Posted by: patenttranslator | August 18, 2014

Deleting Links to Bloggers Who Stopped Posting Is Like Burning Bridges to Past, Present and Future

 

Everyone who has a blog also has a list of links to fellow bloggers who are also affected by the blogging disorder and like to bring to some of us from time to time good and bad news, a bit of camaraderie and even inspiration on a good day.

Unfortunately, having a blog with links to other bloggers also means that you have to delete those links every now and then because people simply stop writing, for all kinds of reasons.

I discovered recently that translation blogs have already become a subject that is being studied and analyzed in translation studies at universities. Well, at least at one university, namely Aarhus Univesity in Denmark, where Helle V. Dam from the Department of Business Communications recently published an article titled “The Translator Approach in Translation Studies – reflections based on a study of translators’ weblogs”. You can read the entire article here and come to your own conclusions about the folly of blogging by translators (warning: it’s about 8 thousand words long, much longer than even the longest of my posts).

Instead of attempting to analyze an article that was analyzing a sampling of what 21 bloggers wrote on their translation blogs, I will use the Aarhaus University study of certain occurrences on translation blogosphere to illustrate another occurrence on translation blogosphere, namely the one expressed in the title of my post today.

The article took into consideration 20 translation blogs based on a sample of posts downloaded from these blogs in September of 2012, or about 2 years ago. Here is the list of the blogs, which were apparently selected kind of at random by the author of the article from a list of 158 translation blogs published by the American Translators Association:

Blog Author/blogger, Downloaded on (date), Number of posts

1. About Translation / Riccardo Schiaffino, 9/10/12, 10
2. Catherine Translates / Catherine Jan, 9/10/12, 4
3. Financial Translation Blog / Miguel Llorens, 9/10/12, 5
4. Musings from an overworked translator / Jill R. Sommer, 9/10/12, 10
5. Naked Translations / Céline Graciet, 9/10/12, 6
6. On Language and Translation / Barabara Jungwirth, 9/10/12, 7
7. Patenttranslator’s Blog / Steve Vitek, 9/10/12, 10
8. Thoughts On Translation / Corinne McKay, 9/10/12, 7
9. TranslateThis / Michael Wahlster, 9/10/12, 7
10. Translating is an Art / Percy Balemans, 9/10/12, 10
11. Translation Times / Judy and Dagmar Jenner, 10/10/12, 5
12. Translation Tribulations Kevin Lossner, 10/10/12, 2
13. Translationista / Susan Bernofsky, 10/10/12, 7
14. The Translator’s Teacup / Rose Newell, 10/10/12, 8
15. Fidus Interpres / Fabio Said, 31/10/12, 12
16. The Greener Word / Abigail Dahlberg, 31/10/12, 7
17. The Interpreter Diaries / Michelle Hof, 31/10/12, 3
18. Mox’s Blog / Alejandro Moreno- Ramos, 31/10/12, 6
19. Say What? / Alexander C. Totz, 31/10/12, 10
20. Words to good effect / Marian Dougan, 31/10/12, 14

In less than 2 years, about a third of these blogs either disappeared completely, or activity on the blogs became very scarce compared to the situation 2 years ago.

One of these bloggers, a very smart guy who used to make me laugh like crazy, died (Miguel Llorens, No. 3).

A good number of other bloggers who used to inform, educate and entertain me in their posts, generally several times a month, simply stopped writing, while others have not published anything in several months, or even close to a year.

Catherine Jan (No. 2), returned from Paris to Canada, got an in-house job and stopped blogging. On ne sait pas vraiment pourquoi.

Fabio Said (No. 15), the phenomenal blogger from Brazil who racked up more than 1.5 million views on his blog, is blogging no more, and neither is Abigail Dahlberg (No. 16), she of the Greener Word Blog.

I still drink my coffee in the morning from a cup decorated by cartoons that Alejandro Moreno-Ramos mailed to me all the way from Spain (or was it France?), but I have not seen any activity on Mox’s blog recently either, have you? Or could it be that my link is outdated?

Some of the bloggers still seem to be sort of alive on the blogosphere, but their last post is many months old, although they used to post quite frequently only 2 short years ago. I am talking for example about Céline Graciet, (No. 5), whose last post, ominously titled “Freelancers: should you be insured against loss of income”, is dated January 16, 2014. Maybe she became insured against loss of income and stopped working and blogging too for good measure. Or maybe she entered a convent somewhere in England and one of the obligations of her faith is that she must not speak to anybody, which would preclude also blogging. (I saw a talk show on German TV yesterday in which one Dutch woman described how she did just that and then did not speak to anybody for 7 years, except for fellow nuns to whom she was allowed to speak in French for a few hours every Saturday. She spoke beautiful German but sometime she would get the gender of the noun wrong, which made me feel good).

Jill Sommer, No. 4, does not really blog much anymore either, she just sends to her followers cartoons about translation and grammar and such once a week. This kind of continuity is better than nothing, I guess, but I miss her posts.

