In conversations and other situations where you need to be able to process information quickly and respond quickly, translating in your head can be a problem. Firstly it slows you down. It makes you hesitate. At times you will completely miss out on the conversation because your chance to jump in has come and gone and you’re still trying to translate …in your head!
On top of all that, a lot of slang, idioms and phrasal verbs can be difficult to translate quickly — if at all! So what to do? Well it’s really best for your fluency if you stop translating in your head and learn and practice thinking in English.
Thinking in English is very important to developing your fluency in English…however the good news is after some time & practice it will become a habit & then eventually…..it will simply happen. So Here are my tips for thinking in English.x9 DAILY TIPS TO START THINKING IN ENGLISH!1) DO DAILY ACTIVITIES IN ENGLISH
The idea here is to turn simple everyday activities into your own practice lessons.
For example Try changing your phone settings to English and then back to your native language. Walk around the house and say out loud what you are doing “I am going to the bathroom, im now opening the door, now I’m washing my hands”2) LISTEN TO MORE ENGLISH FOR IMMERSION WITH NATIVE SPEAKERS
Turn on the internet radio, download podcasts, put Netflix or YouTube on in the background while you’re doing your chores or work! Your brain is so amazing that it will begin to recognize patterns and want to follow them too!3) TRY GUESSING OR PLANNING WHAT ENGLISH SPEAKERS WILL SAY
When you predict the conversation based on experience, you’ll be more confident and ready to respond. Imagine the conversations that you want to have in the future and create them before they happen so you feel more prepared. It may not go word-for-word how you plan it, so be ready for change. You could write the conversation down and practice it a few times. Think of a situation like asking a local for directions back to your hotel in London new York. Or for more advanced students thinking about going for a job interview for a position you really want.
4) STOP LEARNING EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH TRANSLATION
Observe, watch, hear, smell and relate vocabulary directly to its meaning — not the word in your first language. Each language has its own emphasis and meanings so direct translations are not useful when wanting to fully understand a language and not learn just words.
5) USE A MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARY
Put away your translator Look up the meaning of English words in an “English dictionary"
6) LABEL OBJECTS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE IN ENGLISH
You can do this in your mind or actually on pieces of paper taped to the objects (or use sticky notes). Start with everyday objects that you use every day! For example, if I have a book at home about a famous crime I would label it “my crime Novel” and for more advanced students I would recommended creating your own unique sentences made up from many items labelled in my apartment
7) TALK TO YOURSELF IN ENGLISH
Ask yourself questions and answer them. This is a great technique to practice being on both sides of a conversation. ie Q: How was your day? A: My day was great thanks Q: tell me what you did today? Etc Make up a short story about a person you see on the street. Become that person for 30 mins and tell your life story
You may want to do this in private when no one else is within earshot. It’s ok if you are not sure if your grammar is perfect, or if you make a mistake. No one will know! If you’re not sure if what you said to yourself is correct or not, then make a note to yourself to find out! The idea is simply to start using English in practice rather than theory.
8) JUST START THINKING IN ENGLISH WITH A MANTRA
Even the smallest effort is better than nothing. Start with a simple mantra, or motto, that will help you get started each day in English. For example, “My English is getting better each day, today my English is better than yesterday”
9) THINK A LITTLE MORE IN ENGLISH EACH DAY
Start small. Make it a habit to think in English a little each day. Set an alarm if it’s hard to remember to switch into English. Then use the timer on your phone or computer to 1 minute to start and think only in English for that amount of time. It doesn’t matter what you think about, or even if you just say a few of the same phrases over and over. See if you can extend the time each day by 30 seconds!
And remember. Thinking in English simply takes practice and letting go a bit. Learning a new language is fun so try being more like your inner child and talk without overthinking!