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sevenfourteen's avatar

Can someone translate this phrase into Spanish for me?

Asked by sevenfourteen (2414 points ) October 24th, 2011

I am getting my tattoo tomorrow (see previous question regarding this) and I’ve decided on a phrase completely different than the original. I want to get the quote “be strong, be wise, be true, and happiness will follow” however I want it in Spanish. I’ve gotten a few different options for some of the words but I just want to make sure that it’s conveying the right meaning.

Anyone who is fluent in the language and knows the difference between the options for each word would be most helpful. Please no one that puts it into an online translator, this is going to be with me for the rest of my life. I want it to reflect the idea of internal character defining happiness, not situational events. Thank you in advance!!!

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16 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Ask the chairperson of the Spanish depsrtment at your university-s/he is a built-in expert. Or ask any member of the faculty who is a native speaker. You are right about the permanence and don’t want to discover, too late, that you got it wrong and it is a recipe for burrito filling.

zenvelo's avatar

This is from the native speaker in my office:

La felicidad encuentra acquellos que son fuertes, sabios y fiel.

gailcalled's avatar

@zenvelo: Are you sure that’s not a recipe for refried beans?

@sevenfourteen; ^^ looks good to me, but do have two people verify before you get pricked..

Judi's avatar

I wouldn’t trust anyone that you can’t punch later if you find out they got it wrong! Go with @gailcalled ‘s suggestion!

zenvelo's avatar

@gailcalled There are no frijoles in what my friend gave me.

Judi's avatar

My husband has an employee who is a native Spanish speaker. He translates in his church. Cesar Chavez’s (white) son in law was speaking at the pastor’s mothers memorial service and Alfonzo was translating. Alfonzo didn’t go to school in Mexico, so he really spoke only street Spanish. The Speaker had college level Spanish to his credit. He had to keep correcting Alfonzo’s translation.
This is permanent. Go with a scholar’s interpretation and spelling.

Neophyte's avatar

@zenvelo‘s reponse is the correct, if not literal, translation for that phrase. It roughly translates back into English as: “Hapiness follows those who are strong, wise, and true.”

@Judi I study Spanish, and this looks great. Translations between Spanish and English are very easy, as they are closely related and have (almost) the same character set. And I’m sure that this simple sentence is much easier to translate than an eloquent speech at a memorial service.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I live in Spain and am fluent in Spanish, and I say @zenvelo ‘s answer is the best translation. When you translate things too literally they lose meaning. Not only does it retain its meaning, but also its poetic structure.

bob_'s avatar

I would translate your phrase as “Sé fuerte, sé sabio, sé fiel y la felicidad te encontrará”.

The correct spelling of @zenvelo ‘s suggestion is “La felicidad encuentra a aquellos que son fuertes, sabios y fieles”.

<—native Spanish speaker

CWOTUS's avatar

Following the advice that @gailcalled (and others, I think) already gave, I’d ask for “an equivalent expression” in Spanish, and not necessarily a literal translation of your English into the exact Spanish. This expression is probably simple enough, as @bob_ suggests, but if it’s going to be in that language, then it would normally look better as having originated from there, too. (And often it does.)

gailcalled's avatar

Eight answers (excluding me) and already there is disagreement and some editing suggestions. I would make sure of the language before getting the tat.

majorrich's avatar

A bit O/T but some of the Japanese Tats I’ve seen here locally are Hysterical! Mostly obscene or derogatory.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

You should also consider the “street/scholarly” question as far as authenticity is concerned. If it is recognized as a “street” idiom, that may have some effect (positive or negative) on the overall impression

@majorrich Your post reminds me of the story I heard long ago about an American journalist who lived in Japan back when all men wore suits. He had so much trouble getting his laundry done correctly that he had the Japanese characters for “do not starch” embroidered on his shirt pockets.

sevenfourteen's avatar

@zenvelo – that is actually very pretty and conveys the same meaning. Although I do want to double check with someone to make absolute certain before I commit to anything.

@everyone suggesting a professional, I did consult someone who has a degree in Spanish language and I got the very literal translation. I just wanted to ask the fluther collective to ensure that this is definitely exactly what I wanted

Response moderated (Spam)
Pachy's avatar

Make Google your friend. Here is an online English-to-Spanish translator.

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