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Is it okay for not English people to open a blog written in English?

francoscarpa profile image Franco Scarpa ・1 min read

I’m Italian and I have a blog. I can speak and read in English, with obvious flaws. The stuff on the web is written in English for the most part, since it’s one of the most common languages. Since I want to have a big audience, I started writing in English on my blog, to reach a wider set of users. However, who would read something written in non-correct English?

If you are not English and you have a blog, how do you cope with that?

Discussion (15)

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deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy • Edited

YES.

Generally, DEV users I've seen are friendly about imperfect English. I've definitely read some fantastic stuff from non-native speakers. If you've got something interesting to say, your grammar is not going to make or break the piece. The focus is on the substance, not the syntax.

It's also a great way to practice your language and communication skills. I've been considering writing a technical post in Spanish, more for my own practice than anything else.

I'd also urge you to produce work in your native language as well, as you've mentioned English is way over-represented in this space which may be a barrier to learners who are more comfortable in Italian.

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francoscarpa profile image
Franco Scarpa Author

Yes, it’s a perfect way to improve my writing skills. I don’t plan to produce two versions of something in two different languages, since this would be very time consuming. Thanks for your reply.

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deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy

Not necessarily making two versions of the same post, but I do think it would be nice to see more Italian-language material here, even at the cost of viewcounts. Your call, though, obviously!

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francoscarpa profile image
Franco Scarpa Author

I’d love that, too. However, I prefer to read English material since I consider it to be more accurate and updated. At the same time, I think I won’t find social interactions with any other Italian developer.

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deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy

I think I won’t find social interactions with any other Italian developer

Unfortunately I agree - you're more than likely correct about that. The only way to change that dynamic is to create the space yourself, but I absolutely appreciate that it's a lot of work for potentially little gain. DEV does seem like the right sort of place to push for it over time, though.

I consider it to be more accurate and updated.

It's the same point , really - it's a volume problem. There is so much more work produced in English that regardless of the quality/trash ratio there will just always be more of it available. The remedy is to produce accurate, up to date information to try to change that status quo.

I'm really not trying to tell you to do anything, I just think it's an interesting problem.

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manierim profile image
Marco Manieri

However, I prefer to read English material since I consider it to be more accurate and updated

Italian here and I do very much confirm that Italian often "sounds" wrong for technical matters.

Probably we are so used to English terminology that "proper" Italian terms sounds rather ugly those few times we read it on the web...

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deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy

Huh, that's interesting - so it's not the content, it's the language itself that's off-putting in this context. Do you think it has to do with the fact that programming langauges use English keywords? Or is it more about newer, awkward loanwords for technical concepts?

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manierim profile image
Marco Manieri

More the second. And rather historically on my opinion.

Some words just haven't just been translated at all (bit, byte). Other countries have been more actively enforcing use of translations (i.e. octet is used in OS French localizations, we use byte)

With time legit Italian words just become "ankward", or too "academic" for the masses.

It's a long time I don't read or hear "elaboratore" or "calcolatore" for computer.

Then probably it just become more efficient to use single terms to convoy ever newer concepts that would require "an entire phrase" missing "better Italian jargon" (i.e "deploy")

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Ben Sinclair

The difference between someone who has English as a second (or third...) language and someone who writes badly is usually pretty obvious.

I don't think anyone has a problem with English written in a glitchy way. You write clearly enough: I've looked at your blog and there are some giveaways that it's not your native language, but nothing that would put someone off from reading it. If you're happy with it, keep going in English.

Most pages can get translated (automatically in Chrome) quite well and people do actually use that feature in the real world. I imagine if you used another language, it might put off people who only share English with you.

The good thing is that you can do your own translation, and have your blog in both languages if you want!

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Franco Scarpa Author

I see. To be honest, I pay attention to grammatical errors in what I’m reading. I know the content has the priority over everything else, but I feel that something written in a non-correct English is not so valuable. Thanks for your reply.

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Haris Secic

You should. However some people start a blog and get emotional when someone corrects their grammar in comments or such, which I don't expect from you as you seem one that would appreciate it. Thing is if I had good ideas I would write on weekly basis and expect people to tell me not only grammar mistakes but also propose better ways of writing something.

The only drawback of this is that people like me (non native english speakers with some knowledge) will read it and sometimes think that some errors are not a mistake but rather a way of writing/speaking which they have never seen before. :D

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lietux profile image
Janne "Lietu" Enberg

Minor typos and mistakes here and there don't matter one bit. If you write really incomprehensible things on the level of a poor Google Translate parody, then it's a bit more of an issue.

As long as you can deliver your message in an understandable manner, it's all good. If you can't, well .. consider it practice and do it anyway.

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Douglas Vought

Definitely. I read content authored by ESL writers all the time.

As you write more, you'll make fewer mistakes. You could also pay an editor to edit some of your more involved pieces. An editor can point out problems and mistakes that help you improve your writing.

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leandroreschke profile image
Leandro Reschke • Edited

Ben Lovy gave you the complete and best answer i guess, so i'll be short.

It's more a mathematical problem than a grammatical problem. The more you write, the better you become.

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jeikabu profile image
jeikabu

Go ahead. Most native speakers can parse imperfect writing.

Anymore most "English speakers" have a terrible grasp of the language and have atrocious writing. You'll be fine.