How to Blog in Two Languages at Once?

By | September 10, 2013

alphabet

When I first started writing in my blog, almost five years ago, choosing the language to write it wasn’t an issue. Most of the blogs out there were in English, expressing yourself in Arabish wasn’t frowned upon or considered annoying, plus the language of the internet whether you like it or not is English and so are all your settings and blogs you read. Personally, I chose my laptops without an Arabic keyboard just because I find Arabic and technology a bit exhausting.

As time moved on and the social media evolved, the platforms and audience alike, writing and expressing yourself in Arabic aren’t as exhausting anymore. As a matter of fact, some things can only make sense in Arabic and readers seem to have outgrown the Arabish. I still write in my blog in English, I can express myself in both languages equally fine but I think my blog should also be a window to the world regarding my life in Kuwait rather than just writing about Kuwait for people living in Kuwait. Hence, I will never give up writing in English in my blog, but I do admit that writing in Arabic will give you more audience plus open up a new collection of topics you wouldn’t usually address in English.

The question is, how to do it? Looking at my fellow bloggers, some write the same post twice in two languages and post them one after the other. Some write in both English and Arabic in the same post, switching between sentences. Only Mark seems to have an entirely separate Arabic version of his blog which won’t confuse the readers but I don’t suppose its easy to operate two different blogs in two different languages. There are some solutions for bilingual blogs with wordpress plugins and I’ve tried a couple of them but they messed up my entire blog and I gave up.

So I’m asking you, my dear reader since you are the one who read blogs, what do you think is the best bilingual solution for Arabic and English to coexist in one blog? Especially given that not all posts can be written in both languages? Dear fellow bloggers/developers, do you know of any bilingual solutions for your website blog? I am thinking something either like a tab per post or a different copy of the blog that will load after recognising your preferred browser language but I’m not sure either. What do you think?


14 Comments

Caesar on September 10, 2013 at 12:21.

If you use WordPress you can install a plugin called wpml that let’s you post with a dual language post entry screen .

If you are using other platforms such as blogger or type pad you can find relevant plugins in their market places too.

Good luck
Caesar

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danderma on September 10, 2013 at 13:50.

I think its the wpml that messed up my blog files, I will keep searching for other ones though. Thanks!

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Caesar on September 10, 2013 at 14:14.

You can also try this one- it was just released this month:
http://wordpress.org/plugins/multi-language-framework/

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danderma on September 11, 2013 at 09:31.

That’s great! Thank you Caesar :)

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Walsabah on September 10, 2013 at 18:14.

I don’t think there’s a ” one size fits all” answer here .. Posts you feel only appeal or are towards Arabic readers then write it in Arabic.. Posts you feel appeal to both then write in English with a shorter Arabic paragraph which summarizes if you wish.

Personally I don’t like the sentence by sentence translation like another popular blog.. It frustrates me and I constantly have to check I didn’t miss a sentence somewhere

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danderma on September 11, 2013 at 09:35.

So you think it’s OK to browse and see a post in Arabic, another in English, etc?
I wanted to do that at first but I thought it would result in a messy collection of blog posts. Many bloggers are doing that though. Some even keep only the title in English with the post in Arabic and a summary in English.
Perhaps the summary thing isn’t a bad step?

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Melat Mohamoud on September 10, 2013 at 21:18.

I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs are starting to write in both arabic and english, one paragraph in english and then under it the same paragraph in arabic. For the topics that are more difficult to express in arabic you could change it up a little bit so its not the exact same translation, and in the kuwaiti dialect.

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danderma on September 11, 2013 at 09:43.

I agree it won’t be an exact translation and most likely it will be in Kuwaiti dialect but I’m not quite comfortable with swapping sentences in different languages. I want a more organised solution.

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Eiman on September 10, 2013 at 21:23.

Dear Denderma, thanks for considering writing in Arabic. It has been the battle of my life to ask people to always consider those who were unfortunate and did not get English language education, or those who did but could not really master it for some reason. Please do whatever it takes to post in arabic, and trust me they will like it. I feel sad every time my students ask where to learn more about something and I tell them it is in that website or this book where it is written in English. They are very cleaver and eager to learn and explore different things in life but the do not have the basic key to open all these doors, they did not learn English. My University changed their policy and asked for a certain degree in English 3 years ago, and since then I have been protesting against it. They simply deprived all girls from middle and lower classes from their write to knowledge and we ended up with pampered unmotivated student who were lucky to get into a private school thanks to their Dad’s bank account. YOUR blog is a window for those who never been abroad, never been to fancy restaurant or cafe. From it they can learn how to act and what to order, so one day when they go there for the first time they will not be embarrassed or intimidated and will remember you while having the time of their lives..

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danderma on September 11, 2013 at 09:39.

Thank you love, I’ve never considered my blog to be a window of sorts. But I’m baffled to how a girl can be in university yet not know English? In Kuwait university, both graduate and undergraduate, they have to pass a certain level of English to be accepted. I think the undergrad can take extra English courses if they don’t do well but in Grad school they have three trials to get a TOEFL of 450 or more or else they are not allowed to continue their studies.

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Carlos on December 4, 2013 at 15:39.

I’m in the same boat. I’d like to start a blog in English and Spanish and I’m thinking in doing it as Airlines Magazines do: two columns, one for each language. I’m now researching this option (that’s how I found your thread) but can’t find how to do it, if it’s a good solution, or if it’s inadequate for reading the posts in mobile devices or for SEO purposes.

Have you considered the two column option? If so, what do you thing about it?

Thanks,

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danderma on December 5, 2013 at 09:43.

I did but I think its would be too restricting and a bit eye-dazzling… especially if you use pictures and you see two exact same pictures side by side in the same column but in different languages. I didn’t like any of the language plugins I found for wordpress and they wrecked havoc with my design so for now I’m still looking for a solution!

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Karina on December 15, 2013 at 12:06.

Oh yes I would like to keep my own blog in 2 languages. I don’t know how to do it easy (technically). I wright it in my language and would like to add in English. I’m an ooold blogger (since 2005)

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danderma on December 16, 2013 at 10:27.

I’m still looking for a way, even the technical solutions are not working out for me for they are wrecking my theme and making everything all jumbled up!

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