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For those people who are not native speakers or even ESL teachers, this question seems a no brainer. How can anyone ever learn the language without a translator around?
Research has shown that the less translation at the first stage of learning, the better. We human beings have an incredible capacity to acquire information and translation is just one of them. We use pictures, mannerisms, gestures, sounds, body language, tones, and many, many more things to decipher what something is. The brilliant ESL teacher will use all kinds of techniques to get the message through.
If a student is constantly given translation the learning of the language is much slower, as from that point on the student will constantly be translating themselves. Learning without translation means the information stays in the mind through experience and concepts which means that the learning is more meaningful.
This is one of the reasons why some employers only use native speaking teachers with no knowledge of the languages of the students in the class.
So what you think?