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How to translate into Spanish the difference between "in fact" and "in deed"? I have the impression that "in fact" translates as "de hecho", but then, how to translate "in deed"?


Edits: To put it in simpler terms, how to translate the difference between "fact" and "deed" into Spanish?

Thank you Jdamian, but, again, I wish to highlight the difference between "in fact" and "in deed" (or between a "fact" and a "deed") that exists in English, yet that translation that you point out translates "indeed" (and not "in deed") as "efectivamente", which refers to the word "fact".

So yes, mdewey, I mean the less common phrase "in deed" (in contrast to "indeed").

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    How do you intend to use "in deed"? Please give an example? – Paul Dec 2 '16 at 2:39
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    Indeed is not a word with a simple, universal translation. It depends very much on its use and context, as @Paul says in his comment. – Gorpik Dec 2 '16 at 7:27
  • Read this – Jdamian Dec 2 '16 at 8:44
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    Do you mean the common word indeed or the less common phrase in deed? – mdewey Dec 2 '16 at 13:07
  • Just in case any of our native Spanish speakers want to have a go at this one they might like to look at this Q&A english.stackexchange.com/questions/63089/… on another SE site for examples of indeed and in deed. – mdewey Dec 3 '16 at 16:38
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In order to be able to translate the difference between these two terms it is necessary to understand the distinction between "in deed" and "in fact" which could be accomplished by contrasting

  • deed:

Something that is done, performed, or accomplished; an act:

Do a good deed every day.

and

  • fact:

something that actually exists; reality; truth:

Your fears have no basis in fact.

"Deed" in Spanish would be "acción", while "fact" would be "hecho". So, when you prove something "in deed", you would be proving it with deeds (actions), when you prove something "in fact", you would be proving it with facts.

"In fact" could be translated as "en/con/de hecho" while "In deed" could be translated as "en/con/de acción/obra". So, a Spanish equivalent to "prove it in deed" would be "pruébalo con acciones/obras" and an equivalent to "prove it in fact" would be "pruébalo con hechos".

Very common translations of the use "She is beautiful, in fact" (and "She is beautiful, indeed") are:

  • Ella es bella, de hecho
  • Ella es bella, ciertamente
  • Ella es bella, en verdad
  • Ella es bella, en realidad
  • Ella es bella, en efecto
  • Ella es bella, verdaderamente
  • Ella es bella, realmente
  • Ella es bella, efectivamente

Now, it makes more sense in Spanish to phrase these translations a little differently:

  • De hecho, ella es bella
  • Ciertamente, ella es bella
  • En verdad, ella es bella
  • En realidad, ella es bella
  • En efecto, ella es bella
  • Verdaderamente, ella es bella
  • Realmente, ella es bella
  • Efectivamente, ella es bella

Regarding "She is beautiful in deed" the translations would be a little different:

  • Ella es bella por sus acciones/obras
  • Ella es bella con sus acciones/obras
  • Sus acciones/obras la hacen bella (her deeds make her beautiful)
  • Sus acciones/obras la embellecen (her deeds make her beautiful)

So, the closest in Spanish would be to make a reference of the impact of the deed in a particular context. (Her deeds make her beautiful).

Curiously, the closest there is to an example of this concept in native Spanish is the following phrase:

Los hijos y los maridos, por sus obras son queridos.

Which would be similar to "The children and husbands are loved by their deeds".

An example from the previously mentioned strategy to translate this concept by alluring to the deeds can be found in another native Spanish phrase:

Sus obras la enaltecen.

Which would be roughly similar to: "Her deeds upraise her", referring to the impact of her deeds have on her character.

Please keep in mind that not all concepts in a particular language have an exact equivalent in all other languages. So, sometimes some compromises have to be made in order to communicate a particular idea.

Finally, consider the link provided to the subtle difference between "in deed" and "in fact":

Actually, indeed comes from a shortening of 'in deed'. This was when 'in deed' was similar in usage to 'in fact'. Over time, the meaning of deed has evolved I guess, hence the difference.

This particular comment sheds some light on how "in deed" might have become "indeed". If that is the case, then the options given for "indeed" should suffice when looking for a suitable translation. If you still feel that there is a more noticeable difference between "in fact" and "in deed", please update your question and provide further examples that help native Spanish speakers understand the subtle distinction between the two.

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I can't think right now in a spanish phrase you could use universally as it seems you can use in deed in english. It depends on the context.

Taking the example of the question referenced in the comments...

She is beautiful in deed

... as a reference to her actions, you could translate it, depending on the context, as:

  • (Ella) Es buena persona.
  • (Ella) Es buena.
  • Es buena por dentro.
  • Es una persona responsable.
  • Hace buenas obras.

And many others including specific phrases and variations only used in certain countries.

So, maybe someone can correct me, but I don't think such an universally correct phrase exists in spanish.
There are some other general phrases that could be used depending on the context, f.i. the one the user chapelo noted, en hechos or en acciones, but it would sound really weird in so many contexts... like trying to translate She is beautiful in deed.


Edit: I'm thinking that other phrases you could use would be en la práctica and de facto. I'd just specify that both phrases are commonly used to separate what really happens(or a posteriori) from what are supposed to happen in theory(or a priori).
I know that de facto is usually translated as de hecho, but I'm not that sure we use it that way in spanish apart from when it's used as a legal term, which is widely used. Maybe someone else could clarify this last one.

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When I read the question I thought of the congregation in an Anglican church reciting the general confession where they speak of having sinned 'in thought, word and deed'. The fact that the first example I could think of was from language from centuries ago suggests that this is an uncommon, almost archaic, usage. However it also suggests that searching for parallel phrases might help and I find that there are spiritual websites which speak of pensamiento, palabra y acción. Since most of the other usages of deed apart from a legal one could be translated as actions I think this could be the best option.

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