I have a rudimentary (4 years high school) Latin background which means I can generally tell nouns from verbs, identify pronouns and have a basic idea of what’s being said. However, I can’t translate fluently. I sometimes want to translate some old piece of church Latin, often it’s a Mass proper of some sort, and a lot of the online Latin resources are not much help even when I can recognize the word or phrase I’m trying to translate as something that pops up frequently in old church Latin.
For example, I was trying to translate some old collect prayers tonight and here are some of the issues I ran into:
“Presul” which I understand in church Latin means “leader”, but the translation resources kept saying it meant “pretense”.
“Sullimasti” which is in a number of old documents, but the Latin translation resources online have never heard of this word apparently.
“Propicius” which as far as I can tell means “merciful” or refers to God’s mercy. It appears repeatedly in old missals, but again the Latin translation resources have not heard of it. I’m not sure if it was borrowed from some other language as one resource said it was Anglo-Norman word.
Like I said, church Latin is formulaic, this should not be so hard. Is there a good resource I am overlooking? Any suggestions would be welcome. Hopefully over time if I do a lot of these I will get good at them as the same words tend to appear in collect prayers over and over.