehacker.com, lifehacking.nl. In that way I do practice my Dutch writings, what I still consider as pretty important.

    The main reason I’ve started blogging in English is to reach more people. Blogging isn’t that bigga thing in the Netherlands, so if I want to reach people, I think I have to do it in English. Although, now I have more experience with blogging, I’m considering starting a Dutch version of my blog, probably with a couple of friends and make a cool project out of it.

  10. I think that writing in Spanish is a waste of time if you want to make money, there are few tools to monetize and promote.

    Selling an ebook in Spanish is not an option either, the next day is going to be in a site like Taringa!, there’s too much piracy. People around here only want to free stuff, they aren’t in a buying online mood.

    For reputation purposes, I think that if you write in English, you can get a broader audience and more chances to get a freelance job in your profession or as a consultant.

  11. I speak French and Spanish, I have lived outside the USA for 12 years as the HoboTraveler.com Travel Blogger. The mistake webmasters make is limiting their site to USA only. I have written blog post from 87 countries in my 12 years of travel as HoboTraveler.com. We started HobohideOut.com and the biggest challenge is language, second is geography and how to deal with misinterpretations of words. I have many comments from people who are not native English speakers. I am amazed at the intolerance for problem by the USA readers. Mine is closer to a Travelogue, full of small traveler errors, I am not on a 24/7 connection. I just left Haiti and I am in Dominican Republic. I read Pro-Blogger only because I can receive it in the email box. Truly the world is still on email, not on RSS feeds.

    Global empathy by web designers is needed, they wipe whole continents off the Map. Feedburner is doing geo-targeted emails, they do not send to me when I am in Asia.

  12. Truly said, this is one of my favorite post though, the post has nothing input but the comments leave by your readers are valueable..

    English is not a primary language for me and in my country which is Malaysia. I speak Malay as my primary language. But I started blogging in English because I don’t have a problem to speak or write in English though I know I got little problems on grammar.

    I always remember, as long as my post understandable it’s ok for me. Besides, the more I write in English, the more I improve my English language. Dare to learn and challenge myself is the key for me to succeed blogging in English..

  13. hai Darren

    Well said! I have the same problems discussed. My second language is English and I have few blogs and not able to impress and succeed. Still trying..

  14. I’m also from Malaysia.My primary language is in Malay.I’m blogging in both malay and english language.Its quite challenge when blogging in english.However, its help me to improve my english.

  15. I was born in Germany, but lived/travelled in many places around the world. I blog in English, I am not perfect in writing, but it´s OK for me. When starting a blog it depends, which readers you want to attract either local or worldwide.

  16. Hi Darren

    Right now i’m living in Buenos Aires, Argentina… spanish is my first language and english is my second (maybe i’ll try Italian for a third language :D).

    The monetization is a problem in the spanish-speaking market if you just stick to 100% online methods (like adsense).

    But if you focus to get a good local audience and make paid offline events like courses and workshops you can make good money ;)

    It’s all about giving good value to the right people, you don’t need thousands of readers to be succesfull :)

