speak chinese like a native

Newbie needing help with first proper translation "techniques".

Posted by EmmaLouise1 August 16, 2009 in the Group General Discussion .

On my holidays to Hong Kong, I bought the novel Twilight in Chinese. Although it's in Traditional Chinese and I'm learning Mandarin, I thought learning the traditional characters alongside the simplified would be of some advantage.

Anyway, I'm ashamed to say I've only got to the first real page and I'm already having trouble >< I think I have probably bit of more than I can chew, but I guess I won't learn without making mistakes (and I'm sure they'll be numerous ones! lol)

So here's the first paragraph. I don't want you guys to really translate for me (cos then I wouldn't learn :P) but to help me with some problems I'm having understanding the context, if you get what I mean. This is going to sound rather stupid but bare with me: How do you know when one word finishes and another begins? I mean, it's all very well knowing what each individual character means, but each character has several different (well, most do) meanings. So how do you know what meaning to apply in a sentence? Because to work out the meaning of the another character, you need to know the meaning of the other characters and so on. So where do you start when translating a paragraph like the one below? Because the first character of the sentence I looked up had numerous different meanings. I then logically looked up the second, thinking I'd give a clue but again, it gives numerous meanings. So where do I start? :S Or am a just looking too deep into this and being too pedantic? Anyway, here is the paragraph in question. It was originally printed in traditional but I've hopefully typed it out properly in simplified:

就在这个时候, 坐在餐听里, 试着与七位对我充满好奇心的新同学聊天时, 我看见他们了..... 这是我第一次看见他们.

So how would I tackle translating this? Where would I start? :S

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