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Q: English to Latin Translation ( Answered,   8 Comments )
Subject: English to Latin Translation
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: diggerpy23-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Apr 2005 23:08 PDT
Expires: 18 May 2005 23:08 PDT
Question ID: 511206
Could anyone translate the phrase "in the midde of difficulty,lies opportunity"
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
Answered By: guillermo-ga on 20 Apr 2005 21:46 PDT
Hello diggerpy23-ga,

Here's my translation:

In medio ad difficultatem, opportunitas jacet.

Jaceo - jacere (or iaceo - iacere) = to lie

Medio instead of media, as suggested in amber00-ga's comment, because
is the noun we need to use here instead of the adjective. The word
difficult comes from Latin with the same meaning, so we can use the
original word, as well as for opportunity = opportunitas.

As to irebel-ga's comment, please note that that is Spanish, not
Latin, a very frequent confusion due to the common use of the
adjective Latin for people from Hispanic origin (Spanish speakers),
that because of the Latin root of modern Spanish language.

Sources: Fournier, Dimon; Latin, Classe de Sixième

University of Notre Dame's Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid:

Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges:;layout=;loc=;query=toc

I hope this helps. You can ask for clarification in case you need it.

Best regards,


Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 21 Apr 2005 13:11 PDT
Amber00-ga's last comment suggests an idea that, despite the
explanation of my choice, could better it, at least by gaining
pithiness and reducing the possibility of confusion:

*In medio difficultatis, opportunitas jacet.*

It needs to treat the structure middle-difficulty as a figurative
possesive complement for noun, thus using the genitive
"difficultatem", which needs no preposition. I think both forms are
correct, but this one may sound clearer.

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 21 Apr 2005 13:13 PDT
Typo: *using the genitive "difficultatis"*
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: amber00-ga on 19 Apr 2005 05:20 PDT
In medias ardua, potestas stet.
In medias ardua, facultas stet.
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: irebel-ga on 20 Apr 2005 17:11 PDT
"in the midde of difficulty,lies opportunity
"en medio de dificultades, encontras oportunidades"

iRebel (
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: amber00-ga on 21 Apr 2005 07:24 PDT
'Ardua' can be used on its own in the neutral form to mean 'difficult things'.
Consider, for example the Latin motto 'Per astra ad ardua' ('To the
stars through difficulties') G**gle on this motto for confirmation.
this has the advantage of pithiness.
And I'm not clear why you want to use 'ad difficultatem': why not a
genitive? 'In the middle to difficulty' is strange.
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: guillermo-ga on 21 Apr 2005 12:52 PDT
Hello Amber,

I agree on the use of the word arduus - a - um; I chose difficultas -
atis just trying to be as literal as possible, as long as the sense
would not be altered.

As to why "ad difficultatem", not being any of the three possible
complements for nouns (possession, matter or quality), I take this
structure, figuratively, as an "ubi" circumstance inside another "ubi"
circumstance. Where? In the difficulty. Where in the difficulty? In
the middle. The syntactical (not semantic) nucleus of the "ubi"
structure being "middle", "difficult" is there to specify *where* is
this middle "located": "inside" the difficult. Such a complement needs
"ad + accusative", i.e. "ad difficultatem". While very often, "ad" is
not always translatable as "to". Hope this clarifies the translation
options I chose.


Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: myoarin-ga on 21 Apr 2005 17:46 PDT
Greetings to all,  Salve!
I am glad you agreed to prefer the genitive, but I stumble a bit at "jacet".
Jacere/iacere  means "to lie" in the physical sense, whereas in the
context of the English phrase, "lies" means "is/exists" or "can be
Agreeing with Amber concerning pithiness, I would choose:

In medio difficultatis opportunitas

leaving the "est" after opportunitas for "is" as understood.  This is
common in Latin mottos on coats of arms and immediately
understandable, also for an English speaker who knew no Latin but
could interpolate that "medio" was related to middle or midst.
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: guillermo-ga on 21 Apr 2005 19:19 PDT
Hi Myorin, it's good to see you around!

Actually, jaceo - jaces - jacere / iaceo - iaces - iacere means "to
lie" in the physical sense depending on the context, as much as in
English. Please check "Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin
Dictionary" at;layout.refembed=2;layout.refwordcount=1;layout.reflookup=iacent;doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2325152
Among the many definitions, you will find:
~to lie, be situate, = esse, situm esse
~To lie open, be obvious, to be known, be at hand
Sure, we're so used to read "hic jacet" = "here lies", that we may
come to believe that jaceo, etc, just means to lie dead, but actually
Latin words are no less rich in significations than modern languages.

As to the idea of directly removing the verb, I can buy it: one more
choice for the asker. Now, if we're going to keep the verb, I'm
strongly for jaceo once it's been stated that it fits, because it
sounds more interesting than est, and is closer to the asker's
proposition, which I try to stand by as much as possible.
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: amber00-ga on 22 Apr 2005 05:14 PDT
If you don't like 'est' (sum,esse etc) then why not 'stet'? (from sto
stare, steti, statum)It is much more idiomatice in Latin to say that
'opportunity stands', rather than 'opportunity lies'. Literal
translations can be very clumsy at times.
Subject: Re: English to Latin Translation
From: guillermo-ga on 22 Apr 2005 08:18 PDT
Hi Amber,

About "est", I wouldn't say that I don't "like" it; in this case it
sounds to me like an easy shortcut. I would definitely prefer "stet".

Now, my criteria was, first, to stand by the words originally proposed
by the asker, as long as they could keep the meaning required by the
context. Since they did, according to that criterion I wouldn't change

There's a second criterion, related to the previous, though much more
subjective if you want: while one particular meaning of a word
differentiates itself from the other ones for the same word, these
ones still have an influence on that particular meaning, which
constitute the nuances of that word which make it different from the
other words you could choose for the same signification. When you say
that opportunity "lies", I understand that it is absolutely passive
and that is completely up to me to take it or leave it. But if
opportunity "stands" or "stays", there's a subtle more active
situation of the object, as if it had a minimal will to be found.
Stand and stay (sto, etc.) may imply "wait": stay here, stand by me,
wait for me. Lie doesn't.

I agree with you about the problems with literal translations, and the
best we can do is trying to reach a balance and make decisions, which
are based on criteria. I can't assure that my decision in this case
produced the most elegant result possible, but I don't dislike it.


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