Tattoo translation help
July 7, 2009 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding a romantic phrase in Tagalog

I'm looking to get a new tattoo in honor of my husband. I do not want to put his name necessarily, just something meant for him. I have one tattoo in Latin, but I'm thinking I might change it up a bit and get one in Tagalog (his native language). Unfortunately, I don't speak the language. What would be a good translated phrase? I'm looking for something romantic, not too long, and not extremely corny (slightly corny is ok). I could google this, but I'd like other peoples opinions since it will be permanent.

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but it will be going on my chest, right underneath my left collarbone, curving with my body's natural angles. I would prefer a caligraphy-type cursive writing. I don't want it to be very large, but if I find the right phrase I'm willing to work with it and make a design I'd like.

posted by sporaticgenius to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
I had a roommate who spoke Tagalog. I made him teach me just a couple sentences, one of which was "Ang ngiti mo ay maganda.": "Your smile is beautiful." Also "Ang ngiti mo ay masarap," but that's "Your smile is delicious" with the strong implication "... and I'd like to suck it off your face," so, er, careful who you show that one to. I do not know how to replace "mo" ("your") with words that mean "my husband's" either.

(I may have misspelled or something, so ideally get a real speaker instead of me. But I thought I'd throw that out there.)
posted by eritain at 8:20 PM on July 7, 2009

Does he have a nickname? Lots of filipinos have very filipino nicknames. Something like Ining or Pogi or Maring.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:50 PM on July 7, 2009

Best answer: My wife suggests, "Ikaw lang ang aking mahal" "You are my only love". She's Visayan (Cebuano is her first language) so you might want to double check that with a native Tagalog speaker.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:59 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mahal kita means "I love you" in Tagalog.
(If you're saying this aloud, the accents are on the last syllables: "ma-HAL key-TAH")
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

honestly, in tagalog, the phrases suggested above sound really super cheesy. mahal means both love and loved one; if i was going to get a love-related tattoo i would just get that word, it just comes off as deepier and classier. also please note that pseudotrabismus pronounces those words wrong.
posted by lia at 9:56 PM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

err, deeper not deepier, obviously.
posted by lia at 10:02 PM on July 7, 2009

Maybe 'sinta'? That's close to referencing 'love' or 'sweetheart'.

'Mahal kita' does sound a bit cheesy.

FWIW, I'm still trying to think of what could work that won't come off as too common or too cheesy. It's pretty hard, and this coming from a native speaker.
posted by FarOutFreak at 2:56 AM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: Agree with previous posters that 'mahal kita' might not be the best option. You can certainly be more inventive.

"Isang puso" in some type of cursive might be worth thinking about. It means "one heart" (isang=one, puso=heart), and might be more appropriate given the location.
posted by gushn at 8:20 AM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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