I am learning Chinese, and sometimes I find that even though I understand every word in a sentence, I either can't piece it together or find that the English translation is completely different from what I thought it was I read the original text. Will this problem go away on its own or do I need to personally do something about it?
I think it's grammar issue. It bothers me too when I read English. What I did was to ask my native English friends where the problem is, otherwise the same problem wil happen in the future.
Maybe we could work together and solve this kind of problem.
What you write can be applied to all languages. Words may change in combination.
But to help with the answer:
Q: What is the best way to improve reading comprehension in a foreign language?
A: Read material that is within, or slightly above your level comprehension. So when you start, read simple material. Childrens books, comics. Generally, read a lot, every day.
Better avoid litteral translation and work with the meanings.
I highlight phrases in texts and try to understand how they are used and in which situation.
"I'm out" isn't necessarily the translation of I, be and out.
Chinese language is different from English because the meaning of sentences does not only depend on each single word but the combination, when you combine two chinese characters, the meaning of the combination sometimes changes from the original two single words.
Chinese sometimes use '意译=understond by meaning' instead of directly translating from original texts, so you may find the translation after 意译 is different from 直译 (direct translation).
I recommend you can find some music or Chinese dramas, they will help you find the 'feeling' of learning Chinese