Should you use Bilingual Books with English and Japanese Side by Side? — 5 Comments

  1. Valid points. As with any tool, there are pros and cons and it can depend on the application. I often read scripture, which is strictly translated, and I find that the English can be useful as an occasional comprehension check when primarily reading in Japanese. For example, if a long Japanese sentence didn’t quite click, reading the English can help me understand where I goofed or missed something important. Then I can go back to the Japanese and practice reading the sentence with a proper understanding, looking for the pieces I missed the first time through.
    Reading Japanese and English together can also be a good chance to pick up on corresponding phrases and idioms that don’t match literally or are otherwise difficult to look up directly, but maybe I just need to use a better dictionary.
    Kind of on the same note, I think there is also some value in reading the Japanese of an English text you’re intimately familiar with. When something isn’t translated like you would have expected, it can help you better understand the proper usage of Japanese words and phrases.
    Finally, while I agree that you should learn to think in Japanese alone, there are times when my English wasn’t as connected to my Japanese as it should have been. For example, before the beginning of a school event, a teacher mentioned feeling “kinchou” and wondered what the English would be. I understood the word and the feeling pretty well, but I couldn’t come up with a satisfying translation…”nervous,” “suspenseful,” and “anxious” didn’t quite feel right but I had a hard time thinking of something better. It was a long time (like days) later before I realized “tense” was probably the best fit.

    • Interesting – I’ve heard of some other people who love bilingual books for religious texts. That may be an area where they provide a special boost.

  2. Super glad you posted this now, very timely. I recently learned about Language learning with Netflix chrome extension. It has been in the back of my mind ever since that maybe I should incorporate it in my learning at some point. I have been very hesitant though because if the j-e. I have worked so hard to go J-J and it felt like a step back. But it also seemed like it could be really helpful.

    This article is enough that I think I’ll back off and not touch it. I’d rather watch in English and then in Japanese 100%. Though usually now adays watching with jsubs is enough to follow everything. I’ve been watching with no subs then again with jsubs to try to improve listening.

    • Yeah, I know how far you’ve come with J-J, so I don’t think you need it. There are a lot of tools we run across that might have been helpful at one point, but trying them at this later point could produce less than desirable results.

    • I also came across this plugin and now I’m using it extensively.
      Even though I understand the whole point of going full immersion and full Japanese only style… But for me at the 2.5k words mark it’s just a lot more fun to watch One Piece in Japanese, and each time I don’t understand a word I just need to hover over it, instead of searching for it in a dictionary.
      I think everyone has to find his own way. What works for me right now, is to learn 15-20 new words in the Jalup App, and watch Netflix with Japanese subs. This might now improve my hearing skills at the same speed as it would without, but it definitely helps me to understand words a lot more.

      Each time I come across a word, I just learned in Jalup, it helps to keep it in memory.

      It might not be 100% efficiency when improving reading skills and not 100% efficiency when improving writing skills, but maybe 50/50 and the main point for me is, that I enjoy it most this way.
      I finally found a system that I feel I can maintain for many months.
      1k new words per 2 months so 5k till the end of the year is going to be my goal. :)

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