ASK FATHER: Trying to translate prayers into Latin, but I don’t trust Google

From a reader…


I’m trying to translate a few prayers into Latin, but I don’t
trust Google Translate’s accuracy. Is there anything I can do?

Let me get this straight…

You don’t trust Google?

Shhhhhh.  C’mon!  Why are you dragging me into this?   Don’t you know that every word you type is being monitored?   Sheesh.

Look, friend.  The only thing you can do, is….

study Latin.

Meanwhile, I have no idea who this guy is and I publicly profess my undying gratitude and extreme loyalty to our benevolent Google overlord.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  2. arga says:

    Thunderstruck. That’s me after reading this person’s query. But I am afraid it is representative of many people, who are profoundly ignorant about language in general, and languages other than English. They think translating is some sort of mathematical operation, substituting one word for another.

    [It’s really not their fault, especially if they have not studied another language. And I have no indication of the age of the writer.]

  3. carndt says:

    I needed the laugh at some great sarcasm. It’s a overcast rainy day and you brought some bright humor to my day.


    [No sarcasm intended. Just having some fun.]


    My personal favorite I get asked from time to time: “Where can I find a Latin translation of the Mass?”

    Ummmmm. Yeah.

  5. mrsmontoya says:

    Greetings, Father. In my work as Care Manager for Retired Priests, I am sometimes asked to help a priest “rehome” some of their materials, especially books. It seems they have all kept their original Latin/English dictionaries, and there are still a few original breviaries. The seminary gets first pick of these libraries, but there is a growing excess of books that need a good home. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you as always for all you do!

  6. gdweber says:

    Michael Martin’s Thesaurus Precum Latinarum, , has Latin versions of many prayers.

    If you don’t find what you need there, the friendly folks at Latin Discussion (of which I am a member, though as of yesterday no longer a “New Member”) will be happy to have a crack at it. Post in the “English to Latin Translation” forum,

    As the first sticky post in that forum states, “Google translate will ensure you fail Latin”!

  7. Thorfinn says:


    You may know this, but there is significant demand for Latin/English materials among Catholic homeschool families, perhaps also among the latest wave of new classical schools. Likewise for traditional breviaries, among select clergy & laity, for which the upfront cost of a printed version may be prohibitive or at least daunting. I would suggest funneling extra donated materials through Latin Mass Societies, who will make sure materials go where they are most needed in their local areas.

  8. Animadversor says:

    Thank you, Mr. Weber, for this link. I cannot believe that I was not aware of that forum, and having looked at it, I should certainly second your recommendation. I might also suggest, provided that it doesn’t involve going down a rabbit hole and that the reverend moderator has no objection, this site here. I believe that I have from time to time seen here very serviceable translations into Latin.
    And finally, I will suggest posting the request to the platform Quora. There are people there who will respond to such requests, often showing considerable elegance in their renditions. Or one might get something from me.

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