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I am learning French for two years now. Its a pain translating from English to French. Many a time I find myself understood but embarrassed.

I know it's probably not the most clear question:

What do you think are the worst mistakes one makes while thinking in English and then translating in French?

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closed as not constructive by Gilles Apr 17 '12 at 21:20

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The worst mistake is thinking in English, I suppose. Each person will face their own difficulties. This isn't an answerable question, at least in its present form. Please read our faq, in particular What kind of questions should I not ask here? — “avoid asking subjective questions where … every answer is equally valid”. –  Gilles Apr 17 '12 at 21:20
    
@codious : I understand your problem, because I've the same problem in the reverse order. I've a -9 closed answer in less a day on discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/4923/… - It difficult to write out of technical linguistic problem, and you can feel like a scholar sit in a classroom which does not understood. Mental structure are different, and usual mother tongues are linked differently to mind. But short comment field stops exchange here. –  cl-r Apr 18 '12 at 15:32
    
@Gilles, est-ce que l'on peut réouvrir cette discussion pour deux ou trois jours (ou plus en cas de succès)? –  cl-r Apr 18 '12 at 15:38
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@codious No, Stack Exchange is a questions and answers site. Discussion is not what we do here, this isn't a forum. “What are the worst mistakes” is a textbook example of questions that don't get answers, but lists of items of dubious relevance. We have a chatroom, where anything goes (except uncivility); you need 20 reputation points (e.g. two upvotes on an answer) to participate in chat. –  Gilles Apr 18 '12 at 18:03
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@Gilles La question que pose codious n'est pas une question pour linguiste, mais pour philologue : comment établir des ponts entre deux structures mentales, deux langues, quels sont les blocages (et comment les lever). Je sais que l'intuition et l'expression poétique sont bannies sur SE, mais ce sont des moyens puissants d'ouvrir les portes entre personnes en quête de connaissances réciproques, au delà des savoirs. Fermer rapidement une question qui a 2+ sur une réponse 'verte' limite l'intérêt du site : on n'y trouve alors que ce que l'on peut déjà trouver ailleurs dans les dicos. –  cl-r Apr 20 '12 at 7:17
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What do you think are the worst mistakes one makes while thinking in English and then translating in French?

What about thinking in English and then translating to French?

I've learnt a few languages, and I've noticed that the point where I'm really starting to make progress is when I can detach myself from the targeted language, and try to think in this language.

I'm French myself, but don't live in France, speak English everyday, and I noticed I don't really think in French now, but directly into English. And the funny thing is sometimes I can't translate easily words from English back to French !

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