The Multilingual Blogging Dilemma

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Multilingual blogging: When it comes to blogging it can be great to blog in two languages to reach all of your international friends and work colleagues, their friends, travel buddies, other bloggers and so many potential readers. But you have to listen to yourself carefully and evaluate the pros and cons to choose wisely which language to go for.

Which language to go for?

I wanted to do it in English because I was living abroad for over 7 years and only communicated in English – I felt in love with this language and made a lot of new friends who of course do not speak German. My friend Kash, who is a professional travel blogger from the UK, advised me

“Do it in your mother tongue – it is much easier to express yourself in your own language plus Germany`s travel blogging scene is not that big yet compared to the English.”

Multilingual blogging: My greatest advantage and disadvantage at the same time

I decided to go for English. It went very well. Six months later I “expanded” and even went multilingual. I have been blogging multilingual (in English and German) since March 2014, so for more than a year now. When the blog grew, pressure started to grow too. As I have an SEO background, I know how important it is to publish between two or more blogposts per week, grow your backlink profile and optimize your website. It became very time consuming to keep translating everything, optimize the technical site of things and to do content creation and tourism consultancy for my clients.

So, luckily Babs offered me her help and did the translations. I was so super thankful! Nevertheless, she did not have a lot of time either so this was only a temporary arrangement.

Once your hobby becomes a profession…

…you need to work more time efficiently to secure your income. This is why I was faced with the prospect of having to go back to one language only.

“It’s sad because a great motivation behind blogging is the like-minded people who read it, comment on it and even connect with me through this medium. And now one group of readers would be left out.”

Which language would make most sense?

I saw myself in the same situation as when I started back in November 2014. I again researched a lot and called some professional bloggers from my network to ask for advice. They all advised German. I made a Facebook survey to ask my friends and readers: They said English. Great, hahaha! So, I was lost once again.

But this time my tendency was towards German as well. However, I wanted to be sure about it.

I compared pros and cons which helped me to evaluate in order to hopefully make a good decision:

Blogging in German – Pros:

  • Better expression in my writing
  • Time to write more articles in the same time
  • Greater motivation due to less pressure
  • More time for other business from which I make a living
  • German tourism market and close distance allow for greater income and more orders (bloggertrips, sponsored posts, advertorials, …)

Blogging in German – Cons:

  • Lose loyal international readers
  • Less reach and less traffic in the beginning
  • I also love communicating in English. What should I do now?

Finally, google analytics helped me a lot as well. Even though TravelTelling’s readership is fairly balanced with 48% International readers and 52% German readers, it is the Germans who stay much longer on the website, click more pages and find it more often through organic searches.

Another issue I figured out through experience is that if a tour operator, tourism board or hotel wants to target a specific market through blogger cooperation, they choose a blogger who serves readers from exactly this market in the market`s language. In my case this would be the German market.

The decision

I think this was probably one of the hardest decisions I needed to make. However, what I have decided on is even though I will blog in German from now on, I will keep my social media channels multilingual.

And I will also do some posts and guest articles in English to hopefully make you stay with me as I do not want to lose you, my international readers and friends!! 🙂 

Let me have your opinion

I would be both delighted and excited to hear what you think about it. Just leave a comment 🙂

Aufgewachsen in der deutsch-niederländischen Grenzregion, verließ ich früh mein Elternhaus, studierte Tourismus in den Niederlanden und begab mich auf die Reise. Getrieben von Neugier, Abenteuerlust und auf der Suche nach neuen Herausforderungen, komme ich immer wieder irgendwo an, bleibe und ziehe weiter sobald mich mein Bedürfnis nach Veränderung zum Aufbrechen zwingt. One Lebenskapitel at a time.

Discussion59 Comments

  1. Hi Matthias, I research a lot on the question should I blog in English or in Vietnamese (my mother tongue) and your article is the best I found.

