Read in native language or in original language?

Franco   Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:07 am GMT
What do you recommend for maximal understanding?

Reading in native language translation - understanding perfectly but with loss in translation


Reading in original, but as it's not your first language, you will not 'feel' the words maximally.

Consider that I do not care about reading in the original language for practice and improvement for this question. I am only worried with pure understanding.

Thanks for your cooperation.
Brennus☆   Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:10 am GMT
It is always best to read a work in its original language so that you can appreciate the exact choice of words the original author used to give the work his desired feel and meaning.
Franco   Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:17 am GMT
But that is the thing, if you are not at the top level then you wont understand, why this word over this? You will lose meaning, wherase professional translator likely understands better and can render it in your language.

I guess it probably depends on how good you are.
Guest   Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:32 pm GMT
I guess it depends on why you are reading it. If you mainly want to learn the language, read the original. If you are reading it for literary content, read the translation. Example -- few folks would read the "Epic of Gilgamesh" in the original language, since almost nobody wants to learn Sumerian (or whatever it's written in).
beneficii   Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:30 am GMT
Think about this, you ever watch a TV show as a kid and then watch it again as an adult, and notice how much you missed when you watched it as a kid? Still, go into the language you're learning so you can keep getting that input.
furrykef   Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:48 am GMT
It would depend on my level in the language. If I want to read Jorge Luis Borges with the focus of understanding him, I will read his works in English because my Spanish is not good enough. I'd constantly be sent to the dictionary, and probably still have an incomplete understanding -- less complete than I'd get from a translation. When my Spanish advances, then there would be no practical reason not to read them in Spanish. And once I'm good enough to read the works of Borges, I'm probably still not good enough to read Don Quixote, so I'd probably use a translation for that, even though much more is sure to get lost in translation in that case. Either that, or a very heavily annotated edition, if there is one.

- Kef
Guest   Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:03 am GMT
I was a zero beginner some four years ago but I started my language adventure from reading a novel designed for a native speaker. I had finished it off in nine days. I did not look up a single word in the dictionary yet I felt like I got the hang of the story with no problems. I feel like total immersion is the best way to learn the language. I think your understanding in the language will improve as long as you are exposed to it(both reading and listening) on a daily basis. All these dictionaries and translations are a big hindrance to a language acquisition. Trust your brain memory and try to keep things mentally and enjoy the language.