Stop Translating in Your Head

Students often ask me how they can stop translating in their head from English into their native language while talking. This is a fantastic question and I thought it’s best to respond to this in a full episode today. Can you relate to this?

In this episode, I give a few tips on how you can avoid translating in your head, but while also understanding this is a totally natural part of language learning.

1. Collocations

Don’t think about English as learning single words, but instead, think of learning phrases / groups of words, also known as collocations.

English speakers speak in these phrases rather than focusing on each individual word, and if you can get into the habit of doing this, you will avoid this problem too.

Start learning more in context, rather than focusing on word lists. Check out a full podcast episode I made on the topic of collocations here.

2. Concepts

Try to think of words as concepts rather than translating to words in your language. Rather than thinking “Dog = 犬” see if you can think of the word “Dog” and simply imagine a fluffy dog.

A more abstract example: The word “disgust”. When you study it, make the feeling and face of being disgusted.

3. Immersion

Immersion and self-narration will help too. Get more input! The more you surround yourself with the English language, the more you will be able to think like native speakers and therefore stop translating.

Bonus: Patience!

This comes at the end of nearly every English tip list – patience! These things take time, so don’t get frustrated. Take your time and enjoy the process.

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6 thoughts on “#172 How to Stop Translating in Your Head”

  1. Hello Michael I’m Abrar from Oman

    I fall in love with your podcast and videos l’m in the last year of school and my dream is to study in UK also I love British accent and I’m trying to learn it and master it from your videos and podcasts ❤. Keep going Best wishes. Abrar Alsaidi

  2. Hello Michael , I have been listening to your podcast for almost one year and it’s so helpful and enjoyable.and I hope to download 2 episodes per week because your podcast it’s essential in my day.

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