It is fair to say that the Internet has taken the world by storm. It’s now the basis for millions of businesses, resources, social networks and, of course, blogs. It seems everyone has something to say these days, but if you want to maximize your blog readership then you need to bear in mind that an estimated 75% of the earth’s inhabitants speak no English. So how can you reach more readers without becoming a polyglot? It’s not as hard as you think…
1. Know your audience
The nature of your blog will determine who is going to read it. If it is a diary type of blog, then it’s open to most readers across the world, who’ll be interested to hear about what life is like for someone in another society. If it’s more niche, such as a political, business, educational or satirical blog, then try to identify which cultures would be interested in following your opinions. It is unlikely that someone in a war-torn or politically unstable part of the world would want to read strong views on political affairs – unless the main aim of your blog is to provoke political debate.
2. Keep culture in mind
This brings us to the second point. If you want a popular blog, then you should avoid offending or isolating people. Any views that are prejudiced or narrow-minded about a certain culture will detract followers. Likewise, if the blog is too culture-centric and international audiences are unable to relate to what you are talking about, they’ll soon find an easier-to-understand alternative.
3. Mind your language
And with that, keep slang and insider lingo to a minimum. If you want your blog to attract people who are searching for a certain keyword, then try to incorporate this into your writing as naturally as possible. If you can’t avoid slang or colloquial expressions, make sure you translate and/or explain these, as failure to do so can isolate international audience. This leads us to the next tip…
4. Careful with translation software
You stand a better chance of truly reaching the masses if you make your blog multilingual. With all of the above in mind, identify your key language audiences and run a translated version of your blog alongside the English one. Don’t be overly tempted of taking the ‘easy route’, however. Most people are familiar with cutting and pasting into Google or another online translation service to translate a block of text, but this has certain risks for the purposes of a blog.
Online translations tend to hiccup over grammar and tenses, which could disrupt the flow of a chatty or informative blog. As mentioned before, you may use colloquial expressions, but this is something that automatic translation services struggle to translate. For example, when translated into Chinese, the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" turned into "eat your fingers off"!
5. Use the most reliable translation source
Although it takes a little more time and effort, a human translation service is a sure-fire way to get your meaning across in a multilingual blog. It won’t cost as much as you think – there are a great many students or foreign language learners keen to get some practice that will do it for a minimal amount. If the blog involves a subject that they are keen on, that will be further motivation for them to work on it.
And most importantly, they can work together with you to find the best words and phrases in the target language for you to express what you truly mean and how to avoid any cultural or linguistic gaffes. Take the direct translation of ‘I am hot’ into German as an example. ‘Ich bin heiss’ and ‘Mir ist heiss’ mean completely different things altogether!
6. Keep up the interest
Enabling comments on your blog is a great way to get feedback and see who’s reading your posts. You can translate any comments to see what people think, then respond or write further posts that suit the particular audience that you have attracted. Opening your blog-world up to the real world is a great way to interact with people in a way that you may have never thought possible.