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Hi,

Once again a question concerning past and present perfect tense. I didn't agree with my friends when we wrote a sentence about a web application.

Shoult it be

The web pages were translated into 5 different languages.

or

The web pages have been translated into 5 different languages.

I don't even quite get the difference between those sentences. The one in past tense implies that the translation progress happened in the past and is over. The pages are available in many languages. The one in present perfect tense states that the process of translation happened at some point in the past, right? The point is unspecified. Where's the difference in meaning?

Paul
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This probably doesn't answer your question.

I don't think there's any difference in meaning. But I feel the present perfect is the clear choice for your application. You're in the process (present) of describing what you've [recently] done. The implication (to me) of the present perfect is that the translating has been [recently] done for the purposes of your application.

If you use simple past, it sounds like you might have found some old translations somewhere and resurrected them.

While the translations are a done deal in either case, at the time of your writing, there's a good chance that you're now releasing some news. This sense would be lost with the simple past.

I guess I'm trying to suggest that the present perfect can bear a certain contextual relation to the present which the simple past cannot.

- A.
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Are you mostly concerned with telling the story of the translation? For example, was the translation a step in a larger process? Use were translated.
A was done. (Then) B was done. (Then) C was done. ...
Are you mostly concerned with the current availabiilty of the translations? Use have been translated.
paul_hWhere's the difference in meaning?
In the speaker's head. If the speaker is telling the story, it's past. If the speaker is calling attention to the fact that the events of the story happened, it's present perfect.
CJ
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Comments  
Thanks a lot.

Past vs. Preset Perfect is really the thing bugging me most about the English language.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
paul_hthe thing bugging me most
It's a common complaint. There are too many subcategories of usage that seem to contradict one another. It takes a while to catch on to all the different ways the two tenses are used. Emotion: smile
CJ