Translation Exercises

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  • #336068
    William C. MichaelWilliam C. Michael
    Admin

    Since ancient times, the translation exercises described below have been used by students to learn foreign languages, including Latin and Greek.  The goal of the exercises is to be able to translate a passage from a master into our own language, but also to be able to turn translate English into the foreign language just as the master would.  These exercises should be completed repeatedly for any passage until it can be turned from Latin or Greek into English and back into the original language–from memory.

    I. Latin to English Translations


    1. Copy out the Latin verses onto a lined piece of paper, skipping a line after each copied line.
    2. After you copy the entire reading, write out the English translation, word-for-word, under each line.  This is called a “literal translation”.
    3. Repeat this exercise until you can translate the Latin into English without any help from your notes.
    4. When you finish, re-write the English translation using everyday English so that it is easy to read. This is called an “idiomatic translation”.
    5. You may look at your lesson notes when you begin, but the goal is to complete this lesson from memory. That is when you will know that you have mastered the lesson.
    6. Click here to see an example of a student’s Latin to English translation exercises.
    Remember:  You must repeat the Latin to English translation exercise until it can be completed from memory.

    II. English to Latin Translations


    1. Copy the literal English translation from your lesson onto a lined piece of paper, skipping a line after each copied line.
    2. After you copy the English lines, write out the Latin translation, word-for-word, under each line–from memory.
    3. When finished, compare your Latin translation to the original Latin text.  Mark any differences.
    4. Repeat this exercise until you can translate the English into Latin without any help from your notes.
    5. You may look at your lesson notes when you begin, but the goal is to complete this lesson from memory.
    6. Click here to see an example of a student’s Latin to English translation exercises.
    Remember:  You must repeat the English to Latin translation exercise until it can be completed perfectly from memory.

    These exercises should be normal, daily activity for any student in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy.  They may be started when children are young and are an excellent means of teaching not only Latin and Greek (or any other language), but also handwriting, spelling and punctuation.

    If you have any questions about translation exercises, please contact us.

    God bless,

    William C. Michael

    #402653
    Leslie HickmanLeslie Hickman

    What types of passages would you start with for elementary age students? Also, how long should they be to start out with? Thank you.

    Leslie

    #402672
    William C. MichaelWilliam C. Michael
    Admin

    Dear Leslie,

    We don’t recommend any special passages for younger students.  We start all of our children at very young ages (5 years old) in the Latin Reading I course and use it to solve a number of issues.  First, they have to copy the text, so we use the lessons to teach them how to set up their paper, to practice their handwriting, etc.. When they’re young, maybe all they do is copy the text and focus on handwriting. Then, they learn to use the lesson to write the English meaning under each Latin word. Then they start memorizing vocabulary word by word.  Then they repeat the exercises until they’re able to do the translation work without looking at their notes for help.  The first lessons take a long time, but once they “get it”, they begin working through the lessons more quickly over time.

    One thing to remember in the CLAA is that students can be working on lessons as 6 year olds that are going to be on their high school transcripts.  There’s no rush.

    -WM

    #402737
    Leslie HickmanLeslie Hickman

    Thank you so much! With 9, 11, 12 and 13 year olds, would you recommend doing the Latin Grammar and Vocab along with the Latin Reading? Or starting with just the Reading and then adding the other two later?

    Leslie

    #402811
    William C. MichaelWilliam C. Michael
    Admin

    Yes, I’d recommend getting them rolling in Latin Reading I, then adding Grammar, then, if they can handle more, Vocab.  They will be learning a ton of vocab in Latin Reading, so the Vocab course is extra.

    WM

    #410508
    Leslie HickmanLeslie Hickman

    Mr. Michael,

    After putting what you said above into practice, I came up with a couple more questions. As I said, the younger children that I am teaching are ages 9 – 13. I had them copy the first lesson in their best handwriting, skipping lines. I also began your video with them, but stopped after a few minutes as I questioned what I was doing. Do I go ahead and have them watch the whole lesson? Writing down the English words as you do, below their Latin words? If so, how many times would I have them do this, perhaps even along with the video until I move them on to trying to do it themselves from notes? Or do I start focusing on each word and having them memorize the individual words? As they progress, do I just keep repeating Lesson 1 until they get it all by themselves? And then move on to the English to Latin translation of the same text?

    I realize this is a very slow process. I’m just confused about the particulars of slowing it down.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Leslie Hickman

    #410824
    AvatarDania Michael
    Admin

    Hi Leslie,

    Have the children copy out all the Latin verses for the lesson in neat handwriting, spacing out the words a bit extra and skipping lines. Then have them go back to the beginning and writing out the English translation word by word under the Latin.

    For the English to Latin, have the children do the opposite. Have them write out the English translation neatly, spacing out the words a bit extra and skipping lines. Then have them go back and fill in the Latin underneath the English.

    I recommend having them begin each Latin Reading I session by doing a translation exercise, either Latin to English or English to Latin. Have them use the lesson to copy from when they begin each new lesson and be careful to make sure every word is spelled correctly. After a few days, they will begin to be able to do some of this work without looking at the lesson. At the bottom of their translation page, they should write out an idiomatic translation, which is putting the English translation into nice sounding, clear English. Once they are able to do this well, have them submit their best copies using the upload boxes on the lesson page.

    As they work daily on their translation exercises, have them focus on memorizing the vocabulary. You can test them word by word and also phrase by phrase to help them prepare for their assessments.

    I hope that helps!

    -Dania Michael

    #410848
    AvatarFiona Webb

    Hello, at the end of lesson 1 video Mr. Michael mentions ” an introductory video ” to watch. Where do I find this? Thankyou, Fiona.

    #411145
    Leslie HickmanLeslie Hickman

    Yes, Mrs. Michael, that helps clarify. Thank you!
    Leslie

    #414017
    Leslie HickmanLeslie Hickman

    One more question about the Latin translation. Do we do this every day with the children or only on the days that TRIVIUM falls on my schedule. I am using a block type schedule with TRIVIUM every other day. I’m just making sure I’m doing this right. I like to form good habits at the beginning rather than correct bad ones later.

    Leslie

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