One of the best ways to improve your understanding of another language is to surf the web in that language. That means releasing yourself from the urge to stick to your own native language and actively search websites in the language you are trying to learn. Are you a native English language speaker but trying to learn French? Try reading blogs in French, travel articles or ‘how to’ pages. It’s best to stick to browsing websites that you have a personal interest in. This will help to motivate you. For example, if you are interested in world politics, try and browse French sites that have a take on what Donald Trump is up to in the U.S. or what is happening in North Korea or Syria.
If you like cooking and are looking for a new recipe, try some French cooking websites. Use their website recipes to prepare some delicious French meals! If it’s DIY you are into, try working out how to build a shed or mend a fuse in French!
Of course, your level of satisfaction with a foreign language website depends on your level of language ability. It can get frustrating if you really want to understand the content but your language level is not quite good enough. It helps to have an online translation tool readily available, even if they are not terribly accurate. They almost always give you the gist of what is being said, even if the results of translation are sometimes comical.
You can do this quite easily using Google or any other search engine. Just turn on ‘translate this page’ and off again as soon as you have regained momentum.
Online translation tools available for free can be useful when learning a language too, especially in the early stages. You can take some text in your own language, say a paragraph or two and try and translate it yourself into the language you are learning. Then copy what you have written and paste it into the online translation tool and hit the ‘translate’ button. Compare what the tool does to your original text with your own attempt. This is useful up to a point, but has its limits as your expertise in the language improves. Online translation tools are not yet adaptable enough to be used for any important translation needs as they are just not good enough.