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Stop Translating English in Your Head

Last week Marco asked how he could stop translating in his head.

This is a great topic.

A lot of people have problems with this…

And the feeling of being “slow” and “awkward” because of translating.

Luckily, the solution is quite simple.

But first… you’ve got to understand WHY it happens.

So I wrote this article

Which goes into detail about:

[+] Why you translate in your head (hint: imagine an old-fashioned set of scales)

[+] Why language is NOT like a light-switch that can be turned on and off (it’s actually more like Christmas lights)

[+] The difference between “strong” and “weak” languages (and why it matters)

[+] How to stop your brain to stop translating (it’s much easier than you think)

You’ll only be able to read the full article if you’re a Doing English+ member.

(However you do get a sample for free.)

The reason I’m sending this out to everybody…

Even if they aren’t members…

Is because I know a lot of people are interested in this topic.

So I want to let you know that this article is there. Just so you know.

This is also part of a new “Ask Julian” series…

… and you are, of course, welcome to ask questions (there’s details about this in the article).


That’s it.

Here’s the link again:

Speak without translating: Is it possible?

Speak without translating: Is it possible?

Question of the Week:

translateI’m talking about a usual problem in language learning, I suppose. Translating in your native language everything you are listening to.
During last year I’ve listened to a lot of English conversations / audio (Youtube, TV shows, Movies; Julian lessons :)) .
I think my listening skills are improved and now I can catch many more words, and maybe many more chunks.
But, I can feel that there’s always a little “delay” between sound and understanding. It’s translation time thas has never gone away.
I’m wondering if can come a moment in time where you will not need translation no more.
A sort of “Aha!” time.
Maybe it’s a dream or an utopia.
Should I resign myself to this?


Julian’s Recommendation:

Hi Marco,

Good question.

No. You shouldn’t just resign yourself to it. Translating from your native language is a common problem. Well, it’s not really a “problem”. It’s really quite a natural part of being bilingual. However it will slow you down.

The solution is quite simple…

doing english plus members only

OK. That’s about it. Let me know in the comments below if you have any question.

Further Reading/ watching:

Also check Two Step Speaking Module 8. Especially Part 2 (fluency = ‘familiarity’) and Part 4 (an exercise which pushes you to think faster).

Ask Julian

Every week I answer one of your questions in detail. Have a question or a topic you want me to discuss?

let me know here.

If you’re a member, you must sign in to see this content. You can sign in here.

5 Reasons For Learning English (Which are you?)

What’s your favourite season? For me it’s autumn.

I love the summer too…

But there’s something about the clear, sharp autumn air. Clears my head. Helps me to think straight.


Recently I was talking to a friend of mind…

… a psychologist…

And he says human desire, that is, everything we want…

… including English…

Comes down to five basic reasons.

Five things which are fundamental to humans. And that we can’t live without.

And the reason for learning English…

can be explained by these things.

So let’s play a little game.

Click on one of the following links…

And tell me what is the thing you want MOST?

Really think about your answer.

And click on one link.

The reason I learn English is because I want….

You should be able to see a summary of answers after you give your own.

So you can see how similar…

or different you are to everyone else.

Freedom from pain can include pain caused by not having the things above… or something else. Freedom from boredom, for example.

Clicking on the link will automatically tell me your answer.

So go ahead.

Click one.

I’ll tell you more in the next email.