Tattoo What man is a man who does not make the world better?

Natashaborne

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This is what I've seen so far from both the movie I got this from and from wikiquote:

Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem

Does this make sense?!?! I tried to look at googletranslate and it didn't really come close to the English translation. Any help would be appreciated!!!!
 

Adamas

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Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem
This means 'No one is a man who would not give the world back better." It's perfectly grammatical, but the word 'what' doesn't occur, nor does the translation quite make sense in English. On the other hand, the Latin's message only makes sense if by 'man' we assume it means 'real man' (i.e., you're only a manly man if you do good deeds), which is indeed a perfectly reasonable assumption since vir often meant 'hero' or 'awesome dude.'

If you want a Latin that means 'What man is (truly) a man that does not make the world better?', try Quis virorum vero est vir mundum non faciens meliorem? But this might just compound the problems in the English. I think you need to explain what the phrase is supposed to mean, if it's not what I explained the Latin you gave us meaning.

Also, this still assumes that by 'man' you meant 'male human being,' and not 'human being of any sex.' If you didn't want to be gender-specific, you'll need to explain the meaning better, since homo ('human') doesn't on its own have the same connotations as vir or 'real man.'

I tried to look at googletranslate and it didn't really come close to the English translation.
Don't use Google translate for Latin. It but pretends to speak it.
 

Imber Ranae

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Adamas dixit:
Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem
This means 'No one is a man who would not give the world back better." It's perfectly grammatical, but the word 'what' doesn't occur, nor does the translation quite make sense in English.
If there's such a thing as a too literal translation, this would be a textbook example of it.

The relative clause of characteristic is entirely idiomatic, so much so that Latin idiom almost requires its use here, so there's really no sense in inserting "would" in the English translation. And while "give back the world better" does indeed sound like exceptionally poor English, that does not mean that mundum non reddat meliorem is equally poor Latin.

If you're judging the quality of a Latin sentence by the quality of the English in your own (overly) literal translation of the Latin, well, you're doing it wrong. Reddere is extremely common as a copulative verb in classical Latin, meaning "make/render [noun] [adjective complement]" (more common, in fact, than facio in the same sense, which isn't as commonly used with adjective complements, though I wouldn't say it's incorrect).

Adamas dixit:
If you want a Latin that means 'What man is (truly) a man that does not make the world better?', try Quis virorum vero est vir mundum non faciens meliorem?
There seem to be a few problems with this translation. I'm not sure why you're using a partitive genitive with quis. That can only mean "which of the men" or "who among men", not anything like "what sort of [men?]". You could say quid viri "what sort of a man", though it's somewhat colloquial, whereas quid virorum = quot viri "how many men [males]". Rather than all of that, qualis vir or, better yet, cuiusmodi vir would be infinitely preferable if you merely wish to say "what [sort of] man".

On top of that, vero seems extraneous and completely unnecessary, and I've never seen a participle used this way in Latin. It's not ungrammatical, per se, but it does not look idiomatic to me. A relative clause of characteristic would seem much more natural: Cuiusmodi est vir qui mundum non reddat/faciat meliorem. (and of course homo instead of vir if only a person is meant, rather than a male person in particular).
 

Adamas

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Imber Ranae dixit:
Adamas dixit:
Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem
This means 'No one is a man who would not give the world back better." It's perfectly grammatical, but the word 'what' doesn't occur, nor does the translation quite make sense in English.
If there's such a thing as a too literal translation, this would be a textbook example of it.
I was being over-literal deliberately to clarify the subtle distinction between the Latin and Natasha's translation ('What man is a man...'); a paraphrase wouldn't help me suss out of Natasha whether her intent corresponds exactly with the Latin, since it would require me to interpret her odd translation too. When I said 'nor does the translation quite make sense in English,' I meant Natasha's own rendering of the phrase; I did not mean to criticize the original Latin based on my own awkward phrasing. :) I added 'would' in the hopes of suggesting that this describes a man's characteristic behavior in the abstract (the Latin is more precise than the English here), to contrast with 'what man is a man that does not make the world better' (which changes the topic from character to actual deeds), but I accept your criticism.

Thank you for the much improved translation, as well as the extremely helpful explanations! :)
 

Imber Ranae

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Adamas dixit:
When I said 'nor does the translation quite make sense in English,' I meant Natasha's own rendering of the phrase; I did not mean to criticize the original Latin based on my own awkward phrasing.
I simply misunderstood you, then. No worries.
 

Bitmap

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The phrase is from the movie kingdom of Heavens. iirc there has been a discussion on this before in a different subforum
 

Iain

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Hi All,

Thanks for viewing, I have found several different translations for this phrase online and my question is more along the lines of: can you please tell me which of these is correct, or "most" correct.

The options I have found are:

Quis est, qui non in melius
Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem
Qualis est vir qui mundum non meliorem reddat
Qui homo est qui non orbem meliorem facit
Quis vir est a vir quisnam does non planto is universitas melior
In melius mundum mutare possunt homines

By far the most commonly found one online is the second one, but I just do not have any basis to say which is most accurate.

thanks again :)
 

Pacifica

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Hello,
Quis est, qui non in melius
This one isn't a complete sentence, it means "who is the one who doesn't (...) for the better".
Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem.
No one is the man who doesn't make the world better. Not exactly what you want, but grammatically correct, though it could also be reddit, and I'm actually not sure which one of reddat or reddit would be better here.
Qualis est vir qui mundum non meliorem reddat
What (sort of man) is a man who doesn't make the world better. That's grammatically correct, but same doubt as for the last one between reddit and reddat.
Qui homo est qui non orbem meliorem facit
What man is the one who (but it could also mean "what man is there who..." and I would actually more readily understand it like that) doesn't make the world/the globe better. No real grammatical mistake, but an unfortunate choice of words in my opinion, and ambiguous, as I said.
Quis vir est a vir quisnam does non planto is universitas melior
This one is signed intertran, which is an infernal machine, even worse than Google translate which you might have seen the warnings about. What man is a* man, who, tell me? does* I don't strike he as a better universe.

*In English in the text.
In melius mundum mutare possunt homines
Men can change the world for the better. Fine.

Something else: vir is "man" in the sense of someone of masculine gender, as opposed to "woman". If you mean "man" in a more general sense, like someone, a human being, it's homo (plural homines, the one used in the last sentence).

Wait for further advice on reddit-reddat if you're interested in the sentence it's in. I think reddat should be fine, but still.
 

Iain

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Many thanks Civis Illustris, it worries me that I know at least some of those other versions have been done as tats for people who want the same quote that I do (popularized by the movie Kingdom of Heaven, if you ever watch it make sure you watch the directors cut which is amazing as compared to the theatrical cut which was average) :)

leaning toward "Qualis est vir qui mundum non meliorem reddat" as I think it encapsulates what i desire it to say closer than the other.

and will wait on reddat / reddit advice ( I started to look into it and swiftly found myself well out of my depth lol )
 

Pacifica

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Just a detail; I'd feel it better in this order: qualis vir est qui...
 

socratidion

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I haven't seen the film in question: but I would guess that the kind of 'man' they mean is the masculine kind, so 'vir'. But it's a fair point that Puella Pacis makes: you may not wish to restrict it to one sex, and if not, you should substitute 'homo'. I'll give both alternatives.

I don't have any devastating critique of the version you are inclining towards, but I thought I would have a crack at it myself. So here's...
quis inter viros/homines numeratur nisi qui mundum in melius mutat? = roughly "Who is counted among men except someone who changes the world for the better?". (i.e. 'who counts as a man?') It has the advantage of being immediately intelligible (to a Latinist!), and it's nice Latin.
 

Iain

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arghhh more options lol :) thanks Socratidion, if I were to go with the previously preferred would you lean on the reddat or reddit side of things ?
 

socratidion

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Perhaps I was being too coy...

