When we’re learning a new language, our knee-jerk reaction is to translate all words into our native language to understand exactly what they mean. While that’s tempting and seems sensible, dropping the need to translate is essential if you want to speed up your progress.
First, try using monolingual dictionaries, as doing so builds vocabulary faster.
Monolingual dictionaries are dictionaries in which each word is explained using the same language as the word you looked up. Aim to use these as soon as you can when you’re learning a new language. As you read the definition in the target language, you’ll not only learn the word you’re looking up, but you’ll be exposed to the new words that explain it. If you don’t understand these words, look those up too! That way, every time you read a new definition, you’ll absorb more grammar and more words.
Abstaining from constant translation will also make you fluent faster.
When speaking a new language, you’ll often find yourself in situations in which a native speaker will tell you: What you said is not wrong, but we just don’t say that. This is because grammar and vocabulary are only part of the puzzle. You might say something grammatically correct that just isn’t naturally said in that language!
If you want to become fluent, you have to hone your listening skills. And the only way is to steer clear of translations.
For example, if you’re watching a movie in the language you’re trying to learn, turn off the subtitles. Even if you don’t understand everything, your knowledge of the language will gradually broaden. You won’t just widen your vocabulary, but you’ll also understand how the words are used in context.
You can also try reading a book along with the audiobook. This is great at teaching you the rhythm of your new language.