Why don't languages translate directly?
Why translating won't help you learn a language
When you start a new oneTo learn language, you can hardly avoid translating the vocabulary. At the end of the day, if you don't understand anything, you have to start somewhere. And of course such a translation sometimes works quite well. In many cases, you can translate simple sentences word for word and the meaning stays the same. But you should still get rid of this habit as soon as possible!
Don't translate your target language
Your target language works very differently than your mother tongue, and that's how you should treat it. It developed from completely different cultural norms and contexts. Really learning and understanding a language goes much further than simple translation.
Instead of translating, it would be useful to find out how the words and expressions are used in a specific context ... Thinking in your mother tongue and then translating these sentences into your target language will not get you anywhere in the long run.
Let's look at a few reasons why it's better to start from scratch when you're learning a new language.
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Translating is slow
Translation apps can be helpful if you're a beginner and just can't find the right word. But is it practical to use a translator for entire conversations? Certainly not!
In a conversation, you should listen carefully to the other person's ideas and give meaningful answers. How do you get the time for it when you're busy translating everything?
The person you are talking to will quickly get bored if you keep pausing while speaking and use your app - or if you always need them to understand the other person at all.
What if you just learned a lot of translations by heart? Well, even then it would take a long time until you found a word in your native language and then translated it into your target language and vice versa.
All this translation work would be extremely exhausting. It's almost impossible to keep this up in lengthy conversations.
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Direct translations don't always work
It may come as a surprise now, but ... languages are different! Word order and tenses are just a few examples of the differences between languages. Even the languages that have the same origin have specific slang words and expressions and different meanings for the same word.
And now? Well, that also means that even the best translation app can't help you with contextual expressions and long unique sentences. Why? Because it often translates literally or word for word.
Take a look at this example:
Let's try to translate the English "sit down". In French it is called "Asseyez-vous". So is "Asseyez" = sit? Yes! So far so good. So is "vous" = down? No, “vous” means “you”. “Sit down” practically becomes “Sit you”.
As you can see, languages are structured differently and correct translations cannot always be made word for word.
With relatively simple expressions like "sit down" this will somehow work. But people don't just use short, easy-to-understand sentences when speaking. At some point, the unique sentences you will hear (and the ideas you are trying to express) are difficult to translate.
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You will never speak really fluently
This point is closely related to the first two. Language competence means that you can speak a language easily, fluently and correctly.
If you always have to take a break to think about the translation or use an app, you will never be able to speak spontaneously. The flow of conversation will be interrupted and unnatural and you will not be able to establish a connection with the people you are talking to. And if that doesn't work, you won't be able to communicate effectively either.
You can also run into problems in situations where someone gives you a lot of information in a short amount of time (such as a work meeting or a university lecture). How are you supposed to be able to keep up, let alone actively contribute, if you only concentrate on the translation?
Real learning only happens when you really immerse yourself in the target language and start thinking in that language. Constant translating will not do you any good.
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Stop seeing languages as exact copies of one another! To achieve your goals, train yourself to think in your target language throughout the practice.
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