Aramaic Translation
January 8, 2008 8:08 AM   Subscribe

MetaTranslation: I need help translating English to Aramaic - Immanuel and El Shaddai

My wife is looking to get a new tattoo in Aramaic. It has been surprisingly difficult to find a good tool (or person for that matter) to translate for us.

She wants Immanuel and El Shaddai translated.

We cannot seem to find any decent online translators so any help would be very much appreciated.

posted by birdlips to Religion & Philosophy (12 answers total)
That's not what translation means. I think you mean you want these words (which are English transliterations of Hebrew words) written in Aramaic script. The Wikipedia pages have the words written in the modern Hebrew alphabet, and you can convert to ancient Aramaic script using the table here. You probably want to omit the nekudot for Immanuel.

If you care, you should know that Orthodox Jews might find it offensive that your wife has tattooed a name of God on her skin, as Jewish law forbids tattoos.
posted by grouse at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2008

Also note that that is Aramaic script from the fifth century BCE. If you want to know what the prevailing script would look like around a certain time period, you need to specify it (not that I would know).
posted by grouse at 8:34 AM on January 8, 2008

To grouse's point, here is an article on tatoos. I was just curious myself and went and looked this up.
posted by uaudio at 8:47 AM on January 8, 2008

Response by poster: I have a Jewish friend who has tattoos. We already have Hebrew tattooed on our bodies. Some Jewish people do have issues with tattoos and some don't. In fact, from what I have been told the tattooing on Jewish skin is not as big as a concern as it was long ago.

At the end of the day, a tattoo is a permanent expression of one self and should not be judged by others. There are plenty of things religions do that I don't agree with and I keep it to myself.

Thanks again for everyone's help, but please keep it to the translation (or transliteration) and not the act of tattooing.
posted by birdlips at 9:03 AM on January 8, 2008

Response by poster: Oh and thanks grouse, I learned something new today with regards to translation/transliteration.
posted by birdlips at 9:14 AM on January 8, 2008

grouse's point was not about the act of tattooing. grouse was kindly warning you that some people might find the specific tattooing of the name of God extremely offensive. I agree that lots of Jews have tattoos. A lot of Jews also don't keep kosher. That doesn't mean it's not contrary to Jewish laws. But the question here goes way beyond the act of tattooing. Tattooing the name of God on your skin would be considered idolatry and blasphemy by many orthodox Jews.
posted by ubiquity at 9:22 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: and the Mormon act of baptizing the dead is also considered and act of blasphemy to Jews but they continue to do it. Again please keep this to the transliteration. I don't want to turn this into an discussion of who's views will be offended. It is not about that, it is about the transliteration.
posted by birdlips at 9:27 AM on January 8, 2008

Sorry that the article was mostly about the act of tattooing - but it does get specifically into the 'name of God' towards the bottom. I was trying to make the point (poorly) that ubiquity made, and was more posting it as an FYI, and totally not a judgment.
posted by uaudio at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2008

This chart gives you a couple of Aramaic alphabets, along with the corresponding Hebrew letters.
Here's another.
posted by bassjump at 11:08 AM on January 8, 2008

As one of the resident Ancient Near East linguistics nerds around here, I feel compelled to point out that Immanu'el and 'El Shaddai are both Hebrew words, not Aramaic ones.

I assume by "Aramaic" you're talking about orthography, though, right? In other words, you want to have the words written in a "font" that looks like paleo-Hebrew and not modern-Hebrew?
posted by AngerBoy at 11:22 AM on January 8, 2008

The Jewish Encyclopedia has an article on the Names of God that includes the second name you are looking for. Check the article(s) on Isaiah for Immanuel.
posted by RussHy at 2:31 PM on January 8, 2008

'Aramaic' is a long row to hoe. It's not just a single language, it's a whole family of languages, used over millennia, and written in more than one alphabet: The ancient Aramaic alphabet is almost directly ancestral to the square letter we're used to calling 'Hebrew' (adopted by the Jews during the Babylonian captivity), and the Syriac alphabet (see sidebar of any Wikipedia article on an alphabet) looks much more like Arabic (and is the ancestor thereof). So second grouse's request to clarify about time period and AngerBoy's question about what exactly you mean.
posted by eritain at 11:40 PM on January 8, 2008

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