I I find that when I relate things back to english I lose the essence of it. Especially a language like Mandarin that shares literally no similarities to english at all. That being said, english isn't even really my "first" language, I've been learning french since I was 4 so I can use either interchangeably.
I like to use the Helen Keller approach. Find tangible things or parts of conversation and relate them to the actual object or thing. Makes for faster learning imo. I found Dora The Explorer in spanish so far
@Rymzor No point buying or Y'arrr-ing the Rosetta Stone, I'm already paying to learn Mandarin and German at school
6 credits each, not too shabby. Spanish I'm learning 100% for free. Well, I guess she has a place to stay...but still totally worth it.