Translation:He said he needed a new secretary.
This is reported speech (voz passiva), so the most important thing is to match the present in active speech (voz ativa) with the imperfect in reported speech. Whether he still needs a secretary is not relevant because you're talking about something that happened in the past (the main action is "He said").
Voz ativa: Ele, falando para você: - Preciso de uma nova secretária! Voz passiva: Ele disse que precisava de uma nova secretária.
P.S. If you use the pretérito perfeito in the reported speech, that means the person used it in the active speech as well (in that case, the act of needing was clearly long gone).
I understand that the act of saying happened in the past, since pretérito perfeito is used in "ele disse".
After this, I'm a bit confused about how to use different tenses. How would one say the following sentences in Portuguese?
1) He said he needs a new secretary. (need still probably exists)
2) He said he used to need a new secretary. (need didn't exist anymore at the time of saying)
3) He said he was in need of a new secretary. (need existed at the time of saying but not necessarily anymore)
I'm also wondering if the duo-given sentence "He said he needed a new secretary." is equivalent to sentence 2 or 3 or neither? My guess is number three. If that is the case, should the sentence 3 also be accepted as an answer?
Thanks a lot for the answers in advance!
Yes, it does; you can tell the subject is the same because the verb tense uses the same person (3rd) and the pronoun was omitted from the second clause (that only happens when the subject is the same).
"He said I needed" is "Ele disse que eu precisava" (you need the personal pronoun here to distinguish the two, just like you would if the subject of the second clause was "você", "a gente", "ela", or a different "ele").
In Brazilian Portuguese, you always use "de" when the object is not a sentence (doesn't have a verb):
- Preciso de um carro novo - I need a new car
- Preciso de dois telefones - I need two telephones
- Preciso de mais dinheiro - I need more money
But don't use it when the object is a sentence (has a verb):
- Preciso comer muito = I need to eat a lot
- Preciso andar mais devagar - I need to walk slower
- Preciso pensar mais nesse assunto - I need to think more about this matter
Why wouldn't "He said that he needed a new office." be accepted?! DL seems to not like adding the word "that" for "que" in translations, but I see no reason why doing so is incorrect and/or should be marked wrong. I'm getting sick of losing hearts over things like this that should be accepted by now given how long this module has been up and running.