How to stop ESL learners from translating?


I’ve often noticed that adult learners of English are constantly trying to translate what they hear into their mother tongue. In my opinion, this translation process burdens their brains and they can’t keep up with what’s being said. So I tried to make some suggestions on how to stop translating.

What do you think of them?
Many thanks,

TOEFL listening discussions: How is the young woman financing her education?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Well, to be honest, that excerpt (part 17) seems to offer only one suggestion, Torsten: ‘just relax’. Easily said, and I say it twice a day, but translating is more ingrained in adult learners than that-- saying ‘relax’ is just one more conscious rule they must follow.

No, I don’t have an answer. I try to get them involved enough and communicating briskly enough at the appropriate level of challenge that translation is at least partially by-passed.

Hi Charles,

The first step for a learner of English to stop translating back and forth is to be aware of the subconscious translation process. Since the vast majority of all learners of English are not aware of the fact that they constantly try to translate into their native language they can’t avoid it. So this article is about raising awareness and trying to come up with solutions.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: A riverside[YSaerTTEW443543]

When learning a new language, I find it helps to associate new words with thoughts and images, rather than the equivalent English words. But I expect that’s a common experience.


Hell, there’s nothing subconscious about my students’ translation-- often, it’s not even silent!