I have to admit that the idea of starting this blog was quite terrifying for me. What if my posts are boring or bad written? What if no one likes them, or worse, not even reads them? Well, if my grandma had wheels, she would be a wheelbarrow. And after all, if Alice didn’t (literally) take the plunge following the rabbit into the rabbit hole, she would have been just an anonymous girl like many others and I would have had to pick another theme for my blog. So, it was time for me to face my lack of self-confidence and get out of my comfort zone.
This doesn’t mean that I opened this blog overnight, not at all. As a good student and a paranoid with the capital P, I did my homework: I read lots of inspiring blogs written by expert colleagues, marketing tips, articles explaining when, where, what and why to post, how to find readers and so on. I learnt that the ideal blog should be professional but not boring, have a touch of uniqueness and personality, represent yourself without talking only about you, be informative, interesting, updated regularly; its layout should be clear, engaging, coherent and well thought. To sum it up, it has to be genuine but designed with care.
In view of this, the idea of using Wonderland as the main concept behind the blog can be seen on the one hand as pretty cool (I know, talking about “genius” in the title was a bit of an overstatement, but the web likes hyperbole), because somehow fresh and a bit outside of the box, on the other hand as reckless and disastrous, because it could convey a childish image, not super professional and of inexperience.
The blog is now up and running, but my opinion still constantly shifts between the two, as if I was affected by some sort of bipolar disorder. I have two voices inside my head, the first one telling me that I had a great idea, and the second one pointing out that illusions are pointless and everything will be ending in an epic failure of colossal proportions. When they stop arguing, however, I remember that I chose this theme for a specific reason (other than my passion for Lewis Carroll’s books and derived works): translation for me is like Wonderland. Maybe it’s cliché, the naive opinion of an idealist and young translator, but to me translating is a good mix of magic and mystery, of novelty and challenge, of constant researching and learning.
This long speech was to say that the choice of the name and the concept behind a blog (or a website or a brand in general) has to reflect, in my opinion, the vision that its creator has of the chosen topic (translation in my case). If it’s a bit out of the box, but represents you and your ideas, then it’s worth the risk. Of course, without going overboard. As much as I would have liked to put a giant picture of Johnny Depp/Mad Hatter on the homepage and to decorate the blog with images of tea parties and Cheshire cats, it wouldn’t have helped my credibility and the idea of creative professionalism that this whole project wants to convey. On the other hand, if I had designed a serious and extremely professional blog, in black and white, written in an impersonal and cold style, it wouldn’t have represented me at all. In the end, as often in life, virtue lies in the middle.
In a super technological world where it’s so easy to hide behind Facebook posts, tweets, filtered Instagram pictures, I think that people value, and read or buy, content that shows the real person behind it, people can tell if your brand is the real YOU or a façade created just to attract readers or buyers. Ultimately my advice is to create something that allows you to EXPRESS YOURSELF AND YOUR IDEAS.
Will Words in Wonderland be a success? Will it be an epic fail? It’s too early to say, but whatever the case, I know for sure that I won’t have betrayed who I am and my vision of translation.