Back in June, Hanna Sles wrote a popular piece for My Words for a Change giving four reasons why every translator should blog. When I first started blogging four years ago, many colleagues, especially those focused on marketing our services, insisted that running a blog was a must. I almost felt guilty that I was still sitting in front of a blank screen, racking my brains for something—anything—to say to get started. And it wasn’t until I attended my first ever translation conference that I finally felt I’d hit on a topic worth writing about.
But is blogging everything it’s cut out to be? Judging by a recent clean-up of broken links on my site, several translators have deleted their blogs and I’m aware of many others that haven’t written anything for a while. So, is blogging worthwhile? I’m going to play devil’s advocate today and look at four reasons why it might not be.
1. Why add to the noise?
Just a glance at my (non-comprehensive) blogroll will give you an idea of how many colleagues have started a blog. Competing for a share of the translation blogosphere with those still updated on a regular basis is quite an undertaking. Not only do you need to keep coming up with ideas that haven’t been hashed out several times already, you need to engage your audience by writing well.
When everyone’s busy and often discussing their problems and concerns on other social media channels (translation-related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, for example), you have to ensure their trip to your site can benefit them in some way. And if you don’t manage to attract many visitors, the whole exercise could prove frustratingly pointless.
2. There are better professional activities you could pursue with your time
Granted, blogging’s a way to practise your writing skills, which will hopefully make you a better translator. But instead you could do some more serious CPD and study a course, attend a webinar or read a book (if you want some more inspiration, read this post). And rather than running a time-consuming blog yourself, you could write a guest post to get some exposure, backlinks and that all-important writing practice.
3. It could harm your business
As is true across all social media, and depending what you write about, some clients might take exception to something you say. Although they’re unlikely to find the time to read much of the content of their translators’ blogs, in a profession brimming with competitors that can either match or undercut your prices, it may take just one post to turn them against collaborating with you.
4. It can give people the wrong impression
I occasionally feel that a few colleagues labour under the misconception that I’m someone ‘special’ in the translation world as my name is ‘out there’ because I write this blog. But I’m just an opinionated blogger. I write about the little I know and what I think, and I try to put together resources colleagues may find useful. But under no circumstances does that mean I’m a successful premium translator earning megabucks. Neither does it mean I know what I’m talking about all the time. 🙂
Although it’s immensely flattering to receive compliments about my blog and gratifying when people know who I am when I meet them because of it, I’m certainly under no illusions.
In many ways this blog has become bigger than I am. Ideas that started out small have now taken on a momentum of their own. And despite all the above being true, I don’t feel ready to abandon it quite yet. This is my way of giving something back to our community, supporting newcomers and sharing a bit of knowledge and skills to help improve our profession.
Thanks for dropping by, and if you do decide to blog, I wish you the best of luck!