Too much translation into English?

There is a lot of this to do but is it the best way to learn? I find I can quite confidently do this, but ask me to translate from English into Italian and I am having a much harder time...obviously this is the true test of what I have really learned! When I learned my native English I didn't do it by translating it into another language - I did it by repetition and use. Surely this would be the best way to learn a second language? More translation out of English and less into English please!

February 27, 2015


Duolingo seems to be heavily weighted toward translating from the target language into English (or French or Spanish or whatever language you've indicated is the one that you speak). I think that fits with the fact that they make money from (some of the) Immersion translations, where you are translating from your target language into your (theoretically) native language. That's the skill that is most important to them for users to have.

I like Duo a lot and am happy to be using it, but the focus on translation (and one-way translation, at that) is one reason why it isn't good to use it as your sole resource for learning a language.

February 28, 2015

I couldn't agree more Goosey,

It's definitely Lopsided, But there's a little trick you can do to out smart the system.
It's called a reverse tree.

Try this out >

March 1, 2015

That's a really good tip. The only drawback I can see is it wouldn't give you an explanation of why the Italian is wrong. But I might give that a try after I get through all the Italian lessons...can't hurt to try it from another direction to sharpen your skills

March 4, 2015

I've been learning languages all my life, and remember rote learning at school, which has certainly imprinted stuff in my long-term memory. But for a quick, clever, beginning at learning a new language, I think you can't beat Duolingo!

March 1, 2015
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If you want to translate more from English to Italian then do the reverse tree. As explained by MaggiPye DL will then put in more translating from English to Italian as it assumes you know Italian already. I found it a lot harder than I expected.

March 2, 2015

I agree

February 28, 2015

Good tip Rafforza and Rompip, I will look into that.

March 2, 2015

Well, I think you should either get a pen pal, or find a native speaker and talk to them. Of course, not everyone has that "native speaker" friend who is Italian they can talk to, so I suggest joining some sort of online chat room ( I've heard of many, but I forgot them, if you look it up though, it might help). Another thing I suggest if you are more comfortable with Italian would be reading a book or keeping a diary in Italian. Keeping a diary would train you to think in Italian. Also, in order to read a book in any language you are not a native speaker of, you need to put yourself in "a (your learning language here) state of mind" (I don't know how else to explain), and stop translating into English as you read! If there are words you don't understand, it's okay to look them up, but first try to use context clues. Or for a challenge, as you are learning Swedish, try translating/ reading stuff in Swedish to Italian and vice versa. Anyways, if you want a native Italian speaker to message, you can write to me on my profile page and I'll correct you and message you back. That way you can have some good practice!

March 10, 2015

I agree with you Goosey!
It is a true observation that we learn our native language - regardless of our home country indeed by repetition and use. In another discussion someone wrote that there was too much repetition and I made a similar comment. I gain a lot by redoing exercises, writing and rewriting. I am still grappling with the idea of trying not to think how I would write or say something in my own language, but to concentrate on the foreign words and how they are used. Do you now what I mean? Trying to get inside of the head of a French person and how they would naturally construct their sentences. After all, we say don't say to each other 'I have a coat red' or 'Is it that you play at tennis?' I think our patterns of speech and its grammar get in the way of learning a new language.We need to learn and memorise what the foreign words and phrases mean and absorb them, perhaps compartmentalise our own and the foreign language? :))

March 28, 2015

Not learning italian but french. And i can say by far i am learning more by doing the reverse tree, it's fantastic. The only downside ofcourse is that you wont get the french (or italian in your case) audio which is a shame, That's why i switch between the two trees every now and then.

March 2, 2019
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