I don't know if phrase translation requests are on-topic but I would really like to know is there's a way to convey this meaning in Latin:

"You can't automatize a mess" or "Disorder cannot be automatized".

This mean that in order to automatize a process you should first bring order to said process, otherwise you wouldn't have clear rules for an automaton/machine/software to perform tasks.

I know the verb automatize is modern but the word automaton is not. That may be of help. I would prefer the Latin equivalent to mess since it has the informal spirit of the original phrase.

In the worst case scenario an equivalent known proverb that conveys the same meaning could be useful.

  • 1
    Welcome! I edited your question slightly; feel free to re-edit or roll back. Asking for translations is on-topic. See these guidelines about asking such questions for details.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:21
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    What's automatize? Do you mean automate?
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 3:31
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    @andy256 Look at this: thefreedictionary.com/automatize
    – user679
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 11:32
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    Why add an extra syllable to a word, and then say it had the same meaning as the old word?
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 0:38
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    @andy256 I didn't invent the word as you can see in the dictionary entry. Feel free to edit the question and chance it to automate, though.
    – user679
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


I suggest:

Chaos in automatum non reducitur.

A literal translation is "Chaos is not reduced to an automaton", i.e. "cannot be brought into the condition of something that works automatically". As Joonas Ilmavirta says, it's hard to a find a Latin verb meaning "automatize". A workaround is to use a phrase like "reduce to an automaton, bring into the state of an automaton"; this is what I used above, but in the passive. Chaos is originally a Greek word, but was widely used in Latin; Ovid (Metamorphoses book 1) describes the creation of the ordered world out of primeval chaos. As a word for the ultimate state of lack of order, it seems to be appropriate here.


I don't know a classical Latin word for "automatize", and I don't think using only classical words to say something along the lines of "to turn something into a self-moving machine" would do any good here. Therefore I suggest using the verb automatizare for "to automatize". I do not recall ever seeing this verb, but it should be easy enough to understand, given the analogous words in other languages and the natural Latin derivation automatum/automaton + -izare.

For "mess" I suggest confusio, turba or perturbatio. Check the English translations of those words and choose what fits your intention. Or find a new word altogether; I'm not entirely satisfied with these words, but I can't think of better ones. We have a list of online dictionaries here.

With these ingredients I suggest:

Confusio automatizari non potest.
Disorder cannot be automatized.

  • How about "an automaton cannot help you do your work when things are in disarray"?
    – user679
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:42
  • @user679 Perhaps automaton in confusione non fungitur, "an automaton doesn't work in disorder"? Or automaton in confusione opus non facit, "an automaton doesn't do work in disorder"? Or if you want it longer, perhaps automaton in operando auxiliari non potest cum res in confusione sint, "an automaton cannot help in working when things are in disorder".
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:51
  • How about (going off your last comment) Automaton ex confusione non oritur (or non factum est or something of the sort)? Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 16:41
  • @JoelDerfner, good idea. Maybe we could go as far as confusio automaton non fit, "disorder does not become an automaton".
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 17:17

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