Translating your blog into more languages: why (and if) you should do that?

Leggi in Italiano

First of all, I do that.

Scrolling through different posts you can see that many of them are translated into Italian and English. As you can see, I don’t use a plug in but I rewrite the post (as a new piece) in the new language. But let’s degrees: I will explain shortly how and what I do to make my blog asccessible to Italian readers and to readers from all over the world.

Why to translate a blog? pros and cons

No need to say that, as a mere matter of numbers, it is preferable to have your own blog in two languages, your own language + English or Spanish or Chinese (it seems they are the three most spoken languages).
But almost all the Spanish and Chinese readers who love to read online can read in English, so useless for now to study charts reporting the figures of native speakers: what matters is the number of potential readers.

So you might ask me (and I was asked), why don’t you just blog in English?

My answers are:

  • I love my language (Italian), it amuses me, it allows me to make style exercises and irony games that can’t be translated in other languages.
  • I have some loyal readers who like to read in Italian and have been following me since my blog traffic was not even the least of my worries. These loyal and faithful people don’t match, in truth, a mind-boggling numbers, but I really don’t want to lose them.
  • My mother reads only in Italian (and this could be the first and only good reason 🙂 I’m soooo Italian!)

My blog, for the three reasons mentioned above, has always been set in Italian language and on the search engines this matters.

blog

Then you will wonder: why wasting time and not leaving everything in Italian only?
My answers are:

  • No matter what the SEO says, gaining over time fixed foreign followers and readers is good for the ranking of the pages (and self-esteem)
  • Blog ranking is also increased by back-links that you can put commenting on other blogs related to your articles (no, it is not spamming, this is a practice very popular among the worldwide bloggers)
  • StumbleUpon has few Italian users users but this social helps sooooooo much with blog traffic!
    The same for Pinterest.
  • I LOVE SO MUCH the English language and it allows me to make puns and irony that would’t be understood in Italian.
  • Most of the bloggers in fb groups that I’ve joined recently can’t read in Italian or use English as a vehicular language. Since these groups are funny and very inspiring (and useful) I don’t want to give them up, so I go on with English too.

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photo-1429051781835-9f2c0a9df6e4

After this dissertation on good reasons (and counterparts) to have a blog in two languages despite not having a product to sell, but ‘only’ content to be shared, we come to understand how we can translate a blog in multiple languages.

I use three methods, two of them are based on the use of plugins, the other is a ‘trick’ that I use for my own blog.

Plugin for translation

I use plugins for my main customers: In the case of Aerialclick blog, that I’ve been writing for since 2012, the plugin is WPML Multilingual CMS.
Perfect for translating a blog and / or a website in two or more languages (Ita and Eng are the two that I use in this case), it costs $ 80 a year or $ 195 for good.
Very intuitive, it allows, after you’ve written and published a post in one language, to copy the contents from Italian and translate it manually (or to ask for a fairly low cost translation to a translator connected to the plugin company).

It allows you to set the SEO in multiple languages, dealing with translation as a new article.

For a customer that I’ve been working for since last November,  (Salentodolcevita.com) I have instead adopted the free plugin qTranslateX plugin, which allows you to translate into many languages (I manage the Salentodolcevita blog in Italian, English and French).

socia media strategy

After downloading qTranslateX, you have to download another plugin (qTranslateX slug) that serves as a widget to bring up the language flags next to each article.
Then you must place it at will from the widget section and follow the simple directions from the plugin settings (easier to do than to say, it takes 10 minutes).

While I have no contraindications for the first (after my customer has spent $ 200 for the plugin NO CONTRAINDICATION is my least expectation!), qTranslateX has some small flaws:

  • Sometimes, clicking on the flags to read the translated post, the latter won’t appear immediately, but you need to click a second time
  • once installed, it can no longer be uninstall, otherwise you lose a lot of posts (those translated).
  • You can set the SEO in just one language

OBVIOUSLY, I say it for non-experts, but perhaps I should have said it at the beginning of this post, I’m not talking about an automatic translation! (every time you use google translate, a professional translator dies).

#recipe for a #working day: have a #tea, #cookies, a #smile And dream about #london

Una foto pubblicata da sabrina (@in_my_suitcase) in data:

Then, there is the Sabrina’s way

As you can see from the articles in double language of my travel blog, there are no flags or buttons to switch the language. All the posts refer to a translation that is nothing more than another article with another SEO.
To read only the content in English, you can choose the category In English Only.

Why I don’t use one of the above mentioned plugins? (here we go with another list… sorry)

  • because I don’t translate all the posts but only those suitable to the public reading in both languages (some posts are born in English, others in Italian and I decide from time to time whether each piece is not only translatable, but also localizable – technical term of the magical world of translation);
  • because every translation is recognized as a new article, and this helps me (albeit little) in positioning because it turns out I’ve soooo much to write in moments of creative crisis (when I don’t know what to write, I translate an old post)
  • because I often changed templates and graphics and maybe I’ll do it again if I had to find a new template suitable to the growth of my blog. Since the worpress templates don’t react always in the same way to the installed plugins (even more so for the more complex ones such as those for the translations), I prefer not to risk.

And that’s it.

Translating any post or much of them is objectively an effort and an investment of time, but I would never give up any of the two identities of my travelblog.

Because having to reset not only a language but the irony, semantics, puns and imagery itself is a real change of identity of a text and of an author. And it is one of the things I love most of the ‘translations’ side of my work.

28 pensieri riguardo “Translating your blog into more languages: why (and if) you should do that?

