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Åke Ohlmarks

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| born=[[June 3]], [[1911]]
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| died=[[1984]]
 
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'''Åke Joel Ohlmarks''' ([[1911]]-[[1984]]) was a Swedish author, translator and historian of religion. He translated nine of Tolkien's works into Swedish and published the first biography on Tolkien in the world.
  
'''Åke Joel Ohlmarks''' ([[1911]]-[[1984]]) was a Swedish author, translator and historian of religion. He translated nine of Tolkien's works into Swedish and published the first biography on Tolkien in the world, but is most famous for making one of the worst translations of ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'' ever.  
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==Ohlmarks and Tolkien==
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Ohlmarks' translation of ''The Lord of the Rings'' (''Sagan om ringen'', ''Sagan om de två tornen'' and ''Sagan om konungens återkomst'') was considered very bad by Tolkien, who expressed a strong dislike in Letters [[Letter 228|228]] and [[Letter 229|229]]. Because of his experience with the Swedish and [[Max Schuchart|Dutch translations]], Tolkien even wrote ''[[Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings]]'' to prevent further wrongdoing in translations.<ref>{{HM|RC}}, pp. 750-1</ref>
  
==Legacy==
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Several authors have claimed that Ohlmarks' translation incorporated badly translated names, injection of adjectives and adverbs, and an archaic and poetic style not found in the original work. Above all else, it has been pointed out that there are many errors based on insufficient knowledge of English.<ref>{{webcite|author=Martin Andersson|articleurl=http://sswftapa.blogspot.com/2007/01/lord-of-errors-or-who-really-killed.html|articlename=Lord of the Errors or, Who Really Killed the Witch-King?|dated=22 January 2007|website=[http://sswftapa.blogspot.com/ Sword & Sorcery and Weird Fiction Terminus amateur press association]|accessed=1 January 2012}}</ref><ref name=Beregond>[[Anders Stenström|Beregond, Anders Stenström]], "Tolkien in Swedish Translation: from ''Hompen'' to ''Ringarnas herre''", in ''[[Translating Tolkien: Text and Film]]'' (ed. [[Thomas M. Honegger]]), pp. 115-124</ref><ref>Ingvar Svensson, ''[[Tolkiens Midgård|Tolkiens Midgård: en uppslagsbok]]'', p. 4</ref>
Ohlmarks' translation of ''The Lord of the Rings'' (''Sagan om ringen'', ''Sagan om de två tornen'' and ''Sagan om konungens återkomst'') was considered very bad by Tolkien, who expressed a strong dislike in Letters [[Letter 228|228]] and [[Letter 229|229]]. Tolkien even wrote ''[[Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings]]'' to prevent further wrongdoing in translations (see also the link, "Lord of the Errors", below). The translation incorporated badly translated names, injection of adjectives and adverbs, and a very archaic and poetic style. Above all else, there are many errors based on insufficient knowledge of English - surprising, for someone who had translated famous works in other tongues, such as the Quran and Dante.
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Ohlmarks did not listen to the criticisms, and dismissed most of it. He became enraged when, in the 1970's, [[Christopher Tolkien]] wrote that he would only allow a Swedish translation of ''[[The Silmarillion]]'' if Ohlmarks was not connected to it.  
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Not all comments on Ohlmarks' translation have been critical. Tolkien himself noted Ohlmarks' exemplary translation of ''Middle-earth'' to ''Midgård'' (similarly derived from ''[[Wiktionary:middangeard|middan-geard]]'', the "old 'mythological' name"), and his rendering of ''[[Marigold Gamgee#Etymology|Marigold]]'' into ''Majagull Ringblom'' (retaining its English sense as both a flower-name referring to the golden colour and personal name).<ref>{{HM|N}}, pp. 760, 774</ref> [[Anders Stenström]] has noted some other cases, where Ohlmarks' knowledge of Old Norse language and literature enabled him able to to make a good translation of certain names.<ref name=Beregond/>
  
