Translation:I heard that she had come here.
Wouldn't a more accurate translation be "I heard talk that she had come here", or perhaps this is too colloquial?
That is an accurate sense of it....but it doesn't make it a more accurate translation. You will notice if you mouse-over "entendu dire" above that Duo suggests "hear" as a translation of this expression. It is worth noting these expressions are not meant to be translated word-for-word and, in fact, doing so may result in awkward English.
She does not say it 100% clearly. But I would like to point out that in an ideal world, if that sentence was in the plural form, you would hear a liaison between "elles" and "étaient" : EL_Z_AYTAY, which should make you understand that it is plural.
They're actually homophones so there's is no difference in pronunciation.
Edit: I meant homophones not homonyms
is there not a liaison or something between the venues_ici? It really sounded like there was
Even easier there is a liaison between the elles and étaient making it "ellezétaient"
I can't follow why 'dire' is necessary. I translated as"I had heard to say that she had come here' - lost a heart. It didn't sound like great English but I figured that the 'dire' must be there for a reason. So can anyone tell me the reason?
"entendre dire" is a fixed expression meaning: "entendre des gens qui disent" (hear people say)
"I heard tell that she had come here" is a perfectly good english translation. "heard tell" (of) = someone tells you about it.
I was taught that an alternative translation of 'elle etait venue ici' was 'she used to come here' but this was not accepted by duo. Is this correct?
No, it is not.
"she used to come here" = elle venait ici (imparfait)
"elle était venue ici" = she had come here (pluparfect)