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I am translating a text in Portuguese to English from a Message of Our Lady, and there is this expression on the URGENT APPEALS Message nº 2,797:

"O Senhor dirá: Faça-se; e tudo será transformado."

The context is similar to:

"FIAT LUX"
"Faça-se a luz"
"Let there be light"

I translated it as :

"The Lord will say: (FIAT) Let there it be; and everything will be transformed."

Did I translate it correctly? If not, can somebody please answer a more perfect translation?

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    The more typical English expression would be: “so be it”. the grammar is old fashioned but this phrase has survived as a dictum. – Tuffy Jul 3 at 21:35
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    Or "Let it be so"? – Michael Harvey Jul 3 at 21:41
  • The phrase is almost equal to "Let there be light" ("Faça-se a luz"). Can I just use: "Let there be" ("Faça-se") ? – Tony Jul 3 at 21:46
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    Well, it doesn't make much sense in Portuguese. That is just some association of "Nossa Senhora de Anguera". Fiat lux is: Let there be light. But we are not in the habit in English of saying: Let x be. A perguntá é: faça-se [o que??] – Lambie Jul 3 at 22:21
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    “Let it be done” is more literal. – Anton Sherwood Jul 4 at 15:31
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The Lord will say "Let it be", and all will be changed.

You really have to go with the idiomatic and historical (and thus in this context expected) translation not the verbatim translation. That means for this instance of Latin Fiat!, you would choose the English Let it be!

Notice that the Portuguese translation isn't really especially "verbatim", at least from the Latin. (I have no Hebrew.) It's a third-person imperative of an intransitive pronominal/reflexive verb with a sense that better corresponds to "become". But it doesn't make sense to translate it that way because that's not what it's always been translated to in this context. And it isn't literally commanding the light to make itself, either. :)

It isn't just Portuguese that does this same thing. Spanish bibles have historically translated the Latin Fiat lux into Hágase la luz, which you'll note is the very same approach that Portuguese takes. It just isn't how English bibles have done it.

  • Interesting. I thought that this "Let it be" sounded like the Beattles music, that is why I avoided it on my first try. Then I expected that I could use just a part of the "Let there be" to be the equivalent of FIAT. – Tony Jul 3 at 22:21
  • "Let it be" in English is completely ambiguous. – Lambie Jul 3 at 22:22
  • @Tony - Well, the Beatles didn't make it up. (They put together various bits and pieces of well-known cultural things.) – aparente001 Jul 4 at 4:24
  • Whilst the interpretation of individual bits can be disputed, these words just add to the strong Catholic feel of the song as argued in the Catholic Herald. – David Robinson Jul 17 at 13:26

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