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Popular Quotes Translated to Latin Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes,

The following quotes are done with the simplest form and are meant to be fun! While, I did not translate certain words such as “damn” and “chocolates” etc.; this was due to a stylistic approach or a lack of an ancient words. Also, it should be noted to those new to Latin that the word order is rarely the same as in English, i.e: Latin more commonly puts the verb at the end of the sentence. However for the newer students of this language, I did include some repetitive language, uses of “sum” that usually would be omitted, and attempted to keep the English word order for a majority of the sentences.Enjoy!

Movies

Gone with the Wind. Courtesy of Kevin Dooley.

Gone with the Wind. Courtesy of Kevin Dooley.

“Shark! Shark!”

“Pistrix! Pistrix!”

“Frankly,my Dear, I don’t give a damn”

“Vere, mea cara, non mihi curae est”

“There’s no place like home.”

“Nullus est locus simlis domui.”

Forest Gump. Courtesy of e27Sinapore.

Forest Gump. Courtesy of e27Sinapore.

“E.T Phone Home”

“E.T  domum vocat”

“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

“Vita arcae dulcium similis est. Numquam scis quae impetrabis.”

“I’m the king of the world!”

“Rex mundi sum!”

“Who’s on first?”

“qui in primum est?”

“Beam me up, Scotty!”

 “Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!”

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

“Quod in vita facimus, in aeternum resonat.”

 

Books

Game of Thrones. Courtesy of Derek Hatfield.

Game of Thrones. Courtesy of Derek Hatfield.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

“Ante lector morit quam millia vitas vivet.  Autem ille, qui numquam legit, una vita sola digit.”

– George R.R.Martin, A Dance With Dragons

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Non decet somnia cogitare et oblivisci vitae.”

-J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Jane Eyre. Courtesy of Stephen Cummings

Jane Eyre. Courtesy of Stephen Cummings

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

“Avis non sum; et non rete me irretit: libera sum mortalis cum voluntate libera.”

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”

“Nostrae ab opportunitatibus vitae formaverunt, etaim ab quoque non attactis opportunitatibus.”

 F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

 “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost;”

“Omne, quod est aurum, non fulget, Non omnes vagantes aberrant;”

-J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Inspirational Quotes

 

Dr. Seuss. Courtesy of Denise Krebs.

Dr. Seuss. Courtesy of Denise Krebs.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

“Noli lacrimare quoniam terminauit, subride quia evenit.”
― Dr. Seuss

 “Fortune favors the bold.”

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Courtesy of USMC Archives.

“Audentes fortuna iuuat.”
– Ancient Proverb

“Always Faithful or Loyal”

Semper Fidelis [Semper Fi] 

-Motto of the U.S Marine Corps

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

“Esto ea mutatio quam videre vis in mundo.”
―  Mahatma Gandhi

“Know thyself!”

 “Nosce te ipsum!”or “Nosce te ipsam!”

-Delphic Maxim

 

“Love conquers all.”

Amor vincit Omnia.”

– Vergil

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Upon writing this article, I thought it would be fun to translate some recognizable quotes for the sake of entertainment and teaching Latin sentence structure and words. However, upon researching this topic, I found an alarming rate of blogs, boards, and even forums dedicated to translating popular quotes into Latin for tattoos. This search then lead to several pages dedicated to showing the examples of how Latin tattoos can go completely awry due to poor translations.

Proper Latin Tattoo. Courtesy of Jen W.

Latin Tattoo. Courtesy of Jen W.

While there may be many ways to express an idea in Latin and it is difficult to exactly translate English quotes into Latin, these tattoos had major errors! You can see of them here and even celebrity ones here. Tattoos with wrong verb forms, nouns not properly declined, and even some phrases that don’t even make sense . This, then leads to the question of “Why Latin?”  Some people attest that Latin has become popular due to celebrities’ Latin tattoos; also that Latin somehow elevates a phrase or saying. However, there are many who think otherwise:

What is the point of having tattoos in languages that one does not understand?  To show off gibberish to friends believing that they are incredible?  Tattoos if done correctly would perform their intended roles, but if done incorrectly, then attract unwanted attention.  So many have Dog Latin (which is defined here) permanently embedded on their skins.”

I came across one site that actually sells a translating service (not a bad idea for Latin majors) here. Regardless of the rhyme or reason, Latin is seeing a resurgence through the skin of the 21st century individuals. However, if the Latin is poor or even poorly constructed then is it true Latin? As the famous quote goes:

  “Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.” —”Whatever is said in Latin seems profound.”

Valete Omnes

 

 

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


Comments:

  1. jeffmoore:

    always faithful and loyal…. thanks for sharing

  2. Angela:

    I know this is an old thread but I was Wondering if you could translate this to latin?- Always, Only You-
    Also, -Loyal Till Death-
    Thank you 🙂

  3. Stella:

    Salvete to you too! I just came across this blog today and I’m thrilled!! It is pretty amazing, really how many new facts I’ve read & how many cool stuff translated on my favorite language! I’m a latin student from Croatia.
    And to reply to comment above from Angela translation of – Always, Only You in latin would be – Semper, solum tu. Loyal till death is – Fidelis donec mors. Correct me if I’m wrong!

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    It’s in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Work As a Tourist:

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m shocked why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

  6. Alejandra Lontz:

    Wonderful website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Appreciate it!