Translating to Latin?

Hey guys. In my new book I want the bad guy's motto to be "The skies will fall and there will be peace," in Latin. When I run it through Google translate (which I know is a crappy tool, but it's all I've got), it comes out as "Aetheres et corruet, et non erit pax," which when I translate it back into English apparently means "Skies and fall, and there will be peace." Anybody know the correct way for me to say that in Latin?

It's not exactly what you want, but "Quod caelum autem cadere et erit pax" translates to "The sky will fall and there will be peace". I got there by putting in different fragments of the sentence until I could translate back and forth without it mutating.


That could work, yeah. I'm sure it wouldn't literally translate into that, though. Latin is a weird language, lol. What do you guys think? Is it important for it to translate ACCURATELY to Latin? Like, if anyone came out and said, "No, you butchered that sentence!" would it have that big an impact?

Latin's not a weird language. English is the bastard child of like four languages. Most people won't be able to tell how terrible your translation is, but that's no reason to butcher a language.

There's really no way to do it properly without contacting someone who actually knows Latin. I would say it's not important -- pretty much anyone who reads your story won't know Latin and out of those, only a few will bother to pop it into google. As long as the exact phrasing isn't a core mechanic in your story most people won't care.

Yeeeeeeeah. I wouldn't say I *know* Latin, but I did take 3 years of it in high school. (Half a lifetime ago.) Meaning in present day, I can't translate INTO latin worth a damn, but I still have a vague grasp of meaning when I see latin text that already exists.

The main problem with what Archive tried to do is it's... literal. Like word going to word. Which isn't how latin works unless phrases are short. In particular, that "Quod" makes me squint, because (especially being in math) I'm used to seeing it in the context of "Quod Erat Demonstrandum" (What was to be proven, or QED). As structured, that sentence cries out to me for 'quod' to translate into a "Whereas" (or similar word), even though just plugging "quod" into Translate apparently allows for the word "The". (Don't start a latin sentence with 'the'. That's not a thing.) But, AdamBo, you're quite correct in that "Aetheres et corruet" scans for me as "ether/sky and (something else, I'm rusty)" using the word AND, not something in future tense.

You might have better luck with shorter phrases. Like "Skies Fall. Peace Arrives." (Translate gives me "Aetheres Cadunt. Pax Advenit." which scans pretty well... and yes, I had to use translate, because my ability to handle latin verb cases was always rubbish.) If you're set on something that flows, notice how the latin morphs if you exclude English words (for instance, the sentence starts with "aetheres" regardless of whether you enter "the skies will fall", "these skies will fall" or simply "skies will fall" - the alterations come later in the sentence), and try different tenses (while "the skies will fall" gives "aethers et per cadere", which is somewhat literally "there's skies and then fall", the English variation "when the skies fall" gives "cum ceciderit aetheres" which is somewhat literally "with falling of skies", closer to your intent). It doesn't help that in English, "will" is something you leave for your descendants and "fall" is a season. (Or that my latin knowledge is 20 years old.)

As to the question of "Is it important for it to translate ACCURATELY to Latin?" ... Not necessarily. (For one, you said this is the motto of a bad guy. Maybe one of the reasons we hate him is his butchering of language.) It's not like I'm going to toss the book aside because the latin looks weird. But it could count as a strike, in a "three strikes and you're out" sort of deal. Because the two translations above make me pause and say 'wait, what?', drawing me out of the story in a way that 'Pax Advenit' doesn't, even if that phrase is more child-like. Insert obligatory remark to the effect of your audience possibly not being made up of people like me, who took latin courses in high school.

No one said writing was easy. Per aspera ad astra.

> Maybe one of the reasons we hate him is his butchering of language

It would make for a great witty comeback if your hero knows Latin for some reason and says "[latin phrase]? That doesn't even mean anything!" after the villain goes on a long rant involving it.

"Caelum cadet et veniet pax" would be accurate, according to my latinum and five years of study. Or maybe 'pax vincet', if you want to be a bit cheeky. Which translates to "The sky falls and peace arrives" in the first case or "and peace prevails" in the second case. I have rendered it here in the form of a chiasmus which makes it stick in the head a bit better because it subverts the usual order of words (which is fine in circumstances like these).

The plural form would be:

Caela cadent et veniet/vincet pax.

I advise to use the singular because it flows better with the second part. The "et" is optional, but should always go with the chiasm. Else the sentence is wrong. So either

Caelum cadet et veniet pax.


Caelum cadet. Pax veniet.

Explanation for the geeks:

Caelum, Nominative of 'Sky'. Aetherus is more along the lines of Heaven. Which is where the english word 'aethereal' comes from. Derived from greek Aither which denotes the upper heavens of the olympian gods.

Cadere, 3rd person active Futur I cadet, means "to fall", also "to be sacrificed", "to plunge", "to end", "to crumble" and "to succumb". A process of disintegration. Which is appropriate.

Mathtans uses the present tense - which renders as "The heavens are falling" - and Archive's translation has the infinitive which is not correct in any way shape or form. Don't know how it would render in english, that language has funny infinitives. The google translater, also, sticks in a quite unnecessary "quod" which is a conjunction that has no business there. Drop it. Else the sentence renders somewhat like "Because though the sky to fall and there will be peace" where 'because' should conjunct this sentence with the one before, that isn't there. I'd correct Mathans on that account since 'quod' doesn't mean just 'the' but also "that [thing], which". The stick-in-arse-translation for QED is, afaik in english, "That thing which was to be proven" and as such points to a foregoing

The second part is quite easy, same genus, numerus and casus as the first part.

Pax, Nominative Singular - the peace - as in Pax Americana or Pax Romana or indeed peace.

Venire, rendered as 3rd person singular Futur I - it will arrive -, means to arrive, to come etc.

Erit is possible and at least grammatically correct but derives from "esse" which means "to be" in all its forms but usually means something like "exists". And roughly translates to "it [the peace] will exist". Which confuses more than it helps, I'd say.

Of course, I'm also a bit rusty, but I feel confident that it hasn't been quite 20 years. ;)

Personally, I do care quite a lot about 'accurate' latin in a serious setting. Of course I do not expect someone to use the most accurate vulgar gothic-latin for a monk in the 700's or that barbaric dialects of the late 1400's for a renaissance-man. But I do hate canis latinicus. Especially Harry Potter is a bad, baaaad offender in this regard. Same as I do not like it when somebody uses wrong german, italian, chinse or some other language 'for flavor' and does not care to take half an hour of his time to make sure it is actually accurate. Not because somebody could be offended - although just imagine for a moment if I'd render every single english speaking character as a redneck from mississippi and then made a big fuss on how he's actually the smart one because he knows bad english.

I just think it's a writers honour and duty to make sure he doesn't propagate falsehoods on the level of language itself.

Hear hear! Even fiction should be educational.

I'm pretty sure infinitives in English translate to "to [verb]" so it'd be like "the skies to fall".