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DonnyTheDinosaur
07-22-2011, 08:56 PM
In the novel I'm currently working on, there's a scene in which one my characters finds a mysterious old coin with a Latin motto on it that translates to "they must never know". I tried Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/), and they suggested more than one possible translation, including "numquam novi" and "numquam scio". Is there anyone here who could tell me a more accurate translation?

dancing-drama
07-22-2011, 09:38 PM
I asked my brother (4th year of learning latin) and he said both were incorrect. According to him it should say "numquam scitis"...

DonnyTheDinosaur
07-22-2011, 10:14 PM
I asked my brother (4th year of learning latin) and he said both were incorrect. According to him it should say "numquam scitis"...

Thanks a lot to you and your brother! :hooray:

Cai
07-22-2011, 11:42 PM
I would go with: "Sciendum numquam est." It translates loosely to "It is never to be known (by them)." and should be the best way to say it.
"Numquam scitis." just means "They never know." and doesn't transport the "must never".

Rufus Coppertop
07-23-2011, 07:22 AM
Cai's solution to use the gerundive is good.

You could add ab eis so it becomes, sciendum numquam ab eis est - it is never to be known by them

Some other possibilities are:

Using an infinitive - Numquam scire sunt. They are never to know.

If you want they must never know literally, then Debent numquam sciunt.

You can use the jussive subjunctive. Numquam sciant! There are several ways you can translate this but in essence it means, never let them know or they should never know.

You could be really exciting and use the future third person imperative. Numquam Sciunto = They must never know.

DonnyTheDinosaur
07-23-2011, 07:25 AM
I would go with: "Sciendum numquam est." It translates loosely to "It is never to be known (by them)." and should be the best way to say it.
"Numquam scitis." just means "They never know." and doesn't transport the "must never".

Ah, I see. Thank you!

Rufus Coppertop
07-23-2011, 07:59 AM
I would go with: "Sciendum numquam est." It translates loosely to "It is never to be known (by them)." and should be the best way to say it.
"Numquam scitis." just means "They never know." and doesn't transport the "must never".

Scitis is not third person plural. It's second person plural.

It doesn't mean "they" it means "you (lot)" or "y'all".

Cai
07-23-2011, 10:14 AM
Scitis is not third person plural. It's second person plural.

It doesn't mean "they" it means "you (lot)" or "y'all".

Oh, you're right, of course!
I just thought: "Scitis? That's just scire in present tense." – and jumped to translate it with "they". :) I stand corrected.

Rufus Coppertop
07-23-2011, 10:41 AM
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I've done that...or every time I knew it was second person plural but got the tense wrong, I'd be able to buy the latest Oxford Latin Dictionary and probably a quantity of donuts as well!