Does the internal translation disappear, or just become quicker?

Hey everyone,

I want to probe and see what the experiences have been when learning a new language. I'm sure it's perfectly normal to feel this, but I feel an apprehension about my ability to hear a phrase and not have to take forever to translate it in my head first to english, the retranslate the response.

Is this normal? Does it get easier? Does one eventually transition to not having to translate to their native language, and just think solely in the new one?

Any advice, tips, or encouragement would be great!

Tusen takk!

February 13, 2019


I find that it happens more and more as I learn. As I become more comfortable with certain words I just nkow their menaing without thinking - I've heard it described as 'lifting the tune from the page'.

That's not to say it happens with every word, but it happens with more words the more exposure to the language I have.

Working the other way (speaking in my target language) is slower. I think that's because when reading or listening the word is there for you, but in constructing your own sentences you have to think what to say and then work out the best way to say it. I try to think in my target language as much as possible, but I have a smaller immediatelyy accessible vocabulary if I'm working unprompted - although that too is growing with time and practice.

I have made sure when practicing to only translate where absolutely necessary to try to aid the process.

February 13, 2019


Honestly, I have found that it gets easier with time and practice. What I didn't realise is that at first, I was skipping too many lessons by trying to jump through them all to get them to gold. I wasn't doing it just to get the lessons to gold, I felt I knew the section well enough to push past it but that cuts out a lot of necessary repetitive learning that can help. I've noticed that I am better able to understand what is being said by doing more of the lessons.

So tip 1 is to try not to skip too much so that you can get that repatition in enough to allow it to sink in.

Tip 2 is already written up by duo as the lessons load: Say the sentences aloud when you hear them or when you see them and have to use them. Saying them aloud has helped retain the words and their translation, the more I do it. This ties into the first tip with repeating the lessons enough and trying not to skip too often. Definitely the best thing I can offer you in tip form is to say everything aloud.

Tip 3 is minor but it has been a noticable help to me, at least. Replace every day words with the ones you are learning. Creating visual association, for example, when you see an apple at home, say out loud "eple" or if you spot something at the supermarket, say it to yourself, even in your head and it will stick when it comes time to speaking it and hearing it spoken back.

Hope that helps, man. Glad to have another person trying to snakker Norsk!

February 13, 2019

If you practice conversation in whichever language the translating will start to disappear. Ive been using to practice turkish with native speakers and its helped me greatly. strongly recommend it. before that i just studied on duo so much and had all this knowledge but still had to think really hard to use it. Keep at it, best of luck

February 14, 2019

I wish there was a quicker way, but it really does just boil down to repetition and practice. For a very long time with Spanish I struggled with listening comprehension because in spoken language it is very difficult to decipher when one word ends and another begins, so I too would often translate word for word and my responses were slow and choppy. Basically just keep moving forward, even on those phrases that you know and those lessons that seem totally irrelevant because you've done them so many times. You won't notice while it happens, but two years later you'll be mastering conversations that were only a wish at one point.

February 13, 2019
Learn Norwegian (Bokmål) in just 5 minutes a day. For free.