I'am learning a lot a vocabulary at the moment. Which way is the best to learn a new word? By the meaning or by translation - In this case by german translation?
closed as off topic by Matt Эллен, RegDwighт♦ Apr 26 '12 at 10:11
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Recent research says that you should learn it by its meaning rather than translation.
I know that it's difficult, but you'll see that there are different use cases when you use words in another language. Often, meanings are quite easy to grasp, like "umbrella" and "Regenschirm", but you'll notice that you can enlarge your mental model if you (also) learn the meaning instead of the translation. Use dictionary.com instead of Leo, and come back to Leo if you can't figure it out.
Of course, I don't know exactly how many vocabulary you have to learn in which period of time, for which exam, difficulty of vocab, your knowledge of other languages, for how long you want to memorize the words, or your talent for language acquisition, so this may influence your choice of learning mode.
You might want to take a short glance at this article: Five Principles of Effective Second Language Acquisition or Google Scholar's List, without going into to much detail. Google also has some nice results on learning strategies.