I don't really care where the writer is from or what his native language is. All that matters is if the article is well-written and is useful or interesting. I've seen plenty of "natives" that couldn't write their way out of a paper bag.
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A lot of language is related to the way different cultures think. To be truly multilingual a person must be able to think in different ways.
This was the first sentence of a writing sample created recently by an applicant for a position as a senior editor:
I showed this to our last senior editor, Shreedhar, and he explained to me that "then nothing can be both useful and adorning like a pergola" is a literal translation of the way the phrase would be constructed in Tamil. A native English speaker would not construct a phrase like that.If you are looking forward to decorate your backyard, then nothing can be both useful and adorning like a pergola.
This person understood English the language, but not English way of thinking. On the other hand, you could talk to Shreedhar or Memenode online for years without ever realizing that they were not actually native English speakers.
For a look at some examples of how English and Indian English differ, read through Wikipedia: Indian English.
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I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
I didn't notice the 'error' when you showed it to us in the chatroom. How would you write this sentence Will?
If you are looking forward to decorate your backyard, then nothing can be both useful and adorning like a pergola.If you are looking forward to decorating your backyard, then nothing is more useful or adorning than a pergola.I didn't notice the 'error' when you showed it to us in the chatroom. How would you write this sentence Will?
Even though I'm not a native speaker I think it does matter in the sense that Will pointed out... Sometimes you can just feel it in the way something is written. There are always exceptions though. I suppose then what should be looked for are the native writers plus those exceptions. :P
It probably depends on the content though. For "filler" content, and maybe for some simple technical content (step by step instructions), which might still sound good enough to be helpful, it might not matter that much.
I'm still a bit shaky with grammar.
My english is not the greatest, and I was born & raised here! I write most of my own content, sometimes tweaking out content from others, but that's bad form, so I'll not go into it.
When I am looking at content someone else has written (like when I am looking for results through the SEs) when I come across something that does not feel right, I'll often click the back button. Most of the time when I find something like that it's full of examples like in Will's post.
It's not who wrote the article, it's HOW they wrote it.
I simply would rather read something using the terms & phrases as I use them... it's how my brain functions. However, with the going rate of paid content, I think it may be worth the time to proof read an article and simply tweak out the bits that don't fit to your own way of thinking. Especially if the grammar & spelling is on par and the only issues are a few strange use of words.
Mostly because every nationality has a certain sentence structure pattern. What may be considered correct usage of English India isn't correct usage in the United States.
But, in most cases the more "Americanized" sections of a society are capable of outputting content that doesn't tip any grammar or readability filters.
For example African-Americans ( no offense intended ) who are brought up in Harlem will have poor writing skills even though they're Native English speakers.
Extremely Americanized Indians could perform better than an average American 5 / 10 times.
The biggest concern with freelance writers is them outsourcing their own writing tasks in order to double their monies.
I tried to figure out what language I thought in, but it was mostly a mix of English and Tamil.
But, irrespective of whether I think in English or Tamil, I'm able to write without making such errors.
This could be a result of years of practice, that when I see a sentence, I have a "feel" of whether it's right or wrong.
Or, this could just be because my mind is tuned to seeing American English all over the web that my brain starts telling me that it's not right when someone creates a literal translation of the sentence.
Will.Spencer (17 August, 2010)
I also don't want to generalize however. There are native English speaking writers who provide poor quality goods, and non-native writers who provide great quality. Ultimately, it depends upon the person and their individual skills. Selecting a specific nationality is pretty much a nice filter and a starting point.
of course it matters!
native speakers have a better understanding of the language in terms of modern day usage and localization
for example, hiring a British-English speaking writer to write the content for your modern hip clothing company, but every time he writes "pants", he calls them "trousers"
it absolutely does matter