For native English speakers, this won’t be a problem. But for those of us, who speak English as a second language (ESL), writing posts without grammatical mistakes is a very difficult task. While ESL speakers can write in English quite well, there are hidden problems that are hard to avoid. Usually, it’s a silly grammar mistake or a broken sentence. Not only blogging but even when we’re writing emails we make mistakes. And even worse, unlike emails that tend to be read by a limited number of readers, blog posts are read by many people.
Making mistakes in posts could be considered awful by native English speakers and others with sharp eyes. Like it or not, ESL blogging is hard although not impossible.
4 Ways to Write in English as a Second Language
I myself am from Indonesia, yet I decided to write my Destiny blog in English…at least the majority of the posts. I did so simply because I wanted a different atmosphere! The biggest advantage is that I can have more readers than when I write using my own language. That’s because English is like a universal language. One source estimates 1.8 billion English speakers, with about 400 million having English as the first language. Also, this does help improve my English, doesn’t it? So I have much to gain yet nothing to lose.
Here are the ways to blog successfully in a second language
Get help to make your posts error free
Just make sure you have proofread your own post, to avoid mistakes. This is often the quickest way to notice errors in your sentences. However, if your understanding of English is truly limited, proofreading on your own won’t help very much.
Well then, you might also have a thought about why we can’t use an offline or online translator? To be honest, I’d prefer to use my mind to translate my thoughts from Indonesian to English. For me, the translator isn’t good for it can’t translate whole sentences properly, -my less than perfect translation is still much better than translator software-. I’ve tried numerous translators but none of them provided reliable. You might want to use one but it’s just for your reference, e.g. translating a few words only.
Find a buddy to preview your post
If you have any doubts about your writing in English, ask someone to proofread it. A Native English speaker is preferable. Fixing your errors or pointing out your mistakes should be simpler for them. Try social websites like Blog Catalog to find people that are willing to lend you a hand. Or, you can ask for your online/real life friends to do this. For example, here at Blogging With Success, we have writers who also proofread our posts.
Understand different cultures
Gain an understanding of your readers’ culture. Somehow, cultures do affect people style/preferences. Eastern cultures are very different from western cultures, keep this in mind. If you write something, you should write with yourself on the readers’ position. What would be their reactions? Would that post be appropriate for all readers? As for me, since I’m an Easterner, I’d position myself as a Westerner if I want to post something.
Widen your perspective
It would be great if you read/use many sources while you write that post. Blog Catalog and Stumble Upon are great sources for your writing. Reading from those sites I mentioned is recommended. Mostly you will read many interesting (sometimes weird…) topics from those places, but eh, it’s useful. You can choose topics while you are stumbling a website or bring it to Blog Catalog for discussion. Blog Catalog and forums get you different opinions and perspectives which are very important. These steps should be useful too for native English speaking bloggers. You want to include those millions who speak and read English as a second language!
To make it a bit different, you could also write something on your blog in your own language then translate and post it on the same thread. This will make it easier for readers that speak your native tongue, without sacrificing English based readers. Although this sure is harder for you but is also a nice option.
What about you?
Blogging in a second language is challenging, fun, interesting, but confusing as well. I personally learned a lot in this process and I sincerely hope you do too. Well then, are you also one of those non-native English speaking bloggers? What’s your reason for blogging in a second language? Share your experience here.