Here’s the proposal I just sent for [BlogTalk 2008](http://2008.blogtalk.net/) (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?
> Extra material:
> I’ve gathered pointers to previous talks and writings on the topic here: [http://climbtothestars.org/focus/multilingual](http://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](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](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/11/proposal-for-bl.html) which do not include a paper. We’ll see!
I’ll also be speaking on [structured portable social networks](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/16/we-need-structured-portable-social-networks-spsn/) during the workshop on [social network portability](http://webcamp.org/SocialNetworkPortability), the day before the conference.
- Judging Talk Proposals for Conferences [en] (2009)
- BlogTalk 2008: Rejection [en] (2008)
- Another Multilingual Talk Proposal (Web 2.0 Expo, Berlin) [en] (2007)
- Multilingual [en] (2007)
- BlogCamp: Multilingual Blogging Session [en] (2007)
- Multilingual Proposals (Reboot, BlogCamp) [en] (2007)
- BlogTalk 2010: Call for Papers, For You Too! [en] (2010)
- Very Last Moment to Propose a Contribution for LIFT'08 [en] (2008)
- Requirements for a Multilingual WordPress Plugin [en] (2006)
- Basic Bilingual 0.3 for Multilingual Blogging [en] (2007)
3 thoughts on “BlogTalk 2008 Proposal — Being Multilingual: Blogging in More Than One Language [en]”
I understand why conference organisers want papers or slide dekcs, but it’s really bad practice in my opinion. We do not work in academia, and we do not have the “publish or die” culture that academia has, so we are neither used to writing papers nor do we have time to do so.
I would much prefer it if conferences routinely videoed the sessions and made them freely available online. Then if individual presenters want to write more about their topic, then they can blog it, and if people want to see what was said, then they can get it from the horses mouth.
I still own conference organisers papers and slide decks from months ago, and to be honest, I have no idea if I am ever going to get the time to prepare them. The academic model just doesn’t work for business people, imho. It cerrtainly doesn’t work for me.
Anyway, looks like a great talk! Wish I was going to be there, but it’s too close after I return from honeymoon.