Si quis rogabit quid nunc discas, refer te artem non mediocrem sed utilissimam ac difficillimam discere.
'Referre' can have many meanings, I had a lot of trouble with the structure of the sentence, but eventually went with this interpretation:
"If you now understand (learn) what he will ask (for), then return with (bring back to you) a skill that is not mediocre, but useful and difficult to learn."
When I looked at the answer, i saw that I had been wrong in many many ways:
"If someone asks what you are learning now, answer that you are learning not an ordinary skill but one most useful and very difficult."
Is my interpretation definately wrong? If so what are some tips that I could have used to steer away from the translation I ended up with and get closer to the correct translation?
Si custodiae duriores fortioresque ad casam tuam contendissent, heu, numquam tanta scelera suscepisses et hi omnes non occidissent.
In this sentence, there are 2 words that can have many meanings, 'custodius' and 'suscipere'. I opted for the following translation:
"If the harsher and stronger prisoners had hastened to your house, alas, you never would have been a victim of (recieved) such great crimes and all these men (prisoners) would not have fallen (i.e. you would not have been able to defeat any of them)."
When I saw the answer, it turned out that 'custodius' meant guard in this context and not prisoner, and 'suscipere' meant to undertake rather than to recieve, furthermore, 'hi omnes' refered to other men, not the custodiae that had already been mentioned:
"If harsher and stronger guards had hastened to your house, alas, you never would have undertaken such great crimes and all these men would not have died."
Again, is my interpretation definately wrong? If so are there any tips I could have used to get to the correct translation?