QUAERITUR: Latin for a tattoo

I get lots of questions via e-mail.  Among them, I am asked to translate things, either into English from Latin or into Latin.

I don’t really do that.

"But Father!  But Father!", you surely are saying, "You’re Latin is so strong, it wouldn’t take you long to translate things!"  

Oh yah?  It’s taken my over a quarter century to translate things.

When I was in Rome and constantly struggling to make ends meet, I actually sold my translation services to doctoral students who couldn’t read Latin.  Some of these folks were witting on topics pertaining to authors whose works have never been translated from Latin.  How does that work when you don’t know any Latin?

Imagine someone going to university to study, say, French literature without ever having learned French or medicine without biology.  But I digress.

I won’t be doing translations for people for a couple reasons.  First, I actually do have other things to do.  Also, … well, there are other reasons as well.

Here is another reason:

My name is ___ and I´m a ___ girl in need of some translation help. I´ve searched on the Internet, but I´m not sure if I found the right translation. It´s the frase "Pursuit of happiness" I want to have it translated into Latin. I´m going to make a tatoo with the latin text and want to be sure it´s translated correctly.
I´ve found the word consectatio for the word pursuit and the word felicitas for happiness, but is it right and how would it be in a text?
I´ve also got the text Labor pro felicitate and studium felicitate. I asked another person who told me to ask you. he said that these to translations were wrong. [He’s right!] What´s right? And how would you translate it? I want it to mean pursuit of happiness…that everyone is searching for happiness in one way or another.
I would be glad if I could ask you for your time and help to translate it for me.
Thank you very much!

Total disaster.

Tattoo, huh? 

I believe I will decline your invitation to work up the Latin for that. 

Good luck!  But I suspect you are really going to regret this.

On the other hand, Miss, you could take some advice, be smart, and not get any tattoo at all!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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