Ave, Latinstackers!

I am writing a three-part piece in Latin for my choir, and I want a perfect, exact translation of the text into Latin, please. I strongly suspect that Google translate has not got it quite right!

Here is the text. I would be extremely grateful to anybody who would spend a moment to give me the exact translation of each line.

Fire is coming.
Drought is coming.
The dust rises,
and our sky is obscured.

Floods will come.
Frozen rivers will flow.
The city of Venice is drowning;
and what are we doing?

We will act.
We will all change,
and we pray that our world will recover.

Thanks in advance from Cantus Lupum

  • Could you tell us first how you think it could be translated? – Quidam Nov 17 '19 at 9:40
  • 1
    There is no such thing as "the exact translation" of anything. Even a literal translation is only possible if there is enough context to deteremine which of the possible equivalents is most appropriate - and when I talk about the "possible equivalents", I don't mean just the choice of words, but also the grammatical relationships. – Colin Fine Nov 17 '19 at 18:36
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because ask for a translating, without really asking a question. – Quidam Nov 18 '19 at 2:49

I apologize if this comes across as a non-answer, but I cannot help giving it. I have translated several songs into Latin for professional singers. Good translations take a lot of work:

  • I make sure the singer is comfortable with the translation. I add or remove syllables or avoid words they find awkward for some reason.
  • I make the rhyme, alliteration, and rhythm work in a way comparable to the original.
  • I pay attention to whether it sounds good to a listener who knows no Latin.
  • I make sure there are elements that are easy to grasp, like well known Latin words or names.
  • There is no such thing as literal translation of song lyrics, so I have to decode the message and recode it in Latin. This involves not only shifting to another language but often also shifting to another cultural context.
  • I repeatedly discuss the translation options with the singer to find solutions that work well on all levels. It often takes a large number of iterations to get it right.
  • I check carefully that the text is grammatically valid.
  • I provide a detailed pronunciation guide and teach the singer until satisfied.
  • I abandon some projects as I cannot make them work in Latin in a way that meets my quality standards.

Although I do like to offer volunteer help on this site, this amount of work is too much. A "perfect translation" is possible get, but probably not something you can easily get from a professional for free. I fully understand that not everyone has the will or ability to pay for such services, but quality work costs money.

Perhaps someone can offer you a quick translation. But don't expect it to be fully polished and conveying exactly the intended message. To end on a positive note, you are wise to doubt Google Translate.

| improve this answer | |
  • This is great, but--isn't this an answer to a different question? I would think the current question, as stated, should be closed, though I'd love to see this as an answer to a different question! – brianpck Nov 15 '19 at 16:37
  • @brianpck I agree. I'd be happy to repost this answer to a differently focused question. I can ask myself, but I'll be more than happy if someone beats me to it. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 15 '19 at 16:57
  • Thanks, everybody. Let me clarify; I am an amateur composer, working with my own small women's A capella choir for 20 years. My work is entirely voluntary and the singers make a donation, so there are no spare funds for anything fancy. As the song is in the form of short sentences, rather than complex prose, I was hoping that a straight-forward translation, paying attention to tense, and of course; intention of meaning, would be possible. – Cantus Lupum Nov 16 '19 at 2:46
  • @brianpck Personally, I think that this answer is 1. the correct answer to this question, in the context of this website; just because it wasn’t what was desired doesn’t make it the “right” response to give, and 2. better given “naturally” in a case where it was requested than “artificially” in a question designed for this answer. Personally I’d say it’s best where it is. – KRyan Nov 16 '19 at 4:28
  • Whether this question should be closed is a matter to be settled by voting: If you think it should be closed, flag the question for closure or vote to close. That's the way it's designed to go. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 16 '19 at 9:49

Ignis Venturis est. - Fire is coming.

Ecce Ignis. - Here is fire.

Ad nimium venturis est. - Drought is coming.

Ecce Ossa - Here are bones.

Et pulvis resurget, - The dust rises,

et nostras caelum obscuratur. - and our sky is obscured.

Inundationes veniet. - Floods will come.

Sentire aquas. - Feel the waters.

Gelida flumina et influunt, - Frozen rivers will flow,

et civitas venetiarum submersus est - and the city of Venice is drowning.

Quid agimus? - What are we doing?

Nos agere! - We act!

Agere debemus! - We must act!

Nos omni mutatione oportet. - We must all change.

Orationi instate, qui, ut noster orbis terrarum recuperat. - Pray together, people, that our world can recover.

Thanks Latinstackers. Please highlight any glaring errors. Any kind assistance with this small private project would be received with deep gratitude. CL.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Now what was it you said about google translate? – fdb Nov 17 '19 at 14:45
  • Thank you fdb; I have to assume from your oblique comment that this translation will not be too wildly inaccurate to incooperate into an amateur musical score. I will proceed using this text. Please close this question, Latinstackers. Sorry to bother you all. – Cantus Lupum Nov 21 '19 at 8:55
  • btw, fdb; I compared a lot of results from a lot of Latin translation sites to arrive at this basic translation. – Cantus Lupum Nov 21 '19 at 9:04
  • 1
    No, you have misunderstood me. Your translation is completely and utterly wrong. – fdb Nov 21 '19 at 9:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.