Pros and Cons: Blogging in 2 Languages

When I started this blog back in July 2014 I honestly didn’t know what kind of blog I wanted to have, but one thing was an absolute certainty for me: I was going to write in English. It was an extreme challenge - most of the time a fun one, but sometimes a frustrating one. I have never succeeded in describing ‘Sinterklaas’ in English (for the non-dutchies here, it's a Dutch Santa Clause), and if you translate the word ‘nice’ into Dutch you get ‘fijn’, but it has completely different connotations. Oh, and ‘cozy’ isn’t the same as the Dutch ‘gezellig’. These are some of my daily frustrations - but blogging in English has some major advantages as well. You might not realize these things before enthusiastically setting up a new blog in a different language so in case you want to start a blog in a different language as well - take a look at these notes! This decision is much more important than you might think. 


The cons 
Like I said: you can translate every sentence literally, but you’ll rarely pass on the same feeling. My writing-English is quite good but I sometimes feel like I can express my feelings and true intentions better in Dutch: it’s just a tad easier, more natural and quicker. 

Creating grammatically correct sentences is one thing, letting them ‘work’ and making them interesting to read is another. You can’t literally translate expressions and wordplays and it's tempting to write easy, boring and very ‘dry’ texts. This is because writing interesting - often more complicated texts - is a lot harder. 

Family and friends often ask me why I’d started blogging in English - and because I’ve written quite a few photography articles for www.teske.nl, a Dutch lifestyle blog by, well, Teske, my Dutch audience has grown. I can imagine that reading an English blog as a Dutch person, knowing that the writer of that blog is Dutch as well, can be annoying. (that’s the reason why I’ve created lemontierres.nl, but that’s a story for another post. :-)) 

I never know which language to speak on social networks. I’m not an active Twitter- or Facebook-user but I sometimes really feel like adding a simple and easy Dutch caption on Instagram. 

Having an English blog as a Netherlands-based blogger is not very practical: I often get invited to events in London because PR agencies assume I live in the UK. And even though I live in Amsterdam I rarely get an invitation for a The Netherlands-based event, because writing about a new, for instance, restaurant in Amsterdam to people from all over the world doesn’t really make much sense. This really is one big disadvantage for me as I’d love to be more involved in the real-life blogging world. 

The pros (yes, they do exist! In abundance!) 
I’m able to reach a bigger audience. Almost everyone can read English while, in comparison, only a small portion of this Earth’s population understands the Dutch language. It isn’t about the numbers for me - not at all! - but knowing that all kinds of people read what you write, take a look at your photos and sometimes even like what you create is the best feeling ever.
My blog pushes me to keep on expanding my English vocabulary. I like doing this because I like English as a language but also because I just want to be good at writing English texts. I almost exclusively read English books and I don’t know if I would’ve been encouraged enough to keep this quite exhausting hobby alive, had I not had my English blog. 

I’ve gotten in touch with so many great people from all over the world. I read every comment that’s left underneath any blogpost and even though they often are of the ‘nice blog, read my blog!!!’-kind, some people leave the most amazing and time-consuming comments and I’m so, so grateful for that. 

I’ve made many online friends. With some I’ve only exchanged a few emails and that’s fine, but I’ve stayed in touch with some (hi Isa and Stephanie Eva!!). And that’s so cool! I have Dutch blogging friends as well and meeting up with them in real life is a whole lot easier, but I’ve always wanted to have ‘pen palls’ and thanks to this little thing called lemontierres I finally have them. :-) 

---

It seems like I only listed cons, but that absolutely isn’t the case for me. I sometimes regret the fact that I started an English blog, sure - especially when I’m struggling with finding words that feel the same as they do in Dutch, when translating a blogpost takes an eternity - but then I remember the things I’m grateful for and realize that they are so much more important than the time it takes to write a blogpost.
love, sjoukje

