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I'm wondering what is a good translation of Let it be. It occurred to me that when I say estas ... a dummy it is assumed, but when the verb changes to estu ..., the dummy is now you (No I am not intending to insult the reader :). That is, (ĝi) estas becomes (vi) estu.

So Let it be, it would be ĝi estu, but ĝi is something specific, and I think in the phrase Let it be, the it is a dummy, but we cannot say estu. I thought about estigu, or with a ĝi it would be estigu ĝin. Or perhaps a more direct Lasu ĝin esti. But I am really trying to avoid using ĝi as we are not talking about any specific it. Would Lasu esti work, as the dummy for esti would still be the it?

For context, I am thinking the lyric from the Beatles.

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    I don't think "it" should be a dummy in this statement. That's still vi: (you) let it be. The "it" is apparently referring to something that happened. – La Vo-o Nov 13 '16 at 18:38
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Wikipedians have translated Let It Be as "Preterlasu".

Glosbe also links to "Lasu fari." and "Tiel estu."

An expression like Let It Be is poetically ambiguous and is meant to be.

I think this is where someone should use his or her poetic license to create a beautiful translation with its own meaning. Translation, especially of poetry and music, is in some parts a recreation of a work in a new language. We can't translate parts of it without also translating the rest.

For some beautiful examples, take a look at Bertilo Wennergren's webpage with kantotradukoj.

Otherwise I liked this translation of another Beatles' song: Mi jam ekvidis ŝin

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The wish or command Estu... means "Let there be..." or "May... be..."

  • Estu lumo. Let there be light.
  • Estu paciencaj. Be patient.
  • Benata estu la tago. Blessed be the day.
  • Li petas, ke mi estu atenta. He asks that I be attentive.

"Let it be" in the sense of "Leave it alone" is Lasu...

  • Lasu la hundon. Leave the dog alone.
  • Lasu ĝin. Leave it.
  • Lasu do. Lasu esti. Let it be [then]. Let things be.

It is possible, but not customary, to use ĝi for "non-specific it."

  • Jen la dokumento, ŝanĝita nur tiom kiom ĝin postulas la kondiĉoj. Here is the document, altered only to the extent the conditions require. [I would omit ĝin.]

Lasi covers "allow... to..." and "allow... to be...":

  • Lasu min dormeti. Let me nap.
  • Mi lasis min kapti neatendite. I let myself be caught unawares.
  • Lasu esti tion mia afero. Let that be my affair.
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  • I guess in "estu lumo", the lumo becomes the subject. But i was thinking about how to use estu without a subject at all. As far as i understand, without a subject a verb in the -u form assumes you as the subject and is a command. – Jiri Lebl Nov 12 '16 at 22:26
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    The -u form without subject is usually a command directed to vi but not always; e.g. you can say Pluvu! without believing in a rain god. Estu! on its own means "Let it be so!" – Andrew Woods Nov 13 '16 at 3:13
  • Perhaps this requires another question about -u forms. – Jiri Lebl Nov 13 '16 at 17:06
  • In the sense of "Let the topic be/ Don't speak about it further" one can also say Lasu resti. – Juha Metsäkallas Oct 15 '19 at 12:32
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This question is difficult (read "impossible") to answer without more context. Nobody ever says "let it be" without context.

Consider, however:

  • *Estas lumo. There is light.
  • *Estu lumo! Let there be light!

Depending on what you're trying to say, the answer will probably be some form of estu.

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  • I should have included some more context i suppose. I was thinking the use in the Beatles song. – Jiri Lebl Nov 12 '16 at 22:23
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    According to learningfromlyrics.org/letitbe.html, In the song, "Let it be" means let go, relax, don't worry about your troubles. This is a meaning that doesn't come through in a literal translation, and ironically seems to refer to an actual it: Lasu ĝin – Tomaso Alexander Nov 12 '16 at 22:45
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After just reading the question, I'd guess using “Lasu” somehow.

Your final proposition sounds good to me, Lasu esti :)

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  • Probably best not to guess in an answer. Lasu esti is not an expression I've heard. I was unable to turn up an examples of it in use. – Tomaso Alexander Nov 12 '16 at 3:31
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Personally, I've dabbled in translating the lyrics to the Beatles' "Let It Be." The best I could come up with is "Estu ĝi," partly because it makes it clear it's not a direct command, and partly because its rhythm matches nicely with "Let It Be":

Kiam mi trovas min en malbon-tempoj
Manjo panjo venas al mi,
Parolante saĝajn vortojn:
Estu ĝi.

Estu ĝi,
Estu ĝi,
Estu ĝi,
Estu ĝi.
Flustru saĝajn vortojn,
Estu ĝi.

EDIT:

I've been thinking about this, and if making it match the Beatles' songs' rhythm is not your concern, then I would use "Tio estu".

Why "tio" instead of "ĝi" (or nothing at all)? Because "ĝi" is often used for tangible objects (tangible nouns like books and forks), whereas "tio" is often used for thoughts or events.

For example, if I wanted to ask you if you saw a book, I might ask:

Ĉu vi vidis ĝin?  (ĝin = forkon)

But if I wanted to ask you if you saw the book falling off the table, I would be more likely to ask:

Ĉu vi vidis tion?  (tion = kiam la libro falis de la tablo)

So, in the end, I'd recommend "Estu ĝi" if you wanted to match the song, or "Tio estu" if you wanted a closer match to the idea behind "Let it be".


Another edit:

If you don't mind taking some artistic liberty on pronunciation, you could re-write "Estu tio" as "Estu ti'", which works nicely in the song:

Estu ti',
Estu ti',
Estu ti',
Estu ti'.
Flustru saĝajn vortojn,
Estu ti'.

The final "o" is replaced with an apostrophe, which is allowed under rules Zamenhof set up. However, "ti'" is likely to be misunderstood by many esperantists -- even native speakers -- so if that's something you want to avoid, here's something else you can try:

Use "Estu tio", but emphasize the "ti" part of "tio" and de-emphasize the "o" part, as if you were saying "Estu ti...(o)". That way the "ti" part matches up with the "be" (in "Let it be") and the "o" part, while still spoken, ends the sentence as the sentence trails off.

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  • The strict word order in English necessitates something, that is called a formal or a grammatical subject. I strongly suspect, that "it" in "let it be" is such, i.e. it doesn't actually refer to anything, but simply must be there for the sake of the English grammar. Esperanto doesn't have such restrictions, i.e. you can have sentences without a subject. – Juha Metsäkallas Oct 15 '19 at 20:42
  • @Juha Metsäkallas, I agree that Esperanto allows you to have sentences without a subject, but as the original poster mentioned, "Estu" by itself can be interpreted as the imperative "Vi estu" (the command "Be!"). Therefore, I recommended using the subject "tio" to avoid assuming that "vi" is the subject. – J-L Oct 15 '19 at 23:22
  • I understand that and therefore I prefer here other verbs, like lasi and resti, which more emphasize the leaving aspect. – Juha Metsäkallas Oct 16 '19 at 6:05

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