lago -- The king's are writing the letters. can be translated into Spanish as either "Los reyes escriben las cartas." OR "Los reyes estan escribiendo las cartas."
The present tense "escriben" can be translated as: "they (or you plural) write" or "they (or you plural) are writing" or they (or you plural) do write.
We are all entitled to our opinions about what should or should not be. I am simply sharing what Spanish grammar books, and Mexican and Argentine Spanish teachers, have pointed out to me. If you ask me how I spend my weekend, I can say "Estudio espanol," studying Spanish. That does not mean I spend every minute at it. If you call me on the phone and ask me what I am doing, I can say "Estoy estudiando espanol," I am studying Spanish.
The Spanish book I have before me now gives three translations of "hablo:" I speak, I am speaking, and I do speak.
@ jbokhari, I agree. My text book says that if the "kings aren't writing" in THAT very minute, present tense MUST be used. There is nothing in this sentence that says they are writing at that moment, so Present Tense it is! Question: Who writes the letters to the Pope? Answer: The Kings are writing the letters, or The Kings write the letters. It can be translated either way to English, If one could know the context of sentence it would be easier to determine what tense to use. English Present Progressive is sometimes used different from Spanish.
I don't think it has to be a choice. They both could be correct, depending on the context. English often uses the present progressive when Spanish uses the simple present. That's just the way it is. A common example is ¿Qué haces? = "What are you doing?" I've heard and used this countless times. And, yes, it could also be "What do you do?"; it depends on the context.
It is rare to hear ¿Qué estás haciendo?. I'm not saying never; it's just not as common. The progressive form in Spanish does mean the same as in English, but it's used much less frequently and more for emphasis than anything else.
The present progress in Spanish is NOT always used the same in English. Present Progressive is used in Spanish when you want to answer or ask 'what is the subject doing at that very moment'. It is when one is in the mist of doing something RIGHT NOW! Other wise the simple present tense must be used in Spanish.
Technically, the English translation is "the letters". But in normal circumstances, we native English speakers wouldn't include the word "the". We would say "the letters" instead of "letters" when there were definitely some particular letters that were the topic of conversation and the kings were writing them instead of someone else writing them. It's a subtle nuance but omitting "the" sounds more natural in English.
That's the Spanish wikipedia page for "greeting card."
Tarjeta is used, as you can see. As I said, carta means letter or playing card. Tarjeta is used for greeting cards as well as, I believe, business cards.
Well, it's frustrating, but those "peeks" work more like a dictionary. You can look something up, but often there are choices one has to make; not all of the words listed are appropriate for the particular task at hand. What's worse is that sometimes the right definition/translation for the particular exercise is not even listed by DL in the "peek". (I am not taking a shot at DL; I just want to tell it like it is so that others won't feel like they're doing something wrong.)