  17. Hi, I am from Bulgaria but currently living in the US. Yes, I have faced the dilemma which language should be the primary one used on my blog and I consequently decided this to be English ( which is my 4th language to be exact, after Bulgarian, German and Swedish). I am not exactly sure if my story is exactly what you are looking for, because I don’t live in my native country and that had a huge impact on my decision what language to choose, but I am going to share my 2 cents on the subject. When I came here ( US) 4 years ago I didn’t know English well but still I chose it as a language for my blog for couple of reasons:
    – I was living in the US, my blog is my business card and everything I put up there would be much more helpful in the long run if people I was talking to in a daily basis would be able to understand it.
    – I would be able to improve my English ( and I think I did) much more faster than if I chose to blog in Bulgarian, since blogging takes a large part of my day.
    – I wanted to get out of my comfort zone all the way- I was in a foreign country, everything was different, I didn’t know that many people, I didn’t have connections, I didn’t know the customs and traditions, and that is a valuable experience when you are writing a blog. Sure, in my older postings ( and maybe still sometime) you can find something that ” might not sound quite right” in English but I think overall the people who read my blog know this is my second language and I think I give them something more valuable to think about than “grammar and propriety” of the language used. At least I would like to think so.
    – I would be able to reach more people than if I blogged in Bulgarian, and that was a factor for me. If I was writing only for myself, I wouldn’t need a blog, I would need a diary. I blog for the people, not for myself and I hope they find it helpful.
    Right now I have mostly English speaking audience, followed closely by Bulgarian audience, believe it or not. Because of my Bulgarian readers I decided to implement a label ” Bulgarian” in my site, where I “re-write” ( not translate word for word!) my posts in Bulgarian. It has been working quite well, I doubled the Bulgarian audience in 4 weeks.
    As for the last part with feeling “isolated by other bloggers” I haven’t felt that neither with Bulgarian speaking, nor with English speaking bloggers. In fact I feel it helps me more to be ” bilingual English blogger” than it is a drawback.

  18. Hi, I’m from Indonesia, and for sure English is not my first language, there are lots of ethnic languages in my country and I speak some of them. I have made blog since 2007 but it’s written in my native language, I started to make English blog at 2009. The reason why I wanted to make English blog was simple, because I can’t speak English and my grammar was disaster lol. At first time I mixed the native language and English language in my post, of course there were lot of criticisms and complaints because of it, but I didn’t care, that’s my blog and I could write whatever I wanted lol. Then I tried to make post with 70% in English and 30% in native language, but the criticisms and complaints still came he3. Now I try to make it 100% in English and delete the mix-languages posts. Of course the criticisms can’t stop just like that, but at least it’s less than before. Well … I learn something from my experience, I don’t need to avoid my weaknesses, I should face and try to overcome it. I’m glad that I have tried to make English blog, because if I didn’t … I won’t have English blog and earn money from it :P

  19. Fascinating topic – closely related to the goals of the site.

    If you are considering this subject remember that it is a LOT LOT easier to rank well for most search terms in foreign language markets – actually its the same argument in non US markets in English.

    eg its easier to rank for just about anything at .co.uk than .com and easier to rank at .co.nz that at .co.uk

    ( New Zealand speaks english but has a total population of 3 Million )

    Taking the New Zealand example the sites that are in the top 3 for “insurance quotes” at google.co.nz wouldnt make page 10 in the USA datacentres

    The moral of that story is for those that are experiencing MODEST success in a foreign language count your blessings chances are that you would be lost in the cloud if you where up against the global competition for your topic in english.

    That being said if your site was number 1 for “insurance quotes” in the USA you would have a multiple million buyout on your hands, in NZ you would “make a ok living”

  20. Hey Daren,

    Thanks for bringning this up; I have two blog, one in English (my business blog) and one in French, my native langage (I’m a French Canadian), which is my personal blog.

    I think that I made the langage choice early on when I was figuring out my audience; since 80% of my business is with English folks, it was a no-brainer for me (though I’m sure that I make mistakes). Since it’s more my family and friends that read my personal blog, well, I went with French there (It’s intended to communicate with them, not make money).

    I see it as riding a bicycle, the more you practice in your non-native langage, the better you become! I do put some French expressions and words in my english writing, I thinks it give a Je-ne-sais-quoi to my content ^_-

  21. HI all!

    A very interesting discussion going on here… And finally, someone addresses the part of the world that doesn’t blog in English! I’m greek and started a music blog with my fiance last year. We thought about blogging in English but then decided against it, at least for the time being, as he didn’t feel he can express himself in English the way he can in Greek. At first I thought that would be too restrictive and that staying within the confines of the greek-speaking world forever wasn’t going to do us any good, but then I thought about it a bit… There’s hundreds of music blogs out there written in English, and ours would have a very slim chance of ever really standing out. Whilst here in Greece, the kind of music we blog about (indie, alternative, pop, rock, the like) is something that currently involves some 50 or 60 bloggers. Which sort of gives us more realistic chances.