Critique of what you've got (qualis vir est qui mundum meliorem non reddat): literally 'what sort of man wouldn't make the world better', or 'what sort of man doesn't make the world better'. I read that over and over, and it keeps telling me the point is: it is inevitable that men make the world a better place. As if I asked, 'what sort of man doesn't love his children?', meaning you to understand that love of one's children is a natural, inevitable part of being a man, and you'd have to be weird or inhuman not to do it. That's not what the original sentence is getting at.

The problem the English poses is that it emphasises the second 'man' -- that's why it says 'man' twice, so that the second time you get that it has a special meaning, 'real man, manly man' as opposed to 'human being'. Sure, we've got a word in Latin for a 'man as opposed to woman', but since it was such a male-oriented culture, it can be used loosely for 'person'. So the word itself isn't going to give you any help: when you say 'quis vir' or 'qui vir', it could either mean 'what man, and I really do mean man...?' or just 'what person?', i.e. little more than 'who?'.

Some of the translations in your original post just bury their head in the sand. In others, there is an obvious attempt to deal with the problem. Possibly 'nemo vir est' is the most successful because it looks so odd -- i.e. it won't allow you to read it the soft way, as 'there is no man who...'. I'm inclined to write 'quin' instead of qui, in which case there's no argument about reddit/reddat:
nemo vir est quin mundum reddat meliorem. = no-one is a man but that he renders the world better. But I'm even more inclined to write 'nisi' (unless) or even 'nisi qui' (except who), since the sentence means effectively 'no-one is a manly man unless he makes the world better'

'qualis vir est...' seems a bit desperate to me: it acknowledges the problem, that we're not talking about 'person' but a certain quality of manliness. But it doesn't solve it.

To answer the reddit/reddat question (if you've read this far, you deserve a straight answer): if I said 'he is the sort of man to make the world better', I would use the subjunctive talis est qui mundum reddat meliorem. So putting it in question form 'what sort of man...', I would write 'qualis est qui... reddat'. If I put 'vir' in, it would alter the sense hardly at all, so I guess I would keep reddat:
qualis est vir qui mundum meliorem non reddat.


Anyway I tried to solve the 'man' problem head on. I added a few words, but what I gave you would be understood in the correct sense.

Though slightly miffed at your response, I acknowledge a small apology is in order: it's in the nature of this kind of exercise that we come up with many alternatives that we often argue about. Unfortunately, this wrangling is of little interest to you! But I hope you'd prefer to get good Latin than so-so Latin.
 

Iain

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Many thanks for all the time and effort once again.

So by my understanding of that (and apologies for belaboring my background is engineering and accounting, how i wish this was numbers!) and I just want to make sure i haven't got a bit lost off with the substitutions, the end result of:

nemo vir nisi qui mundum reddat meliorem

should be "no-one is a [modern version manly] man unless he makes the world better"

or did I screw something up in the substitutions ?
 

socratidion

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nemo vir est nisi qui mundum reddat meliorem = no-one is a man except one who makes the world better.


But expect some comments from other members! Let us bash it out! And I still prefer starting with 'quis inter viros numeratur' (who counts as a man?) however it ends.
 

Aurifex

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Am I only adding to the problem if I point out that nemo vir est qui/quin can also mean (in fact, that's the way I first understood it) "there is no-one who/who does not..."?

If we want to start with nemo and put vir in somewhere with the sense "a real man", it may be clearer to start with nemo satis vir est...

Technicus Auxiliarius Edit: Threads merged
 

socratidion

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No, it's the same old problem as with the others. I had hoped that 'nemo vir' would be sufficiently weird that it couldn't be used as 'no-one', but it seems Cicero was fond of it -- with the same sort of force, I imagine, as when we say 'there is no man alive who...'.

I like 'satis vir'.
 

Aurifex

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More grist for the critical mill:
qui non reddit mundum meliorem, is vir vere putandus est?
 

Pacifica

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I think this should do:

Quid viri est vir qui non reddit mundum meliorem?
What (of a) man is a man who doesn't make the world better?
 
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