Whether those words were learned with translations or not, what might be valuable is playing around with new example sentences that include the older words, along with other new words that you want to learn. That’ll provide a level of passive review that should keep the older words in memory long enough for you to test them.
That said, hitting older cards that you don’t quite remember isn’t a huge deal, since the testing process is going to be valuable for ingraining them whether or not you successfully recall them on a given day (as long as you’re seeing immediate feedback and eventually recalling them, they’ll get deeper into your memory). We don’t think there’s a useful way to adjust Anki’s settings here, except to adjust Anki’s behavior with lapsed cards – instead of setting lapsed cards back to new cards (with a 2-4 day interval), we'd set that to 20% of their original interval. So if we get a year-old card and miss it, it’ll reset the interval down to, say, 60 days instead of 3 days. (Unless you'd get it wrong twice in a row in the same day – then it’ll go down pretty drastically.)