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

  2. Lieber Matthias, will write in english (even if I could write it in German) 😉
    I totally understand you. I have my blog nonsoloamore.net in German and English. First I had it in German but then I realized, that I have so many Followers on my other Social Media accounts in English. They asked me all the time to translate my articles. With google translator it’s not the same because the spirit of the article is another. It takes way too much time to translate all my articles. Sometimes I write them in English and translate into German and then other way around. My english is not perfect but that’s ok for me and my readers. It would be definitely much more easier if I would blog in one language because of the time. Even if I have guest posts, I always have to translate them (work for me). So yes I understand your decision and for now I stay in two languages. But who knows. Maybe in a few months I change my mind. Or I earn so much money with my blog that I can pay someone translating it 😉

    • Hey Claudia, first of all thanks so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Yeah, you found your way and it totally makes sense 🙂 I m happy for you and love reading your interesting blog stories in both languages!
      I will focus more on German from now but will do some English posts in between. If there would be much more time for translating that would be just perfect but hey, that’s life! 😀 Keep up the good work, maybe you will have a translator one day! 🙂

  3. Wah this was such a conundrum! I definitely agree with your decision to go with your home language, it fills a specific niche and it sounds like you have such a great following in the German market. I wish you the best of luck!

  4. I will read your blogs anyway, English or German. But responding in German will be a big challenge to me. So, I will do that in English.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hehe, Frederiek, great to hear from you! Thanks a lot for your thoughts on that. You can even respond in Dutch if you like! Enjoy your day 🙂

  5. What a dilemma, but of course you have to do what you have to do! My German is pretty rusty but I look forward to reading your upcoming posts.

  6. The Roaming Renegades.com

    That definitely sounded like a lot of work and a decision had to be made, it’s hard enough for us to keep up with everything in just one language let alone two! So I definitely think you’re doing the right thing as it will free up much more time.

  7. It’s awesome that you have the option to be a mulitlingual blogger and that you have such great support from your girlfriend to help with the translation. I work with translating companies regularly for my office work and getting your message across clearly in the translation can be tough.

  8. Following what your heart tells is the best one can ever do! If your heart lies in blogging in German, then go ahead, Germans will connect with you better when you blog with all your love! All the best and may the force be with you!

  9. Great article, actually it was once my dilemma. To write in English or Filipino – the native language of the Philippines. I agree witn all your prons and cons. At the end I decided to write in English to reach a wider audience and beside. English is also the official language of the Philippines so I can still have lota of readers here. Thanks for this article just continue writng. Regardless if English or not. Importantly, we inspire and help our readers 🙂

    • Hey Cai, great to hear your thought. It’s so great that English is the official language in the Philippines as well! Very handy for you! Good luck and keep inspiring! 🙂

  10. Wow, what an interesting topic! I think this is something that should definitely take a lot of thought (and you have definitely shown that you have taken great measure to come up with a conclusion!) Thanks for sharing your insight, its something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t come across a post detailing the insight on it!

  11. loved this post, i’m actually so in love with travelling to central and south america that i felt i needed to immerse myself into the spanish language to better understand and to speak. i think that it makes sense to utilize your native tongue to express, only because there are certain sayings that sound nicer or make more sens vs being translated to english.

    you’re so lucky to be multi-lingual as i am barely scraping by!

    • Thanks for your comment and exprssing your thoughts. I wish you a lot of fun with learning Spanish and a wonderful time in South America. 🙂

  12. As an English-speaking travel blogger in Europe I feel that I have had a ton more advantages rather than in the US. I have requested sponsored posts in the US and they have been shot down. Although I also do not know another language as of right now. Come September I am working on learning both German and French.

    • Hey Jennifer, yeah, that comes so handy. Being a native English gives you so many advantages. Especially if you travel abroad and serve your home reader market with information form your current travel destination. Many opportunities for sponsored post in Europe 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂 Yep, it should do the job if someone is really interested in an article. Enjoy your day 🙂

  13. Awww how sad :'( But blogging in German will make you a NICHE, and that’s great. Plus they seem more supportive. I think you made the right decision. Too much competition in English 🙂 (also put a translator on your site so your current fans can stay, sure it’s broken English but it’ll do)

    Crystal recently posted… Budget Guide: Japan

    • Hey Crystal,

      great to hear from you! Thanks for your thoughts on that! Yes, it should do the job for the ones who are really interested in an article. 🙂 Thanks for your support!

  14. It’s important to feel good with the decision we make, so as if you find it better to go on with German, do it then. I’m from Poland, and I’m a lifestyle blogger, who writes in English. My decision was made even before I started my blog, so I had no dilemma actually. I was focused on promoting my blog abroad, to the readers from all around the world.

