what exactly do you mean by translating words into equations? I've just tried to solve a few word problems from gmathacks - some Data Sufficiency, others Problem Solving. I noticed that I am not writing any equations, not even in my head. Perhaps, instead of learning to "translate the problems" faster, whatever that means, you can learn to skip this step altogether.
Can you give any examples of the problems that you were trying to "translate" and that took a long time?
Sergey Orshanskiy, Ph.D.