Posted by: patenttranslator | February 28, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why Freelance Translators Need To Have a Blog

Language most shows a man, speak that I may see thee.

Ben Johnson (1572 ~ 1637)

Reason No. 10: A blog can be very therapeutic. If an article in a newspaper or a journal makes us mad, we can get back at the person who made us mad by tearing the article to pieces on our blog. Personally, I feel a need to engage in some holistic healing in this manner at least once a month.

Reason No. 9: Ours is a lonely profession. We may have nobody to talk to other than our dog or our spouse for several days, but if we can talk to hundreds of far-flung followers who live on all the continents with the possible exception of Antarctica, that means that lots of friends stop by at our place every day.

Reason No. 8: The Bible says that we should have a blog. It’s right there in the New Testament:”Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:15).

Reason No. 7:  If you are really good at blogging, you will eventually attract zillions of eyeballs to your posts, even if something like that may take some time. This means that you should be eventually able to retire from the translation business once you can make a comfortable living by displaying ads for Preparation  H, Viagra and other indispensable products on your blog.

Reason No. 6: You can create a whole new persona for yourself on your blog. For example, you can use a picture that was taken 20 years ago when you were still quite photogenic as your current photo and nobody will be any wiser. They say that when you are on the Internet, nobody knows that you are a dog. When you have a blog, you can be any kind of dog you want to be.

Reason No. 5: We freelance translators/bloggers need to fight the pernicious influence of commercial corporate propaganda about things like machine translation, for example. Somebody has to say it like it is. If we don’t deconstruct the nonsense that corporate vendors try to sell to naive public, who will?

Reason No. 4: We need to let people know that human translators in fact exist. Most people who don’t know anything about translation seem to think either that

1) most translations are done these days by machines, or

2) translations that are still done by humans are produced by an old lady who is banging away on a keyboard in a basement somewhere.

That’s all they know about us. When somebody asks me what is it that I do for a living, I often have to repeat it before the brain synapses in a non-translator’s brain can process what I am saying more or less normally. If I have a blog and thousands of people read it, I do exist. As Descartes put it 400 years ago, “Cogito (blogo habere), ergo sum”.

Reason No. 3: Most people leave nothing behind when they die, except for debts and a bunch of remote controls. Freelance translators who blog about the subjects dear to their heart leave behind immortal thoughts about translation and all kinds of other stuff. Since we can get a free blog on the Internet quite easily and we don’t have to pay for hosting, our revolutionary ideas will still be on the Internet long after we have gone to that great freelance market in the sky.

Reason No. 2: You can say on your blog exactly what you think because there is no reason to hide what you are thinking from anybody anymore. Stasi, the secret police in East Germany, was able to spy only on about every seventh citizen of East Germany. Google, your cell phone provider and your government know what everybody is thinking about anything these days, because everybody is being spied on, whether you have a blog or not. So what the hell, you might as well go for it and say what’s on your mind today.

Reason No. 1: If you do your blogging the right way, you will sometime make people all over the world smile, maybe even laugh.

And there is no greater gift than giving the gift of laughter to people we don’t even know, for this is the true ἀγάπη (agape), one of those untranslatable words in Old Greek that the modern world has all but forgotten about now.


  1. Steve San, you definitely fulfilled your promise of Reason No. 1 with this post!
    Reason No. 3 is my favorite: Most people leave nothing behind when they die, except for debts and a bunch of remote controls.
    This will likely be true for me, but I also I plan to leave behind more than a hundred dictionaries, style guides, and foreign language books that no one will want. It’s the least I can do.


  2. LOL, Paula! I agree. Thank heavens Half Priced Books accepts anything. My library is definitely for a specific kind of person.


  3. In addition to hundreds of old dictionaries in seven languages that nobody would buy anymore, although the most expensive one cost me 800 dollars in 1992 and it was well worth it, I will leave behind a fairly large library of hardback mystery novels. A few of them are signed by the author.

    My wife or my children can probably sell them in a garage sale.

    Somebody will want them.


  4. perfect reasons.. to have blog:) great stuff!


  5. you’ve def succeeded at no.1! Blogs are great for reminding you there are other translators out there, it’s nice to feel part of a community.


  6. You made my day!!


  7. So there is somebody out there! Thanks for no. 1. Now back to my basement (actually a nice flat with a view in Rio de Janeiro). All the best.


  8. Add the continent of Australia as the address of another freelancer who came out of his basement to drop by today. I’ll have to get a work blog.


  9. …banda dálkových ovladačů… tak to mě dostalo


  10. Love this post, so true, and it is encouraging me to keep mine up! Coming from a sales & marketing background and seeing people all day long, it is tough to transition to a work-at-home situation at first. After all, if we translate and interpret, we are great communicators… and thus, we NEED people!
    So it is nice to have a support system and fun interactions through social marketing. Keep up the great blogging and glad I found you!


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