Idiomatic Translations

By Cinefactus, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Sep 5, 2010.

  1. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    This is a sticky to summarise opinion on idiomatic translations of words or phrases where a literal translation is inappropriate. I have put it in the Chat forum to try to prevent people from posting tattoo translations to it.

    Please feel free to add to this list, giving links, if appropriate, to discussion of the issue.

    DOES anyone want to do a post for forever?

    Concepts
    names in Latin
    prepositional phrases

    Specific Words & Phrases
    abandon hope
    eternally
    dream
    it is better to
    never
    step by step
  2. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    seijos likes this.
  3. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
  4. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I don't think I quite made my point with this one....I ended up supplying a literal translation though.

    viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9086

    EDIT: It's a book of Aesop's Fables in which the editor translates "in union there is strength" as juncta juvant. More literally, it means "together they help" which is as much the moral to the story as "in union there is strength." Also the editor's version has an alliterative effect and is also part of a popular legal maxim...I am assuming those advantages weren't enough to overcome the requester's desire for a literal translation.
  5. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
  6. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
  7. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
  8. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
    [Poetry]

    Imagery may contain double entendres and thus is hard to translate.

    Does the "spring" in this one mean the vernal part of the year, a small natural fountain, or both?
    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6249

    Is the "light" in this one light from the sun, or does it mean 'not heavy,' or both?
    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5747
  9. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    It is better to...

    You should probably emend this to melius est + accusative w/infinitive (indirect discourse)

    It's misleading as it now stands, because in a sentence like Melius est bonum nomen quam divitiae multae, the noun phrases bonum nomen and divitae multae are nominative, not accusative.
  10. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Dignity and an empty sack...

    is worth the sack.

    The problem here is finding a word that means both "sack" (meaning getting fired) and "sack" (in the sense of lunch pail, or possibly wallet). saccus does accomplish the latter.

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6025
  11. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
  12. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Location:
    Tennessee
    [Slang]

    Even without the possible double entendre, this one would be difficult:
    "No one on the corner have swagger like us"
    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8253
  13. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
  14. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Prepositional Phrases

    Posted by Imber Ranae:
    The Latin language does not use Preopositional Attributes as frequently and freely as the English language, and English Prepositional Attributes genreally are expressed either by LATIN GENITIVES, or by the insertion of PARTICIPLES

    See here
  15. Francis Amadeus New Member

    On fire

    In vulcano?
  16. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ardens would be most usual.

    In flamma occurs in Ovid, but he's a poet so it isn't certain the phrasing would have been used in "normal" speech or prose writing. I suppose in vulcano is theoretically possible on the pattern of in flamma, but it doesn't seem to be attested (and it would be even more poetic, because there would be metonymy in addition: Vulcanus primarily means the god Vulcan, and can mean fire only by metonymy).
    Last edited by Pacifica, Feb 15, 2018
    Francis Amadeus likes this.
  17. Francis Amadeus New Member

    Okay good that's what I thought. I told someone that Silvia in vulcano est was not as good as Silvia ardet
  18. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Well yes, I believe you were dead right.
  19. Francis Amadeus New Member

    Capitalis constare? Haha
  20. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Mortuus dexter. :p
    Francis Amadeus likes this.

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