Traducir Conjugation: Present Tense & Preterite

Instructor: Raychelle Heath

Raychelle has a BA in Spanish and an MFA in Writing. She has studied in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Mexico. She has taught Spanish in various settings.

''Traducir'' means to translate. In this lesson, you will learn how to conjugate ''traducir'' in the present and preterite tenses. You will also see several examples of how to use the verb.

Translating As We Speak

Learning a language involves a lot of translating. Imagine all the translating teachers and textbooks do, but at least those are known languages. Archeologists have to try to piece together forgotten languages from weird letters or pictures with no help from teachers or textbooks at all!

The verb 'to translate' in Spanish is traducir. Let's learn how to conjugate this verb and see some examples of how to use it.

Present Tense

The verb traducir follows similar rules to the veb conocer in the present tense. The conjugation is as follows:

Subject Pronoun Present Tense of Traducir Pronunciation Translation
Yo traduzco trah-DOOS-koe I translate
traduces trah-DOO-says You translate (informal)
Él, ella, usted traduce trah-DOO-say He, she, you (formal) translates
Nosotros/nosotras traducimos trah-doo-SEE-mose We translate
Vosotros/vosotras traducís trah-doo-SEES You (plural informal) translate
Ellos, ellas, ustedes traducen trah-DOO-sen They (male, female), you (plural formal) translate

Examples in the Present

Here are a few examples of traducir in the present tense.

  • Traduzco muchos documentos para mi trabajo. (I translate many document for my job.)
  • La maestra traduce la historia a inglés. (The teacher translates the story to English.)
  • ¿Traducimos todo el ensayo o solo un párrafo? (Do we translate the whole essay or just a paragraph?)
  • Ustedes traducen para la gente sorda. (You all translate for the deaf people.)

Translation: You all translate for the deaf people.
Sign language interpreters

Let's look at a sample conversation between two friends, Luis and Marta, who are comparing their foreign language classes.

Luis: Hola Marta, ¿qué haces? (Hi Marta, what are you doing?)

Marta: Estoy haciendo mi tarea para mi clase de español. Tenemos que traducir una historia. (I'm doing my homework for Spanish class. We have to translate a story.)

Luis: Ustedes traducen muchas cosas para esa clase. (You all translate many things for that class.)

Marta.Sí, traducimos canciones, historias, y poemas. (Yes, we translate songs, stories, and poems.)

Luis: Para mi clase de francés, no traducimos nada. (For my French class, we don't translate anything.)

Marta: ¿En serio, ustedes no traducen nada? (Really, you all don't translate anything?)

Luis: No, la maestra traduce todo. No sabemos suficiente vocabulario para traducir textos. (No, the teacher translates everything. We don't know enough vocabulary to translate texts.)

Preterite Tense

The verb traducir is irregular in the preterite tense. It follows the same rules as the verb conducir. Remember that preterite tense is used when an action occurred one time in the past. The conjugation looks like this:

Subject Pronoun Preterite Tense of Traducir Pronunciation Translation
Yo traduje trah-DOO-hay I translated
tradujiste trah-doo-HE-stay You translated (informal)
Él, ella, usted tradujo trah-DOO-hay He, she, you (formal) translated
Nosotros/nosotras tradujimos trah-doo-HE-mose We translated
Vosotros/vosotras tradujisteis trah-doo-he-STAY-ees You (plural informal) translated
Ellos, ellas, ustedes tradujeron trah-doo-HEH-rone They (male, female), you (plural formal) translated

Examples in the Preterite

Here are a few examples of traducir in the preterite tense.

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