Hello, all Council Members! This is Nev, and I’ll give you the latest LotR-news from Sweden.

Right now, it’s LotR-fever over here – everyone’s talking about it, and the ones who haven’t seen the trilogy, well, let’s just say that they’re out. Seeing people having the exact same hairstyle as Legolas is not very unusual anymore. The papers have pages after pages of LotR articles and the country that the most Swedes want to travel to is – not very unexpected – New Zealand; actually, my sister and I will be going there next year.

When it comes to LotR, the thing the most Swedes are talking about is the new translation of it that will come out this year.

From the beginning, a man called Åke Ohlmarks has translated the trilogy. He wasn’t very picky, and he practically did what he wanted. He changed rhymes, names, spelling and totally ruined the books. Tolkien, who knew Swedish, wasn’t too happy about Ohlmarks’ translations, and he has said some not very flattering things about Ohlmarks. I do understand Tolkien’s reaction though; for example, in The Return of the King, Éowyn kills the Witch-King. Probably that’s very obvious to all of you non-Swedes. Well, actually we Swedes thought for a long that time that Merry killed him. This has to do with the fact that Ohlmarks mixed up the pronouns, and he read “he” instead of “she”. Later, he defended his action with the fact that “It is more likely that the boy kills the monster”. You can just imagine that we Swedes aren’t very fond of him.

Also, Frodo Baggins became “Frodo Bagger”. This translation is just all wrong. If we shall go with what Tolkien thought, Frodo would be called the same thing in Swedish as in English. So in Sweden we have two ways to spell Frodo’s last name. The other correct way to translate it would be “Frodo Secker”. But since we’re so used to the “Baggins” and “Bagger”, this translation will be very hard to accept.

The ring verse is completely different in Swedish. At least, the meaning and the rhyming should be the same, but it’s not. This is something that Tolkien-fans have been disturbed about for a long time. Also, Tolkien disliked this verse, yet, the old verse is so common so it’s hard to change now.

Ohlmarks also did not know how to spell “Isengard” correctly; in the chapter “The Council of Elrond” you can read several ways of spelling it.

At times, he made up own names for places. For example, “Ford of Bruinen” is as different as possible in Swedish.

I could give examples of lots and lots more faults that Ohlmarks did, but I will end this article with a quote by Tolkien. And remember, all native English-speakers, be happy that you’ve never read the Swedish translation…

“Ohlmarks is a very vain man, as I discovered in our correspondence, preferring his own fancy to facts and very ready to pretend knowledge which he does not possess”
– J.R.R Tolkien

by Nevthónîel

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