Ohlmarks lost touch with Tolkien's world and, one could say, sanity. Two years before his death, he blamed Swedish [[Tolkien fandom|Tolkien fans]] for a fire to his house, and wrote ''[[Tolkien och den svarta magin]]'', "Tolkien and the Black Magic". In it, he concocted a conspiracy theory that claimed Tolkien, and the [[Tolkien Society]], practised black magic and Nazi occultism.  
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However, the negative critique outweighed the positive.<ref name=Beregond/> In the 1970s, Ohlmarks became enraged when [[Christopher Tolkien]] wrote that he would only allow a Swedish translation of ''[[The Silmarillion]]'' if Ohlmarks was not connected to it.<ref>Åke Ohlmarks, ''[[Tolkiens arv]]'', p. 121</ref>
  
In 2004, a new Swedish translation of ''The Lord of the Rings'', made by [[Erik Andersson]], was published.
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Two years before his death, Ohlmarks blamed Swedish [[Tolkien fandom|Tolkien fans]] for a fire to his house, and wrote ''[[Tolkien och den svarta magin]]'', "Tolkien and the Black Magic". In it, he concocted a conspiracy theory that claimed Tolkien, and [[The Tolkien Society]], practised black magic and Nazi occultism.<ref>Åke Ohlmarks, ''[[Tolkien och den svarta magin]]'', ''passim''</ref>
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In [[2004]], a new Swedish translation of ''The Lord of the Rings'', made by [[Erik Andersson]], was published.<ref name=Beregond/>
  
 
==Bibliography==
 
==Bibliography==
 +
Selected bibliography of works concerned with J.R.R. Tolkien.
 
===Books===
 
===Books===
 
*[[1972]]: ''[[Sagan om Tolkien]]''
 
*[[1972]]: ''[[Sagan om Tolkien]]''
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*[[1978]]: ''[[Tolkiens arv]]''
 
*[[1978]]: ''[[Tolkiens arv]]''
 
*[[1982]]: ''[[Tolkien och den svarta magin]]''
 
*[[1982]]: ''[[Tolkien och den svarta magin]]''
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*[[1983]]: ''[[Stora frågesportboken|Stora frågesportboken: Rolig läsning för blivande allvetare]]''
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===Translations===
 
===Translations===
*''Sagan om ringen'' (''[[The Fellowship of the Ring]]'')
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* [[1959]]: ''Sagan om ringen'' (''[[The Fellowship of the Ring]]'')
*''Sagan om de två tornen'' (''[[The Two Towers]]'')
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* [[1960]]: ''Sagan om de två tornen'' (''[[The Two Towers]]'')
*''Sagan om konungens återkomst'' (''[[The Return of the King]]'')
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* [[1961]]: ''Sagan om konungens återkomst'' (''[[The Return of the King]]'')
*''Ringens värld'' (''[[The Lord of the Rings Appendices]]'')
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* [[1961]]: ''Gillis Bonde från Ham'' (''[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]'')
*''Gillis Bonde från Ham'' (''[[Farmer Giles of Ham]]'')
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* [[1971]]: ''Ringens värld'' (''[[The Lord of the Rings Appendices|The Appendices]]'')
*''Tom Bombadills äventyr'' (''[[The Adventures of Tom Bombadil]]'')
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* [[1972]]: ''Tom Bombadills äventyr'' (''[[The Adventures of Tom Bombadil]]'')
*''Träd och blad'' (''[[Tree and Leaf]]'')
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* [[1972]]: ''Träd och blad'' (''[[Tree and Leaf]]'')
*''Om Beowulfsagan'' (?)
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* [[1973]]: ''Tolkiens sagovärld: en vägledning'' ([[Paul H. Kocher]], ''[[Master of Middle-earth|Master of Middle-earth: the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien]]'')
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* [[1975]]: ''[[Om Beowulfsagan]]''
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* [[1976]]: ''Breven från jultomten''  (''[[The Father Christmas Letters]]'')
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* [[1978]]: ''J.R.R. Tolkien: en biografi'' ([[Humphrey Carpenter]], ''[[J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography]]'') [poems translated by Ohlmarks; text transl. by [[Disa Törngren]]]
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* [[1980]]: ''Tolkien bestiarium'' ([[David Day]], ''[[A Tolkien Bestiary]]'')
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
 
