Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/CJWiley0

Mental Translating

Hello All

I am curious if there comes a point in learning a language when you stop translating every word in your head and just understand the meaning without having to convert it to your native language. Anyone with experience? I have none :)

2 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Bersalon
Bersalon
  • 25
  • 17
  • 10
  • 4

Yes, I am doing more and more of that now. If I see a mountain, I don't think 'Mountain, hmm...Berg!' I can just see it and think 'Berg'.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LiamRowe
LiamRowe
  • 25
  • 25
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6

Certainly, in fact that's probably the most important step in language learning. Once you reach the stage of speaking and listening without having to run the dialogue through your own language, you'll start to dramatically increase your own proficiency.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lazouave
lazouave
  • 25
  • 24
  • 15
  • 12

Yes, it comes with time and practice, generally gradually. You start understanding things intuitively and even speak without needing to translate everything first, from time to time at first, then more and more often. Keep up the good work and you'll get there in no time ;)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaiIa.
LaiIa.
  • 20
  • 10
  • 7
  • 4

Yes, English is not my native language and I don't need to translate every word in my head first, actually there are some words that I don't even know the literal translation of them to my native language lol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/firebolt6

It is good to start memorizing the meanings of certain words. Try starting with the easiest or most important words, and build on that. If you can do that, it will increase your spanish skill.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matfran2001
matfran2001
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 22
  • 20
  • 20
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 11
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2

Yes, it comes with time. I can't remember when it was, but after some point you just speak and understand without any mental effort at all, just as you do in your native language.

That is what I am looking for in these other languages I am studying now (Italian, French, German, Catalan, Esperanto,....) but I am still far from it in these new languages (that I started studying four or five months ago). Currently I have to make a mental effort (trying to find the correct words and proper sentence structures inside my mind) when I try to write or speak, and that tires you a lot in this "beginner" stage.

But yes, after some time, it all comes easily and effortlessly (it can take years or at least several months of intense practice).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CJWiley0

Yes, in regard to tiring. I would like to spend more time learning but my brain is fried after a couple of hours. The cause just might be all that translating to English, my native language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Delta1212
Delta1212
  • 25
  • 12
  • 12
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4

This improves with time and practice. When I first started picking up German novels, I'd only be able to get through maybe a couple of pages before I'd have to put it down because my brain needed break from trying to process everything. Over the summer, I finally got to the point where I was sitting on the beach reading for a few hours at a time.

I'm still working on expanding my vocabulary, and I will still frequently run across words I don't know that trip me up, but I can read pretty much indefinitely without getting so fatigued that I feel the need to quit, and I don't spend nearly as much time translating in my head. Now it's usually for vocabulary that I've only recently learned doing some drills on, for example, Memrise that haven't fully engrained themselves in my memory yet.

But what mental translating I do is definitely words here and there and not every word of the sentence or anything like that. I think that's far too exhausting to do if you're going to spend any extended amount of time reading.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

It comes naturally over time. When you're exposed to the word enough you just know what it means. You don't have to think about it.

Let me give you a Spanish word. Try to think of what it brings to mind. Hablamos.

If you just instinctively knew what that meant, then you've been exposed to the word long enough to know what that means we speak. If you didn't know, then your mind isn't processing it automatically yet. The more exposure, the better. Don't give up. I've been studying Russian for a few years and even I still have to translate occasionally to English (~50% of the time). It becomes more automatic the more you practice.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VictusMaestro

My biggest recommendation for being able to seamlessly remember those words is to associate a picture in your mind with the concept of the word. I don't remember where I heard that tip, but it helped me immensely.

So now, for example, when I see the French word "voiture", I don't see the English word "car", but rather a mental image of a car. It can be tough with abstract concepts, but once you get the knack, it's dead simple.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brittalexiswm

It is a slow process, but you will get there! It helps to listen to the language and not just read and write. You will be forced to think On your feet.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CJWiley0

Thanks for all your comments. This is my first week of learning Spanish. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but feel like such a noob.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
El_Gusano
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 956

You'll feel great when you conquer the tree! ¬°Buena suerte mi amigo!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

yep

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
El_Gusano
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 956

I still translate a few words in my head but the majority of the time I just feel what I want to say and Spanish comes out with almost no thought. It feels good although I still need more vocabulary and idioms to add to what I've got now. I have trouble understanding some people as they speak with different accents or just don't speak Spanish clearly, which is a problem I don't have in English and hope to conquer in Spanish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/P.Salamander

Since I've been learning these three languages for like ten years, I often think in different languages or all of them at the same time. If someone asks me to translate something from English to Hindi, I'd give them a literal translation and so on. It comes with practice. No worries. You'll get there. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sbelhh
sbelhh
  • 14
  • 12

Yep it is really confusing considering I have atleast three languages in my head while practising here on duolingo :(

2 years ago