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Translation direction

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 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Balliballi
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 Message 25 of 46
2012 05 March at 11:15pm | IP Logged 
LaughingChimp wrote:
Balliballi wrote:
You are involuntarily translating in your head even if you think you aren't when you are learning a new language (either from TL to NL or NL to TL). This is because when you want to express yourself in the target language, the thought you want to express appears in your mind in English (or the native language that you speak) because as a native speaker of English you think in English. Also, when you try to understand the meaning of a target language sentence, the meaning is expressed in English in your head because you think in English (once again) or in the NL you speak. That is what I am getting at. I do not mean you should do written translation exercises from NL to TL per se, which is what many people think I mean. You may but that is not the focal point of my discussion. I am not debating doing written translations versus not doing written translations in this thread.


Not all people think this way. Don't generalize from a single example.

Arekkusu wrote:
I see no difference between translating into L2 and pure oral L2 production... You have a specific meaning in mind and you need to produce accurate L2 language to convey that meaning. It's an essential skill.


Exactly. I don't understand the advice that translating can help if you don't understand. How can I translate if I don't understand?


I don't think you understand what I mean by "translating". (Read the post I wrote before this one, again.) Arekkusu is agreeing with me.

Unless you think in pictures - think in pictures even complex thoughts like "Upgrade to a pro account to browse this forum ad-free and get many more features!" - you do think in your native language, and will do so for a while when first learning a new language.

There is an argument to be made for skipping inline translations and just looking at (or listening to) the natural-sounding native language translation (so long as they do not deviate too much from the literal translation as they sometimes do in the subtitles of movies) or illustrations or whatever. (Illustrations are limited in the complexity of meaning they are able to show, however.)

Some people may just forget about trying to understand the grammar of a target language sentence or even the learning of new words. I think that's OK so long as they are focused on "meaning->target language".

Edited by Balliballi on 2012 06 March at 12:40am

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LaughingChimp
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 Message 26 of 46
2012 06 March at 12:03am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
It is fairly evident that the 'ordinary' meaning oriented translation into English not only doesn't tell you anything about how the Irish language functions - it is simply misleading because it tempts you to make a gross translation error if you trust it.


I don't get it. Why should correct translations tempt you to make errors?


Iversen wrote:
You may like hyperliteral translations or not, I don't mind, but free translations are something any language learner should avoid like the plague.


1. Why?
2. Would you prefer imprecise literal translation over more precise free translation?

Balliballi wrote:

I don't think you understand what I mean by "translating". Arekkusu is actually agreeing with me.


I'm not sure what you mean, I was pointing out that not all people have a voice in their head like you suggested. (the quotes were not ment to be related, I just put both answers into one post.)

Edited by LaughingChimp on 2012 06 March at 12:10am

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Balliballi
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 Message 27 of 46
2012 06 March at 12:46am | IP Logged 
LaughingChimp wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean, I was pointing out that not all people have a voice in their head like you suggested. (the quotes were not ment to be related, I just put both answers into one post.)


What Arekkusu wrote:

Quote:
I see no difference between translating into L2 and pure oral L2 production...


is paraphrasing, albeit more succinctly, what I wrote:

Quote:
You are involuntarily translating in your head even if you think you aren't when you are learning a new language (either from TL to NL or NL to TL). This is because when you want to express yourself in the target language, the thought you want to express appears in your mind in English (or the native language that you speak) because as a native speaker of English you think in English. Also, when you try to understand the meaning of a target language sentence, the meaning is expressed in English in your head because you think in English (once again) or in the NL you speak. That is what I am getting at.


You agree with what Arekkusu is saying but you don't agree with what I am saying, and yet we are essentially saying the same thing in the two quotes.

LaughingChimp, I think you really need to work on reading comprehension of this thread before you make further comments in this thread.

Comments like these:

Quote:
Iversen wrote:
You may like hyperliteral translations or not, I don't mind, but free translations are something any language learner should avoid like the plague.

