...to the point where you dont translate

I am curious, I want to know if others experience this feeling.
I am at a stage where everything I hear, I try to translate to my familiar language before making sense of it. I am wondering if this is a stage or it will stay with me. I find it very tiring. I know 2 languages very well and I don’t remember going through this stage, but I guess it’s because I was a kid when I learnt them.

Do you guys have experience in what I am talking about?

It’s probably just a stage. You are associating new words with known words in another language. I seem to be doing this too when the foreign language is rather difficult to grasp (I’m trying to learn some Chinese at the moment) and the brain is using anything that can be associated: similar sound, pictures (in Chinese the characters can remind me of something), words in another language, sometimes just funny associations - I found this described in a book, it can even be used as a mnemonic trick to remember words or phrases more easily, but you’ll get to that point where you no longer think of a translation, a picture, a story etc., at least not consciously. It’s just your brain working. Watch it and don’t worry, sooner or later your use of the new words will become more and more automatic and when you hear a message you’ll no longer translate, but understand the meaning.

Hi - I ‘suffer’ from this as well so you aren’t alone :slight_smile:

Actually I can see the improvement. I think back to a time when I literally didn’t understand one word of Portuguese and it all sounded like a jumble of sounds. Now when I listen, I understand lots of words without translating but there is a lot that I still translate. The fact that certain words (and phrases) jump out at me that I just know without any translation process at all makes me feel very positive that over time (with a lot of listening and reading) I will understand a great deal more and the internal translation will stop.

I’m also finding now that I am mixing up Portuguese and English without realising - which can be confusing for the person on the receiving end! I sent an email the other day with detalhes (instead of details) and passaporte (instead of passport) without even realising what I had typed. Very occassionally I get stuck on an English word because I thought of the Portuguese word first. I have read somewhere that this is a good sign that the second language is beginning to stick - I hope so :slight_smile:

Lily: Ha! I’ve experienced that myself. I hopped back into the deep end of Swedish a few months ago after having let it sit stagnant for several years, and almost immediately found words in that language appearing foremost in my mind during conversation of any sort. This wasn’t limited to nouns or adjectives, as I might have suspected: even Swedish prepositions would pop out, often in cases where their direct translation wouldn’t quite fit in typical English grammar.

It was a strange feeling, as if my brain was constantly going from my native language to my second and back again. Luckily, it’s mostly subsided. I’m sure it’s a good thing :wink:

Dont worry too much. Take the words “hello” and "goodbye’ in your target language. You dont translate those to english when you hear it right?.. so multiply that by a few other thousands words… and eventually they wll all get to that point :slight_smile:

Language is a tool for expressing concepts that already exist in the brain.
With ESP you could just transfer the concept itself, which would be immediate and completely understood immediately.
However we have not acquired this ability. It would save us so much from out misunderstandings and disagreements.
Shame really.
But no, we rely on language, each word is a concept, grammar adds to the concepts complexity, and shapes it into the closest thing we can to match the concepts in our minds. Usually paints a picture not as clear as the one in our head.
When you were a baby, this was easy, you could attach language directly to concepts, to objects, to emotions, to colors. But now as fully developed human beings, it’s harder because in our interactions with anything in the world we already have a language already installed that automatically pops up offering itself for our use in expressing those things, new words, foreign sounds that your brain isn’t trained to be listening to and distinguishing from, and the only way your brain knows how to grasp these is to associate them with the language already in your mind, that are already attached to those concepts.
Eventually these foreign words, as you practice, and understand them, and process them enough times will also be directly associated and attached to the concept, the object, and everything.
After that the problem becomes picking the right words and not speaking in multiple languages at once, for men this is easier for our minds comparitimentalize most everything.

Sigh, I do not know why, I had to type that, I felt it though. I know, too much. And mostly unknown sources where I’ve come to put this picture of psychology and science together. National Geographic channel on babies maybe, Psychology class maybe, maybe all those studies we always hear about.
Anyway i do not envy the English learner who’s going to try and read that ‘essay’.