A multilingual website such as a blog is essentially a site that features a number of different languages. Here are a few examples. It can be a website that has mostly English content but offers occasional blogs in Spanish, Italian, or Mandarin. It may also be a website put up and maintained by a Canadian that features content in both English and French. What are the pros and cons of multilingual blogging?
Celebrating language diversity
The amount of effort that a multilingual blog requires could be monumental indeed. But, why bother with such a challenging task. People who have the capacity for languages can definitely pull it off. But creating relevant and interesting content in one language is already difficult, and doing so in two or more languages definitely increases the difficulty level.
One of the reasons multilingual blogs are created is that the blogger wants to target multiple countries. The Internet has provided the means to do this and access from multiple countries is now available. Those with the capability to do so are choosing to provide their content in as many languages as they can produce. Automated translation may be available, but for many, the content is not viable or acceptable. Content written by a person is better and for many, machine translations can never rise to the occasion.
Advantages of multilingual blogs
The primary advantage of producing multilingual content is providing content to people in the language that they speak and use every day. Readers and blog followers will definitely appreciate being addressed in their mother tongue.
Blog visitors will find good reason to follow blogs that provide content in the language that they know. Most people do not appreciate the content provided by built-in translators and for this reason, bloggers who have multilingual capabilities ought to continue what they have started. In return, they can expect a consistent following and maybe even a few referrals as they become mentioned in social media platforms and their worthy content shared to potential new followers.
Here are some of the disadvantages to multilingual blogging. For the content provider, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Content must always be new and interesting since blogs are not static entities. If there is increased demand in content, it may be difficult to keep up. The blog owner might even have to hire new writers in order to keep up. Investments are always risky. There is the option to translate past content into multiple languages and the good translators do not come cheap.
Aside from the fact that it becomes a bigger challenge to maintain the blog and provide great content, another level of optimization will be required. Meta descriptions and tags need to be relevant to every language. What started as a one-man job would eventually involve other skilled individuals and consequently additional investments.
There might also be a need to re-structure the whole blog in order to accommodate the requirements of various scripts. English and the Romance languages may be written from left to right, but there are many languages in the world (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) that are written from the other direction.