1. Why?
2. Would you prefer imprecise literal translation over more precise free translation?


and

LaughingChimp wrote:
Balliballi wrote:
You are involuntarily translating in your head even if you think you aren't when you are learning a new language (either from TL to NL or NL to TL). This is because when you want to express yourself in the target language, the thought you want to express appears in your mind in English (or the native language that you speak) because as a native speaker of English you think in English. Also, when you try to understand the meaning of a target language sentence, the meaning is expressed in English in your head because you think in English (once again) or in the NL you speak. That is what I am getting at. I do not mean you should do written translation exercises from NL to TL per se, which is what many people think I mean. You may but that is not the focal point of my discussion. I am not debating doing written translations versus not doing written translations in this thread.


Not all people think this way. Don't generalize from a single example.

Arekkusu wrote:
I see no difference between translating into L2 and pure oral L2 production... You have a specific meaning in mind and you need to produce accurate L2 language to convey that meaning. It's an essential skill.

Exactly. I don't understand the advice that translating can help if you don't understand. How can I translate if I don't understand?


indicate you are not following the discussion in the thread (you misunderstand some of the comments) and because of that, your comments frankly do not make sense. Not only that, you are making me digress from the discussion by making me respond to you to explain things that you did not understand. It would save me (and probably others) trouble if you first tried to understand what we are trying to say instead of misinterpreting what we are saying and then arguing against the misinterpretations.

It is also hard to understand what you are saying.

atama warui wrote:
However, I still think that, at a certain stage, going straight L2 without interference of your mother tongue, helps you stay in the flow, making it easier to start to think in your L2, which in turn speeds up the process of making your version of the L2 closer to the original (yes, I read the text that Wulfgar linked, and some parts of it, I found particularly fitting).


It's debatable how much and in what forms content in the native language should appear (inline translations, natural-sounding translations, spoken translations) when showing meaning. But unless you are showing meaning by pictures, actions (as in charades) or video scenes, how else are you going to show meaning? You need to show meaning in some form of the native language unless the meaning is very simple (like tangible objects). And even if meaning is represented pictorially, without the spoken word or the written word, the odds are you will think of the meaning in the native language in your head anyway.

And you will probably continue to do so until you start thinking in the target language.

Edited by Balliballi on 2012 06 March at 1:50am

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LaughingChimp
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 Message 28 of 46
2012 06 March at 2:12am | IP Logged 
Balliballi wrote:
You agree with what Arekkusu is saying but you don't agree with what I am saying, and yet we are essentially saying the same thing in the two quotes.


No, I disagree with this sentence specifically:
Quote:
This is because when you want to express yourself in the target language, the thought you want to express appears in your mind in English (or the native language that you speak) because as a native speaker of English you think in English.

Because as I said, not all people have this inner voice.


Balliballi wrote:
LaughingChimp, I think you really need to work on reading comprehension of this thread before you make further comments in this thread.

Comments like these: I don't understand the advice that translating can help if you don't understand. How can I translate if I don't understand?

indicate you are not following the discussion in the thread


I wasn't responding to anything in this discussion, I was commenting the commonly given advice that when you don't understand something, you should try to translate it into your L1. For the Iversen quote - I clearly stated I don't understand what he means.



Edited by LaughingChimp on 2012 06 March at 2:12am

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atama warui
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 Message 29 of 46
2012 06 March at 4:52am | IP Logged 
This thread really makes me think.

I share LaughingChimp's view to some degree:

WHERE do you take the English from?

Do you articulate thoughts in English inside your head? I never form thoughts like that with a string of words, or even single words. My train of thoughts feels more like "impulses of facts/info/emotions" that combine and not before I try to articulate, I chose the language to do so.

I do not "think in German".

What I do is, I articulate my thoughts in German when I'm about to speak or write it out. When I chose to, I do so in Japanese (although, in that case, I have to beat around the bush and follow a strategy to enable me to express what I mean in other words more often than I'd like to)

Now, following this logic, you might rethink if LaughingChimp actually "doesn't get it" due to "bad reading comprehension", or if there might actually exist other models of thought, or if we just can't seem to establish communication compatibility in this special case.

