German language textbooks teach that the German language does not have a tense with a progressive or continuous aspect which would indicate that an action is happening right now and will continue to happen. In English, this tense and aspect would take the form of "I am learning", "he is swimming".
The Präsens tense instead expresses the action with no indicator about when in the present time the action took place or about the actions duration (length of time, or when it was completed).
Another way to describe this, is that it appears to be silent on this aspect. And further information like the words 'gerade' or 'immer' provide the point of time and duration reference.
Unfortunately, books that I study from provide different translations of Präsens sentences which have no additional information such as gerade or immer.
Sometimes Präsens is translated into the English Base form (using the infinite without "to), and at other times Präsens is translated into a progressive form using "is/am" and the -ing (present participle) form of the verb.
A few examples.
Ich lerne Deutsch
I learn German (now, or in the near future)
I am learning German (right now, and will continue to learn beyond the speech reference point)
Sie begegnet Peter
She meets Peter (now, or in the near future)
She is meeting Peter (the meeting is happening right now)
Er singt zu laut
He sings too loud (generally, or right now, or near future)
He is singing too loud (right now, and will continue to sing beyond the speech reference point)
- Are there general rules for translating a Präsens tense sentence that has no additional information like gerade or immer. Such as, that it is never intended as progressive in the absence of words such as gerade.
And should we avoid translating into the progressive "is/am -ing" form by default.
As you can see from the examples, there can be a big difference between the two translations. Whether someone sings too loud all the time or just right now, whether someone is in a meeting right now.
Grateful to know whether Germans think in progressive normally and any standard rules for translation. Thanks in advance.