Bilingual blogging

Trevor of Kaleboel has discovered a beta Spanish/Basque/English blogger who has ten rules on real bilingual blogging that make my hair, if not Trevor’s, stand on end.

Trevor also has a link to a Thomas Sowell political glossary I am very taken with:

|Crisis|Any situation you want to change|
|Bilingual|Unable to speak English|
|Equal opportunity|Preferential treatment |
|Non-judgmental|Blaming society|

I admit bilingual blogging is a problem. I am not consistent with this blog. I have come round to writing mainly English but occasionally with a brief German summary at the beginning. Sometimes there is more German if I think the topic is more interesting to Germans. A bilingual header ought to be followed by a bilingual entry.

In my Fürth blog, I do half English and half German. The two halves are not identical. I hope that anyone who wants to read just German will see where the German is.

Luistxo’s blog, The English Cemetery, proposes a truly bilingual blog where you could click on a link to get it in either English or German.Here’s commandment number five:

bq. No double reading work. These people, for instance, they translate every post, so they explain things twice, once in A, another one in B. … Such a blog could work with symmetrical model described in a previous post . One may fell the need to say the same things in several languages, of course, but, the reader? I can only understand that as an attempt of 2nd language or translation-teaching for your readers. Separate messages makes discussion or commenting consistent as well. Basque readers respond to Basque messages, Spanish readers to Spanish ones. Different threads may be constructed, of course. A bilingual messages can’t have a consistent thread behind it: are we supposed to comment also in bilingual ?

I agree that having an entry presented in two languages is heavy going. Derek Thornton was doing this as a German exercise – fair enough. I can’t see it as translation teaching, because who’s going to work through it? Anyway, blogging is something fairly spontaneous, and I couldn’t take the time to do a well-constructed translation of every entry, even if it were of interest to anyone (I think it’s rather deadening).

Friedrich Lenz has blogs in English, German and Japanese, but I don’t think they are identical (don’t know about the Japanese). The German-American Law Journal has an English blog about German law and a German blog about U.S. law.

These are good ideas. But I’m writing about translation and the only reason I use two languages is because I know some of my readers would prefer German.

4 thoughts on “Bilingual blogging

  1. (After four glasses of wine) I think it’s fair to assume that your English and your German readers will tend to be here for different reasons, in which case expending significant energy serving up the same content for both audience would not make much sense. You’re segmenting your audience, which is the cool thing to do.

  2. Heady from witnessing the somersaults of logic of US Generals on CNN TV commenting on the ‘War’ on Iraq, I would add to the Political Glossary on the lines of ‘one man’s guerilla is another man’s freedom fighter’:

    Heroic individuals and selfless human beings: American soldiers.

    Insurgent elements and wild, gun-toting anarchists: Iraqi resistance fighters.

  3. I’m sorry, Adrian – there was such a long time between Andrew’s post (I had sent him an email but not replied here) and yours that I had lost sight of the connection to some of his remarks.

    I agree that I don’t think a jury would have prevented what happened in the Third Reich courts – they wouldn’t have been allowed to remain anonymous.

    However, I can’t believe (some) Austrians are any different from (some) Germans in this opinion.

    I can’t imagine there will be a lawyer in every jury now, can you?

  4. Well, if there are on GB juries, from now on, any criminally-trained lawyers or judges, they are going to have at least a disproportionate influence on the rest of the jurors and at most will hijack the verdict to get their own backs for being press-ganged into jury service.

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