Because, really, this thread made me think... and more about "thinking" than about translations ;)

I'm sorry if this is offtopic. I don't mean to derail your thread. But I'm interested in finding out what's going on here.
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Serpent
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 Message 30 of 46
2012 06 March at 6:17am | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
I see no difference between translating into L2 and pure oral L2 production... You have a specific meaning in mind and you need to produce accurate L2 language to convey that meaning.
You're an experienced learner, though. And really even for me it's difficult not to be limited by the original wording when translating. If an idea does appear in my mind in the wrong language, I often have to formulate it differently before I'm able to translate it.
Now think of a newbie who still doesn't properly realize that a sentence is more than just a sum of words and/or that people who speak foreign languages fluently don't translate everything in their heads...
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Serpent
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 Message 31 of 46
2012 06 March at 6:53am | IP Logged 
Balliballi wrote:
Also, when you try to understand the meaning of a target language sentence, the meaning is expressed in English in your head because you think in English (once again) or in the NL you speak.
You ignored my comment so let me give you my favourite example. One day last autumn, I woke up. I checked twitter and I saw that one of my favourite Dutch football (soccer) players, who lives in my city, had tweeted "sneeuw #moskou". Without ANY CONSCIOUS THOUGHT AT ALL, I got up, looked out of the window and saw the first snow. I didn't think "hm this word is similar to snow and Schnee, and Dutch is similar to German and English so this means snow! Wow, do we have snow?"
I absolutely didn't consider myself a learner of Dutch at that point. Even now my "learning" consists of SRS'ing the sentences where the structure makes sense to me and playing with lyricstraining.
So I insist that at least with related languages, it's possible to understand without translating AND without studying. I actually also think that if you know a word well, you understand it when you meet it, without translating. You translate if you need to remember, like, "hey I know this word! it means...umm..what does it mean? YES now I remember!"

That's interesting to realize, actually. In most cases, I prefer understanding vaguely but without translating to making conscious efforts to express the meaning. Like, I may look up a grammar form, but if I know all the words and the sentence as a whole doesn't make sense, that's not a problem unless I need the precise meaning (mostly for SRS'ing;))

Edited by Serpent on 2012 06 March at 6:54am

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Balliballi
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 Message 32 of 46
2012 06 March at 7:27am | IP Logged 
LaughingChimp wrote:
Balliballi wrote:
You agree with what Arekkusu is saying but you don't agree with what I am saying, and yet we are essentially saying the same thing in the two quotes.


No, I disagree with this sentence specifically:
Quote:
This is because when you want to express yourself in the target language, the thought you want to express appears in your mind in English (or the native language that you speak) because as a native speaker of English you think in English.

Because as I said, not all people have this inner voice.


Yes, I know you don't agree with this, but you agree with Arekkusu who said this:

Quote:
I see no difference between translating into L2 and pure oral L2 production... You have a specific meaning in mind and you need to produce accurate L2 language to convey that meaning. It's an essential skill.


which is paraphrasing what I said in the quote above.

This is illogical.

As I said, I think you really need to work on your reading comprehension.

atama warui wrote:

I share LaughingChimp's view to some degree:


But what is his view? He disagrees with what I said and yet he agrees with what I said (he agrees with arekkusu who paraphrased what I said).

LaughingChimp wrote:
I don't understand the advice that translating can help if you don't understand. How can I translate if I don't understand?


Understand what? I have no idea what you are talking about here.

LaughingChimp wrote:
2. Would you prefer imprecise literal translation over more precise free translation?


"Imprecise literal translation" is an oxymoron. No, you are not being "clear" at all.

To Atama Warui:

You don't think in German?

Even when reading this?

http://www.focus.de/kultur/kino_tv/focus-fernsehclub/der-deu tsche-filmpreis-mutti-ist-die-beste_aid_499319.html

Edited by Balliballi on 2012 06 March at 8:28am



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