Blogging about our journey to FI in French and English

As some of you may have noticed, every article that I post comes out both in French and English. Indeed, before I even launched this website, I knew I would want it to be bilingual. There are a few reasons for this, some selfless but some others admittedly self-serving.  

First let me quickly lay out the process of writing in two languages and show how you can access the posts in French. After that, I’ll get into why I chose to make our blog bilingual.

The process of writing in two languages

The initial set-up of my wordpress site was a little tricky but luckily, I’m close to someone who specifically studied computer programming (Mr. Mod) who I begged to design a bilingual site for my birthday generously offered to plan out my WordPress to have it easy to post articles in two languages. I won’t go into these technical details simply because that’s not my area expertise but will quickly detail the logistics of the written portion.

Although there are a few plugins that will automatically translate your posts, using most likely google translate, I knew I wanted to do my own translations. Therefore I will write my initial draft either in French or English and then, I will translate it myself. This is also a great editing exercise as I often tweak with the initial draft along the way. That’s pretty much it! I then post both articles, after reading them over multiple times to proofread.

There’s a small glitch where my mailing list gets both articles though someday I might spend some time to figure out how to allow readers to opt for only the posts in the language of their choice.

Here are screenshots of how you can switch languages on the site:

Where to switch languages on desktop.

On mobile you can switch languages below the comment box .

Helping more people

Now the first and most obvious reason to post in two languages, is for my content to have a greater reach. As explained in my last article, I believe that spreading awareness of financial independence can help others become mindful of how they spend and earn their money.

Early on in my journey, and still today, I’ve enjoyed and been greatly influenced by following the journey of other bloggers on this path, especially those that show the growth of their investments in numbers. This encouraged me to launch this blog and share my own family’s journey with our numbers and all. In doing this, I realized that I touch on subjects that are more specific to people in the same situation as us, such as, among other things, living in Canada and more specifically in the province of Quebec.

Despite that the official language in our province is French, I live in a very bilingual part of our town and I’m aware that almost 800,000 people living in this province indicate that English is the language they speak most often at home, while over 3 million people living in other provinces speak French most often at home. Furthermore, many people simply feel more at ease with the financial terms in English (or vice-versa).  

As such, it made a lot of sense for me to allow people to follow our journey in the language of their choice since our experience can be relatable to both French and English speakers. More people have the ability to find my content and hopefully be positively influenced by discovering our journey towards financial independence.

How writing in two languages helps me

There’s also a large part of writing in French and English that makes things easier for me, despite the added work of translating my articles in another language and putting out two posts at once.

Although my first language is French it was followed closely by English as I had anglophone cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends. Therefore being bilingual and also consuming content in both languages has this funny effect that I can think in both languages and sometimes ideas just flow better in one or the other language.

So the first self-serving reason to write in French and English was to make it easier for me to draft out my ideas in the language that is flowing better, or in the case of when I was writing this specific draft, for example, in both languages at once lol. I can then rework the text and translate it, for the final post to be available in both languages.

Connecting with more people:

Furthermore, the privilege of having grown up in a bilingual family created wonderful chances to connect with people that, despite speaking a different language, had something in common and could enrich my life by their presence and own thoughts & experiences. Growing up, I was often the intermediary between the French-speaking and English-speaking kids, for example on my sports teams and I always got great value at bringing the different groups together and creating a team spirit.

Part of starting this blog was largely linked to wanting to connect with others seeking financial independence as I felt a bit alone on this journey. Writing in French and English therefore allows me to connect with bloggers that write in both languages as well as with the French or English-speaking readers. This has particularly been life-changing as I’ve connected with awesome people that are great influences and bring so much good in my life!

Opening up more opportunities

Additionally, I quickly realised that being bilingual opens up lots of opportunities for me. When I played hockey competitively, I was often the one who got to be interviewed for newspapers as I could answer questions in French or in English in our very bilingual location (and let me tell you it is quite exciting for a young 10 year old to make the front page of the local newspaper lol). More importantly, I without a doubt know that I would not be where I am in my career where it not to the fact that I am bilingual.

In that sense, I knew that writing in two languages could open up more doors to me. For example, if someday I wish to put more efforts to monetize this site (I do add Amazon affiliate links though have admittedly yet to make money from these), I actually end up with technically two sites to monetize. I therefore thought best to put in the work when the ideas are fresh as I draft them up, while growing this site and see what I want it to become along the journey.

Moreover, I get to practice writing in both languages and gain experience at translating content and ideas as efficiently as I can. This has actually been useful in my own work as I do write a lot in both languages and often need to do some translations.

The benefits of helping others

Finally, as mentioned above, writing in two languages allows me to possibly help or influence more people. At its source, helping others is actually also self-serving as it brings me joy, more satisfaction in life and, of course, a little boost in my self-confidence whenever someone mentions they enjoyed what I wrote.

In fact, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley say that kindness and related qualities are actually a form of self-preservation which can even boost immune functions. Obviously choosing to be selfish by being kind and hopefully helping others improve their financial life, is quite a nice way to be selfish in my opinion.

If you speak more than one language, as it ever opened up unique opportunities for you? If you have a blog, ever considered sharing your content in another language?

7 thoughts on “Blogging about our journey to FI in French and English

  1. I would LOVE to eventually post my blog in French and English! My French is definitely sub-par at this point, but I hope to improve to the point where I could at least translate some myself, with assistance from Google, and then perhaps harass my French friends to do the rest…or something like that. So glad to learn there is a way to do it with WordPress. 🙂 Thank you for the informative post!

    1. Thank you for your comment :). That would be an awesome exercise to put your French to practice! Looking forward to discovering you blog and following your journey to FIRE :D.

  2. This was such a fascinating post Ms. Mod. I’ve always marveled at how easily many Quebecois switch between French and English. What an amazing skill and talent you have.

    I also have a second language—Cantonese. But I’m not fluent in it, and can’t imagine thinking and writing equally comfortably in two languages. I’m so jealous of your bilingualism!

    The Canadian FIRE community is better for having you in it. Each of us has a different perspective and voice to share. (And in your case, it’s two different voices!) The more of us who share our stories, the more people we can help to discover FIRE and live their best life. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Chrissy! I’m finally catching up on responding to comments and just realized I had missed this one.

      I’m so grateful to have grown up bilingual and in a specific environment favoring and helping with the learning of two languages, I’m really lucky for it! It’s also a great motivation to help my kids learn it while also trying to help them learn a small amount of Spanish as well, as I have an intermediate level in Spanish.

      You’re so kind! The translating part does take a lot of work but it is greatly rewarded by being able to interact with various communities that can access my content thanks to making it available in both languages.

      Thanks again!

  3. Massive respect to you for pulling this off! My cousin lived in Montreal for awhile. I was so impressed with her ability to pick up French and tease me with it.

    Anyhow, I wish I had the abilities of some of you savvy Canadians! I’m so tempted to just buzz through the great state of MN and end up in your country instead.

    1. Thank you so much Michelle! I am really lucky to have grown in this bilingual environment. You definitely should buzz up at least to visit some time :). Awesome that you had a cousin live in Montreal, it’s a great city!

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