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Latin For You

Teaching and translating ancient Latin since 1986

Latin For You

Welcome to the site that is dedicated to the Latin language as it was spoken and written by the ancient Romans as well as the Latin language as it lives today!

latinforyou.com is a site about all things Latin, especially devoted to offering translations from Latin to English and English to Latin.  Here you will find discussions about the Latin of the Catholic Church, assistance for Latin students, especially those wokring their way through the Cambridge Latin Course, and, of course, my expertise on the Latin language.  I have done translation work for everyone from the Royal Botanic Garden through to individuals who are getting a Latin tattoo and want to make sure that what will be permanent is also perfect.

So, come on in.  Have a stroll through the pages.  I'm sure you'll find something of interest.  Gaudete!

On the subject of Church (Ecclesiatical) Latin, there is an article, written for the B.C. Catholic by your Latinist.  It is a brief history of past popes who have resigned from the papacy.  You can read it right here.

You can also read about the revival of Latin in Australia - hey, let's bring the revival to Canada!!

In mid-July 2013 there was an interesting article in the Economist (read it here), which talked a bit about how Latin is alive and well and living on the internet.  Of course, we're quite familiar with that here.  I was intrigued by a couple of the comments, including the strict policy on Latin Wikipedia that they will NOT accept new words (neologisms).  I'm afraid I can't agree with that.  A living language needs to be able to grow. Otherwise, we might as well stick it in a museum underr glass.  For example, how do you translate 'fuzzles' (Dr. Seuss) into classical Latin?  If you look at ancient Latin, you'll see that they were fairly accepting of foreign words and regularly made up words (all invented verbs were automatcially 1st conjugation).  BTW, I much prefer pipatus (chirping) for tweet, rather than the painful circumlocution breviter commurmurare (to mutter briefly).

I must confess to a terrible oversight that has gone on for too long (hence the red ink being spilled).  I have not provided any sort of link or anything on Vicipedia, the Latin version of Wikipedia, which a huge going concern.  There are about 110,000 articles (as of August 2014), not just on ancient Roman topics, but, increasingly, on contemporary topics and issues.  The one principle which they stand by is "Noli fingere" (Don't create!).  They do not want to see people inventing Latin for modern words.  I can understand the desire to prevent widespread chaos and an avalanche of Latin nonsense.  On the other hand, that is exactly what living languages cope with all the time and generally endure.  In the end, the good will out and the rubbish will wind up in the dump.  The main thing is to have a visit and shortly there should be some cross references.

Services and Rates

Here we offer a range of Latin services which work for every budget and project.  This list is:

Latin for you Tatto - $25 - If you have a short phrase that you need translated from English to Latin (or vice versa), this is for you.  I will provide you with a perfect translation (often providing different options), an explanation and a pronounication guide.

Latin Translation Service - $50 - This is for longer projects; either several phrases or a full paragraph.  You get the perfect translation as well as any explanatory notes.

Learn Latin On-line - $100 - Whether you decide to use the Cambridge course or Wheelock's Latin, I will teach you the Latin language on-line for only $25 per lesson.  You learn in the comfort of your own home (or settled down in your favourite coffee shop with your favourite tipple) and you still have access to an instructor with a Ph.D in Classics and over 25 years teaching experience.

Martial and Catullus - $25 - The CLC has a great collection of Martial and Catullus poems.  If you want to understand them better and have a great set of study notes for the up-coming test, you can't do better than what I have to offer: full translation of every poem with vocabulary help and explanation of the literary/historical/cultural side of each poem.

Premium Latin Translation Service - $100 - You might have a full document that you need to translating, a major project.  I have translated extended texts for academics the world over.  Not only will you get a perfect translation, I can also look for specific items you need to pull out of the text.

Currently we are unable to process payments made via mobile devices.  The web server assures me that this convenience will become available in the near future.

BENEDICT RESIGNS - IN LATIN !!

Pope Benedict XVI made one of the most significant speeches in world history, when he announced that he was resigning from the papal throne and he chose to make that speech IN LATIN.

You can find out more about the speeech, including the Latin text and an English translation by going to Church Latin.  But what was really interesting was that, although there were many reporters who heard the speech, only one knew enough Latin to understand what they were being told.  Giovanna Chirri showed everyone that a knowledge of Latin can be an extremely useful thing.  She scooped her colleagues when she realized that "declaro me . . . renuntiare" means I resign.

