"My wife says that the old washing machine was faster."
Translation:Manželka říká, že stará pračka byla rychlejší.
Well, with "ta stará"... In this course my answers are not accepted if I do not insert "ten/ta/to subject" when translating "the subject", just like "this subject" translates to "tenhle/tahle/tohle subject".
So, I would say, in terms of common sense - it does not have to be there, in terms of course consistency - it does.
This is a hard subject and native speakers won't always agree with each other. The most unclear is when "the" should be allowed when there is no "ten, ta, to". Here it is quite clear, by stará pračka we mean the particular old washer we had before the current one.
If you say manželka, it is assumed it is your wife. In certain contexts it can be the wife of the person you are talking to. It cannot be an abstract wife.