English -> Latin translation! CALLING ALL LATIN SPEAKERS! (The dead need not apply)

Firstly I must say what an honour it is to be part of this lovely community (after many years of lurkdom!)

Anyway, I have this question, it’s rather important that I get the right answer, because I’d like to put this on my skin!.

Basically I’d like to have the phrase “From the depths, comes strength”

I imagine it would start out as “De profundis” (which in a handy twist of fate, happens to be my favourite Wilde piece).

Any ideas on how the sentence should be translated?

Thanking you all in advance

froguac :slight_smile:

The “comes” in the English version is nearly copulative, and can be inferred from the “from” in terms of having an actual function in the sentence – English with its analytic structure insists on having subject and verb be present for a complete thought.

Latin, on the other hand, is quite comfortable syntactically in uniting words and phrases where the significance of the copulative is implied, though it will also spell the “esse” out when appropriate – the former is preferred as being pithy, the latter used when clarity is an issue.

The conclusion, then, is to render it as the Latin for “From the depths, strength” as a pithy Latin phrase – and the word you want is vis – literally strength, but carrying the implications of manliness, fortitude, strength-of-character more than the English does.

So De profundis vis is what you’re looking for.

The nice thing about Latin is you don’t necessarily need a verb for pithy slogans and mottos.

If you wish to keep De profundis, you could try maybe

De profundis, virtus

virtus = force

Better might be

De profundis, potentia

potentia = power/strength, like that of a leader.

There’s also Ab profundis, ad potentiam or ‘From the depths, to strength/power.’

De is dative, so it’s saying ‘from’ as in ‘I received a gift from someone.’ Which suggests the depths are a source of your ultimate strength, if that makes any sense.

Ab is ablative and suggests motion away, so it would change the meaning of the motto, moving from the depths, to strength.

With luck someone who is better at Latin than I will have something nicer for you and a better grammatical explanation.


On the other hand, Polycarp might post at the same time I’m writing my drivel!



Honestly, I was wavering over suggesting vis, sifting through my Lewis and Short here…

A reply within 15 minutes, how I love the SDMB.

I suppose I’ll look at all the options and find one which sounds/looks the best. Depending on my pain threshold and the tattooing procedure, I might even choose the shortest one :stuck_out_tongue:

Ooooh, my first reply was from Polycarp too! I feel, er, like I’ve touched someone famous :wink:

Thanks everyone!