To hear Benedict's own words (without the voice-over translation) click here.

Why Pay for a Translation?

The question often arises: why pay for a translation when there are websites that will translate for me for free? Because you get what you pay for and so something that costs nothing is worth every penny. To give people a chance to compare, I went onto a randomly chosen website (http://www.stars21.com/) and was given, free of charge, the following translations:

English line

Free Latin translation

Good Latin translation

to the house of Brutusdomus Brutus (house Brutus)domum Bruti
Let it meltfunde sit (pour! let it be)liquidum fiat
There are lots of boys in a Roman school

sunt pueri multas populi Romani ludo

(there are boys many women of the Roman people by/for school)

multi pueri in ludo Romano sunt

The Latin words in the free translation have no connection with each other and so there is no sentence, just a jumble. In general, when you pay for a translation, you have someone who knows the language working for you. When I do work for you, whether translating from English to Latin or Latin to English, you get the benefit of experience (over 30 years) and expertise (a Ph.D in Classics, specializing in Latin and Roman History). I also take pride in my work. I want to do it rightSo, whether you use a free site or pay for an expert such as myself, you'll get your money's worth.

I mention it elsewhere, but it is worth repeating: if you want a thing done right, you have to pay for it.  You can find an individual word in google translator, maybe.  But as soon as you have anything more than a phrase to translate, you need an expert, or you'll find yourself in the glue.

Learn Latin

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for his life (or something like that).  Anyway, the point is, I am happy to offer translations from English to Latin and back again.  But even better is to learn Latin and do the work yourself!  But why would anyone want to go through the time, effort (and cost) of learning Latin?  Here are a few well chosen reasons:

1.)  English vocabulary - roughly 70%-80% of all the words in the English language come from Latin (remember Aquila and the Bee??).  If you know Latin, you have access to a much richer vocabulary.  You'll be a much better communicator both orally and in writing!

2.)  Connected to (1) is the fact that English grammar is based on Latin grammar.  When the rules of English grammar were established, it was felt that Latin was the most perfect language and so it was used as the model for grammar rules (e.g., no split infinitives, don't end a sentence with a preposition, etc.).  So when you know Latin grammar, you know English grammar.  Knowing the rules of English grammar is very important, if you want to write effectively.  Only if you have good structure (grammar) can you build some very nice buildings.  And I'll tell you one more thing; most people who do know their English grammar did not learn it in English, they learned it in Latin class.

3.)  Direct access to the thought of the Roman world.  Our western culture is based on the culture of the Greco-Roman world.  Who controlled that world for centuries?  The Romans!  If you really want to understand who you are, you need to know where you come from.  Here's just one quick little example: The well-known tag "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" comes from the Roman love poet Ovid fertilior seges est alienis semper in agris - literally, "the crop is always more fertile in someone else's fields"

4.)  Going back to (1) again, virtually all medical terminology comes from Latin or ancient Greek.  In some schools all medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy students must take some university Latin.  Thinking of going into these fields?  Latin will help you out!  After all, there is a huge difference between a hypodermic needle and a hyperdermic needle.  The former needle goes into (under) the skin; the latter needle stays outside (over) the skin.  A hyperdermic needle will just get you wet.

5.)  There is another value to learning Latin grammar - it is very logical and structural.  It is a great way to train the mind to a more logical and structural way of thinking (mental discipline).  This is the type of thinking that engineers (especially computer) do every day.

6.)  I have noticed over the years that, the more I translate Latin into good, readable English, the more I understand how English is structured and how a slight variation in an English sentence can create (or destroy) the flow.  Sometimes it's as simple as knowing when it is better to use "a", "the" or nothing at all.

So, think about learning Latin.  Talk to the teacher or principal at your school.  Or you can learn some Latin from yours truly.  I teach an on-line course for UBC's Continuing Studies and this course is a great way to find out if Latin is for you.  Visit their site or send them an email for more information.  The other way to take Latin from me is to contact me.  I can teach face-to-face (if you live in the Vancouver area) or remotely (if you don't).  We can use the Cambridge Latin Course or Wheelock.  Send me an email to get the ball rolling!

