Rivendell

Penyafort

Senior Member
Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
Rivendell is one of the many fictional places in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The name itself is an English calque of the original Elvish name Imladris (Deep Valley of the Cleft), for which Tolkien chose the English words riven 'split' and dell 'valley'.

Some translations of the work seem to follow this principle. In French, it's Fondcombe. In Galician, Valfendido. Many others keep the English Rivendell or adapt it, like Spanish Rivendel.

If you've read the books or happen to know what the translation of it was into your language, did it keep the English term or did it translate it into your language?
 
  • apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    In Greek it's «Σχιστό Λαγκάδι» [sçiˈstɔ laŋˈga.ði] (both neut.) --> lit. splint ravine

    Some etymology:
    -MoGr adj. «σχιστός, -τή, -τό» [sçiˈstɔs] (masc.), [sçiˈsti] (fem.), [sçiˈstɔ] --> splint, cleft, cloven, divided < Classical deverbative adj. «σχιστός» skʰĭstós (idem) < Classical v. «σχίζω» skʰízō --> to split, cut, separate (PIE *skid- to split, cut, separate cf Skt. छिनत्ति (chinátti), Lat. scindere, Proto-Slavic *cěditi).
    -MoGr neut. noun «λαγκάδι» [laŋˈga.ði] --> ravine < Byz. Gr. neut. diminutive «λαγκάδι(ο)ν» langádi(o)n of the Byz. Gr. masc. noun «λάγκος» lángos < Classical masc. «λάκκος» lắkkŏs --> pond, cistern, pit, reservoir (from a possible PIE root *loku-/*l̥kuo̯- lake, pond cf Lat. lacus, OIr. loch, Proto-Slavic *loky, Proto-Germanic *laguz).
     

    jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Tolkien usou para este local a versão inglesa da palavra "Imladris", com significado aproximado. A palavra vem dos radicais em inglês "riven" (dividido) e "dell" (vale). As traduções para português das obras de Tolkien (Europa-América e Artenova) mantêm o nome original, exceto a edição Martins Fontes, que publicou com o nome traduzido como "Valfenda", numa amálgama das palavras "vale" e "fenda" (para dar a ideia de divisão).
    Rivendell – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre

    I know nothing about this.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Greek it's «Σχιστό Λαγκάδι» [sçiˈstɔ laŋˈga.ði] (both neut.) --> lit. splint ravine

    Some etymology:
    -MoGr adj. «σχιστός, -τή, -τό» [sçiˈstɔs] (masc.), [sçiˈsti] (fem.), [sçiˈstɔ] --> splint, cleft, cloven, divided < Classical deverbative adj. «σχιστός» skʰĭstós (idem) < Classical v. «σχίζω» skʰízō --> to split, cut, separate (PIE *skid- to split, cut, separate cf Skt. छिनत्ति (chinátti), Lat. scindere, Proto-Slavic *cěditi).
    -MoGr neut. noun «λαγκάδι» [laŋˈga.ði] --> ravine < Byz. Gr. neut. diminutive «λαγκάδι(ο)ν» langádi(o)n of the Byz. Gr. masc. noun «λάγκος» lángos < Classical masc. «λάκκος» lắkkŏs --> pond, cistern, pit, reservoir (from a possible PIE root *loku-/*l̥kuo̯- lake, pond cf Lat. lacus, OIr. loch, Proto-Slavic *loky, Proto-Germanic *laguz).
    As we in the Romance languages often create or even translate compounds from Germanic ones by using either Latin or Greek elements, it's interesting to see what Greek itself does. Given the deliberately oldish style in Tolkien's writing and naming, I'd have expected the Greek translation of the name to drink from the Classical form rather than the modern. Would it be too weird perhaps for a Modern Greek reader?

    It's also interesting to see the root schizo- there. And the fact that it's preferred to have a separate name instead of a compound.

    Tolkien usou para este local a versão inglesa da palavra "Imladris", com significado aproximado. A palavra vem dos radicais em inglês "riven" (dividido) e "dell" (vale). As traduções para português das obras de Tolkien (Europa-América e Artenova) mantêm o nome original, exceto a edição Martins Fontes, que publicou com o nome traduzido como "Valfenda", numa amálgama das palavras "vale" e "fenda" (para dar a ideia de divisão).
    Rivendell – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre

    I know nothing about this.
    I knew that the Portuguese translation had kept the original name but not that there was a Brazilian one with it adapted. Very interesting. Thanks.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    In German it is Bruchtal.
    Bruch is a fault/crack/fracture/fold
    Tal = vale/valley

    In Irish Gaeilge it is Gleann na Scoilte
    Gleann
    = valley
    Scoilt = fissure (in rock)

    So, Valley of Fissures.
     
