Latin Translation (again)
July 30, 2007 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Another strange Latin translation needed (or two, as the case may be): "Life is tough, kid" or "People in Hell want ice water."

Like my previous question, this is going to be part of a memorial tattoo, this time for my grandmother who has recently decided to stop all treatments for the various cancers she's got spreading through her right now. The tattoo is getting done this weekend so she'll have a chance to see it (and most likely give me hell for doing it). Whichever translation turns out closest in length to the other phrase will be the one I use, since both are things she'd frequently say to us grandkids. Many thanks in advance :)
posted by chickygrrl to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
According to this source, a close approximation of #1 is "Vita contingit. Vive cum eo." ("Life happens. Live with it.")
posted by rob511 at 7:33 PM on July 30, 2007

You'll want to corroborate this with someone, but a straight translation of "Life is tough" might be as simple as "Vita dura est". I sifted through a list of Latin phrases for a similar sentiment but nothing jumped out. I can e-mail you the list if you'd like - I use it as a basis for a unix fortune file.
posted by jquinby at 7:36 PM on July 30, 2007

It's been a while since I've taken Latin, and I suck at it anyway, but I thought this would be a fun experiment.

Populus(or homines) in infernis aquam glacialem vult (or optat, or optant if homines is used).

That's probably totally wrong. But hey, I tried.
posted by papakwanz at 7:43 PM on July 30, 2007

You would never use "populus" in that sense. You would probably say something more like "he who is in hell wants ice" since ice-water couldn't exist until transportation made ice available to people. So maybe "qui in inferno glaciem optat."

As for the other one, maybe "vita duris, amice." (tough life, kid or life is tough, kid).

If you're getting this tatooed, I would strongly recommend asking somebody with a degree in this stuff. I make no guarantee as to accuracy.
posted by Electrius at 7:50 PM on July 30, 2007

hmm. Little witticisms and aphorisms are tough to translate, but I'd do something like "vita est aspera, parve" for the first and maybe "qui in inferno sint aqua gelida/frigida desiderant" for the second.

In the first I used the adjective parvus, "small," in a substantive sense, as in "little one," or, "little guy."
posted by solobrus at 8:02 PM on July 30, 2007

(for hell, instead of "inferno," you could also use "gehenna," though I think that's hell in the biblical sense.)
posted by solobrus at 8:04 PM on July 30, 2007

Ack, don't know where my head was: the second phrase I gave you should read "qui in inferno/gehenna sint aquam gelidam/frigidam desiderant," where you could pretty much choose by which sounds more agreeable to you among the words I put slashes between.
posted by solobrus at 8:07 PM on July 30, 2007

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