Test Your Knowledge

This is a trial run of some tests to see how well they work.  If it is successful, you can expect to find lots more on their own page.  So, while you're here, have a quick go at this little 10 question quiz about the Julio-Claudian emperors.  Gaudete!

Pope Benedict's Latina Lingua - Teach Latin!

Pope Benedict has just come out with a motu proprio entitle Latin Lingua.  It is a call to renew the study of not only ecclesiatical, but also classical Latin.  It also establishes a new Pontifical Academy for Latin, whose mission is to promote the study of Latin in the Catholic world.  Hopefully, Catholic schools here in Canada and the parents of the students who attend will appreciate the pontiff's comments and realize that the expense of (re)initiating a Latin programme is an excellent investment for the benefit of both the students and the school, as well as society at large.  Our culture's foundation was largely written in Latin and, if are to fully understand our culture (and oursleves), we need to be able to appreciate that foundation in the original language.

 

1. The Latin language has always been held in very high esteem by the Catholic Church and by the Roman Pontiffs. They have assiduously encouraged the knowledge and dissemination of Latin, adopting it as the Church’s language, capable of passing on the Gospel message throughout the world. This is authoritatively stated by the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of my Predecessor, Blessed John XXIII.

     Indeed the Church has spoken and prayed in the languages of all peoples since Pentecost. Nevertheless, the Christian communities of the early centuries made frequent use of Greek and Latin, languages of universal communication in the world in which they lived and through which the newness of Christ’s word encountered the heritage of the Roman-Hellenistic culture.

     After the fall of the Roman Empire of the West, the Church of Rome not only continued to use Latin but, in a certain way, made herself its custodian and champion in both the theological and liturgical sectors as well as in formation and in the transmission of knowledge.

 

2. In our time too, knowledge of the Latin language and culture is proving to be more necessary than ever for the study of the sources, which, among others, numerous ecclesiastical disciplines draw from, such as, for example, theology, liturgy, patristics and canon law, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council teaches (cf. Decree Optatam Totius, n. 13).

     In addition, precisely in order to highlight the Church’s universal character, the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the most important documents of the Papal Magisterium and the most solemn official Acts of the Roman Pontiffs are written in this language in their authentic form.

 

3. Yet in today’s culture, the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin may be noted in the context of the widespread weakening of humanistic studies. This is also a risk in the context of the philosophical and theological studies of future priests. Moreover in our own world, in which science and technology play such an important role, there is a renewed interest in the Latin culture and language and not only on those continents whose culture is rooted in the Greco-Roman heritage. This attention seems all the more meaningful since it not only involves academic and institutional sectors but also concerns young people and scholars from very different nations and traditions.

 

4. It therefore appears urgently necessary to support the commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, both in the ecclesial context and in the broader world of culture. In order to give relevance and resonance to this undertaking the use of didactic methods in keeping with the new conditions and the promotion of a network of relations between academic institutions and scholars is particularly appropriate so as to make the most of the rich and multiform patrimony of the Latin civilization.

     To contribute to attaining these goals following in the footsteps of my venerable Predecessors, today, with this Motu Proprio, I establish the Pontifical Academy for Latin, under the Pontifical Council for Culture. It is governed by a President assisted by a Secretary, who are appointed by me, and by an Academic Council.

     The Latinitas Foundation, erected by Paul VI with the Chirograph Romani Sermonis of 30 June 1976 is hereby replaced.

     I order that this Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio, with which I approve the attached Statutes ad experimentum, for five years, be published in L’Osservatore Romano.

     Given at St Peter’s in Rome on 10 November 2012, the Memorial of St Leo the Great, the eighth year of my Pontificate.

De Pontificia Academia Latinitatis condenda

1. Latina Lingua permagni ab Ecclesia Catholica Romanisque Pontificibus usque est aestimata, quandoquidem ipsorum propria habita est lingua, qui eandem cognoscendam et diffundendam assidue curaverunt, cum Evangelii nuntium in universum orbem transmittere valeret, quemadmodum in Constitutione Apostolica Veterum sapientia Decessor Noster beatus Ioannes XXIII iure meritoque edixit.

