Е is a "ye" or a vowel "raising" the preceding consonant (the middle of the tongue is higher; it is called "palatalisation")
Э roughly corresponds to something like "e" in "red". Maybe with a hint of "a" in "rad". At least, Russian speakers hear "map" as something like "мэп" with a vaaary open "э". Also, we have some difficulty distinguishing between "man" and "men", "bad" and "bed", especially in AmE.
Note that in a number of foreign words "е" actually means "э" and is spelt there due to its beauty alone (тест, менеджер, флешка, плеер, проект). It mainly concerns front consonants, usually T, D and S, sometimes M. As words became more "Russian", the pronunciation shifted to the usual pronunciation of е. However, modern Russian feels rather comfortable having both Е and Э, so there is guarantee the same is going happen to the loanwords of the recent decades.
Where should i get the russian keyboard? it marked me wrong for writing in english.
Most operating systems have a built in option to switch between keyboard languages.
On Windows 7, you can go to Control Panel>Region and Language>Keyboards and Languages>Change keyboards.
Then add whatever languages you want to the list, and then go to "Advanced Key Settings" to assign them to button combinations.
What should I do if my language choice is English only. How do I get the Russian language on my Windows 7?
If you are on a Windows Computer: Settings-->Time and Languange-->Language-->Русский. (To change it press Shift+Alt) If on a Android phone:Settings-->Languange-->Русский (To change it press the small button on the keyboard that looks like a globe) I do not know how to do it on other devices. You can look it up.
By context and how different parts of the sentence get emphasises or de-emphasized.
I'm gathering that words like "the", "a" or "is" are not translated in Russian at all?
No, Russian has no articles (the, a, an) and the use of the verb "to be" is minimum, from what I gathered so far.
there isnt an "e" on my russian keyboard....i have tried ё, з, and э it still counts it as incorrect, and it won't let me continue....so now what?
It should be. Which keyboard do you use? A phonetic keybord should have it on the Latin E, a ЙЦУКЕН-layout on T.
I know this is very late, but some of the comments above explain how to change the settings for your keyboard!