2

In the film, "The Terminator" (1984), the cyborg's chilling declaration-of-intent: "I'll be back!", has become something of an international catchphrase. It's easy to translate it into Latin:

"ego revenio!" = "I am coming back!".

Alternatively, must it be the future tense:

"ego reveniam!" = "I will come back!"?

Sadly, translations of English cliches, into Latin, often kills the rhetorical force e.g. A variation on Caesar (Veni Vidi Vici), and "Friends, Romans, Countrymen...": A Translation Problem from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", because the Latin words do not rhyme; lack an alliteration pattern; simply do not flow together. Here, "ego", is added to provide the required emphasis (not normally necessary with a first-person singular verb) and, it rhymes with "revenio".

My English-to-Latin translations are not always successful. How about this one?

Is there a better way to translate, "I'll be back!"?

7
  • 2
    Yes, it must be the future tense. English often uses the present continuous tense for future plans (and English isn't the worst offender in this regard – in colloquial German the future tense is downright rare), but Latin generally insists on the future. Mar 29, 2023 at 20:57
  • @Sebastian Koppehel: What does "generally" mean, here? Allen & Greenough section 468: "The Present, especially in colloquial language and poetry is often used for the Future e.g. "imusne sessum" (De Or. 3.17) = "Shall we take a seat?" = "Are we going to sit?". A catchphrase could be construed as a colloquialism--why not? Therefore, "ego revenio" = "I am coming back" = "I'll be back!". (I need the present tense to achieve the rhyming rhetorical force.).
    – tony
    Mar 30, 2023 at 8:31
  • 1
    I was not aware that this is "often" the case, and some of A&G's examples seem somewhat "special" to me (e.g. a sentence that literally begins with hodie). But okay. Still, the Terminator's vow to return seems not particularly colloquial to me. Personally, I would stick to the future tense. Mar 30, 2023 at 11:46
  • 1
    I agree with @SebastianKoppehel. I believe the immediate future can be replaced by a present, but when it's about a future promise, I don't think I've ever seen it in the present.
    – cmw
    Mar 30, 2023 at 17:51
  • 1
    given the English's use of a contraction (albeit one that is almost required to avoid emphasis), and Latin's general pro-drop tendencies, I'd definitely drop the "ego" and just leave the verb on its own
    – Tristan
    Mar 31, 2023 at 14:05

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.