As the title suggests, I seem to have a lot of trouble turning the text of word problems into math symbols and solving them. Here's an example of what I mean:
"The combined age of a mother and her twin daughters is 58 years. The mother was 25 years old when the twins were born. Write and solve an equation to find the age of each of the three people"
So first off, I can translate the first line into X+2Y=58. I got 2Y from the fact that the daughters were twins and were born at around the same time.
Now the second part is where I get confused. I think this is type of systems of equation, although I could be wrong. So when the mother was 25 years old, the twins were just born, so I'm going to assume they were 1 year old each, although I'm not sure if that'll be of much use in solving this problem.
In any case, that's the problem I'm having with word problems. Practice with them helps, but only for those specific types of word problems. When I encounter a new one that's worded differently, I run into the same mental roadblock. For example: The Khan Academy has a great section on age word problems and I can do them well, but only after struggling with them for a very, very long time. I get lost in the text and become unable to translate them into math symbols.
So what I'm asking is not the solution to the question I posted above, but how I go about solving those types of questions, especially the part where you translate the text into math. This seems to be one of the greatest problems I have with math.