Translating is really hard. Most Languages don't usually translate directly. However, when we are using our second language, we naturally translate it in our heads, using our native language.

for example; Lets assume your second language (L2) is English, and your native language (L1) is Arabic. You are having a conversation with a native English speaker, when he speaks you listen, and you naturally translate his words into Arabic in your head. Now you think of the appropriate response in Arabic, and translate it back into English so you can respond. As a result, meanings become lost in translation, the conversation doesn't flow, and you find yourself speaking broken English, even though you know better.

Listen - Think - Speak  or  Read - Think - Write

  L2        L1        L2             L2      L1        L2

This is a natural habit when we are using our second language, but unfortunately it limits us, and stops us from developing into fluent speakers of our L2. It can cause confusion, effect our confidence, and impede our communication skills.

The good news is, you can improve your second language skills easily. All you need to do is THINK in your second language when you use your second language, and stop forcing yourself to translate. (Unless you are a translator!)

Listen - Think - Speak  or  Read - Think - Write

 L2         L2        L2            L2         L2        L2


Try it!

Good Luck! :)



Vocabulary from this post:

L1 = first or native language (Teaching term)

L2 = second language (Teaching term)

Assume - verb; 1. To suppose, guess, imagine, or deduce

                       2. Take power or responsibility

Impede - verb; delay or prevent.

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  • Dayne,

    Yes, but, "the feature" you said ( don't translate, think Second Language) is getting improved in time, which everyone can find it when they feel ready,

    at least, it was for me plus I can't say that I even achieved properly.

    There must be a trick !  which stop you from translating,  

  • setareh, that's awesome feedback. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  • Abiba, keep up the good work! :D

  • Mitran, My pleasure. Thanks for commenting!

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  • Dear Dayne, first let me thank you for all your tips to help us to be better in English. When i started learning English this translating process happened almost all the time, but gradually i learned not to translate. Sometimes I Even can understand the English sentence but I don't exactly know how to translate it in Persian. I agree that if we can stop translating, we will learn language naturally.

  • My level of can I say, hope with my comment you don't show up my mistakes

    BTW, many thanks for your helpful blog.

  • Daniel, Cheers mate!

  • Translation is benefic only till a certain time in the learning process. There's a crucial or unavoidable point where you have to forsake it, if you really want to progress in the target language.

  • Cinoreeta oops! It's too late now! :D

  • Seeker thanks! It's a pretty natural habit. However, it seems to be super useful if the habit can be broken.

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