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Blogging in an Imperfectly Multilingual World

Talk for WordCamp Switzerland in Zurich, 2014

Stephanie Booth

on 9 May 2014

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Transcript of Blogging in an Imperfectly Multilingual World

Stephanie Booth
in an

mixing languages is not dirty
linguistic publication silos
imperfectly multilingual humans
blogging since
3 BWP (2000)
cats of course
3 bridging strategies:

translate each post
separate blogs
mix it up
hard work
idea > write > publish > done
bilingual != translator
split readership
bilingual readers?
distance language
Internet: Space Cruncher
Linguistic Borders
Being human among humans means living in a state of ever incomplete multilingualism.

Mario Wandruszka
Monolingual Silos
one web page != one language
one person/user != one language

Same Page Translation

A Review in Two Languages

Even if our tools aren't made for it
we're already acting out
our multilingualism online

Why is multilingualism important?
Multilingual Bridges
Bilinguals are born translators. WRONG. Even though bilinguals can translate simple things from one language to another, they often have difficulties with more specialized domains. The reaction people have is almost always, "But I thought you were bilingual!". In fact, bilinguals use their languages in different situations, with different people, in different domains of life (this is called the complementarity principle). Unless they learned their languages formally (in school, for example), or have trained to be translators, they often do not have translation equivalents in the other language.

François Grosjean http://www.francoisgrosjean.ch/myths_en.html
Whenever I give a talk on bilingualism, I surprise my audience with the following estimate: more than half of the world's population uses two or more languages (or dialects) in everyday life. Bilingualism is present on all continents, in all classes of society, in all age groups.

We know, for example, that in Asia and Africa, many people are bi- or multilingual although precise figures are often lacking. In Europe, a bit more than half of the population is at least bilingual. Smaller countries such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, and The Netherlands house many bilinguals whereas larger countries such as Great Britain and France have fewer of them.

François Grosjean
other language excerpts (basic bilingual)
no solution
is perfect
for everyone
bilingual brain drain
no skimming
Full transcript