    We only have one feature that’s in English – our questionnaire (http://some-beans.blogspot.com/search/label/some%20questions) that’s been answered by some of our favourite musicians, such as Clinic and The Dears. We’ve decided to post their answers as we get them, in their own words, so the Q & A part of each post has stayed in English, so that international readers are able to read those tiny sort-of interviews without having to translate. The intro is still in greek though!

    Of course, this means that there won’t ever be any humongous number of readers, and we currently haven’t really thought about making serious money from the blog (we are in the Amazon Associates program but haven’t had anyone buy any albums off our links :-D ) – internet marketing is in its baby steps here and the international programs usually ignore these parts of the globe. But we are going to be persistent and try to build it up, step by step, improving our writing and adding features as we go. Thing is, we’d love to feel a bit more connected with the rest of the blogging universe, even if the language barrier is a strong one.

  22. What a great topic! I don’t know the statistics, but I would guess that more than 50% of Spanish bloggers read English so a large number of us have considered blogging outside our native language.
    Writing content and make it interesting is a huge challenge, of course, and when a second language gets in the process things get hard.
    But there is another way to look at it. Although the change speed constantly varies, blogging in Spanish may be looked as the way blogging in English was… a few years ago.
    If that is somewhat true, we have a roadmap made by the English blogging pioneers like you, Darren.
    At the end, the tiny cultural differences are a minor thing.

    It seems like a new frontier within the blogosphere is waiting to be conquered.

  23. Hi Darren,

    I’m Norwegian, but as the founder of a software company I’m “forced” to blog in English. I guess which language you choose also depends a little on your target demographics ?

    There are only about 4 million Norwegians, so the market is a little limited (even if Swedes and Danes can understand *most* of it), but if you speak Spanish or Russian you still have a huge market. Also, if your native market speaks English as a second language, you’ll automatically get “the best of both worlds”.

    One great benefit is of course that I get to practice and (hopefully) improve my English ability while doing this :-)

  24. Dobre Den Darren,

    Interesting question as my wife has this issue on her two blogs. One she writes in her native language (Slovak) and the other she writes in English. Some observations:

    1) It is much easier for her to write in Slovak because people sometimes leave not so nice comments about her grammar on the English sites.

    2) However, English Google Adsense ads pay better than Slovak based Google or other Slovak ad services.

    3) I personally have a blog in English, one website in English, and another website in Slovak. It is much easier to create a following in Slovak since there are not as many websites out there. But with many less readers, my English site makes 95% more than my Slovak site…mostly because there are more relevant ads on the English site.

    So to sum it up…There is much more room for niche sites in the non-English markets, but earning money purely through ads is a lot harder in my experience.

    Thanks for the post on this topic!

  25. I am from the Philippines and I blog in my personal blog in English. I created and administer a new group blog which is generally in English. However I give a leeway to the posts of other authors which has a sprinkling of Tagalog (my native language) to connect to our readers.

  26. Hi Darren

    Great Topic

    I am from Israel and my first language is Hebrew.

    I have a website in English about expats and overseas relocation. The decision to write in English was quite easy. Although my English is not perfect there was no reason writing about this subject in Hebrew. There is simply not enough market in Israel.

    Other than that I am an expat spouse and writing in English make it much easier to connect and socialize with the global expats community, especially now when we are planning a relocation to Brussels this Summer.

    Later on I started a blog in Hebrew with a partner. We found out that most blogs and websites about internet marketing in the Hebrew language are very technical and are “talking” mainly to men. So we decided to start a blog in Hebrew for women, and to make it a place where they can feel comfortable. This is how http://www.nashim-bareshet.com was born (women on line)

    Strangly it was hard to start writing in Hebrew. The Hebrew language is much more direct, the grammar is different and the sentences are much shorter.

    I still find it hard juggling 2 languages.

    I also know Spanish, but I could never write a blog in Spanish.


