According to the “Direct” or, as it is also called, the “Natural” method of teaching foreign languages, yes, translation is evil.
Good translators never "translate" texts; this is the job of automatic translators like Google translate. A good translator understands a phrase in one language and then creates from scratch in another language. Accordingly, the quality of the translation of a good translator and translator program is very different.
School (academic) education is often built on the translation of words and texts.
The direct method does not use translation at all. The teacher practicing the Direct Method explains new concepts with gestures, images, etc.
We at TravelAndChat use translation but try to do it in a limited way, realizing that translation is a necessary evil.
Let us illustrate with an example.
Suppose we have a phrase in a foreign language, well, let it be "Donde esta el hotel?" (Where is the hotel?).
To remember this phrase, we need to repeat it 30-50 times during the week. At first more often and at the end -- less often.
The number of repetitions requied depends on the concentration level and depth of imagination (fantasy).
The first time we listen to a phrase without looking at the text. We want the visual image not to interfere with our audio perception.
If we hear unfamiliar words or do not understand the meaning of the phrase, we look at the translation and look at unfamiliar words in the dictionary.
Then, we listen and repeat the phrase without looking at the text, and of course, without looking at the translation.
We do not practice exercises for translating words and phrases. We do not want to remember a couple of phrase - translation or word - translation.
We want the phrase or word in our memory to be connected with the image, concept, presentation, but not with the translation into the native language.
At some point, this will allow us to think in a foreign language without resorting to translation.