The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas said, “When one burns one’s bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.” But I don’t believe that it is really true. We usually try to burn our bridges when we are still very young because we don’t want to live like everybody else, especially if it means living just like our parents lived.

But when we are a little bit older, we sometime discover that the bridges that we tried so hard to burn down are still there, and we then cross them back again to the world that is waiting for us on the other side of the bridge.

A burning bridge does make a very nice fire. But the poetry of a beautiful fire can last only for a very short time. And the truth is, we can never have enough bridges, and when we burn them down, for example by no longer posting on an abandoned blog, an important connection to our past, present and future is suddenly lost forever.

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Responses

  1. I noticed this too. Of course, people are not obliged to post but it is a pity to see a really fantastic blog fade away to the occasional “So sorry I haven’t blogged in ages” post to dwindle to absolutely nothing.
    I really miss Mox too and also The Linguist Lioness 🙂

    In my Feedly, I subscribe to 57 translation & language blogs but I would say only 6-10 of them are active, by which I mean one post a week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, people just run out of inspiration. That is probably also the real reason why Beatles broke up …. 44 years ago!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Beatles are gone but are certainly not forgotten! There’s a huge difference between the survival of the written word and of music. Great music never dies! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I once listened to a speech or a talk, as some people would name it that way. The speaker started with “I am not here to inspire you.” It was a wonderful speech.

    Good bloggers write when they have something to say, not always to inspire. I follow quite a few blogs in several languages. They are not always inspiring or educational, but I do have some fun getting to know the bloggers through the ways they write. One of them writes exclusively in French, as Steve Vitek writes always in English. That one writes mostly about subtitling and the life of being a translator – different styles, different fields, but just as mad as the Mad Patent Translator.

    Another one writes exclusively in Chinese. She told me that she wants to be a writer instead of a translator, but being a translator is to make a living – to be a money-making writer, you need good luck. So, her blog posts are products of her writing art, not that much about translation.

    There are still some others who write exclusively in one language, mostly in their respective mother tongues which are usually their target languages. Almost all of them blog not to inspire or to educate and their posts are entertaining, sometimes educational or inspiring, but they are not very active in blogging. They write only when they have something to say, even when that something can be a recursive theme/topic.

    It does not matter at all when such bloggers post scarcely or keep silent for a long while. When they come back with something to say, their writings are always refreshing.

    I am no blogger because I do not think I have much to say about translation for the translations I do are not of public interest. Who cares to read about a translator´s thoughts on technical manual translations? Translation is by nature and definition no original and who has ever explained technical writing that well as Robert Pirsig in his Chautauquas? So, no need to blog that subject matter and reading people who have something original to say is of more fun. Reading good blog writers, who explain something which is not original, but who refresh ideas that one might have long since forgotten, is educational and entertaining, no matter how long they have paused their blog posting.

    It´s a pity that Miguel Llorens won´t come back to us with his posts. But I am sure that there will be someone among the younger generation of translators who can be or become as brilliant as Miguel was.

    You see, Steve, sometimes songs are just as educational, inspiring and entertaining as Jill Sommer´s or Mox´s cartoons. And they don´t have to appear regularily. In fact, I enjoy and appreciate fellow translators´ blogs who write with heart and mind, even when they post seldom.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey, Wenjer, it’s been a while.

    I don’t write my silly posts to educate or inspire either. I am not really sure why I do it. I just have this strange urge to share my thoughts with other people.

    And when I see that my posts are tweeted and liked on Facebook, I get a big kick out of it.

    It’s like collecting stamps. Some people like to do that, and that’s that.

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Steve! An interesting and a very sad comparison of an abandoned, dying blog with a burning bridge… I know what you mean. I used to read some of those blogs and miss them greatly. So glad you still have that urge to share your thoughts with others, because your blog is one of my personal favorits!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I may or may not get back to it. I simply found nothing to say and lost my passion for it. I’ll blog if and when I get inspired. I’ve been mulling over an idea today, so I’m still around.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Steve,

    Catherine Jan is back (not to Paris, but to blogging), she just posted a new article yesterday 🙂

    I’m sure lots of people miss Mox, I’m one of them for sure.

    Like some have commented above, there are many reasons someone may stop blogging: lack of time, lack of inspiration, lack of motivation. And Wenjer is right, better to post quality articles seldom than publish often for the sake of publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wenjer is always right.

      Like

    • Hi Steve, hi Alina,

      You haven’t seen the last of me yet. Confessing that I’ve crossed the border into the nine-to-five zone has been liberating. A few more posts are in the works. I may even write about how I miss my afternoon naps, one of my favourite freelancer privileges.

      I think I took a blogging leave of absence because I had nothing worthwhile to say. I didn’t want to force out my posts or seem insincere.

      Thanks to you both for mentioning me and my blog. Steve, l enjoyed reading your “on ne sait pas vraiment pourquoi.” You call ’em like you see ’em.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Welcome back to the blogging jungle, Jan.

    May you never run out of inspiration again. At your age, it would be a shame. (At my age, it would be about time).

    Liked by 1 person

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