16 comments

  1. I really loved reading this post, your English is amazing and you should be so proud!
    Fix Me In Forty Five - A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog
    Blog Lovin' // Instagram
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. (Nu weet ik niet meer in welke taal ik moet reageren, haha) Maar: grappig! Ik wilde net een soortgelijk artikel schrijven. Ik ben het met je eens dat er veel voordelen aan Engels schrijven zitten. Het is meer uitdagend voor me en op één of andere manier krijg ik meer inspiratie als ik in het Engels schrijf. De hele dag door lees ik en kijk ik filmpjes in het Engels, waardoor ik bijna soms Engels denk omdat het soms makkelijker is om me erin uit te drukken dan Nederlands - vreemd, I know (kijk, daar heb je het weer). Ik vind het ook ontzettend leuk als ik zie dat mensen van over de hele wereld mijn blog hebben bezocht, dat zou ik met een Nederlandse blog niet kunnen. Leuk artikel! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ik heb er ook over zitten denken om in het Engels te bloggen, maar in het Nederlands kun je je toch net iets beter uitdrukken en gevoelens overbrengen. Ik vind trouwens dat je keigoed schrijft, ook in het Engels! X

    ReplyDelete
  4. Het is wel goed voor je taalkunde:)
    Ik blogde eerst oom in Engels maar uiteindelijk ben ik overgegaan naar Nederlands met Engelse woorden tussendoor (hutspottaaltje)

    Uiteindelijk kunnen de mensen het altijd vertalen in hun eigen taal...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow your english is amazing! Well done!

    moremindfulyou.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm doing a Spanish degree so I try to write my blog posts in both English and Spanish so I somewhat understand what you mean in this post. Literally, love your blog!

    GirlNotLivingTheDream

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not really fluent in English, but I can truly believe you are! You have good writing skills :) Keep going, it's always a pleasure to read you :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's really interesting to see the view of someone who blogs in two languages and you made some points that, as someone who doesn't blog in two languages, would never have thought of! Personally I could never do it, but it seems like it would be a really enriching experience.

    Katie // ZZ&H

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ik vind het knap dat je in het Engels schrijft! X

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think thus is the beauty of language; that each in their entirety hold such powerful beauty for whoever decides to find it an learn it. I'm a native Chinese speaker and rarely do I ever translate a sentence from Mandarin to English with the same tone and meaning.

    Being bilingual (both in real life and the blogging world) is definitely something that'll get you far more connected than an average person, and I think that's a fantastic thing to be proud of. I don't think I'll ever start a blog in Mandarin just because my passion will lie in the English Language forever (sorry, mum!) but kudos to you for writing a blog in two languages.

    xx May | THE MAYDEN | bloglovin'

    ReplyDelete
  11. First; Hi BACK!! Your english really is amazing, and I agree that this setting really helps you improve and better your knowledge of the language. I can understand how frustrating that may be getting PR for England when you're in AMS. And translating phrases!!? Almost never. Sinterklaas isn't my biggest problem, I think gezellig is more for me! There is truly no word. Words like it, but no English "gezellig"... LOL. Overall I'm very glad you write in English because it led me to your blog! I mean, I probably would have found you if it were in Dutch because I do read many Dutch blogs, but I was more excited to find a Dutch person writing in English!!

    MUCH LOVE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ohh, I really feel your pain! I just started blogging again and I'm Dutch as well, and I felt really indecisive about it. However I think your English is amazing :) and I think your blog is really cute!

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. i know this struggle with writing in English and i am sometimes asking myself too why did i began to write in English but i must say i love writing in English even when its take time till a Blogpost is done. I must say that reading in English helps extrem.:)


    xoxo Mel

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ik vind de stijl die jij hebt in het Engels heel leuk, maar in het Nederlands ook! Ik herken hier wel dingen. Dat er geen goede vertaling voor 'gezellig' is, vind ik nog steeds 'mind-boggling' en zó frustrerend!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That is such an interesting post! As always, your English is really good. I think it is wonderful that you do this in English, thus people from many countries get to look at your life, your country, and you do have a talent to show all this vividly. Thank you for this new and interesting word - gezellig) I tried to figure out what it means by reading the article on Wiki. It would be really great someday to read a post from you that would tell us, readers outside of the Netherlands, some more about your country, your people and the language, interesting notions and traditions you have, books you study at school) etc. I know a little bit about Dutch art since I studied it at an art college, but your culture is really fascinating, so it's always interesting to get some glimpses of it here)

    ReplyDelete
  16. This question popped up in my head when I decided to start blogging. I'm not fluent in english, and living in Brazil makes it harder to practice it, since we speak portuguese. So, I have chosen to embrace this challenge, and overcome my fears of getting out off of comfort zone. I'm still struggling to write in english, but I keep moving on. And that's what matters! xxxx

    ReplyDelete