Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
Here's one translation: I observe the precept of abstaining from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness.
Here's another: I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
And there are lots of similar translations to be found.
But here's a detailed rebuttal to those types of translations, along with an alternative translation that supports moderate drinking:
Kare wrote:The best way of translating this sentence, is to start from the end.
samadiyami = I undertake
sikkhapadam = the training precept
veramani = of abstaining from
Now for the long compound:
This is a compound made up from sura + meraya + majja + pamada + thana
sura and meraya are two different alcoholic drinks. Sura may be a kind of beer, and meraya maybe some kind of cider. Anyway, both are alcoholic.
majja = either intoxication or intoxicant drink
pamada = indolence, carelessness, negligence, intoxication
majja and pamada are practically synonyms here
now for the last member of the compound: thana. This word means "condition".
So, suramerayamajjappamadatthana is literally "beer-cider-carelessness-intoxication-condition".
In order to make this into a more idiomatic English, we have to start from the end: "the condition of intoxication and carelessness caused by beer and cider"
So what then does the precept say? It says: I undertake the training precept of abstaining from the condition of intoxication and carelessness caused by beer and cider (or, alcoholic drinks).
This is the literal meaning of the precept. Not to abstain from the drinks, but to abstain from the condition of intoxication.
So which is it? To abstain from the action of drinking these intoxicants? Or to abstain from the condition of being intoxicated?
Or is it impossible to know for certain? Is anyone's Pali good enough to answer with authority?