Quick answer
"Desempeñar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to carry out", and "llevar a cabo" is a transitive verb phrase which is also often translated as "to carry out". Learn more about the difference between "desempeñar" and "llevar a cabo" below.
desempeñar(
dehs
-
ehm
-
peh
-
ngahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to execute)
a. to carry out
El becario ha desempeñado todas sus tareas de manera eficiente.The intern has carried out all his assignments efficiently.
b. to hold
Actualmente, desempeña un puesto muy importante en la empresa.Currently, she holds a very important position in the company.
2. (to retrieve valuables)
a. to redeem
Si usted no desempeña su premio, lo revenderemos.If you fail to redeem your prize, we will resell it.
3. (theater)
a. to play
Mi primo desempeña el papel de Romeo.My cousin plays the part of Romeo.
desempeñarse
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
4. (to perform functions)
a. to work as
Me desempeñé como mesera para pagar la universidad.I worked as a waitress to pay for university.
5. (finances)
a. to get out of debt
Él se desempeñó temprano porque pagó más y más cada mes.He got out of debt early because he paid a little more each month.
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llevar a cabo(
yeh
-
bahr
 
ah
 
kah
-
boh
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to implement)
a. to carry out
El comité definió los planes y el administrador los llevó a cabo. The committee defined the plans and the administrator carried them out.
b. to execute
Las gimnastas llevaron a cabo una presentación perfecta. The gymnasts executed a perfect performance.
c. to accomplish
Stephanie y su equipo llevaron a cabo todas sus metas el año pasado. Stephanie and her team accomplished all of their goals last year.
d. to perform
Puedes llevar a cabo un análisis muy detallado con este programa.You can perform a really detailed analysis with this program.
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