Is it effective for learning to translate more complicated passages as a beginner?

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CardiffGiant
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Is it effective for learning to translate more complicated passages as a beginner?

Postby CardiffGiant » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:13 am

One of the recent methods that I have been using to learn Italian is to listen to podcast in spoken Italian attempting to understand as much as possible in the process then I read the Italian text of the audio file. Lastly, I translate the written text. Because the audio is a bit above my level, I frequently look up the words and phrases that I don’t know, but in all, it is a time consuming and challenging process. My question is how effective has this been for others when learning a language? Did you find it to be an effective use of your time? Did you make measurable gains doing this? Any other thoughts? Thanks!
Last edited by CardiffGiant on Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Opinions on listening then translating the written text of audio file

Postby Kraut » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:16 am

You can speed up your translation by using DeepL Translator:
https://www.deepl.com/translator
By clicking in front of a word (in the right window) DeepL offers you alternative translations.
By clicking on a word in the original (in the left windows) you get the meanings of a single word at the bottom.


You will have nicely aligned parallel texts and your audio to practice with.

Here is something on the merits of the bi-directional translation method.
http://www.thepolyglotdream.com/use-tra ... -language/

A step further - with video included - is Lingo Player:
http://oaprograms.github.io/lingo-player/
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CardiffGiant
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Re: Opinions on listening then translating the written text of audio file

Postby CardiffGiant » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:58 am

Have others found this method to be helpful to them? I am wondering if I am attempting this too early in my learning as I find myself looking up a lot of phrases, and it is a bit daunting. Any guidance regarding the effectiveness of this practice would be appreciated.
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Re: Opinions on listening then translating the written text of audio file

Postby Xenops » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:44 pm

CardiffGiant wrote:Have others found this method to be helpful to them? I am wondering if I am attempting this too early in my learning as I find myself looking up a lot of phrases, and it is a bit daunting. Any guidance regarding the effectiveness of this practice would be appreciated.


I would probably keep the complex materials for later in your studies. My understanding is that either reading graded readers or using dual-language texts are the most useful entry into native materials.
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Re: Is it effective for learning to translate more complicated passages as a beginner?

Postby Iversen » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:32 am

If you have to look everything up it will take a lot of time, and you will only get through very little text. It is better to look for bilingual texts or produce them yourself using machine translations. Machine translations may contain a lot of errors, but since they only have to help you to understand the text yourself this isn't as dangerous as using them to produce texts in your target language(s), which isn't in any way advisable. You will still not get through much text, but in the beginning it is more important to more or less understand the text than to train your stamina on long texts (later on this last task becomes more important). And one little trick: look the most mysterious words up before you try to understand a difficult sentence - not in the middle of it.
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Re: Is it effective for learning to translate more complicated passages as a beginner?

Postby iguanamon » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:54 am

Trying to parse long native texts for a raw, monolingual beginner is a herculean effort that usually leads to frustration and giving up. Short texts, a tweet, perhaps a short verse of a song, something with a few sentences, these can be worthwhile and not too taxing. Provided that this be done with very short texts alongside a course, it can be quite helpful to make your own connections and figure things out on your own. When you try to translate more than this, it's like hitting your head against a brick wall. That's why there are courses, parallel texts, interlinear texts, etc that help a learner chip away at the mortar and make the bricks fall more easily, gradually, rather than continuing to ram one's head full on at the brick expecting the wall to come down.
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Re: Is it effective for learning to translate more complicated passages as a beginner?

Postby Steve » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:10 pm

I think it is important to take a serious look at what you are actually practicing doing. Consider what you are spending most of your effort doing over and over. If most of your effort is spent looking things up and thinking in your native language about what you are reading, you are practicing looking things up. If most of your effort is spent reading (with glances at a parallel text to catch the meaning), you are practicing reading.

My limited experience acquiring reading skills in two languages is that I try to balance extensive reading and intensive reading. Extensive reading (using parallel texts) helps me internalize and automate parts of the language I am somewhat familiar with. Intensive reading adds to the parts of the language I am somewhat familiar with. Depending on my mood, stage of learning, and the material I'm reading, I generally run about 80% to 90% of my reading time doing extensive reading with the remainder doing intensive reading. This seems to be effective for me to both improve and maintain motivation. At early stages of learning, I am content with just getting the gist of something and missing many nuances and details. My main goal at the beginning is internalizing the most common parts of the language, not overwhelming myself with too many details to remember.

One big factor for me as to the balance of extensive and intensive reading (or other types of grammar study) is reducing frustration. For me, frustration means anything that is causing my stress levels to rise and causes me to not like what I am doing. I try to eliminate what is frustrating me the most at a given time. If I am getting frustrated while extensive reading, I try to determine why. If it is because the text is well beyond my abilities, I move to an easier text. If it is because there is some aspect of the language that I keep stumbling over, I'll go to intensive reading or study to improve that aspect of the language. If I feel frustrated with intensive reading or grammar study, I'll go back to extensive reading. My experience with my personality is that eliminating the largest source of frustration keeps me motivated and improving.
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