  27. I ve a couple of blog and depends on the niche i m wrting for..

    for a musical blog i m writing in english,
    i ve a personal (english / italian)
    then since i like MMA and there was only ONE blog in italian i started a site.. in less than a year it s almost as big as the first one ( meanwhile 4 others emerged) .. but it s something like 2-300 visitors per day. kinda poor.

    lately i ve started a personal development site (started Dec 2009)… which is rising in number but still very small ( only on few days it went over 100).

    italian market is so much smaller than english ( it say around 30times in visit), which is bad on monetisation and visit but it s good on all the niche it has :-)

    As Francisc stated above:
    “Why? Because the main issue we have in monetization. There are a few system that work with us, one of them is adsense. But you can forget about amazon comissions, Chikita, comissions of other blogger’s programs, etc.

    So no one really makes that much money to teach others. I tried, I wrote a blog about making mney and stuff. I had some visitors, but the affort was too much for too little.”

    gotta agree!


  28. I am a Japanese.

    I blog in English about Japanese food and cooking.

    I don’t mind using English, but i make some grammar mistakes.

    Some of readers think it cute, but maybe another one don’t like it so doesn’t read my blog.

    But I think I have good chance to share my culture and cooking. :)

  29. I am a native filipino and i speak tagalog though i know english too but not that well. My advice is to practice speaking and writing english so could make an improvement yourself.

  30. Hi,
    Nice approach to an almost ignored topic.
    I’m Portuguese and I’m not really a blogger myself, I’m more like a marketeer with a blog :)
    I do follow a lot of english language publications due to my marketing activities and blogging was the way I found to share my knowledge and give something back to the portuguese speaking community.
    My blog is somewhat recent. It has only 7 months now, but I plan to keep live and well since, in my view, I found a different approach and combination between marketing and blogging.
    I know you’ll not understand portuguese, but feel free to have a look at it and drop me a line!

  31. Darren,

    Greetings; you’ve posted a very important question.

    I’m a Spanish speaking blogger from Mexico. As a CPA, I currently blog about a key financial topic: financial literacy.

    After the global financial crisis, the need to educate people financially and therefore, there’s a lot of information about the subject.

    Even though I’ve been reasonably able to create a somehow decent base of regular readers, In recent months, it’s been a bit complicated for me to manage the daily flow of information coming from many financial sources, therefore, I’ve slowed down the flow of blog posts because of the many (and for moments conflicting) perspectives about financial issues; for example: there are many different views and strategies involving credit cards and “good” credit scores.

    On the other hand, the same financial information for educational purposes in Mexico (in Spanish) is rather limited forcing me to post once or twice a month.

    In either case, I dislike not having yet a more complete control of my posts because of abundant (in English) and scarce informational sources (in Spanish).

    For me, it would be great if you could provide us with something like concrete strategies as to how to manage and plan future posts more efficiently.

    Thank you.

  32. i agree with Francesc. the spanish language is a big group.
    my english is very basic, i learn to read english beacuse the new info only is possible find in this language. is most confortable write in my native language. its possible to open a spanish section in problogger comunity?

  33. Hi Darren,
    I am a blogger from Sri Lanka (the tiny island under india).

    Regarding what language to blog in…
    Sri Lanka is a small country with even smaller percentage of folks that have an internet connection. So, if i just wrote in my native language, my audience will be pretty limited.

    So, I decided to write in English. I started blogging about 3 yrs ago, and since then I believe that my english writing has improved. What I have struggled mostly is with grammar!

    Regarding social network etc…
    I started blogging as a hobby, so I don’t spend much time on digg, twitter etc but I do have some presence.

    I would like to point out that there are some restrictions in the online world as well. for example.. paypal doesn’t support our country yet to receive payments. This is one of the biggest drawbacks I’ve had to deal with.


  34. Here’s my two cents: Although not an experienced blogger by a long shot, I have to admit it can be somewhat challenging. Speaking and writing constantly in two languages, can be mentally exausting at times. Though it didn’t take me long to learn English (my second language), even after so many years of exposure and practice, I struggle sometimes, especially with spelling, sentence structure and context.
    Fortunately I love reading, and it does help me..as long as I read stuff written in English

  35. My first language is Serbian and my blog is in English and Serbian version is under construction.

    I have just started my blog online ( I’ve been writing it for a while ) but I am planning to bring my interests as someone with language other than English as their mother language.

