Using translation to teach a language or learn a language is somewhat controversial. There are those educationists who are dead against it and prefer language to be learned in context and there are others who think that it is a useful activity. The world’s classrooms reflect this dichotomy of views, with a bias one way or another. The fact that most language learners go on to master a language, whichever technique they use, probably reflects the fact that the most important factor behind language learning is motivation, not technique.
Translation is a vital part of the modern, interconnected world and most people become amateur translators at some stage of their lives, even if it is just to find one’s way around a new country, interpret what a street sign says, read the instructions on a label or help an overseas visitor. The need for simple translation is a very important motivator and many people end up learning a language through using translation in the early stages.