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My background

I'm a native French speaker and a software engineer, I studied in French and grew up speaking French.

My Question is: which language should I use for my technical blog posts?

On one hand, French could be easier for me to write in. It can allow me to make a difference by transferring knowledge from English to the French speaker for my country.

Cons: much less audience and I always think that the beauty of computer science or technology can only be viewed in English.

On the other hand English:

It's a bit harder for me to write a blog in (I have written 2 blogs in 6 months) and I'm afraid that not mastering the language could hold me back many times.
But with English, I could target much larger audience and improve my writing skills.

What language should I write my programming blog post in?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mark Baker, JP Chapleau, Galastel, Ken Mohnkern, FFN Mar 21 '18 at 20:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Which language do the French use when they search programming related information on the web?

My mother tongue is German, but when I search information on the web on topics that aren't specific to my country (such as German law or German movies) I invariably search in English, expecting to find more and better information. This is especially true for questions relating to science and engineering, where the common language is English.

The French seem to use English on the internet just as much as the German. For example, there are about as many visits to Stack Overflow per thousand inhabitants from France (19) as there are from Germany (24).

So which language will help your blog to get found?


Who is your audience?

Do you write for professional or aspiring professional programmers? They all know English.

Or do you write for beginners or amateurs, explaining basics to non-experts, introducing younger teens or older adults to software-related issues? They all prefer French.


What do you want most from your blog?

Do you want to network within the French developer community? Do you want the largest possible audience? Do you want to learn English, because you want to work for an international company, or do you want to enhance your writing skills in French, because you want to earn money as a writer for French publications?

Make a list of your blog-related goals and order them by long-term relevance. See how each goal can be better achieved by writing in English versus French.


Can you write in English?

Well, sure you can write in English, but can you write well enough that mistakes you make don't put off readers?

English might have a larger audience, but English also has a larger number of competitors, many of which write elegantly in their mother tongue. How do you feel yourself about blogs written in broken English by some Russian or Chinese blogger? Do linguistic mistakes grate on you?

How quickly do you expect to become fluent enough in your English so writing in English doesn't take much more time than writing in French?

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There is no definite answer - you already mentioned the most important points

English means a bigger audience. Most of the world can speak English and can therefore understand you, which leads to a far bigger audience. The bigger audience also means that the quality is potentially higher - more people interacting with your stuff means that more people will voice their opinions about style, preferences, tips, ...

French may be easier for you and therefore you might be able to post more.

Depending on your goal you should think about what is important: do you have something to say where it's important that many people interact with your Blog or do you for example view this as a little pet project?

To make this a bit more explicit: I have a few hobbies where I don't really care about how many people interact with me. Jogging is such a hobby. It doesn't matter to me if people even know that I have this hobby. I am doing this solely for myself. If you want to write a Blog to improve your writing techniques in general, or because you like the idea of being able to say "I have written a tech-blog once!" or you think that it's important to regularly post something so that you will stay motivated - then you might want to go with writing in French.

If your goal on the other hand is to help as many people as possible because you want to write about a difficult topic or because you want to write about something that only a handful of people are doing all over the world or because you feel that the wider audience will help you stay focused - then you might want to go with English. If you are worried about your English (which, by the way, is quite good) you might want to see if you know someone who is willing to help you with copy-editing. Or you could mention that on your Blog so that people reading your Blog might help you. This could further improve your English and might be another motivator - other people mean that you might have to discuss your schedule with others. Don't be afraid that the English language will hold you back too much - just write and ask for a bit of help, it won't be a show-stopper for you.

But in the end it's up to you - what do you feel comfortable with?

  • Thanks a lot for your quick answer, on one hands i will like to helps as many people as i can and improve my writing skills, but i have discovered that there is few ressources in the field i would like to blog in so i can also help there... – Espoir Murhabazi Mar 20 '18 at 20:01
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    @EspoirMurhabazi Well, if your goal is to help many people and there are currently only very few resources for people to learn about the topic it would be very valuable if you could write your blog in English so that a broader audience is able to learn from you. You could of course also try a middle way - maybe a full-length article in French and a shorter condensed version in English? If you then ask someone to translate the rest you might be able to combine both approaches. Though I've got to admit that I can't think of any examples where I've seen such an approach. – Secespitus Mar 20 '18 at 22:18

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