For years, people have translated their favourite words and phrases to use in tattoo designs- and yes, that’s great, as long as you know what you’re saying! I stumbled across a blog post today about people who translate their favourite sayings into Latin:
I just keep picturing this person walking about with some Latin scrawl on his skin, accosted by friends and strangers, "Hey dude, what’s your tat say?" He’ll snort in derision, already accustomed to the question and ready, albeit grudgingly, to enlighten the unwashed masses. "It says Be Real. In Latin." The interrogator will nod sagely. "That’s deep, man."
I think the thing to keep in mind here, is to know what you’re talking about- sticking something into Google Translator is not going to cut it. Take our friend in the picture above, for example- I can spot two “of”s in there that the translator didn’t change, yet no one noticed! I’d imagine this isn’t just limited to Latin- we’ve all heard the urban legends about people being asked why their Chinese symbol says “chicken noodles”!
One word translations should be okay to put through a translator, as long as you double, then triple check on different websites and dictionaries. As far as phrases go, though, I’d say that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s not worth having it on your skin!