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I am often unsure how to translate the phrase to have been told into Spanish. For example, "I have been told that...". I normally translate that phrase to "Se me ha dicho que...", but I am unsure if it is correct (or why it would be correct). What is the correct way to translate this?

Español

Muchas veces tengo dudas sobre la traducción al español del frase inglés to have been told. Por ejemplo, "I have been told that...". Normalmente traduzco este frase como "Se me ha dicho que..." pero no estoy seguro de que sea correcto (ni por qué lo sería). ¿Cuál es la manera correcta de traducirlo?

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I have seen How should “have been” be translated? but it does not touch on this usage of "have been". –  caesarsgrunt May 24 '13 at 16:18
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Se me ha dicho que...", "me han dicho que...", even the less accurate "me dijeron que..." (literally, "they told me that") are all acceptable alternatives.

IMO, "Me han dicho que" sounds better (except maybe in Argentina and particularly in Buenos Aires, where you'll hear "me dijeron que..." more often).

On a side note, your usage of "porque" in "ni porque lo sería" is wrong. When used to ask (or to wonder why) you write "por qué"; only when used affirmatively you write "porque". Examples in Argentine Spanish:

Why do you ask? ¿Por qué preguntás?
I don't know why she did it. No sé por qué lo hizo.
Because she's a maniac. Porque es una maniática.

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Whoops, I should have known that about por qué etc. Thanks for correcting me! I will fix the question. –  caesarsgrunt May 24 '13 at 16:38
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It's a very common mistake, actually. But I try to point out mistakes steming out from linguistic asymmetries. In Spanish, both ways sound the same in practice. –  LexLythius May 24 '13 at 16:40
    
Why is it se me ha dicho que - can you edit your answer to explain the grammar here? What does the se refer to in this phrase? –  caesarsgrunt May 24 '13 at 16:41
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"Se me ha dicho", as well as "se ha dicho" is an impersonal form, what Wikipedia would call "weasel wording". –  LexLythius May 24 '13 at 16:42
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@LexLythius For real weasel wording examples nothing better than newspapers ("Se habría dicho que ...","Los especialistas habrían comentado que..." ) –  belisarius May 24 '13 at 20:18
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Altough the literal traduction for "I have been told" is "Se me ha dicho que", it's quite uncommon in a regular conversation, at least in Mexico because it is a very formal expression, it would be correct if you use it to talk about orders for example:

-¿Por qué hiciste eso?. -Why did you did that? -Se me ha dicho que lo haga. -Because I have been told so.

But if you just want to talk about a gossip or something someone said it will be better if you traslate like: "Me contaron que" o "Me dijeron que"

Hope it helps you.

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