5 Tips to Stop Translating in Your Head

The Problem With Translating In Your Head

Typically when we start learning a language we are taught as well to translate and memorize grammar rules. This eventually becomes a problem because while you’re trying to say something you start doing mental gymnastics trying to translate one word into another and making sure you follow the grammar rules you memorized. This makes your Spanish sound slow and boring. Plus it can be exhausting and confusing. Learning to stop translating in your head will make you sound more fluent and improve your understanding. However, this is also a process because you need to forget what you learned and learn again, in a different way.

5 Ideas You Can Do To Stop Translating

Based on my experience teaching Spanish and also learning my second language, English I have found that the reason why we don’t speak as fluently and don’t sound natural when we speak like native speakers is not lack of vocabulary, it’s not lack of someone to practice with. No. The main reasons why we struggle speaking and saying what we need is: Fear and the badly learned habit of translating everything. Here’s some ideas I suggest for you to try and break that habit:

  1.  Learn groups of words or chunks of language: Instead of learning vocabulary lists, try finding groups of words that are often together and don’t focus on the specific meaning of each word but on the meaning of the words a s a group.
  2. Find A Use For Those Groups: If you don’t provide your brain with a clue of a context or a reason to remember the group of words, it will simply forget it to save energy. Why remembering something you won’t use? So, when you learn anything new picture yourself saying that to someone or using it somewhere.
  3. Find the groups Useful For You: Why are you going to learn words that don’t have any meaning to your life? If you don’t like politics, don’t learn words that can only be used in politics. Try learning the groups of words related to topics you are interested in.
  4. Record yourself Speaking.
  5. Stop Being Afraid Of Making A Fool Of Yourself.

You can watch the video for more explanations on tips number 4 and 5.

 

So… Is Translating Always A Bad Thing?

Translating can be good to compare your language to the new one. It gives you an idea of how the other language works, but if you stick to it and rely on it to say anything, you will make it a habit that instead of helping you improve, will make your Spanish worse.

Interested in an intermediate – advanced course to help you sound better and understand native Spanish speakers in regular conversations and TV? Check out Español en uso and see if it is for you.

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