I agree that after a certain point translating limits acquisition of a new language. The way I handle it: from the very start I talk to myself in the new language as much as possible while I am walking around at home. I print out flashcards for many items around my home, and stick them on those items. Then, whenever I interact with an item, I form sentences using it. Very simple at first: "this is the refrigerator", "my refrigerator is white", making more complex sentences as I learn more vocabulary and grammar. "I open the refrigerator door and take out the cheese", "the strawberry yogurt inside the refrigerator is mine". The more I learn the easier it becomes to keep up a running commentary on my day. Talk out loud! Inner voice does not fulfill all the same functions, though it is better than nothing.
As time goes on I do the same wherever I am, for example outside on walks, where at first I carry vocab flashcards so I can look things up, and later without those. When I don't know a word, I try to describe what it is by using vocab I do know. As soon as it is feasible, I start using a monolingual dictionary and grammar as well, and only use the bilingual one when I want to make sure that I have it right.
Talking with natives is great if you're not introverted, but unless you live in the country whose language you're learning, that covers maybe an hour a day over Skype. While you can talk to yourself in your own home all day long (ok, so if you live with other people they might roll their eyes -- laugh it off! You're gonna be conversant in your new language so much faster, it's worth a little ridicule).