* {{WP|Åke Ohlmarks}}
 
* {{WP|Åke Ohlmarks}}
* ''[http://sswftapa.blogspot.com/2007/01/lord-of-errors-or-who-really-killed.html Lord of the Errors]'', a description of the translation.
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* ''[http://sswftapa.blogspot.com/2007/01/lord-of-errors-or-who-really-killed.html Lord of the Errors]'', an article about the translation of ''The Lord of the Rings''
 
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{{references}}
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{{SweTr}}
  
 
[[de:Åke Ohlmarks]]
 
[[de:Åke Ohlmarks]]
 
[[Category:Authors|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
 
[[Category:Authors|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
 
[[Category:Translators|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
 
[[Category:Translators|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
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[[category:Tolkien criticism|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
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[[Category:Swedish people|Ohlmarks, Åke]]
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[[Category:People by name|Ohlmarks, Åke]]

Revision as of 14:14, 18 August 2012

Ohlmarks.jpg
Åke Ohlmarks
Biographical information
BornJune 3, 1911
Died1984
OccupationTranslator, author

Åke Joel Ohlmarks (1911-1984) was a Swedish author, translator and historian of religion. He translated nine of Tolkien's works into Swedish and published the first biography on Tolkien in the world.

Contents

Ohlmarks and Tolkien

Ohlmarks' translation of The Lord of the Rings (Sagan om ringen, Sagan om de två tornen and Sagan om konungens återkomst) was considered very bad by Tolkien, who expressed a strong dislike in Letters 228 and 229. Because of his experience with the Swedish and Dutch translations, Tolkien even wrote Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings to prevent further wrongdoing in translations.[1]

Several authors have claimed that Ohlmarks' translation incorporated badly translated names, injection of adjectives and adverbs, and an archaic and poetic style not found in the original work. Above all else, it has been pointed out that there are many errors based on insufficient knowledge of English.[2][3][4]

Not all comments on Ohlmarks' translation have been critical. Tolkien himself noted Ohlmarks' exemplary translation of Middle-earth to Midgård (similarly derived from middan-geard, the "old 'mythological' name"), and his rendering of Marigold into Majagull Ringblom (retaining its English sense as both a flower-name referring to the golden colour and personal name).[5] Anders Stenström has noted some other cases, where Ohlmarks' knowledge of Old Norse language and literature enabled him able to to make a good translation of certain names.[3]

However, the negative critique outweighed the positive.[3] In the 1970s, Ohlmarks became enraged when Christopher Tolkien wrote that he would only allow a Swedish translation of The Silmarillion if Ohlmarks was not connected to it.[6]

Two years before his death, Ohlmarks blamed Swedish Tolkien fans for a fire to his house, and wrote Tolkien och den svarta magin, "Tolkien and the Black Magic". In it, he concocted a conspiracy theory that claimed Tolkien, and The Tolkien Society, practised black magic and Nazi occultism.[7]

In 2004, a new Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings, made by Erik Andersson, was published.[3]

Bibliography

Selected bibliography of works concerned with J.R.R. Tolkien.

Books

Translations

External links

References

  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 750-1
  2. Martin Andersson, "Lord of the Errors or, Who Really Killed the Witch-King?" dated 22 January 2007, Sword & Sorcery and Weird Fiction Terminus amateur press association (accessed 01 January 2012)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Beregond, Anders Stenström, "Tolkien in Swedish Translation: from Hompen to Ringarnas herre", in Translating Tolkien: Text and Film (ed. Thomas M. Honegger), pp. 115-124
  4. Ingvar Svensson, Tolkiens Midgård: en uppslagsbok, p. 4
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 760, 774
  6. Åke Ohlmarks, Tolkiens arv, p. 121
  7. Åke Ohlmarks, Tolkien och den svarta magin, passim
Translators of J.R.R. Tolkien's books into Swedish
 Roland Adlerberth · Erik Andersson · Britt G. Hallqvist · Öjevind Lång · Åke Ohlmarks · Tore Zetterholm