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    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    As we in the Romance languages often create or even translate compounds from Germanic ones by using either Latin or Greek elements, it's interesting to see what Greek itself does. Given the deliberately oldish style in Tolkien's writing and naming, I'd have expected the Greek translation of the name to drink from the Classical form rather than the modern. Would it be too weird perhaps for a Modern Greek reader?

    It's also interesting to see the root schizo- there. And the fact that it's preferred to have a separate name instead of a compound.
    I think for this specific name (Rivendell), ancient Greek would indeed be difficult for a modern speaker.
    On the other hand, for some of other Tolkien's names, translators do draw from the ancient language, e.g:
    Smaug = «Νοσφιστής» [nɔs.fiˈstis] (masc. & fem.) --> peculator (a decent attempt to translate the name in Greek, as 'smaug' comes from the Norwegian v. smyge/smyga which means 'to steal' among others) < Classical deverbative «νοσφιστής» nŏspʰistḗs (idem) < Classical mediopassive v. «νοσφίζομαι» nŏspʰízŏmai̯ --> to steal, remove (of unknown etymology).
    Thorin Oakenshield = «Θόριν Δρύασπις» [ˈθɔ.ɾin ˈðri.as.pis] (both masc.); the epithet «Δρύασπις» is a compound formed by joining together two ancient words: «Δρῦς» Drûs (3rd decl. fem. noun) + «ἀσπίς» ăspís (3rd decl. fem. noun).
    And a personal favourite: Beorn (from Old English) = «Άρκος» [ˈar.kɔs] (masc.) which comes from Pontic Greek < Classical Gr «ἄρκτος» ắrktŏs (fem.).
    There's an expression in Pontic Greek for the brave warrior, he's «ἄμον ἄρκος» [ˈa.mɔn ˈar.kɔs] --> like bear
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In Hungarian, "Rivendell" is translated as "Völgyzugoly", meaning "Valley Nook".
    In German it is Bruchtal.
    Bruch is a fault/crack/fracture/fold
    Tal = vale/valley

    In Irish Gaeilge it is Gleann na Scoilte
    Gleann
    = valley
    Scoilt = fissure (in rock)

    So, Valley of Fissures.
    Great to see more languages have adapted it!

    I think for this specific name (Rivendell), ancient Greek would indeed be difficult for a modern speaker.
    On the other hand, for some of other Tolkien's names, translators do draw from the ancient language, e.g:
    Smaug = «Νοσφιστής» [nɔs.fiˈstis] (masc. & fem.) --> peculator (a decent attempt to translate the name in Greek, as 'smaug' comes from the Norwegian v. smyge/smyga which means 'to steal' among others) < Classical deverbative «νοσφιστής» nŏspʰistḗs (idem) < Classical mediopassive v. «νοσφίζομαι» nŏspʰízŏmai̯ --> to steal, remove (of unknown etymology).
    Thorin Oakenshield = «Θόριν Δρύασπις» [ˈθɔ.ɾin ˈðri.as.pis] (both masc.); the epithet «Δρύασπις» is a compound formed by joining together two ancient words: «Δρῦς» Drûs (3rd decl. fem. noun) + «ἀσπίς» ăspís (3rd decl. fem. noun).
    And a personal favourite: Beorn (from Old English) = «Άρκος» [ˈar.kɔs] (masc.) which comes from Pontic Greek < Classical Gr «ἄρκτος» ắrktŏs (fem.).
    There's an expression in Pontic Greek for the brave warrior, he's «ἄμον ἄρκος» [ˈa.mɔn ˈar.kɔs] --> like bear
    Now that's becoming even more interesting. Exactly what I thought, variations between Ancient and Modern Greek could give some way to play with names, that's cool.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Great to see more languages have adapted it!....
    It was been widely translated. The Irish translation is fairly recent. (2012). Apparently the translation of the word Elves caused a bit of a stir
    “Part of the evening was taken up by media interviews with the extraordinary people involved in the translation. Professor Nicholas Williams (who previously translated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass) explained that a particular difficulty in the translation was the absence in Irish mythology of an exact equivalent of Tolkien’s Elves. The search for a suitable word resulted in a years-long delay while Professor Williams and the publisher, Michael Everson (himself a formidable linguist, typesetter and font designer) sought to find common ground on the matter. In the end, a new word was created, Ealbh, based on a borrowing into Scottish Gaelic from Norse – a solution Tolkien might well have approved of!”
    Source : In Praise Of An Hobad – But Why The Awful Gaelicisations?

    How many translations for The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)?

