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Forum:English to Sindarin Translation

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Hello everyone. I am still learning Sindarin (and not very good at it). I wanted to get "I am the Master of my Fate: I am the Captain of my Soul." tattooed across my shoulders. (Last two stanzas of "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley).

herdir= master amarth= doom/ fate hest= captain fae= soul/ spirit

I know this isn't quite right, but this is what I have so far.

Im herdîr od nîn amarth. Im hest od nîn fae:

Please help me correct my translation. I would hate to have a tattoo with incorrect grammar/ composition.

Thank you! Unsigned comment by Kkleinow (talk • contribs).

Oi. Tattoos. I'll be honest: I don't like "Elvish tattoos". Do it in English. It's just as meaningful, if not more, as you do it in the original language. Enough patronizing. On with the linguistics.
Another problem is linguistical: Elvish (Sindarin, in your case) is by far not complete enough to be a fully functioning language. We miss key pieces of basic grammar, and Tolkien changes his mind a lot. Chances are, next year, Vinyar Tengwar or Parma Eldalamberon will publish something that completely contradicts something you have inked across your back.
And now, the actual sentence. It's been years since I was good as this, so my skills aren't up to scratch. However, i'll give it a shot.
  • First, Sindarin doesn't work like English. Od and o mean "of", but only in a locative sense ("Celebrimbor of Eregion"), not in any ownership sense.
  • Possessives go after the object.
  • Just to reiterate the thing about Tolkien changing his mind: im was used for the first person at first, then for stress only ("Me, I did this"), and then became reflexive ("myself")
  • Herdir is only attested as mayor. "Master of Fate" is a translation of Turambar/Turamarth, so you'd better go with Tûr.
  • I haven't found hest in the Hisweloke dictionary. Where did you find that?
  • Faer as "spirit" (and "soul") has cosmological meanings that may or may not match with the meaning intended here (I don't know the context, so I can't tell)

So a slightly better version would be "Tûr amarth nîn, *hest faer nîn", with a heavy caveat because I cannot find hest. Note that we're a wiki, not a translation service. You can try Elfling, though. --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 11:07, 29 December 2013 (UTC)