Last week we published some interesting statistics about who the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 are. Let us now get to know our winners better, starting with the Professionals Blogs category. Here is our interview with Judy and Dagmar Jenner, the authors of Translation Times.
When and why did you decide to start blogging?
We were inspired to start this blog by our dear friend, colleague and fellow blogger Corinne McKay. We started in September 2008, but we have been running other blogs (translation mistakes and book reviews) since 2006.
What kind of unique features does writing with your twin sister bring to your blog?
We don’t think it’s that terribly unique, except there’s two of us writing it and we write it from both the European perspective and the American perspective. We live on different continents, but luckily get to see each other all the time, so we have business cases from both sides of the Atlantic. We also have started receiving interesting blog posting ideas from others, including job announcements for in-house positions, which we are happy to publish. Last but not least, Dagmar’s boyfriend, our IT genius, is constantly finding and testing new software for us. We couldn’t do this blog without him – it’s very much a family-run blog!
Do you follow any particular editorial guidelines for your blog?
We’ve both worked in journalism, so we do have some pretty good ideas of our editorial guidelines, but we have no written document that guides us. In general, we try to keep it short, as readers’ attentions spans (and our own) are short online. Secondly, if we publish something that we didn’t experience ourselves – for instance, a lot of colleagues approach us, asking us to write about this or that company that is a scam – we do our research to make sure we have accurate data. Judy’s hubby is an attorney, so if we have a doubt whether we should be posting about something sensitive, we ask him. Last but not least, we try to post about a good variety of things – translation, interpreting, software, business cases, marketing, fun stuff, links to upcoming conferences and events, etc. It makes us happy to help spread the word about conferences that small organizations put on.
Did you expect to rank so high and actually hit the first spot?
No, never! One never really thinks about winning. We just wanted to make the top 25, but we are of course honored and floored that we won.
According to you, what made the difference between you and the other participants?
We are not really sure but are very grateful for all the votes. Our colleagues’ and friends’ blogs are also fantastic, and everyone deserves to win. It’s amazing to see that so many bloggers take the time and effort to build our online communities. It’s a wonderful thing.
Did you do any promotion or advertising to get so many votes?
Yes, we did a short blog posting on our blogs, asking readers to vote for us if they like our blog. We also tweeted about the competition and e-mailed a few translation friends to see if they’d consider voting for us.
How did the results impact on your readership?
It’s only been a few weeks, but we just had a look at the latest numbers, and we’ve definitely seen an increase in readers!
Who was your favorite competitor in your category?
That’s a hard question. We are huge fans of Thoughts on Translation, Mox’s Blog, About Translation and Separated by a Common Language. We do tend to prefer blogs written by fellow small business owners because we can relate to them better.
How much importance do you give to interaction with your readers?
It’s certainly very important and interaction is one of the main points and objectives of Web 2.0 – we really enjoy hearing our readers’ comments, even if, or especially if, they don’t agree with us. We are all about intellectual discussions. We are grateful to the readers who leave comments and keep the conversation going.
Any special advice and things to avoid for people blogging about translation?
We definitely think there’s room for more high-quality blogs about translation and interpreting. For instance, we’d love to read a blog about conference interpreting. Our advice is simple: commit to doing it, be consistent, post often, be gracious when handling comments, and be prepared for this to be quite some work. It’s incredibly rewarding, though.
Are you up to run for next year’s Top 100 competition?
Absolutely, count us in! Thanks for organizing this competition. We think the badges that winners can put on their blogs are wonderful.