Translation:I would like to talk to you about the price.
To me, "I would like to talk to you about the price" and "I would gladly talk to you about the price" are opposites sides of the same conversation. For example, a consumer buys a hammer drill for which the price is reduced two days later. The consumer walks into the Hardware store, approaches the Service Counter and says, "I would like to talk to you about the price (of this drill)." The Service Rep replies, "I would gladly talk to you about the price."
I don't see these two sentences as interchangeable in English. Are they truly interchangeable in German?
No, I think there exists a similar distinction in German:
"Ich würde gerne mit Ihnen über den Preis (dieser (Schlag-)Bohrmaschine) sprechen."
- "Gerne spreche ich mit Ihnen über den Preis." / "Ich spreche gerne mit Ihnen über den Preis."
The first word order is perhaps a little more natural because it puts the emphasis on "gerne".
I asked my German friend to explain the differences.... "Ich würde gerne mit Ihnen über den Preis sprechen." vs "Ich moechte mit Ihnen über den Preis sprechen"
They're both quite similar, but of course there is a slight difference. The first one is very polite and friendly. You use the second one if you if you want to get straight to the point without many formalities.
Thanks for the pointers. In going from link to link starting from your suggestions I found the following fun discussion at DeutscheWelle: Beim Reden nicht zu laut sprechen. In German but written with a learner in mind. I think in short it comes down to what you said, but makes for interesting reading anyway.
The würde is the conjugated verb here, so the sprechen is kicked to the end, and is in the infinitive. Same idea as in the sentence Ich werde mit ihm sprechen. When there's a modal verb (or a "helper" verb to establish the tense) in a standard sentence, as well as the main verb, the former is conjugated and stands in the second "slot", and the latter is in the infinitive and is at the end of the sentence.
Why is it "den Preis" here? über is a two-way preposition, so "den Preis" rather than "dem Preis" should, I guess, suggest some sort of spatial transition (moving the price up or down?)? Is that what's happening, or am I barking up the wrong tree here? Thanks for any insight...
über is indeed a two way preposition. However, sprechen is a prepositional verb so the movement rule doesn't apply. Instead you have to learn which case is used for the verb/preposition combination. For a people who take pride on following the rules, their grammatical rules certainly have a lot of exceptions.
The english is using the infinitive and, not surprisingly, so is the german. To use the past participle (which would actually be "gesprochen") I think you'd need to say something like "I would have spoken with you about the price" / "Ich hätte mit Ihnen über den Preis gesprochen".
The machine rejected "discuss the price" and offered "talk of the price," which is clearly wrong. While German may choose "sprechen" rather than "diskutieren," that's an idiomatic differentiation not followed in English. I'm at least as likely to say "discuss" as "talk about" (never "of" or "over")