Being a native Spanish speaker, I've learnt English as a second language since I was a child, starting at age 5, (I'm 23), and when I was 14-15 I started to learn German at a language school, with some pauses since then due to either financial reasons or lack of time. Learning German has been one of the most (intellectually) rewarding experiences of my life, and since several years I want to learn Russian, but I'm not sure about translations as a tool for learning a language. I don't quite remember translating anything in English, and since 2016-2017 I stopped translating German and learning everything (grammar, vocabulary, dictionary definitions and so on) only in German.
My question is: are translations (mainly vocabulary, using a bilingual dictionary) from a foreign language into the native and vice-versa at an early moment in the learning process, a good technique to learn a language in the long run? One of the reasons why I considered myself "better" at German compared to the other students is that basically I stopped translating at a relatively early point, and started thinking, writing and doing everything in German, without (conscious) recalling my native language.
I'm interested in languages mainly for reading in them (which is I think thankfully the easiest task to do in any language), not so much in communication between peers or listening to them.