    As far as I know, after more than 20 years of collecting, here are the answers (English texts non included, of course, but Chinese, Norwegian and Portuguese having each two languages) :
    - Concerning The Hobbit : 125 translations (+ 25 revised translations) in 69 languages.
    - Concerning The Lord of the Rings : 87 translations (+ 17 revised translations) in 57 languages.

    On the upper shelves of my library are some other translations:
    - The Silmarillion (in 32 different languages),
    - Tolkien texts in languages The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings were not translated into (not yet!): Farmer Giles of Hamin Aragonese, and Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wootton Major in Valencian
    Elrond's Library - Translations of Tolkien all over the world
    Bear in mind though just 23 languages account for more than half the world's population. So translating it to Irish hasn’t really broadened the readership by much.
     
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    Olaszinhok

    Senior Member
    Italian
    In Italian it is Gran burrone - Big/deep/steep ravine and it is also called in the book
    Forra spaccata - Split gorge


    Rivendell ( Rriꞵəndeʎ) may well sound Catalan to me. :)
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In main Russian translations it's Дольн ['dolʲn] (by Grigoryeva and Grushetskiy) or Раздол [ɾɐ'zdᴐɫ] (by Muravyov and Kistyakovskiy). Both names play on -dol- root, meaning "valley"; Muravyov also adds raz- prefix (related, among other, to splitting, even though only with verbal stems) and brings in a phonetic resemblance with "раздолье" ([ɾɐ'zdolʲjə]) i.e. "expanse; a pleasant state of full freedom, in particular used for doing something for pleasure" (absent in the original, but generally a good find).

    Among other translations worth mentioning, Afinogenov and Volkonskiy have used Разлог ([ɾɐ'zɫᴐk], with -log- root meaning "a broad gull"); others simply transcribed "Rivendell" (Ривенделл - ~['ɾʲiv(ʲ)əndəɫ] or [ɾʲɪvʲɪn'dɛɫ], depending on the position of the stress, - or Райвендел ~['ɾai̯vəndəɫ], which was obviously intended to be as close to the modern English pronunciation as possible).
    Apparently the translation of the word Elves caused a bit of a stir
    (Thankfully, Russian folk mythology lacks anything resembling the creatures of Tolkien's books, so translating those was no problem at all - especially considering that "elves", i.e. эльфы, must be fairly familiar to any Russian reader of West European fairy tales anyway.)
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    It was been widely translated. The Irish translation is fairly recent. (2012). Apparently the translation of the word Elves caused a bit of a stir
    Source : In Praise Of An Hobad – But Why The Awful Gaelicisations?


    Elrond's Library - Translations of Tolkien all over the world
    Bear in mind though just 23 languages account for more than half the world's population. So translating it to Irish hasn’t really broadened the readership by much.
    Wow, thank you for those links.

    In my opinion, all translations are worth it, and this in particular all the more, as Tolkien is said to have been also inspired by Celtic languages for some Elvish ones.

    In Italian it is Gran burrone - Big/deep/steep ravine and it is also called in the book
    Forra spaccata - Split gorge
    You mean, in the same translation? Isn't that incoherent? Do you happen to know if any of the names was maintained in the Italian dubbing of the films?

    ( Rriꞵəndeʎ) may well sound Catalan to me. :)
    Because of the -dell? As in Sabadell? :p

    In main Russian translations it's Дольн ['dolʲn] (by Grigoryeva and Grushetskiy) or Раздол [ɾɐ'zdᴐɫ] (by Muravyov and Kistyakovskiy). Both names play on -dol- root, meaning "valley"; Muravyov also adds raz- prefix (related, among other, to splitting, even though only with verbal stems) and brings in a phonetic resemblance with "раздолье" ([ɾɐ'zdolʲjə]) i.e. "expanse; a pleasant state of full freedom, in particular used for doing something for pleasure" (absent in the original, but generally a good find).

    Among other translations worth mentioning, Afinogenov and Volkonskiy have used Разлог ([ɾɐ'zɫᴐk], with -log- root meaning "a broad gull"); others simply transcribed "Rivendell" (Ривенделл - ~['ɾʲiv(ʲ)əndəɫ] or [ɾʲɪvʲɪn'dɛɫ], depending on the position of the stress, - or Райвендел ~['ɾai̯vəndəɫ], which was obviously intended to be as close to the modern English pronunciation as possible).
    (Thankfully, Russian folk mythology lacks anything resembling the creatures of Tolkien's books, so translating those was no problem at all - especially considering that "elves", i.e. эльфы, must be fairly familiar to any Russian reader of West European fairy tales anyway.)
    That's pretty interestng, specially because playing with phonetic ressemblances also has to do with a good translation in my opinion. A good find indeed.

