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  1. Newbie
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    Why is the Present Perfect, not the Past Perfect, used here?


    I have a question with reagard to the use of the Present Perfect “have been translated” in this sentence (which, by the way, I have come across on some website dedicated to English language study): Many of my students have read and enjoyed English books that have been translated into their languages.

    I do not understand “be translated” being in the Present Perfect here, because, I think, there should be no connection beetwen the action of the translation of the books and the NOW.

    According to my understanding of the use of English tenses, it should either be:
    Many of my students read and enjoy English books that have been translated ...
    Many of my students have read and enjoyed English books that had been translated ...

    So, the question is: what do you think of the “have been translated” in the original sentence, does it sound correct to you, and if it does, could you, please, explain the appropriateness of that Present Perfect in the context.

    Below is
    the optional for the reading portion of my question...

    ...just for you to better understand my confusion with the “have been translated” in the sentense and how I see it:
    Normally, a book is not being translated by a translater and being read by a reader at the same time. A book translation happens first and it has to be fully completed before a reader can start to read\enjoy the book.
    In our example sentence, the use of the Present Perfect tense “students have read and enjoyed English books” indicates that they started to read the books at some point in the past and have read (finished reading) them until NOW. The action of the reading took place\started in the past and still has a connection with the present time. In a word, the present perfect. Makes sense.
    But in order for the students to have been able to start reading the books at some point in the past, the books must already have been translated by that time in the past. The action of translation took place in the past and was fully completed in the past, that is, prior to when the students started their reading.
    In other words, the translation had been complited by the time the students started to read the books. Thus, the action of translation has no connection with the present time, the NOW in the sentense and for that reason the use of the Present Perfect for “be translated” seems illogical and wrong to me.

    Thank you!

    P.S. I hope my wordy, undoubtedly grammatically poorly put question will not deter anyone from trying to understand the matter and shedding some light on it. :)
    Last edited by Ahu Lee; 13-Oct-2013 at 16:59.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: Why is the Present Perfect, not the Past Perfect, used here?

    Welcome to the forum, Ahu Lee.

    The present perfect is correct in both clauses. The time-period in which both the reading and the translation occur extends up to the present moment. The fact that the translation occurred before the reading is not relevant here. Compare:

    Many of my students have read and enjoyed this book, which had been translated into English only the year before they were born.

    In that sentence the time-period of the translation clearly ended before the reading, and this is relevant. Even here, we might well say 'was translated, because the sequence of events is clear from the context.
    Last edited by 5jj; 14-Oct-2013 at 12:12. Reason: unnecessary quote deleted

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