Jun 2, 2024

A change of platform?


As some readers of this blog may already know, recently I have begun to use the Substack platform for some of my writing. But why?

This blog and my YouTube channel have become, over the course of about 16 years now, leading sources of information for a variety of technology topics related to translation and localization, not all of them having to do with memoQ. As well as a venue for other personal and professional expression. I've also got a presence on a few e-learning platforms and sporadic participation in several microblogging platforms.

The online professional landscape for language services has evolved so much in the past two decades that it is often rather difficult to determine the best messaging venues for educational content for working professionals, Quersteiger aspirants and students. To a large and unfortunate extent, a lot of the relevant discussions take place on commercial platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, where the content is quickly buried in the infamous, often preposterous noise of those spaces. There is also the problem of curation, which was one of the reasons this blog was founded back in 2008 after Proz dot comjob lost its value as a professional space with the imposition of extreme censorship and expulsion of its most experienced and helpful community members, many of them former moderators.

Because of this fragmentation of the translation information space, I often find myself spending too much time digging up old (free) information for people with limited search skills or motivation, and in doing so I recognize time and again how much user interfaces for my professional tools have changed over the years, which also poses navigation problems for those who wish to apply the lessons. Menus are now ribbons, many functions have been renamed or moved to other places in the application, or new features have made some of the old solutions less relevant except for those still using very old software (and there are still many of these, which is why I am careful about "updates").

And several times in the past year, I've been contacted by blog readers who had difficulties getting an RSS feed for this blog, which is apparently a rather oldtimey thing now.

So... in the past few years, I noticed that several authors whom I follow use the Substack platform (the historians Timothy Snyder and Heather Cox Richardson, also professor Marco Neves at Universidade Nova de Lisboa FCSH, whom I think of as a "Portuguese John McWhorter", and John McWhorter himself). A brief investigation on my part revealed several advantages to this, including fairly painless ways to organize a mix of free and paid content. So I decided to experiment.

After a month now, I would say I am largely pleased as a user of the website and iPhone app. I am still learning the best practices for using insertable buttons and unexpected features like "Notes" and "Threads", probably making more mistakes than I realize, but this does appear to be a good platform for tying together the rather scattered educational content I've been producing for more than two decades now and adding updates to these summaries. And perhaps the venue will prove more useful for discussions, more so than social media where they are quickly buried in platform noise.

I'm not abandoning this blog nor YouTube. There will still be content posted on both which may never appear in any form on the Translation Tribulations Substack. But that's probably the best place to look for now if you need current overviews of language service technology topics or you want a peek at some of my course content tests or textbook-related projects. I may post occasional pointers here on the blog to content on Substack, but the (free) subscription mechanism there is really a much better way (than RSS here, for example) to keep up to date.

So won't you join me?

1 comment:

  1. Side note, I have no problem with the RSS feed for your blog.


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