Nine top methods polyglots have their writing samples checked and their nine top reasons to improve their writing skills in another language

The Polyglot Berlin Gathering 5–9 May 2016 took place a short walk from the Central Railway Station

It looks like most of the articles regarding polyglot on medium.com are about software developers. However, I’m the kind of polyglot who speaks many languages and I’m writing from the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin taking place from the 5th to the 9th of May, 2016.

Today I presented my new website yozzi.com which aspires to be a combination of medium.com and lang-8.com. So on the version of Yozzi launched today, people can publish in eight languages: Chinese, English, French, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish. There were about 50 polyglots or so in the room and it was helpful to get their feedback on how they currently go about improving their writing skills in their target languages. German will be a popular language, so it looks like it will be the next one that I add. English and Spanish were the most popular languages presently available at Yozzi.

The audience helped me compile a couple of ‘top ten lists’. Following the logic of design thinking, it makes sense to understand peoples motivation for using a product or service and what they presently do to solve their problem.

Since Yozzi is a site for advanced language learners who wish to improve their writing skills, I wanted to know what motivates them to seek improvement.

Here is a list of the top nine reasons polyglots want to improve their writing skills in their target languages:

  1. To speak better, since better writers can also improve their speaking ability
  2. To be able to write correctly
  3. To attain advanced proficiency in the language
  4. To be able to communicate more clearly and more accurately in the target language
  5. To expand one’s vocabulary
  6. To successfully pass a proficiency examination for certification
  7. To write e-mails to colleagues in their own languages
  8. To pass off as a native speaker
  9. To be poetic and romantic in a foreign language

What are the polyglots doing now to achieve their goals to improve their written abilities in their target languages?

Here are the top nine methods polyglots use to check their writing.

  1. To find a native speaker and getting feedback.
  2. To simply practice writing without any feedback.
  3. To post on Italki and get corrected by a teacher there.
  4. To use lang-8.
  5. To have a work of literature in one’s native language and one’s target language and to translate it from the native language to the target language and then to compare one’s one translation of the text to that of the published work.
  6. To post on online bulletin boards.
  7. To use the series Mot à Mot or Wort von Word.
  8. To hire a teacher.
  9. To self-correct a text.

It will be interesting to see if such a survey in the future would have Yozzi fit in there somewhere as one of the top methods for checking writing.

Yozzi also allows people to practice their editing skills as well as their writing skills. By posting an article on Yozzi you can have feedback on your logic, cultural knowledge as well as writing skills.

Since language proficiency tests frequently include sections which also require editing skills, Yozzi is a great place for advanced language learners to test out their editing skills.

One of the questions came up during my presentation was how to write about something that would be interesting for a wider range of people. My initial response was to encourage people to write about their motivations for why they want to improve their writing and to use Yozzi as a way to promote their own websites and profiles as well. Of the approximately 50 attendees, 15 said they had a website or profile they wished to promote. Additionally, we all have stories, experiences and education that we can apply to outside world. These are experiences that can be valuable to others when you share them. When we attend conferences and gatherings, insights from such events are also a valuable experience worth sharing with others who didn’t have the privilege of attending.