7

I'm trying to find the most valid translation for "I make, therefore I am". The closest I've seen is "ego creo ergo sum" But have also seen just "creo ergo sum". Also seen many places stating that "Facio ergo sum" was correct but google translate seems to think that's actually "I do, therefore I am" So, is the beginning "ego" required? Would it be possible for someone to translate "[text]" into Latin?

Contextually, just going for a modification of the Descarte "I think, therefore I am" thing. For which google translate is fine with "Cogito ergo sum" without the beginning "ego" and it still includes the "I" at the start...

Planning to use with some PR material for a Maker Faire.

  • 6
    For future reference: Google Translate is notoriously bad with Latin. It's helpful only as the roughest of guides. – brianpck Jan 30 '17 at 15:35
  • Make is such an ambiguous word in English, meaning many things, can you specify a little more what type of "make" you have in mind? – C. M. Weimer Jan 30 '17 at 23:22
  • @C.M.Weimer - I mean make as in the "Maker Movement". To make art, electronics, music, etc. – Adam Haile Jan 31 '17 at 2:03
5

As Tom Cotton said, faciō ergō sum is a perfectly good translation of the English. Google Translate for Latin is very unreliable and often makes mistakes even for single words.

In Latin, personal pronouns like "I" can often be left out. You could add an egō onto the beginning, which would be quite emphatic: I make, therefore I am. Or you could leave it off, which is more neutral. Neither is incorrect. (Notably, Descartes leaves it off; the emphasis is on the thinking, not on him.)

Faciō can indeed mean "I do", but can also mean "I make". It's one of the most general-purpose verbs in Latin with dozens of different uses, much like English "make": you can "make money", "make do", "make your way home", and so on. But on its own, without any further context, its primary meaning is "turn raw materials into something useful".

Creō is closer to "create" or "beget" than "make". While faciō refers to a transition from raw material to finished product, creō is more focused on the end result: creō is also used for electing a public official, divine creation, and (poetically) giving birth.

For a Maker Faire, I like faciō better (though again creō would not be wrong: "I create, therefore I am").

  • 5
    Regarding "ego": I would definitely leave it out, especially since the Latin phrase it is parodying (cogito ergo sum) does not include it. – brianpck Jan 30 '17 at 17:32
  • Quick thought... would the inverse (I am, therefore I make) be "Sum Ergo Facio" ? – Adam Haile Jan 30 '17 at 21:57
  • @AdamHaile It would, though it sounds a bit more strained. (I'd say something like "I live, therefore I make" instead; using sum for "I exist" isn't really a common thing.) – Draconis Jan 30 '17 at 22:05
  • hmmm... Is there another option for "I exist"? Not a fan of "I live". What would "I exist, therefore I make" actually be in latin? – Adam Haile Jan 30 '17 at 22:14
  • @AdamHaile You should probably ask another question about that. There are a few options, none quite equivalent to English "exist". – Draconis Jan 30 '17 at 22:16
6

While facio can also mean 'do' (cf. French faire, German machen), Facio ergo sum is perfectly correct. Ego is only used for emphasis or for distinguishing the speaker from others and is unnecessary here.

Creo is possible for facio, but in practice its effect is very little different.

4

Facere is the base word meaning "to make". Conjugated to the first person present gives you "facio" meaning "I make". So "facio ergo sum" is the term you want.

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.