The Detranslation Project

It might be just possible to translate the entirety of 'The Lord of the Rings' into (Helgan) Quenya, with a lot of linguistic fiddling. On the verges of possibility, one could try to render LotR into (Saloan) Sindarin. What is absolutely not possible is a translation of LotR into its original language: the Westron of Bilbo and Frodo.

Quenya and Sindarin were full-blown languages, designed and used by Tolkien. Westron, and indeed all the other tongues of Middle-earth - Adunaic, Rohirric, Khuzdul, the Black Speech, etc etc etc - were not. They consist of a handful of words, occasionally a sentence or two. Often, indeed, it is difficult to know exactly how the languages are related at all. But what the Mannish languages of the Third Age in particular have in common is that they are absent from LotR. Tolkien 'translated' all their words, their place and personal names, at the same time as he 'translated' the book itself.

We can't change that back - the languages simply don't exist in full enough form. That's not what the Detranslation Project is all about. But what we can do - or try to - is roll back the clock on the names.

I am not a linguist; I am a fan, and a fan-writer, and I think of things from a fan-writer's perspective. When Don't Panic was being written, I was the one who pointed out that the replacement of English names with their Westron equivalents fell apart at 'Gimli' - and you'll be glad to hear I have fixed that problem. But I am not a linguist. I am not an expert in languages. I'm just a writer hunting for names.

Until the Fauskangers of the world decide to undertake a forensic linguistic examination of the Mannish tongues, however, I'm all you're getting.

(In the course of this Project, I will be referring frequently to Ardalambion, and specific sub-pages thereof)

For details of copyright information and why I'm not violating any, please visit my Disclaimers page.