Latin help

Trying to come up with a Latin motto for use in a game, and Google translate comes up with wildly different phrases:

Quid mens novit revelabit

Mens quae revelabitur

Revelabuntur occulta animi

Occultas cogitationes revelata erunt

Occulta mens mox patefacta

Occulta mens revelatum est

Any of these make sense, possibly with a grammar tweak?

This may depend on what you’re trying to say…


Basically “what the mind conceals, the truth reveals”

But that’s flexible if there’s a cooler phrasing in Latin.

Google Translate came up with “quae mente occulit, veritas revelat” for your phrase. I flunked Latin, so I can’t vouch for its accuracy.

But don’t listen to me, I just reread your original post and realized you did the same thing.

I think you want something with a “noun verb, noun verb” pattern. My knowledge of Latin is quite rudimentary, but perhaps “mens obscurat, veritas revelat”.

That’s simple and flows nicely. Thank you!

I beg of you by all holy things never never never to trust Google Translate for English to Latin. It does very strange and horrible things because it doesn’t know how to identify the English grammar sufficiently to convert to properly-inflected nouns and verbs.

Google is for translating another language into your own, not the other way around.

On a meta level, let me also note that the sentence “What the mind conceals, the truth reveals” even in English doesn’t really make sense, because the verbs “conceal” and “reveal” are concerned with truth. “To reveal” could be paraphrased as “to bring the truth to light”, so “the truth reveals” means something like “truth will bring the truth to light.”


As a non-native English speaker, I’m very interested in what you just said, mostly because I thought “What the mind conceals, the truth reveals” made perfect sense. But I was paraphrasing differently - to my mind, it’s like the mind is concealing something, like, say, under a blanket; and the truth reveals that something by lifting the blanket. Hence “The thing that the mind tries to conceal is revealed by the truth”. Doesn’t that make sense?

I’m an American English native speaker, and what you just said makes sense to me.

I agree that “what the mind conceals, the truth reveals” makes sense. After all, what is revealed is not the truth, but reality, things as they are. The truth (true statements) reveal the world (which used to be concealed).

But maybe syzygy’s worries come from the fact that “mind” and “truth” don’t work very well as a pair of opposites. After all, without our mind we cannot grasp any truths, and arguably, there wouldn’t be any truths. “What the mind conceals, the body reveals” is a good phrase. “What the mind conceals, the truth reveals” not so much.

Ah, I think I understand. But while I understand that the formula “A does this, and the opposite of A (Z? 0?) does the opposite of this (that? not-this?)” is elegant and has a certain classic air about it, surely we’re not telling the author how to write? (I realise no-one’s actually claiming to do this, by the way). If he didn’t choose to use opposites, are we really apt to compare the sentence he did write to the one he didn’t write but we think he should have (unless he asked for our opinion, which he didn’t)? This especially if we don’t take the truth to be “true statements”, which is something very specific, but rather a more idealised version of “Truth” - and of “Mind” too, actually. Not the actual mind of an individual; not truth as represented by “things which are true”; but rather idealised verions of Truth and Mind meriting capital letters. In this way we have another classic formula - what One Idealised Thing does, Another undoes (Man proposes and God disposes, anyone? And if it doesn’t go like that, sorry - I’m going from the Portuguese, “O Homem propõe e Deus dispõe”). We do have opposites, as we have in the OP’s original sentence, but it’s in the verb. Surely the noun doesn’t have to be opposite as well for a well-written phrase, literarily (does this work even exist?!) speaking?

EDIT - I hope it doesn’t look like I’m trying to start an argument. I’m really enjoying the discussion. I can get argumentative/passionate at times, with mixed results, so I’m trying not to be like that. I’m just really enjoying this little exercise.

I beg to differ with regards to the semantics of the original statement. The truth is that which is revealed, so how can it itself reveal something?

(Yes, I enjoy the discussion too.)



Peter, not necessarily opposites, of course, but if there is no clear difference between the terms, the phrase will probably fall flat. Compare: “What the state conceals, the government reveals”. This makes little sense, unless we believe that there is some clear difference between government and state that has to do with revealing and concealing. My concern is that the phrase “What the mind conceals, the truth reveals” suggests that there is some important difference between the mind and truth, but that neither the phrase itself nor our cultural background allows us to see what this difference is. (Because, as I said, the mind seems to be essential to truth.) That doesn’t mean you couldn’t set up a scenario in which Mind and Truth oppose each other; I’m sure you can. But this single phrase fails to communicate it, and that might be a problem for a motto. (Not for a sentence in general, but for a motto.)

Syzygy, you are probably equating truth and reality. Which is possible; but it is also possible, and common, to think of truth as a property of sentences, and to think of reality as that which is described by true sentences. If you choose the latter interpretation, then true sentences reveal reality, i.e., truth can be that which reveals, and reality (the things, facts, phenomena, whatever you want to call it) is that which is revealed.

In my world, government is the politicians, state is us citizens. But this doesn’t add to the discussion.

Anyway: this discussion reminds me me of the joke:
[rant]A mother sends her programmer son to the grocery. “Buy 3 eggs. If there are melons, buy six.”
And the boy comes back with six eggs.
“Why that, son?”
“Because there were melons.”[/rant]

I agree, Victor - it’s all down to what the sentence is to be used for, and you’re right, as a “motto” it does lack a certain… grandeur and general-use (really, most mottos can be used many times over in many different situations). This one is very specific. It’s more like a coat-of-arms (“Nemo me impune lacessit”, Poe fans, or “Quod subigo farinam” Pratchett fans) or a cautionary statement - which may be a proverb but hardly a motto.

Syzygy, you’re losing me a bit by stating “The truth is that which is revealed.” That is one possible meaning of truth, yes, but it’s only one reading. I don’t need to state that the sun is a star (thus revealing it, though it’s hardly a secret) for it to be true. I don’t even need to reveal a deep dark secret for it to be true. Truth can be something that’s true, or an ideal. A reveal isn’t often “the truth” - rather, it’s more likely to be “revealing the truth”.

James - It does in Victor’s example, he’s showing us that those two have to be opposites in our mind (I trust they are in yours, because of your comment) for the sentence to be meaningful. If he’d used “government and politicians” instead of “government and state” you’d be left scratching your head, looking for the meaning.

I understand Peter. What I’m trying to state is that, imho, the semantics are interesting and the subject also, but I don’t think this is more than food for the philosophers, as sometimes, a spoon is just a spoon.
I noticed many [english speakers] that try and dissect every single sentence in order to find flaws in it or a second meanings. And this is sometimes rather annoying. I believe a written text should oten convey a sense of something and not its exact nature. The fact we are all both writers and programmers makes e believe we tend too much to use words as we use code. I don’t believe in this.

Different strokes for different folks - I trust you’d have a field day with Joyce. :wink: I agree that it can ruin art, but wordsmithing is a craft that is worth applying at least sometimes. Your approach to writing seems to be similar to an impressionist’s approach to painting (there may be more suitable examples in the world of painting, but it isn’t my strong suit) - good for you. But did you know that underneath Debussy’s magical music there’s a mathematic sequence that’d blow your mind? Sometimes dissection, wordsmithing and mathematics really can serve art.

Or if you’re Schönberg, you can use mathematic to destroy/reinvent art. And hey, he may not have my appreciation, but he certainly has my respect.

EDIT - Liked the joke. :slight_smile: