I took Russian in college and it was a big help to have a Russian phonetic translation. Russian is a crazy language for a lot of reasons. You have to overcome the alphabet, the extreme accent and then all the goofy patterns that are built into their language.
Our teacher provided us with a number of phonetic translations when we were first starting out and if we had not had those I might have given up on Russian. Now I speak fluently and actually married a Russian woman. We are trying to raise out new baby to be bilingual.