     Enimvero inde a Pentecoste omnibus hominum linguis locuta et precata est Ecclesia. Attamen christianae communitates primorum saeculorum linguam Graecam Latinamque affatim usurpaverunt, cum illis locis in quibus morabantur universalia essent communicationis instrumenta, quorum ope Christi Verbi novitas hereditati obviam ivit Romani et Hellenistici cultus.

     Romano Imperio occidentali exstincto, Romana Ecclesia non modo lingua Latina uti perrexit, verum etiam quodammodo custos eiusdem et fautrix fuit, sive in Theologiae ac Liturgiae, sive in institutionis et scientiae transmittendae provincia.

 

2. Nostris quoque temporibus Latinae linguae et cultus cognitio perquam est necessaria ad fontes vestigandos ex quibus complures disciplinae ceteroqui hauriunt, exempli gratia Theologia, Liturgia, Patrologia et Ius Canonicum, quemadmodum Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum II docet (cfr Decretum de Institutione sacerdotali, Optatam totius, 13).

     In hac praeterea lingua, ut universalis Ecclesiae natura pateat, typica forma sunt scripti liturgici libri Romani Ritus, praestantiora Magisterii pontificii Documenta necnon sollemniora Romanorum Pontificum officialia Acta.

 

3. In hodierno tamen cultu, humanarum litterarum extenuatis studiis, periculum adest levioris linguae Latinae cognitionis, quae in curriculis philosophicis theologicisque futurorum presbyterorum quoque animadvertitur. Sed contra, in nostro ipso orbe, in quo scientia ac technologia praecipuum obtinent locum, renovatum culturae et linguae Latinae studium invenitur, non illis in Continentibus dumtaxat quae proprias culturales radices in patrimonio Graeco et Romano habent. Id diligentius est animadvertendum eo quod non modo academiarum provincia et institutionum implicatur, sed ad iuvenes inquisitoresque etiam attinet, qui ex diversissimis Nationibus et traditionibus proveniunt.

 

4. Quapropter necessitas instare videtur ut linguae Latinae altius cognoscendae eiusque congruenter utendae fulciatur cura, sive in ecclesiali sive in patentiore cultus campo. Ut hic nisus extollatur et evulgetur, consentaneum prorsus est docendi rationes adhibere aptas ad novas condiciones et provehere item necessitudines inter Academicas institutiones et inquisitores, ut copiosum ac multiforme Latini cultus patrimonium efferatur.

     Ad haec proposita assequenda, Decessorum Nostrorum semitas calcantes, hasce per Litteras Apostolicas Motu Proprio datas hodie Pontificiam Academiam Latinitatis condimus, quae Pontificio Consilio de Cultura erit obnoxia. Eam regit Praeses, quem Secretarius iuvat et ii a Nobis nominantur, dum Consilium Academicum illis auxilium fert.

     Opus Fundatum Latinitas, quod Pauli PP. VI chirographo Romani Sermonis die XXX mensis Iunii anno MCMLXXVI est constitutum, exstinguitur.

     Decernimus ut hae Litterae Apostolicae Motu Proprio datae, quibus ad experimentum in quinquennium adnexum Statutum comprobamus, per editionem in actis diurnis “L’Osservatore Romano” evulgentur.

     Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die X mensis Novembris, in memoria Sancti Leonis Magni Papae, anno MMXII, Pontificatus Nostri octavo.

 

Current Work

Right now I am teaching three different streams of Latin.

In the Department of Continuing Studies at the University of British Columbia I teach Latin I and II using what I call the Essential Latin method.  For a brief description of this approach to teaching Latin to people who wish to acquire 'functional literacy' in Latin just click on "Essential Latin" in the menu.

I am also teaching a class of advanced high school Latin for the Burnaby School Board to international students who have come to study in Canada for a few months.  We read from a selection of Latin authors which I have specially prepared for this class of grade 11 students who have studying Latin for 4-5 years.

The third stream are made of students who are learning latin throught the Cambridge Latin Course.  These students are either taught at the Ivy Academy in Vancouver, B.C. or they are private clients who are attending St. George's School.

In addition to this, I also conduct research.  I am currently continuing my work on the reign of the emperor Claudius.  I have just completed my 13th review for Bryn Mawr Classical Review.