I bookmarked words I didn't know while reading texts in a foreign language, and then created my own Anki deck from the list of bookmarked words. Originally I used English as the answer (translation) of the words on the back of the card, but then I switched to the target language since it is widely considered that thinking about the target language is better than the translation (or any way that involves other languages).

However, I feel that the efficiency got deteriorated after the conversion. The primary reason is if you use the target language to explain the word, it is inevitable to get the text longer and more clumsy. Sometimes there are synonyms for the word and so it doesn't have this effect, but other times the text gets clumsy. For example (use English for clarity):

  • propose
  • put forward (an idea or plan) for consideration or discussion by others

  • make an offer of marriage to someone:

  • ultraviolet

adjective (of electromagnetic radiation) having a wavelength shorter than that of the violet end of the visible spectrum but longer than that of X-rays.

This text is very clumsy (and in my experience, it is common to encounter words that include more texts) and it takes me four to eight seconds to digest the explanation, while in other languages it takes less than two second (in Chinese 提议 and 提婚 for propose, 紫外线 for ultraviolet, for example).

I understand that once you reached enough level on your target language, it is recommended to use a dictionary that explains the word in your target language (e.g. French-French, not French-English). But I wonder whether I should use the target language on the back of the SRS, even if I feel it is more inefficient at first.

The objective here is reach C1 level as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, using other resources like the picture is not a solution here as it takes a crazy amount of time just to create a deck. It's a question of which language to use on the back of the card.

  • I downloaded Anki decks with dictionary definitions instead of translations. But some have two screens of text, including words more complicated than the one being explained, etc. So single-language cards need to be really well designed to work. – Mathieu Bouville May 1 '19 at 5:14

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