A couple of weeks ago, I had a super interesting conversation inside the Visualize Value community.
It was among the Spanish speakers there (we are quite a few!). The main point we discussed was, in which language should we create?
All of us are creators in one way or the other, and we had a reasonable doubt: Should we create in our mother tongue (Spanish) or English?
If you are a bilingual creator I'm sure you had the same doubt at the beginning of your journey.
I know I did.
Let me tell you about my choice (obviously English) and the reasoning behind it.
The gift of being bilingual
Being bilingual in a global world and economy is an advantage. In my case, I'm trilingual (I speak Spanish, English, and Catalan).
This is great, because Spanish and English are the two most expanded languages in the world (besides Hindi and Chinese).
This means I can effectively communicate with millions of people.
It also means I can effectively do business with millions of people.
What to choose?
Let's suppose you find yourself in a similar scenario.
You are native in one language but you are also fluid in English, and you want to start creating (video, written word, etc).
The question is, in what language should you do it? Let's weigh the pros and cons.
Why choose your native language?
- It will be easier to create content. Let's face it, I speak almost fluent english, but it's just easier for me to write in Spanish.
- It will be easier to share with friends and family (your early adopters).
- You have a niche opportunity. Being first matters when it comes to internet niches. You could be the leader in your language just because you were there first, and that has enormous value.
- Building a community or audience will be harder. Depending on your topic of choice, you might not be able to build around that topic simply because there are not many people interested (yet).
- Your potential reach is smaller. If you have a question, want to put together a community event or something similar, there's a high chance you will have to do it in English.
Why choose English?
- Access to a global audience. Almost everyone in the world speaks or understands English. Those are billions of eyeballs ready for you.
- Access to more, higher quality customers. Some of them located on the USA, the biggest market in the world for content and digital products.*
- It looks good on your CV. Proving in public (with content) that you speak at least 2 languages looks great if you are after a corporate job.
- Your content quality can be affected (unless you have a bilingual level, which most people don't)
- Competition. There are more fishes in the pond, but also more fishermEn.
- Stigma. At least in Spanish speaking countries, sometimes it's perceived as an stigma. It just looks weird to the people close to you.
*I have no proof of this, speaking from my own experience.
My choice and why
I decided to create in English.
I started creating in Spanish, but soon I found out that almost everyone I looked up to was speaking in English. If I wanted to communicate with them and eventually, be on the same level, I needed to do it in their language.
So I switched.
And immediately started gaining momentum.
Creating in English has allowed me to make global connections (personal and professional).
I have had clients from the UK, from the USA, or even from the Netherlands. If I were creating in Spanish, that wouldn't be possible.
Having that said, it would have been easier to position me in the Spanish speaking market, which is always 1 step behind the global market). But my income and connection potential just wouldn't be the same.
What should you do?
There's no right or wrong answer. It really depends on your long term goals.
Are you willing to risk and try to become a pioneer in your own language? Or do you prefer to fight with the masses and try to make it in a bigger market?
Whatever you do, I would love to hear about your experience. This is a topic I'm super interested in and I would love to expand on it.
Time to write this article
- First draft: 20 min
- Edits and final version: 40 min
- Twitter adaptation: 20 min