1.08Proper names, capitalized words, made up words

Tolkien, as a very creative writer of the fantastic, made up more than only the names of his characters. As explained before, many of these names had meanings or derived from words in Tolkien’s fictitious Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin. Sadly, Carroux chooses to rewrite some of these as ‘Galadrim’ instead of ‘Galadhrim’ and the similar ‘Caras Galadon’ instead of ‘Caras Galadhon’. She also writes ‘Isengart’ instead of ‘Isengard’ and ‘Zirak-zigil’ instead of ‘Zirakzigil’. These changes, probably included to render reading and pronunciation easier for German readers, were changed back into the original spelling by Krege. Krege changes the spelling of ‘Eärendil’ (with dots above the a to indicate a separate pronunciation of ‘E’ and ‘a’), which Carroux keeps in her German version, into the less confusing ‘Earendil’.

On the other hand, she writes the names of the materials ‘mithril’, ‘ithildin’ and ‘hithlain’, the drink ‘miruvor’, the ‘lembas’ bread and the plants ‘athelas’, ‘elanor’ and ‘niphredil’, all of them Elvish names, exactly as Tolkien did, set in italics and beginning with small letters, seeming somewhat lost within the German text. Krege ties them back in the text by writing them with capital first letters like German nouns.

Most of the names of English origin are treated alike by both Carroux and Krege, although possibly not entirely consistently. As mentioned above, Tolkien treated these English names as if he had translated them from Westron into English, and a purely strict translation should have translated everything other than the Elvish bits in detail into the new language. Carroux (and Krege after her) writes ‘Beutlin’ for ‘Baggins’, ‘Beutelsend’ for ‘Bag End’, ‘Auenland’ for ‘Shire’, ‘Bruchtal’ for ‘Rivendell’ and many more in this fashion (see the list of translated proper names for more examples), but she merely transliterates ‘Gamgee’ (which is originally ‘Game-wich’ > ‘Gammidge’ > ‘Gammidgy’ > ‘Gamgee’) into ‘Gamdschie’ and leaves the likes of ‘Sam’ (from ‘Samwise’ – halfwise) and ‘Merry’ (short of fictitious ‘Meriadoc’ with the meaning of ‘happy’) unchanged. A little more work may have had a significant result.

There are only a few names, which are translated differently by Krege, who has, in this area, a rather high respect for Carroux’ work, keeping her version of ‘Brandy Hall’, ‘Brandyschloß’ without even turning it into the new orthography as ‘Brandyschloss’. Krege improves some of the names of English/Westron origin. He changes Carroux’ ‘Orcrist’ after Tolkien’s ‘Orcrist’ to ‘Orkrist’ in order to fit with ‘Ork’ instead of ‘orc’ and changes her ‘See Evendim’ after Tolkien’s ‘Lake Evendim’ into ‘Abendrotsee’, because the name is not Elvish1, as Carroux may have suspected, but English.

T 28At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three.
C 42Damals war Frodo noch in den ›Zwiens‹, wie die Hobbits die verantwortungsfreien Zwanziger zwischen Kindheit und Mündigwerden mit dreiunddreißig nannten.
K 38Damals war Frodo noch in den »Twiens«, wie die Hobbits das unreife Alter zwischen Kindheit und dem Mündigwerden mit dreiunddreißig nannten.

As Tolkien makes up words and not only names, the translators have to do so as well. In this case the question of how German and not how close to the original the made up words should sound is solved better by Carroux. Krege decides to create his new German word closer to Tolkien’s. He does, however, leave out the reference to ‘Zwanzig’, which, in a way, leaves him with more of a free hand to create. Note that Tolkien writes ‘twenties’, ‘between’ and ‘tweens’ (as in ‘teens’) and Carroux ‘Zwanzig’, ‘zwischen’ and ‘Zwiens’, although there are no ‘teens’ in German.

This might seem like an unimportant bit of text, but it is a marvellous example for the type of problems the translators had to deal with translating LOTR. There is no simple and natural German counterpart to Tolkien’s made up English words, so everything the translators come up with sounds either awkward or too English.

T 57They were troubled, and spoke in whispers of the Enemy and the Land of Mordor.
C 73Sie waren besorgt, und manche sprachen im Flüsterton von dem Feind und dem Lande Mordor.
K 67Sie waren niedergeschlagen, und manche sprachen im Flüsterton von dem Feind und dem Lande Mordor.

Krege tries to find a way to carry the idea behind a capital ‘Enemy’ into the German language. Carroux makes no such attempt. The old dative ‘dem Lande’ in both translations is justified by Tolkien’s dramatic and capitalized ‘Land of Mordor’.

T 241There were also abominable creatures haunting the reeds and tussocks that from the sound of them were evil relatives of the cricket. There were thousands of them, and they squeaked all round, neek-breek, breek-neek, unceasingly all the night, until the hobbits were nearly frantic. ... Though the Neekerbreekers (as Sam called them) had been left behind, the midges still pursued them.
C 257fAußerdem gab es in den Binsen und Gräsern widerwärtige Geschöpfe, die, nach dem Geräusch zu urteilen, das sie von sich gaben, bösartige Verwandte der Grillen waren. Es waren Tausende, und die ganze Nacht hindurch war überall ihr Zirp-kirp, Kirp-zirp zu hören, bis die Hobbits fast verrückt wurden. ... Obwohl die Zirperkirper (wie Sam sie genannt hatte) zurückgeblieben waren, verfolgten die Mücken sie immer noch.
K 243Außerdem steckten im Schilf und Riedgras abscheuliche Kreaturen, die dem Lärm nach, den sie machten, bösartige Verwandte der Grillen sein mussten. Zu Tausenden kreischten sie ringsum, niik-zriik, zriik-niik, unaufhörlich, die ganze Nacht durch, bis die Hobbits schier verrückt wurden. ... Zwar waren sie den Niikerzriikern (wie Sam sie nannte) nun entkommen, doch die Mücken verfolgten sie immer noch.

It is situations like this one with made up words like Tolkien’s ‘Neekerbreekers’ and the sound they make, which, on the one hand, leave very much freedom to the translators, but on the other hand test them as well. The result may again only be understood when seen in its chronological order. Carroux leaves Tolkien’s own words and constructs the sound these animals make around the German verb ‘zirpen’. Seeing this some thirty years later, Krege decides to move as far away from Carroux’ version as is possible and creates his own sound, close to Tolkien’s but spelling ‘neek’ in a more German fashion as ‘niik’, which does not actually please the eye, and changing Tolkien’s ‘breek’ into ‘zriik’, probably as well with an eye on ‘zirpen’.

T 487...a path that went off into a deep thicket of mallorn-trees, ...
C 508...einen Pfad ..., der zwischen dichtstehenden Mallornbäumen hindurch führte ...
K 480...einen Weg, der durch dichtes Mellyrngehölz ... führte, ...

The English expression ‘mallorn-trees’, as in ‘oak-trees’, demands the singular name of the tree, whereas the German expressions ‘Eichenbäume’ or ‘Eichengehölz’ demand the plural. Carroux delivers a working natural German translation, but Krege takes it one step further by using the correct Elvish plural ‘mellyrn’ instead of the singular ‘mallorn’.

Note that while Krege delves deep in corrections like the unimportant ‘mellyrn’/’mallorn’, he chooses not to touch the major character ‘Sam Gamdschie’, as German fans would probably not forgive him.

1According to the map included in The Fellowship of the Ring, the Elvish name of that lake is Nenuial.

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