Translation as a way to learn a foreign language

Translation as a way to learn a foreign language
25.11.2020 | Language Learning

Nowadays, when you use a search engine to find information about language learning, you get thousands of results, from tips on teaching methods and styles to exciting apps and games to help you achieve your goals.

The translation method was somehow lost and out of fashion among many innovative learning strategies. According to many people learning a foreign language in today's world, the best way to learn a foreign language is to limit their native language. However, translation can be a great tool for students if used thoughtfully.

If professional translation is done by qualified, experienced translators, then anyone trying to master a new language can use the translation to achieve fluency. As we understand it, this method will never be "bad" or "good," this method is timeless. Let's find out how translation can help you improve your language skills.


How can translation help you learn the language?

These are the three main ways in which translation can help you learn the language:

  • Translations from one language to another may reveal their structural differences and any similarities that may be common to them, such as vocabulary or word order.
  • The translation method is ideal for helping students understand how different languages can convey a thought in completely different ways.
  • The translation simply captures "both parts" of your brain; your native and target language. It encourages you to get used to switching between your languages at any time, which reinforces your language skills.

It's all about constant practice.

Practice, as in any other case, helps achieve perfection. Try to make translation part of your regular study program, be it the translation of individual words and phrases, or challenge yourself to find short articles on the Internet and translate them.

Although we prefer translation as a language learning tool, its benefits are very limited if you try to do it alone. Find a tutor who can review your work and take you to the level you want to be.


Many advantages of translation

When learning a new language, we often rely on visual aids or gestures to be understood and keep new words and phrases in our memory.

This strategy is simple and effective when it comes to specific words such as "table," "house," or "picture," but what about abstract words and expressions such as "sympathy," "feeling," or "all of a sudden"? In these cases, the translation is efficient, reliable, and necessary.

The secret advantage of using translation in this way is that along with acquiring a vocabulary in your new language, you can actually learn to better understand your native language, as this will give you an idea of how languages differ from each other.

Just remember that although online translators and dictionaries are useful tools, you must learn how to use them correctly or make serious linguistic mistakes! To ensure this, say such tricky phrases in the presence of your tutor or native speaker.


Practical steps to use translation

So, you decided to use translation as a language learning tool, but where do you start?

If you are just getting to know the language, the first good step is to download one of the many applications that teach vocabulary. More advanced ones should try the following method:

Take a few short paragraphs in your language (ideally 400 words). You should choose a text that matches your level and is easy enough to understand.

Translate the text from the language you are studying into your native language. Take your time and use reliable dictionaries if necessary. Pay close attention to the context of the text; words change their meaning depending on the context.

Finally, take your translation and translate it back, i.e., translate it back to the language you are studying. Do not use the original text during this session. Thanks to these reverse translations, you can think in the target language and notice your linguistic mistakes, such as syntax, spelling, and grammar.

Here is a brief description of this method: if you are a native speaker of the English language learning Spanish, translate the Spanish text into English, then take the English translation and translate it into Spanish.



As you can see, there is really no reason not to use translation as part of your language learning strategy. Although this learning method may not be as modern as other popular learning methods, it involves the brain, reveals differences between languages, and brings results.

Remember that although translation is useful for acquiring skills and learning a new language, you should always contact a professional translation agency for texts not intended for personal use. Professional iText translators are experienced in a variety of fields. For more information or quotes on translation, please contact us now.


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Translation can be a very effective tool for learning a foreign language. Read our article on how to use this method and take your language skills to a higher level.

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