Posted by: lyonenglishnetwork | July 9, 2011

Translation and language learning

When you translate, you are told to translate into your native language if possible because you know this language fully, even if you are fluent in the other language. So if you’re an English person, you should translate into English, a French person should translate into French and a German person should translate into German. In fact, ideally, you wouldn’t translate at all for documents such as marketing documents; you would just “create” it from scratch based on the idea you want to convey.

What about when you’re learning a new language ?

Well, you should also try to get INPUT from the language you’re trying to learn. A little bit of this every day will help you to start thinking in the language. If you go the other way, and you try to produce, say, a piece of writing that you would first draft in, say, French (if you’re French), and then try and translate into English this will cause problems. 10 – 15 minutes will start to do the trick. It’s recommended to use google translate or some other software to help you on your way, so when you hear a word in context you can just check that it’s the word you thought it was. Let’s say you hear the word “computer”; you’re not sure but you think it means “ordinateur”; a quick check on google translate or google will help to confirm that you are right (or maybe wrong). In this way, the huge multitude of connections in your brain that are needed to speak a language well can start to occur.

The opportunity to speak, of course, remains essential and I’m offering a new service for long term language development where people can work in this way but have the opportunity to “consult” me, as a native English speaker, say, every 3 weeks.

Things in another language are not said in the same way just as things in another culture are not done in the same way. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Spain, say what the Spanish say.

Paul – Lyon Lingua

Learn English the Natural Way


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