    • It’s so good to do it ine one language only as it saves up so much time! 🙂 I am happy for your you did not have such a dilemma 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts on this!

  15. It does seem like German blogging is the clear choice 🙂 esp since that audience is your best! I’m learning German and would love to read a German blog – I just never knew where to find them! Glad to know 🙂

  16. I never even considered writing my travel blog in anything but English. I still get a lot of traffic from Romanians, but English speaking countries still take the lead. At this point in time, I’d probably find it more time consuming to try and write in Romanian, because all of my work and all my blogs are in English.

    Translation software will help you keep your English readers and guest posts will help. And maybe the occasional update in English?

    • Yeah, you are right there Alina. I would do the same. With this market here it is just different as the demand for travel is so high which makes blogging in german important. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I wish you all the best 🙂

  17. Wow, multilingual blogging! I speak a few languages and cannot imagine translating every blog post! And though you’re only publishing in German from now on, we’ll be sure to Google translate!

    • Hey Ann, yeah, it’s so much work translating everything 😀 But yeah, google translate from now on – hope this service gets even better in time! 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  18. Keep your blogging a business of the heart! 🙂 If your heart could express more in German, then do that.

    I hosted a German Backpacker through Couchsurfing years ago and I got very interested in his travel stories. However, his blog was all in German. So what I did was to manually paste his blogs to Babelfish. LOL.

    People will always find ways 🙂

    • Yep great story! Yeah, I also think the translation service will only get better. So that will do 🙂
      All the best to you guys!

  19. What an interesting read and predicament. I have seen many blogs that balance multilingual entries and although this does make the post very long, it’s able to capture both audiences. However, I do see your point about the time it takes, limitations in expression and reader value. I would revert back to German, with a few key posts (if you have time) in English. We can always Google Translate it either way, and your dedicated readers that are interested in your writing and content will stay.

    • Thanks a lot for your great piece of advice. Was thinking about doing it like this in a way. So, thanks for your support 🙂

  20. I’m learning German (slowly) so it would be helpful to me to read more blogs in German! Or try to at least! I think loyal readers from non German speaking countries will continue to read by using translate as everyone else said in the comments.

  21. I only (fluently) read English, but I rely on translation software for non-English posts and websites. No matter how good the translation software, it never quite captures the essence of slang and local phrases. How nice that you offer multiple translations! Time consuming, but worth it!

  22. Sarah @ Expat of the World

    I think having both languages seems to be the best option 🙂 My friend from Czech republic does the same for her blog. Luckily I don’t yet have these problems XD

  23. Hey Matthias!

    (Hab genau das selbe problem!) Haha I can’t believe it! I am in the exactly same situation like you are.
    I have been in Australia for more than 2 years now and it felt natural to start of my blog in English.
    Unfortunately all my friends and family back in Germany aren’t so happy because the didn’t had a clue what I am talking about. I have to start creating a bilingual blog now and still try to figure out how to do it!
    Great post! 🙂

    Wenigstens bin ich nicht alleine mit dem Schlamassel

    • hehe, hey Tina! Yeah, Being bi-lingual is definitely an advantage but as soon as it comes to blogging a big disadvantage I would say 😀 Looking forward to reading your blog! I love Australia 😀

  24. Agreed- there is always Google Translate! Who knows, you may even be able to hire a translator to post more in English some day. I can’t imagine keeping up a blog in two languages. Good for you!

  25. Dont worry! We could still use the google translation plugin to translate some of your German post! Continue to travel and share more interesting stories with us!

  26. Hi – My problem is the other way around. I live in Austria and I have all my readers outside of Austria because I feel like I can express myself better in English, when I write something sarcastic or funny, it would sound weird to put it into German, so I do not have many readers here in Austria. Maybe I should send German reader traffic to your site, and you send the English ones. I will be following your blog.

  27. I don’t think it will be such a terrible loss for you. No I don’t speak a word of German but I do see posts on FB and every day in that language and Google Translate while not perfect allows me to read and understand anything that I won’t to look at. I would say that the best picture for description and perhaps use a tool of some sort to put the tile on the picture in English and you will probably not lose your readers.

    • Hey John and Laurel, thanks so much for your great adivce! I use a language switcher. But for upcoming posts I will probably include the google one. 🙂

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