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I'm working on an insignia design project. The insignia has a Latin translation of the motto

To know God, to express the Word.

I paid for a Latin translation service and they gave me this result

Ad Deum sciendum, ad Verbum exprimendum

Is it accurate?

A little more info on context and meaning:

This motto means for a person to acquire a kind of spiritual knowledge, insight, and understanding about God. It also means for their words and actions to express, reflect, and be inspired by and based on the life of Jesus Christ in the Bible.

“know God” references a scripture from the Bible. From Proverbs 2:5 – “then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and you will discover the knowledge of God”

“Word” references John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.”


On meaning and intent, it describes the motivation for all the words and actions of the person ascribing to the motto. If someone were wearing this motto then it’s like they’re answering “to know God and to express the Word” to anyone who were to ask them “Why are you treating me this way?”

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It's fairly literal, and there are alternatives, especially for "express," but yes, this is an accurate translation, depending on exactly what you mean by the English.

The English places two clauses one after each other with a comma. What does that really mean? It's a bit unclear. Also, what do you mean "to know god" - is this expressing purpose ("in order to know god"), a infinitive acting like a noun (e.g. "knowing god"), or a combination of the two ("knowing god in order to express the word")?

In the Latin translation, both represent purpose, i.e. "for the purpose of knowing god [and] for the purpose of portraying the word." If this is what you intended with the English, then the translation is clear enough. If you didn't want to show purpose, then that translation is not accurate. So it depends on what you wanted.

I would stylize it more professionally, though, if you plan on using it for an organization.

Ad Deum sciendum. Ad Verbum exprimendum.

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  • On meaning and intent, it describes the motivation for all the words and actions of the person ascribing to the motto. If someone were wearing this motto then it’s like they’re answering “to know God and to express the Word” of anyone were to ask them “Why are treating me this way?”
    – Trindaz
    Jan 20 at 0:25
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    @Trindaz Got it! Yep, that's the purpose I mentioned above. It's an accurate translation, then.
    – cmw
    Jan 20 at 0:27
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    I agree with cmw. In other words, the translation works well as a condensed translation of "Act so as to know God and to express the Word." Note, however, that the Latin is more specific than the English. If you wanted the English to mean: "The ideals to keep in mind are "knowing God" and "expressing the Word," then you would probably express this in Latin with something a little different and broader in meaning, such as "Deum scire, Verbum exprimere." The first translation is explicitly about purpose; whereas the latter is all encompassing and vague about the context. Jan 21 at 15:38

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