In about five weeks it will be exactly seven years since I started writing my translation blog. I suppose that is as good a time as any for a little bit of blogging nostalgia from Mad Patent Translator.
As of today, almost at the end of the year 2016, my blog has 643 posts and these posts have 8,391 comments. That’s a lot of comments from a lot of people on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, although about one third of them are my own responses to people who bothered to leave a comment on silly blog.
Nobody seemed to know about my blog at first in 2010, and for a long time after. Those were the dark, cold, lonely days when the sun did not shine and nobody seemed interested in what another “vox clamantis in deserto” (voice of a translator crying in the wilderness) was saying. But then, after the ATA Trekker (of blogs by translators) put my blog on its list of blogs about translation, other translation bloggers started slowly linking to it and that little magic widget on top called the view counter started changing the count displayed all the time, to my considerable surprise, sometimes bordering on elation.
Whenever I write something that makes people share it on social media. and WordPress sends me the message “Your blog’s stats are booming”, it makes me so happy! It sort of validates what I am doing and saying. Only fellow bloggers (and Donald Trump) know how good it feels. It’s almost as good as the feeling when PayPal sends me an email that says “You’ve got money”.
During these seven years of incessant blogging (at least four times a week, sometimes eight times a week, mostly about translation, but also about my dog and the kinds of books I like to read), I have made a lot of virtual friends, and a few enemies of course too. And a few people who at first seemed to really, really dig my blog and heaped praise on me for my innovative approach to my efforts at analyzing translation and the “translation industry” but then turned into sworn enemies … just because I said something they did not like.
Oh, well, that’s life. You can’t please all the people all the time, right? You can’t even please the same people all the time, no matter how much you try!
My most popular post, the one that has so far had the most views and that has thousands of likes on Facebook, is Translator’s Dementia, What It Is and How to Recognize the Signs. But after it reached more than 2K likes, Facebook erased the count and started counting from zero again. Although it is about three years old, people still read it and share it on social media (13 people read it today).
The most controversial blog post was one in which I dared try to make fun of women. It’s called Why Are All Sign Language Interpreters Women? and it is also still frequently read. It has dozens of comments, attacking me mercilessly. It is fine and dandy when women are making fun of men, this is something that is very much encouraged in Western culture. But when a man tries to make fun of women, that is just indescribably sexist and vile and such a person deserves to be crucified.
My series of posts in which I compare translators to zombies, such as Attacks of Zombies Are Unrelenting in a Horrible Economy are also very popular and at least two of my zombie posts were translated into several languages with my permission. It’s not a problem to call translators zombies, or really anything you want, and neither translators nor interpreters will be grievously offended by it, as long as you don’t say anything about women in particular.
Some bloggers, very good ones among them, have turned their blogs into marketing platforms for their services, while adding teaching or coaching to their arsenal of moneymaking tools.
Personally, I have nothing against bloggers who put a begging plate on their blog, and I keep reading their posts if I am interested in what they are saying. I might do it one day myself, although I hope I will never have to do that. But when a blog is turned into a full time commercial tool, I unsubscribe and stop reading such a blog.
I think there is a big difference between what people say when they are trying to communicate their ideas to other people because they believe in what they are saying, and because they want to share ideas bouncing around their heads, and what people say because they are trying to make money.
Once a blog is about money, I consider it to be mostly about money, and I don’t trust it anymore.
Every corporate translation agency has a blog, but because all those corporate blogs are designed with the sole purpose of driving sales, they don’t have a whole lot of blog posts worth reading. It’s mostly chest pumping propaganda declaring over and over again how wonderful the translation agency is and what superior services it provides to its customers.
But lest I seem too pure and disinterested in profiting from the content I pump out into the cyberspace several times a week, I do have an ulterior motive for writing my posts about translation too, of course.
Because generally speaking, clients don’t stay with one service provider for more than 20 or 30 years and I have been translating patents for 30 years, a significant portion of my income depends on whether new clients will or will not discover my excellent, yet moderately priced patent translating services in a given year, as old clients are lost through natural abrasion.
Starting about a decade ago, some years I was lucky to land a lot of new clients in this manner. I saw a drop in acquisition of new clients from the internet starting a few years ago … but this year has been very good again in this respect, and I think it might have something to do with my blogging.
Thanks to my incessant blogging about translation, and patent translation in particular, both my website and my blog are usually found among the first organic entries on the first page just under the advertising entries when somebody types keywords containing something about patent translation or patent translators into Google or just about any other search engines.
Which means that as long as I keep writing my posts, I shouldn’t have to spend money for advertising on the internet, which I hear is very expensive.
So I would say that after seven years of passionate blogging about translation, I do have something to show for it in terms of income, even without a begging plate on my website or blog, and without having to turn my blog, which is here mostly for me (and hopefully other people too) to have fun, into a commercial platform.
I could also write about other things that I discovered thanks to my blog, such as the kind of musical education that I’ve received based on my idea of framing my posts with two music videos from Youtube, as well as other things my blog have given me too.
But I will save that for another post and instead just wish everybody Merry Christmas!