Here’s the proposal I just sent for BlogTalk 2008 (Cork, Ireland, March 3-4):
The strongest borders online are linguistic. In that respect, people who are comfortable in two languages have a key “bridge” role to play. Blogging is one of the mediums through which this can be done.
Most attempts at bilingual (or multilingual) blogging fall in three patterns:
- separate and independent blogs, one per language
- one blog with proper translation of all content, post by post
- one blog with posts sometimes in one language, sometimes in another
These different strategies and other attempts (like community-driven translation) to use blogging as a means to bridge language barriers are worth examining in closer detail.
Considering that most people do have knowledge (at least passive, even if incomplete) of more than one language, multilingual blogging could be much more common than it is now. The tools we use, however, assume that blogs and web pages are in a single language. Many plugins, however, offer solutions to adapt existing tools like WordPress to the needs of multilingual bloggers. Could we go even further in building tools which encourage multilingualism rather than hindering it?
I’ve gathered pointers to previous talks and writings on the topic here: https://climbtothestars.org/focus/multilingual — most of them are about multilingualism on the internet in general, but this proposal is for a talk much more focused on blogging. Here is a video of the first talk I gave in this series (by far not the best, I’m afraid!) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2096847420084039011 and which was about multilingual blogging — it can give you an idea of what this talk could look like, though I’ve refined my thinking since then and have now fallen in the grips of presentation slides. I also intend to base my talk on real-world examples of what bloggers are doing in the field.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like more details for evaluating this proposal.
We had a long discussion on IRC about the fact that the submission process required a 2-page paper for a talk (in all honesty, for me, almost the same amount of sweat and tears as preparing the talk itself — I’ll let you figure that one out yourself). BlogTalk is a conference which aims to bridge the space between academics and practitioners, and a 2-page paper, I understood, was actually a kind of compromise compared to the usual 10-15 page papers academics send in when they want to speak at conferences.
The form was changed, following this discussion, to make the inclusion of the paper optional. Of course, this might reflect badly on proposals like mine or Stowe’s which do not include a paper. We’ll see!