10

I love the phrase mind your path and thought it’d be even cooler in Latin. The translation I have is:

Mens Semita Tua

Is this correct; like, good enough to tattoo?

To add context, I feel that a lot of my suffering/anxiety comes from attempting to walk down paths that aren’t for me if that makes sense. I believe we all come here with a unique purpose and path specific to us and comparing yourself or trying to be like someone else or walk down their road behind them will inevitably cause you pain because it’s not meant for you and you can never be someone else or live their life.

5
  • 5
    Welcome to the site and thanks for making your first question! What does that phrase mean to you? Context and meaning can make a big difference in a Latin translation. – Adam Apr 1 at 13:37
  • 2
    Please take a look at our instructions for asking questions like this. Please edit your question to supply the context; it makes a big difference as @Adam points out. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 1 at 15:26
  • 2
    sorry for the lack of clarification! to me I feel that a lot of my suffering/anxiety come from attempting to walk down paths that aren’t for me if that makes sense. I believe we all come here with a unique purpose and path specific to us and comparing yourself or trying to be like someone else or walk down their road behind them will inevitably cause you pain because it’s not meant for you and you can never be someone else or live their life. – Nicole Apr 1 at 21:15
  • 4
    Additionally, I would wait until you get a few answers, ESPECIALLY if you want to get this as a tattoo. It's better to have the best answers than go with the quickest if you're looking at something permanent. (Good advice for all regardless of which answer you go with.) – cmw Apr 2 at 1:26
  • 1
    "Mens semita tua" comes off as something like, "brain, your footpath". It would only be comprehensible at all by translating it into English (and not into any other language). Latin grammar is quite unlike English grammar and you can't just mash words together that you found in a dictionary. As for the correct translation, I second TKR's suggestion of "Memento viae tuae". – Kef Schecter Apr 2 at 10:43
13

I would translate it as:

Custodi viam tuam

The word semita denotes a narrow path and is probably not what you're looking for. I believe via would be a better fit, because it's often used in a more abstract sense to signify something like the path of life. Cicero for example used via as part of an expression meaning the right path of life:

...non nulli tamen sive felicitate quadam sive bonitate naturae sine parentium disciplina rectam vitae secuti sunt viam. (De Officiis 1.118)

(However, some, whether by a certain good fortune or by the goodness of nature, have followed the right path of life without the guidance of their parents.)

Concerning the verb, custodire means to watch over or take heed. The word mens, on the other hand, isn't even a verb. Its the word for mind in the sense of the intellect or understanding.

2
  • Thank you so much for your thorough response I really appreciate it I feel like it encapsulates what I was attempting to say! Do you feel like this captures specificity like would including the word own(mind your own path ) change anything? – Nicole Apr 1 at 21:27
  • 2
    @Nicole. Yes I believe it does capture the specificity of what you're trying to say. As TKR says, the root idea is to guard, so it is precisely the sort of watching that is usually done when its a question of taking care of one's life. – Expedito Bipes Apr 1 at 22:03
14

As Expedito Bipes says, via is probably a better word for "path" than semita in this context. I'm going to suggest a different verb:

Memento viae tuae.

Memento means "to mind" in the sense of "be mindful of something", or "remember" (which is how it's most often translated). So the above phrase could be translated "Mind your path", "Be mindful of your path", or "Remember your path". (Custodi in EB's answer is derived from the noun "guard", so its connotations are more about guarding, defending, or keeping watch over something.)

To your question in the comment about whether the word "own" could be put in, it's already there in a sense in both of these translations: in this context, tuam or tuae can be translated equally as "your" or "your own".

1
  • 1
    I agree that this verb is more appropriate, +1 for you – MPW Apr 2 at 15:46
5

Mens semita tua would mean roughly "the mind is your path". That the noun mind and the verb to mind are homophones is an idiosyncrasy of English which doesn't translate into other languages.

If you want to stress that you are minding your own path, you can transpose the possessive pronoun to the beginning and say tuam viam sequere ("follow your own way") or tuae viae adhaere ("stick to your own way").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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