  • Novembre 25, 2018 in 12:38 am
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    Hi Sabrina,
    I have an interesting question about weiting blog posts in more languages.
    I want to make a blog and to write unique blog posts in many languages like: english, italian, spanish, portuguese, french, hungarian, vietnamese, polish etc.
    But I will not translate the blog posts because each one will be with unique content even if I’ll talk about similar subjects or topics.
    I want to ask you, regarding SEO wories and search results, is it necessarly to create a subfolder or a subdomain for every language or can I just write the blog posts directly on the main domain name and only attached them to a specific category like: English, French, Spanish etc.
    I ask you this because I saw many other bloggers have separate subfolders or subdomains for each language.
    And only on your blog until now I see that you write and publish in 2 languages directly on the main domain name of the blog.
    By the way your blog is really awesome. Good job!
    Thanks and I’ll wait for your opinion.

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    • Novembre 26, 2018 in 8:16 am
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      Dear Dan, thank you for your message. Actually I don’t think there are SEO issues: I don’t have subfolders because I only write in 2 languages (in your case subfolders can be useful considering that you are going to manage the blog in so many languages); my method of publishing new posts that are actually the translation of the Italian one is a good way to set the right SEO and keywords for the 2 languages and this is giving me a good DA.
      Thank you for reading and appreciating my blog. What’s yours?

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  • Novembre 1, 2017 in 1:07 pm
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    Hi Sabrina, I just started blogging in EN which is not my native language and I’ve been googling around trying to find pro/con arguments on why or why not I should also write in my native language. I think I will settle on doing a little experiment and see where writing in two languages will take me. After all, there is only one way to know for sure.

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  • Settembre 19, 2017 in 4:42 pm
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    Great insights Sabrina, Thank you.
    I was going to translate my blog: https://passivelymakemoneyonline.blogspot.com/ into Spanish and/or Chinese, but since most of those folks ALREADY speak English, it would seem counter-productive. Thank you so much for saving a lot of time and effort! Ciao!

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  • Agosto 15, 2017 in 7:14 am
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    Great port. Very impressive post about the importance of languages specially when it comes to under translation industry.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

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  • Marzo 7, 2016 in 4:09 pm
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    Lovely post as always 🙂 I’m thinking of starting to write my blog in Croatian aswell. I know only small amount of people understand Croatian but I wanna make it more friendly for them if you know what I mean. Thank you for this post it helps a lot! xx

    adventurousmiles.com

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  • Marzo 7, 2016 in 7:22 am
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    Fascinating article! This is something I really never put much thought into. Thank you for inspiring me to push myself, and open my blog up to more languages!

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  • Marzo 6, 2016 in 8:10 pm
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    Interesting article! I decided to only write in English and not in Dutch as well because it already takes me so much time to finish a blog post (I might be too much of a perfectionist;-) so writing in 2 languages would take up all my time… But it is nice to write in your mothers tongue as well, some things can’t be translated properly;-)

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  • Marzo 6, 2016 in 10:26 am
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    that’s a quite interesting read, Sabrina! I’m German but I blog in English, simply because more people can read English (and almost everybody in Germany speaks English very good). However, I know that I can write so much better in German! It’s more fluent, and I just don’t have to look up every other word. Despite that fact, I still prefer writing in English because it’s also a way for me to practice … and I’m currently living in England anyway 😀

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    • Marzo 6, 2016 in 3:15 pm
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      Kathrin, you got the point! In Germany and Northern Europe in general, everyone is a good Eng reader. There are places like Italy where you loose national readers if you just write in English. 🙁

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  • Marzo 6, 2016 in 7:26 am
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    Great tips for SEO. And I can see where it would be beneficial to translate your posts into two (or more!) languages! I wish I was fluent in another language–would be great to try translating some posts. I guess that means I need to get studying, lol! 🙂

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  • Marzo 5, 2016 in 9:36 pm
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    I admire you for writing both in English and Italian. It takes a lot of dedication..and time! I only write in English although my mother tongue is Portuguese. Despite some requests to write in Portuguese, I’m sticking with English for now as I can reach a broader audience this way.

    Cheers!

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  • Marzo 5, 2016 in 1:29 pm
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    Thanks for the insight – I’ve seen several sites recently with translation options and I was wondering how the writers (obviously fluent in both languages) would be okay with an app or plug-in doing their translations! Glad to see that the translations can be scrutinized or even just written from scratch. And I’m thinking that if I knew my mom couldn’t read my blog, I’d probably talk about some topics more that I know she doesn’t want to hear about! 🙂

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  • Marzo 5, 2016 in 12:56 pm
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    Been debating this on my blog for a while. Thanks for the tips to get started!

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  • Marzo 5, 2016 in 11:38 am
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    Ciao Sabrina 🙂
    I wanted to thank you for this article! I read it a month ago (in Italian, maybe) because I was not sure if I should keep writing my blog in both languages! After reading your article I decided to have a bilingual blog (French/English) and I totally feel like you. Sometimes I want to talk in French, sometimes I want to talk in English, it depends on the topic,…
    Great blog!
    Xx

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  • Marzo 5, 2016 in 10:57 am
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    We started our blog with Seb trying to translate it in French for his family back home. But my god it took AGES that we just had to give up. Maintaining a blog is hard work in itself, but to translate it… We mainly left it because the majority of our readers are English speaking so it wasn’t commercial to spend the time translating it and I guess it really comes down to that.

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    • Marzo 5, 2016 in 2:18 pm
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      It’s time consuming and Not so effective in terms Of traffic. I just do because of a matter of identity, fun and… Mom ?

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