Latin, while rarely used today, is still one of the most important languages in world history. The Spanish, French and English languages all contain many words originally derived from Latin. Prior to the 1700s, most important political and religious documents were written in or translated into Latin. If you come across a Latin word or phrase, but you do not know what it means, you can translate it using tools available on the Internet.
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Things you need
- Latin/English dictionary
Navigate to a Latin to English translator. There are very few free Latin to English translators on the Internet that will translate entire phrases, however, Google Translate is an effective program. The Lynn Nelson: Latin-English Translator, InterTran and Translation-Guide.com are other free Latin to English translators on the Internet.
Enter your phrase and translate it. In many cases, the translation provided will not translate into a grammatically correct English sentence. Edit the sentence so that it makes a fluid translation.
Double-check the translation of key words using a Latin to English dictionary. In some cases, words can have different meanings in different contexts and if the translation does not make sense, you can use a dictionary to work out the correct translation. Latin to English dictionaries are available at bookstores or your local library. The University of Notre Dame also offers the William Whitaker's Words program--a Latin to English dictionary. You can find it at http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/words.exe>
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