I'm trying to translate something concerning a money deposit:

We received your message. I deposited the money as soon as possible on the account.

This is my current attempt:

Recibimos su mensaje. Deposité el dinero en la cuenta lo más rápido posible.

Is it correct that both should be written in the indefinido. Or should the last one be written in the perfecto due to the connection with the present?

3 Answers 3


The first sentence, "We received your message", can be translated both with the preterite (pretérito indefinido) or the perfect. There is a difference, but it's not nearly as clear-cut as in the English equivalent verb forms. In fact both are used in different dialects.

European (Spain's) Spanish is noticeable for its use of the compound tense (the perfect) in places where the simple preterite would be preferred in other dialects. Spanish newspapers will say e. g.

"Una persona ha muerto y dos han resultado heridas en un accidente..."
"One person has died and two have been injured in an accident..."

where most American Spanish dialects would say

"Una persona murió y dos resultaron heridas en un accidente..."
"One person died and two were injured in an accident..."

Using the compound tense to translate "We received your message" would give it a sense of immediacy, which sounds fine: Hemos recibido suggests we have just received the message and (see?) we're already replying to it! But, again, either tense is fine.

For the second sentence, "I deposited the money as soon as possible on the account", the complement "as soon as possible" should be translated as tan pronto como (me) fue posible or tan pronto como pude (the Spanish translation doesn't work without a verb). Though both Spanish tenses are again OK, the complement sounds wrong with the perfect. It should be all in the preterite:

Deposité el dinero en la cuenta tan pronto como fue posible.

Speakers of European Spanish would maybe employ the perfect in both clauses:

He depositado el dinero en la cuenta tan pronto como ha sido posible.

(I hope someone can confirm that last bit.)

  • He depositado el dinero... sounds very odd to me in this context. Get rid of the tan pronto como clause, though, and he depositado sounds okay. European Spanish would virtually always use hemos recibido su mensaje, to be sure. Aug 15, 2017 at 0:13
  • Tengo que destacar que, como nativo de español de Chile, el uso del present perfect es bastante cotizado, sobre todo en noticieros. La afirmación una persona ha muerto y dos han resultado heridas en un accidente es bastante usada y en realidad también se cambia el antepresente por el pretérito independiente de que los hechos posean una conexión con el presente.
    – Schwale
    Aug 15, 2017 at 1:46

The English version is not specifying as acccurately as Spanish. It depends on what it really means. Both forms are valid.

Deposité = in a past already gone (and it will be understood that it is the same time when they received the msg).

He depositado = in a past you are still in (and so, recently).

Those are the main usages, but many territories use only the first one. Anyway, you see that both are correct.


(I don't disagree with what's been written.)

The tenses you chose are fine.

But "lo más rápido posible" doesn't fit in a past tense sentence. That phrase would be used when giving instructions to do something as soon as possible. In English maybe one can get away with using ASAP in the past tense, but I think it's a little harder to be sloppy in this way in Spanish.

I would rewrite your sentence slightly during the translation, as follows:

We received your message. I deposited the money in the account immediately.

Recibimos su mensaje. Deposité el dinero en la cuenta enseguida.

Here, "enseguida" means, in essence, "as soon as I got your message."

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