TEACHERS and STUDENTS...
I am going to go straight to the point due to the fact that I woke up a little bit mad about this topic. If you are teacher here in Brazil, probably, at sometime in your life as a teacher, you told your student that translation will NOT help them learn the second language they are applying for. I know that it is a long and tough discussion, but I had to come over here and express what I have been feeling about it.
ESL TEACHERS have to keep in mind that the students' first language is the basis for everything they do: dreams, communication, meaning, how they read and understand the world, how they express their deepest fear and feelings, and so forth. That is, for things to start to make sense, they automatically connect the objects to their first language and then they translate into the foreign language. The only problem is that they forget about PRAGMATICS (the use of the language) and SEMANTICS (the meaning). And the outcome is usually something that does not make sense in English. Our job is to help them see through WORDS, read between the lines. Teachers, show your students that WORDS ARE NOT LANGUAGE, they are only a really small part of the language.
ESL STUDENTS, you cannot translate from your mother tongue to English by ONLY translating the words. You have to keep in mind that English has a different structure itself and, most importantly, it's impossible to translate different cultures by using the same words.
Google Translator, Dictionaries, Thesaurus, or any other thing you use to help you understand are welcome, but you cannot use it to make sentences or translate things literally because they do not make any sense.
- Preciso tirar agua do joelho. (Preciso fazer xixi)
- Need take out water of the knee. (IT IS NOT ENGLISH) - The correct translation is - I need to go pee, I need to go to toilet, I need to use it, I need to take a piss.
The point I'm trying to get across with is that there is NO LITERAL TRANSLATION.
Teachers of Elementary Levels, it is your job to show your students from the get-go that translating will not help them learn the foreign language. As a matter of fact, it will make their lives more difficult because when they come across PHRASAL VERBS, IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS, COLLOCATIONS, AND SLANG TERMS, they will try to understand by basing them on their mother tongue and unfortunately it will not be possible.
Alright, I am out. TRY TO UNDERSTAND ENGLISH IN ENGLISH. USE THE LANGUAGE. STOP ASKING ABOUT THE LANGUAGE ITSELF.