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Translating a popular phrase from English into Latin

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Translating a popular phrase from English into Latin

Postby holmarholm » Wed May 22, 2013 3:03 am

So, I have a slight problem. My sister-in-law asked me to translate "All you need is love" into Latin. I told her it would not work literally in Latin, but I would ask other Latinists for their opinion on the matter.

She wants to get the phrase as a tattoo, so I do not want to take sole responsibility for a translation. As a matter of fact, I do not endorse the act of getting a tattoo in Latin when the person who is meaning to get it has no knowledge of the language whatsoever, as well as getting a phrase which has no connection with said language. However, I hate seeing misspelled tattoos so I might as well help her, especially since she is of the kind that does not care whether the translation makes sense or not in Classical Latin.

I suggested "Amor omnia vincit" as a possible substitute, but she was not very enthusiastic about that phrase.

So, as for the translation, "Amor est omnis quem requiris" does not exactly roll off the tongue, nor is it very good Latin. A possible translation might be "Solo amore opus est (there is only need of love)", but I would like to consider other possibilities (or better translations). Almost every translation I found with a Google search was wrong and showed the translators' lack of proficiency in Latin.

I would really appreciate it if anyone took the time to weigh in and any suggestions would be helpful.
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Re: Translating a popular phrase from English into Latin

Postby Qimmik » Thu May 23, 2013 3:56 am

I agree that the sentiment doesn't go well into Latin, and I wouldn't encourage anyone other than a sailor or a marine to get a tattoo in Latin or any other language. But the challenge is too great to resist. How about turning it around: "Nil necesse praeter amorem"? Or, if they charge by the word, maybe just "Nil praeter amorem"?
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Re: Translating a popular phrase from English into Latin

Postby holmarholm » Thu May 23, 2013 6:55 am

Both very good suggestions, Qimmik, but I am afraid this is all for naught now, for she has decided to go with "Omnia vincit Amor" instead, to my great relief. Still, it is always fun to turn a phrase into Latin and I thank you for your time and input.
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