Why is "we are respecting" not acceptable – I thought the Polish present can be translated both ways
It usually can, but there are exceptions. But what does "be respecting" mean in English? I cannot think of "szanować" in continuous situation. Like can you respect someone right now, but not in longer period of time?
Good question. In English, I can say:
1) "I am respecting you by not yelling", or 2) "I respect you by not yelling"
with subtly different meanings. What's interesting to me is that #1 is continuous in form but instantaneous in meaning, while #2 is instantaneous in form but implies a continuous behavior.
How would this work in Polish?
I've been thinking about it for a while and I am not sure if I understand you, but I think "show respect" - okazywać szacunek is used to show the "now" part.
Also I was reminded that in both Polish and English we can respect privacy/wishes - then it can be "right nw, in this moment I am respecting your wish to do sth"