Not necessarily in the past - "present perfect" (ich habe verstanden) is still used in German in the same way as in English, to represent something that started in the past and still continues on into the present.
It could be synonymous with "ich verstand" (I understood in the past - simple past meaning) but can also have its original meaning.
"Ich habe verstanden," says the soldier to its platoon chief and springs into action.
In English: I would use here: "Understood!" or maybe "I have understood", I would not use "I understand" as if he were to say he really understands, what is wanted from him, he just gives the reply, so that the other one knows he heard him.
I hope I could bring in some perspective.
Yep, I agree, 'I have understood' isn't common parlance.
I understand/Understood! captures the meaning. I think we have to focus on that.
I have some sympathy with those who insist on literal translations - after all, it's only by picking the phrase apart word-for-word that you get a better understanding of how the language holds together.
However - when this course is used by German students to learn English, teaching them to say 'I have understood' doesn't do them any favours.
Have a good one. :)
"I have understood", present perfect, is Ich habe verstanden.
"I understood", simple past, can be either Ich habe verstanden (especially in spoken German) or Ich verstand.
Ich verstande is not correct. First person and third person singular have no ending in the German imperfect of strong verbs.
Because it is not good or precise English to say ‘I got it’? It is slang and first we have to learn the proper way to speak a language and afterwards we can easily pick up the slang, cool and fashionable phrases? Maybe, I don’t know.... plus it is American English, I think. Not that I am necessarily inferring that American English is wrong.