  36. I’m blogging in my mother language (German) and English. It’s more an experience if this makes sense or not. We see…

    @Bojan: Do you use any plugin to write in two languages?

  37. Hi Daren,

    I am a nigerian. English is second language to me but English, is also the official language in Nigeria. I am still struggling with the use of the language eventhough I believed that I don’t have much problem in communicating in English.

    I am however, not having adequate confidence in the effective written use of the language. I am however using blog post as a practising pedestal to eventually lunch my blog which is currently in process of being lauched in due course.

    I am personally confident of my written English language. The my pattern and style of writing is peculier to my background. I do not believe that my mother tongue will produce sufficient reading audience to generate the kind of readership that will enhance my revenue expectation.

    This is encouraging to some of us who are first generation immigrant in America.


  38. I’m an Italian foodblogger and I blog in Italian. I opted to write only (or mainly) in Italian to blog more often and to handle better the language. I can joke better in Italian than in English, even if I read mainly English blogs.

    My main difficulty in blogging in Italian in on the side of promotion. Blog aggregators are not so efficient as the English ones. I’ve found even a different attitude of Italian reader: less comments …they grow when you’ve already some comments.

    I tried English aggregators with few results. Seems that few Italians read English aggregators. I tried also Italian specific aggregator but, as already said, with not so enthusiasm results. Italian online communities works, now they are anyway in a slowing phase. Different is the use of Twitter and FB and FF in Italian respect to the anglosaxon world.

  39. My hope is that this post will not only give bloggers struggling with these and other issues a place to tell of their challenges – but that some might also share how they approach the challenges and give some tips and advice for bloggers from a non English speaking background. I’d also love to hear stories of (and see examples of) your successes (and those of others) as I know that the blogosphere is alive and well in all corners of the globe.

  40. I’m a founder of PocketCultures, a site which aims to make connections between people in different countries and help them discover other cultures.

    We have contributors from 4 continents and for most of them English is not their first language. For now English is the only language of the site but that is not a perfect solution.

    I’d say the main obstacles we come up against in working towards our goals are the following:

    1. English is the most widely spoken language in the world (there are more Chinese speakers, but most of them are in China), but still it is only spoken by a small part of the population in many countries. So an English-only blog cannot reach a huge part of the world population. In many cases non-English speakers might be the people who have most to gain by connecting with the rest of the world

    2. Native English speakers, especially those who don’t have experience with living or working in a different language, are less likely to be flexible when it comes to working with translation tools or tolerating imperfect English skills

    3. Translation tools (which are a more practical option than teaching the other 90% of the world English or Chinese) still have a long way to go – at present they are barely functional and certainly require a lot of patience

    4. As many others pointed out monetisation options are scarce for international blogs and/or global audiences

    Thanks for starting this discussion – it’s a topic which definitely needs more attention.

  41. I’m Italian, my English is really basic. I tried to improve my english and blogging in English (just to use affiliate programs not available for Italian bloggers – Italian affiliate programs are very poor).

    I failed. I found my self unable to write decent content, to express my opinions at a level higher than a child. Even if write in another language can be a great exercise, if one need to monetize and to produce content, it’s better to stick with a well known language.

    So I thought: Italians are 60 millions, Italian blog sphere is two (or three) steps below compared to English blog sphere, so why not write in Italian and optimize my blogs? It is still easy to me to rank well in many topics. I have only one blog in English just to support my plugins.

    Affiliate programs are a real problem but AdSense is not so bad. A second problem is due to Italians habits: they are used to copy, so try to sell online courses it’s a hard way to go. But there are a small number of people doing it (with discrete success).

    Bye, Stefano.

