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Åke Ohlmarks

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Åke Ohlmarks
Biographical information
BornJune 3, 1911
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, but is most famous for making one of the worst translations of The Lord of the Rings ever.



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. 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.

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.

Ohlmarks lost touch with Tolkien's world and, one could say, sanity. Two years before his death, he 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.

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


Translated works by Tolkien

External links