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I am looking for a translation of "don't get caught". This phrase is the slogan of World Chase Tag (a tag competition), and it seems like they tried to put a Latin translation on their medals: image

However, Quit adepto raptus looks very wrong to me, like a result of Google translate...

The phrase is a negation of the passive imperative mood. Passive imperative is apparently an odd thing in Latin (see this post), and that's why I'm unsure what the best translation would be.


I think capto is the obvious choice for the verb, and the options I found online are the following:

  • noli / nolite + passive infinitive: noli captari / nolite captari

  • ne + passive infinitive: ne captari

  • ne + passive imperative: ne captare / ne captamini

  • ne + 2nd person subjunctive perfect passive: ne captus/a sis / ne capti/ae sitis


Are any of these options preferable, if correct at all?

Or is there maybe some other, non-literal translation?

I'd love to hear your feedback!

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I'd suggest a very slightly less literal translation using the verb caveo "beware", with ne and subjunctive:

Cave ne capiaris!

Literally this means "watch out you don't get caught!". But this construction is often used as basically equivalent to a negative imperative, in contexts where you're warning someone against doing something. Some examples can be found here; another well-known one is Cave ne eas "Don't go!" in the story of an omen to Crassus. And it appears that one other sporting society has had the same idea: Cave ne cadas "Watch out not to fall!" is the name of a Dutch horseriding association.

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    Thanks a lot! I think this sounds more "catchy" than the literal translation (pun intended) :) I'm gonna send them an e-mail, let's see what they think! – schmuelinsky Dec 12 '20 at 14:38
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I think the best choice is noli(te) with infinitive. It comes across as an order, not as a wish, and in this context I think an order "don't get caught" is a more suitable tone than a wish "I hope you won't get caught". Positive passive imperatives are indeed rare and perhaps a little weird, but negative passive imperatives are easy to parse. The same approach with noli(te) works equally well with active and passive.

Instead of captare (or capto) I would go with the more basic verb capere (or capio). The former is derived from the latter. Your suggestion noli(te) captari works well, and I would refine it to noli(te) capi.

The phrase quit adepto raptus indeed looks like Google Translate nonsense. It could be translated as "the caught one is able for the one who has reached". All of your suggestions make much more sense.

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