Hello, I am new here and was wondering how does Linq translate words? does it use a translator like google translate? I am asking before getting premium because I know translators like google translate are not always accurate and I am concerned about learning something wrong.
When you select a word, you will see list of suggested user hints (translations added by other users for that word). If you don’t like suggested hints, you can use available dictionaries to look and find other translation. Google Translate is just one of available dictionaries, but there is usually lot more for various language combinations.
As Zoran indicated you can always try multiple dictionaries yourself instead of relying on the automatic translation or on the hints provided by the choices others made (and yes, on rare occasions even a popular choice is wrong.)
However, also remember you will be reading in “context” and presumably reading material only just a bit beyond you level so you’ll have a pretty good idea of what meanings can possibly fit the sentence and the current thread of the story.
Sure, Google or LingQ is sometimes not perfect but it’s almost always better than raw beginners and as you gain knowledge and skill you’ll find you can usually detect those mistakes and even offer a better translation yourself.
Remember, there are practially no words that translate perfectly from one language to the next unless the languages are extremely close (and usually not even then) so even when we “know” the correct translation that word can have a different sense, nuance, implication, or even an entirely different meaning in some contexts.
Generally, when I am in doubt, I use the Wictionaire (for French) which is largely taken from the French Academy which sets the semi-official stardards for French.
In other languages there is usually some nearly-authentic single language dictionary that will tell you what native speakers would expect to find.
However, also note, this is a problem even for us in our native language, though less often: Looking up a word in the dictionary will sometimes give even a native speaker the wrong answer if the definition is taken too literally or out of context.
Ultimately, you really don’t want to translate at all (unless that’s your job or function). You want to just understand the words as given in the language your are reading or hearing.
Sometimes, I wonder if that isn’t a trap that LingQ might help us set for ourselves:
Encouraging us to continue translating longer than is good for us because it is so helpful and so easy to do.
But that is a choice too as long as we are aware of it.
Okay thank you so much. This helps
Thank you very much for this explanation. This makes a lot of sense and is very helpful. I appreciate it much.
And don’t miss the “Popular translations” link under the suggested hints. I frequently find choices that I prefer there. If I have to go to a dictionary, I often prefer Wiktionary, at least for Russian. Haven’t really needed it yet for German which I’ve only recently started on.
Herbm is absolutely right. Let me add another perspective, in case you find it useful because I think many beginners find it hard to understand how you learn languages effectively.
You don’t master a language by learning words. What you do is you tackle material , whether written or spoken, in the language and you get to understand them. You do that day after day and your brain, which is hardwired for language learning, will learn not only the vocabulary but the context in which it is used and how it is put together. Actively memorizing words or reading grammar rules doesn’t hurt but it’s not indispensable and surely not the main thing.
Now, how can you understand a language that is new to you? That’s the tricky part, there are a few ways but Lingq offers one that is handy for most speakers: it provides you with easy to use dictionaries, together with sentence translations and material which is context rich, you add your own growing understanding of the language to the mixture. Those are only tools to help you make sense of the material, they can never be perfect and that’s not their aim. Think of yourself as deciphering an ancient inscription or an alien recording. You have some educated guesses about what it may mean, you understand some fragments that you have already come across, you have access to imperfect glossaries and so on and you do your best to come up with an understanding of what the meaning is. In the beginning you’ll only be able to understand tiny parts and you’re sure to make mistakes, but your proficiency will improve and you’ll end up understanding very complex messages with ease.
If you feel at a loss at any moment feel free to ask in the forum, that’s another important feature of Lingq.
As a little sample of how this method works, have a look at researcher Stephen Krashen’s demo. Notice that here he uses images and gestures as a help to understand. It is a nice example but it doesn’t scale well. Lingq strives to provide clues that you can use every day, from any place and that are helpful at any level in your learning process:
Le deseo mucho éxito, amigo