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How to Translate a Latin Sentence

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Justin Imperatore

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of How to Translate a Latin Sentence

How to Translate a Latin Sentence
For Starters:
When translating a Latin sentence, it's imperative to know that there is no substitute for not knowing:
The vocabulary
Including prepositional phrases
Declension endings- (Nouns only)
Their purposes and case uses
Conjugation endings- (Verbs only)
All tenses and moods
Having a strong foundation on the basics of Latin will make translating sentences MUCH easier
The 5 Steps of Translating a Sentence:
Always remember these 5 steps in order when translating:
1. Find the verb- Identify person and number
2. Find the subject (if there is one)
3. Find the direct object
4. Find the indirect object- Look for transitive verbs
5. Match prepositional phrases with the correct cases
Periculum nautis monstrabimus
1. Monstrabimus- 1st person plural, future, active, indicative- We will show
2. Subject is We- in the verb
3. Periculum- Accusative case, singular- the danger
4. Nautis- Dative case, plural- to the sailors
5. No prep. phrases
Translation: We will show the danger to the sailors
In Latin Prepositional phrases go with Nouns based on their endings
In a sense, Prepositional phrases modify Nouns and give them a Case Use
Based on the Prepositional phrase and the Nouns ending, the Case Use can vary drastically
When translating:
1. Identify the prep. phrase such as: ad, pro or ex
2. Look for a noun that agrees with it (usually in the ablative or accusative case)
3. Know its Case Use
4. Translate it and fit it in the sentence correctly
Step 5: Match the Prep. Phrases with the Right Cases
Step Two: Find the Subject
The Nominative Case in Latin is used for the Subject of a sentence
Verbs in Latin may also be the subject of a sentence if in the first person
When translating:
1. First determine if there is a subject depending on the verb in the sentence
2. If not, identify the subject by looking for a noun with nominative endings
3. See whether it's singular or plural
4. Connect it with the verb and translate it
Step Four: Find the Indirect Object
In Latin the Dative Case is used for the Indirect Object
When translating:
1. Find the Indirect Object by looking for the Dative endings
2. See if it's singular or plural
3. Translate accordingly
Step One: Find the Verb
A verb shows action by telling what a subject does, did, or will do
A Latin verb has 5 properties: Person, Number, Voice, Tense and mood
When translating:
1. Find the verb in the sentence
2. Look at its ending to find out the person and number- this gives hints about if the subject is in the verb
3. Then look at its endings again to find the voice, tense, and mood
4. Translate the verb, if its the subject it goes at the begging of the sentence
Step Three: Find the Direct Object
The Accusative Case in Latin is used for Direct Objects
When translating:
1. Find the direct object by looking for the accusative endings
2. Determine whether it's singular or plural
3. Translate it and put it in the sentence so it goes: Subject, Verb, Object

Tips for Translating Sentences:
Think of a Latin sentence as a puzzle; at first all the words are scrambled (not in the correct English word order) but it's your job to piece together the sentence as you would the puzzle and make sure it fits correctly
Remember, unlike English sentences Latin sentences do NOT have to be in the correct word order
Example: English sentence= Subject, verb, object
Example: Latin sentence= object, Subject, verb
Part of translating a sentence is putting the words in the correct word order
After translating ask yourself, "does the sentence make sense"
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