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Q: English to latin translation ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: English to latin translation
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: dietzsm-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 24 Jul 2006 18:39 PDT
Expires: 23 Aug 2006 18:39 PDT
Question ID: 749186
I'm looking to get the phrase "life is what you make it" translated to
latin for a tattoo and I'm having a very hard time with it. Is there
anyone here who can help me?
Subject: Re: English to latin translation
Answered By: alanna-ga on 27 Jul 2006 19:12 PDT
Hi dietzsm-ga -

I suggest you might want to pick the most idiomatic Latin expression
that also expresses your sentiment.  As you know, the way we put
things today may be a lot different than the way a Roman would have
put it.

So--one suggestion is to be as idiomatic as possible and use an
expression that was common in ancient times:

1. Nil difficile volenti 
	Literally:  Nothing (is) impossible to the one who wants it.

Another suggestion is to apply the above to "life" by saying:

2. Vitam agas tanquam nil difficile volenti
        Literally:  Live as if nothing (is) impossible to the one who wants it.

Another more literal but accurate expressions is:

3.  Vitam agas vitam tuam
        Literally:  Make the life you live YOUR life.  [very roughly:
you make it; you live it]

The last one is the closest the Latin can come to your exact words,
but I myself would go with the first, "nil difficile volenti," which
captures the sentiment most classically.

I  used Cassell's dictionary for this translation.

Cassell's  Latin-English and English-Latin Dictionary revised by
J.R.V. Marchant, M.A. and Joseph F. Charles, B.A., Funk and Wagnell's
(New York)

You can take a look at many Latin phrases that are used used in
English at this website:

Latin phrases used in English

I'm sure your tattoo will look super.

Subject: Re: English to latin translation
From: eion-ga on 25 Jul 2006 02:33 PDT
A direct translation  word for word is 

"vita est quis vos planto is"

gramatically i am unsure if this flows..
Subject: Re: English to latin translation
From: myoarin-ga on 25 Jul 2006 04:43 PDT
No, it doesn't, and my suggesting is probably also incorrect  ( I am
very unsure about the verb form):

vita qua facies
Subject: Re: English to latin translation
From: yonr-ga on 25 Jul 2006 11:15 PDT
"Vita qua se facies est." This is a strict and literal translation.
The problem, though, is that "life is what you make it" is idiomatic.

If you want "You make your own life"--as in "one makes one's own
life"--"Quidam sua vita faciet." Or literally "you (proun.) make your
own life"--"Tua vita facies."

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