    I'm more surprised about the Raivendell thing, though. As far as I know, the word riven is not diphthongized in English.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    In the French edition of Bilbo the Hobbit (at least the one I read), it is Rivendell.
    Yes, my Hachette Jeunese (1994) traduit de l’anglais par Francis Droubin also has Rivendell. As somebody pointed out earlier, #10, in the text (Chapter 3) it is mentioned again, as le belle vallée de la Combe Fendue.
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    In Latvian, the name isn't translated but it is changed to "Rivendella" to make it feminine, just like with real foreign place names:
    Amsterdama, Dublina, Stokholma, etc.

    Rivendell may well sound Catalan to me. :)
    There might be a Catalan village called Sant Pere de Rivendell, somewhere between Sabadell and Martorell. :D
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    An interesting aside:

    An accomplished linguist, Tolkien learned over a dozen languages and invented several more, many of which feature in his tales of Middle-earth, the fictional setting of the majority of his fantasy books.

    Despite his apparent love of languages, the English author and academic revealed a dislike of Irish in a selection of letters published posthumously in 1981 (he also admitted having a dislike for French and preferring Spanish to Italian).

    In a letter to Deborah Webster, dated October 1958, he wrote: “I go frequently to Ireland (Éire: southern Ireland) being fond of it and of (most of) its people; but the Irish language I find wholly unattractive.”
    “An Hobad” – The First Publication In Irish Of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”

    Strange he should love the sound of Welsh, (Sindarin) yet find Irish « wholy unattractive ».
    JRRTolkien said:
    Welsh is beautiful.
    The languages are related after all. As an accomplished linguist that must have been apparent to him.
    Source: 10 places to explore Tolkien's Wales
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The languages are related after all.
    If languages are related it doesn't guarantee that they will sound anything similar at all. Chuvash and Turkish are related, so are Finnish and Moksha. Of course, Welsh and Irish developed in a much greater proximity and similar surrounding, but it's sufficient to look at their consonant charts to see that their development resulted in pretty different systems regardless. In particular, Irish demonstrates an opposition between palatalized and velarized consonants, and Tolkien might have disliked velarization (it's apparently the same reason why many Slavic speakers find Russian, which is archaic in that regard, "gluttural"). Actually, I am not sure he liked palatalization either. It should be noted that modern Irish pronunciation is greatly distorted by English, since all its speakers have English as their first or at least second language. But in Tolkien's age it still was different.
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    You mean, in the same translation? Isn't that incoherent? Do you happen to know if any of the names was maintained in the Italian dubbing of the films?
    Often this happens in different editions of the book, published after many years from each other. In the movie was used the most recent translation Rivendell = Gran Burrone

    About other names, I think that all the place names of the Shire have been italianized or literally translated, instead of leaving them in original language.

    • The Shire -> La Contea
    • Hobbiton -> Hobbiville
    • river Brandywine -> fiume Brandivino
    • Buckland -> Terra di Buck
    • Bucklebury -> Buckburgo
    • Michel Delving on the White Downs -> Pietraforata sui Bianchi Poggi
    • Bree -> Brea

    etc.etc.
     

    L'irlandais

    Senior Member
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    ...
    You mean, in the same translation? Isn't that incoherent? Do you happen to know if any of the names was maintained in the Italian dubbing of the films?
    Certainly in my French translation, Rivendell is retained in English on the map, but in the text a more descriptive French version is given. (See #14) I don’t think it is inconsistent with the way Tolkien switches back and forth between languages for a good many other place names. For example, Barad-dûr ("Dark Fortress" in Sindarin) is elsewhere called The Dark Tower, Lugbúrz in Black Speech (a form of Espéranto?). The following fan page offers dozens of translations for that example: Barad-dûr
    That link suggests a third French variant, Fendeval. (Among the 46, or so, différent languages listed.)

    With one character this is taken to the extreme: Gandalf has a dozen names, in various languages.
    In fact, Tolkien himself wrote about this lots, Parma Eldalamberon 15 - Sí Qente Feanor
     
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    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Hello nimak,
    Welcome to the forums. Those Tolkien fan pages suggest Ривендел in Macedonian, for Rivendell.
    Hey L'irlandais! :) Thanks!

    Yes, you are right. From what I know, Rivendell is usually met transcribed Ривендел (Rivendel) ['rivɛndɛɫ]. At other places I found it as Имладрис (Imladris) ['imladris], and at one place I found it in a translated form Режендол (Režendol) ['rɛʒɛndɔɫ].

    According to me, the better translation in Macedonian would be Цепендол (Cependol) ['t͡sɛpɛndɔɫ].
    цепен (cepen) adj. = riven, split, cloven​
    дол (dol) noun, masc. = dell, valley​
     
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