Don't just translate, use the natural way to learn Chinese. It's easier!
Nicole is an excellent student. She has the sharpest grasp of Chinese in the class. Her written Chinese is also very impressive. However, I was very surprised when she turned in her essay because it seemed to be the work of a lesser student. It was not what I expected. Her sentence structure is usually very easy to understand. Her latest work didn’t effectively convey what she was trying to communicate.
I wondered why her latest work had taken such a turn for the worst. When I expressed my concern directly, we couldn’t pinpoint the source. Suddenly, it came to me. I asked, “Did you first write the text in English and then translate it”? When she revealed that she indeed had taken that route I was curious as to what her reasons were. She just wanted to make it better.
By first translating her work, Nicole stopped thinking as a natural Chinese speaker would and lost the ‘feel’ for Chinese. Normally, her Chinese is excellent but, this time, her essay betrayed her usual skills. The result was a confusing array of poor Chinese that was difficult to understand.
The translation process was hurting her progress. My advice to her was to avoid the translation process and try a more organic approach because her previous work really was excellent. This advice also works with finding the correct approach in mastering spoken Chinese.
If you learn by translating, your Chinese grammar and fluency will be flawed. The syntax and usage customs of your first language are muddling the message from coming across successfully. This gets in the way and makes your speech slower, confusing and more difficult to understand.
Skip the translation : You’re better off. A more effective strategy would be to listen to actual Chinese being spoken. Read Chinese in a newspaper or as poetry. Pick written Chinese that is easy to read at first and then move up the spectrum of literature from there. Over time, you will understand Chinese naturally and easily, without translation. After some time you’ll begin to notice an improvement in your ‘feel’ for Chinese grammar instead of memorizing complex rules and translations.
Try the Super Easy Chinese Learning System.