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  1. salvador.dal1950's Avatar
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      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina

    • Join Date: Dec 2013
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    #1

    Does it help to translate from your mother tongue into English

    Lately I've been trying to write more in English, -I think is my weakest point- trying little essays or just a compulsive writing no longer than 250 words, something like two paragraphs. But is hard to think of something to write about, so I started to translate pieces of texts from my mother tongue into English. I try to translate the general idea, not word per word translation.

    Many say that one should think in English and then write in English, that mixing languages is counterproductive. I know it was very much used in the past as a teaching method, but now there is this new trend that claims that one should stick to the "target language".

    Do you think it could hindrance my progress in this area? For those who are teachers, have you used in the past? What are your thought about this?

    Thank you
    Last edited by salvador.dal1950; 02-Jan-2014 at 02:49. Reason: spelling mistake

  2. Esgaleth's Avatar
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      • Russian
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      • Russian Federation
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      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: May 2010
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    #2

    Re: Does it help to translate from your mother tong into English

    I suppose you meant "tongue"?

    You are right, many professional teachers would say it's good practice because students tend to think in their first languages anyway, so while practising rendering they will learn to use proper English. Others would argue that this way we allow L1 interference that can be very difficult to eliminate afterwards. Still others are trying to compare languages building up on similarities and warning againt "false friends". So, it's up to you to decide which way you will feel more comfortable and engaged in learning; you might want to consider the following:

    1. Unless you use a lot of Engish on a daily basis, you will probably initially structure your ideas in your first language. Extensive reading can help skip that stage especially if you take notes of the language you like or find useful.

    2. Try to make the process of writing interesting. Today it's not a problem to find a forum to talk about your hobbies, to talk/write to people not because you are learning English but because you have something to say. Be prepared, no one is going to correct you but if you are watchful enough, you can pick up a lot of good English.

    3. Learning another language also implies learning another culture and, I dare say, different logic in a way. Personally, I found fairy tales, nursery rhymes and folk music particularly helpful but, I guess, newspapers and films can also do.

    On a more teacher-like note, unlikely there can be anything to hinder your progress if you are willing to learn and spare no effort to become fluent in English. Good luck!

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