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.