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Using present tense to narrate past events

 

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  #1  
Old December 30, 2017, 04:56 AM
dupond dupond is offline
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Using present tense to narrate past events

Hi everyone

Is it possible in Spanish to use present tense to narrate past events as is sometimes done in English?

I wanted to translate the following sentence:

About six months after John and Mary move in together, John quits his job to become an actor.

My attempt was: Unos seis meses después de que John y Mary se mudan juntos, John deja su trabajo para convertirse en actor.

However, Google translates it as: Aproximadamente seis meses después de que D y J se mudaron juntos, D renuncia a su trabajo para convertirse en actor.

I'm not sure whether the Google translation is correct, but it got me wondering whether I should have used the preterite instead of the present tense. If this is the case, is "renuncia" in the wrong tense in the above sentence?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old December 30, 2017, 07:51 AM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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Yes, it is possible. It's called "presente histórico" and it's commonly used in biographies and narrations of historic events.
Be careful with Google. Although it has improved a lot in recent times, it is still not completely accurate. If you are going to tell about past events in the present, all your conjugations must agree; although your writing will be understood in context, the mixture of verbal tenses will make it look sloppy.
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Old December 30, 2017, 05:14 PM
dupond dupond is offline
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Cheers. Thanks
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