Doing exercises that ask you to translate from English to Japanese (also the opposite)

A common type of exercise I’ve seen in some textbooks is to take an English sentence and turn it into Japanese. Or vice-versa, have a Japanese sentence and turn it into English.


  • If you want to be a translator, it can be good practice I guess


  • Language learning is not translation. You don’t train your language understanding by translating sentences.
  • Translation is actually much harder than just understanding the language, so by forcing yourself to translate you’re spending a lot of time doing something that is harder and unnecessary
  • Consistently going from English to Japanese or Japanese to English (especially intentionally doing so) has the side effect of causing interference between your two languages in your brain. It gets you stuck in “English brain” mode for longer than it needs to be.

Conclusion: Unless you want to practice becoming a translator, don’t do this. And even if you would like to become a translator, you really should first learn the language properly before you start translating. You aren’t learning the language by forcing a (likely incorrect) translation out of a sentence. It’s a waste of time.