Translation:She received me with a big smile.
The sentence in Spanish sounds normal, so the sentence in English should sound normal as well. Therefore using the word 'welcomed' would fit better.
The English translation sounds perfectly normal to me. Of course, I may be quite a bit older than you and the English language has been becoming increasingly very informal in the United States, even in situations where great informality seems inappropriate.
It is not unusual to read that someone "received" their guests at a party or wedding, but it does have an air of formality.
Receive is more formal than welcome: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/receive_2
" Receive: to formally welcome a visitor or guest: She stood by the door to receive her guests as they arrived."
I went with the literal translation here. I feel 'welcomed' would be good, except that is 'saludar' = to welcome/greet
welcome (bienvenida) is really a different word, while recibir can mean receive or greet
Spanish speakers, I am very curious about the etymology of "sonrisa." I love the word and wonder about its origin. It's not "sunrise" since that would be "solrisa" I also put "she got me with a big smile." More romantic, but wrong :-(
Gran & Grande are the same adjective. When "grande" is put before the noun, it becomes "gran".
For the meaning, I think "una sonrisa grande" is a large, big smile, and "una gran sonrisa" is more about the happy meaning, the warmth of the smile. Have you got the same impression?
gran se puede poner delante de la palabra y grande detras. So gran sonrisa, sonrisa grande.
But what happened after that? Was the smile an invitation, or was her boyfriend standing behind the door with an axe?
She (or he) greeted/welcomed/received me, all mean the same thing in English and can all be used interchangeably in any situation. So, should all be accepted as appropriate translations for Me recibió.
Has anyone tried "greeted" instead of "received" I think it should work as well.
Why is "gran" being used before a female noun? I thought you only used it before a masculine, single noun?