  42. Just another thing: for who know english but not well… don’t worry and write in english. Why?
    People around the world know english as bad as you… so they won’t note the difference! :-)

  43. I am french and blog in Japanese mainly.
    The funny thing is recently my blog got bigger attention in Japan because some people where suspecting I was a japanese person acting as a french. I took it as a good reward of my hard work.
    However, the main problem I have is even with nice traffic most of it is via japanese mobile phone and I miss traffic reports, adsense sales and so on.

  44. It’s a great topic to talk about! thank you for bringing it up!
    I am Russian, living in UK and blogging about personal finances. PF is a very country specific topic for some PF areas but it actually also quite universal. I blog in English because it allows people across the world to read and contribute if they wish. If I were to blog in Russian, well than I only could have been writing about topics that are relevant for the Russian-speaking community…

    Major challenge is grammar , spelling and I think the overall first impression of the blog – I do mention that I am Russian on my About page but than, how many people are OK reading less than perfectly formed posts?

    I personally am very conscious about the language issue, and I also feel constrained in what I can say in my posts because I know I can’t express myself in the same way I cold do it in Russian – which is really annoying!!!

    But “what are you gonna do”??!!

    Here is a question we should ask the English-speaking audience, may be here on ProBlogger to start with – how would you prefer to be “told” that the blog is written by a foreigner and how do you usually feel when you read a blog that is obviously written with grammar mistakes or simple less perfect than native-speaking blogs? What would you suggest “foreigners” do about their blogs?

    I would REALLY appreciate some feedback from the English-speaking community!

  45. I am from India. I am not having any sort of difficulty in making money from my blog. but some times I feel it would have been better if I meet some top bloggers here in India personally.

  46. I’ve been blogging since 2003 in Dutch. I come from Belgium. Over the years I’ve seen tech evolve and have always moved along nicely. Writing in your native language is sometimes easier to attract comments, and (as said above) it is easier to rank. But I find that I’m ranking too easy for any particular keyword I blog about, and that it poses no real challenge anymore. Quite often my articles appear above national news sources. (I don’t monetize my content. I do it for the kick of coming in first.)

  47. Hi,

    This is Tanji from Bangladesh. Bangali is my mother tongue. Google adsense or any other services does not support bengali so i do blog on english. Recently i made a blog on Hotel Management Training. In fact i am a hotelier. Is there anyone who can advise me how to improve my blog: http://www.hospitality-school.com/

    Thanks to all

  48. Hi Darren,
    My primary language is Spanish even though I was born in the US. Just love writing, reading and speaking the Spanish language.

    Started blogging about music marketing a little over a year and basically I translate a lot of great info that’s provided in the English market. Not an easy tasks (Thank God for Google Translator that gives me a head start when I needed).

    Still looking for ways to monetize it, but glad I’m helping the Spanish Music artist with ideas on how to promote their music.

    Thanks Darren for all the great info you provide to all of us.


  49. As every blogger in this list, I have troubles to blog in my native languague, in spanish, I´m from Argentina. I´m a graphic designer with a decade of experience in working for US market, but I decided to run my blog in spanish because is a less competitive market. But just to let the door open I searched for a URL that would work fine in both languagues (www.pandorabrand.com) and will try to sell my articles to english written blogs too.
    The cons about blogging in spanish:
    – all gadgets and plugins are in english
    – latin market do not comment as much a english one.
    – companies do not buy ads even when you rock and have a great pagerank

    But in order to be great, you have to be unique as well. Even when you have to “teach” companies that blogs are great channels to advertise.

    We start blogging for fun, prestige … but we need a way to keep on going, so if anyone knows what would work for a blogger with no credit card (so no paypal) just let me know.

    BTW, the site is very useful, keep going

  50. Great topic to discuss, I hope you can expand more about it in the future once feedback starts flowing in. In my situation, our non-profit foundation has a blog that was started a few months back: pairsblog.wordpress.com. At first we just blogged in English, but we provide services to both English and Spanish speaking individuals, so we had our English blogs translated into Spanish. It is turning out to be a great idea and I hope the success keeps up.

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