Many avid fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels find themselves seeking out online Elvish translators so that they can incorporate beautiful Elvish writing into their everyday lives.
What is Elvish Writing?
If you listen to many enthusiastic fans talking about Elvish linguistics, you might wonder whether they are talking about a real language or not. Elvish is obviously purely fictional, but it is based off of a very long history and composed of a variety of dialects.
The Evolution of Elvish
It doesn't make much sense to use an online Elvish translator unless you understand the foundation of the language. J.R.R. Tolkien was not only one of the greatest fantasy authors of all time, he was also a poet and academic, and he had a great fascination with the language and culture of the various races that he created within his magical world of Middle Earth. However, what many people don't realize is that Tolkien actually created the languages found throughout his stories even before he started writing the novels. Based upon existing ancient languages such as Tibetan, he created his new languages.
While you can certainly see Elvish font throughout his novels, Tolkien goes into great detail about the origins and history of many aspects of Middle Earth within his series of books titled, The Histories of Middle Earth.
Where to Find an Online Elvish Translator
Because Tolkien was so thorough in describing the history and the precise use of Elvish language, it wasn't very difficult for subsequent writers to carefully analyze Tolkien's letters and books in order to fully understand and develop linguistic rules for the Elvish language. These writers take Elvish linguistics very seriously. There's even an organization called the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship (E.L.F.), which collects and studies all of the linguistic styles and rules of Tengwar (and all other forms of Elvish). Elvish linguistics have such a tremendous following that you can find many novels and books on the topic today, such as A Gateway to Sindarin by David Salo, and The Collected Vinyar Tengwar by The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship. Obviously, there is a great deal of information about learning Elvish online, but because the translations are usually never very cut and dried, there are very few automatic online translators.
- This Translator Tool on a private Anglefire website is presented like an online translator, but it's basically just a word converter. If you attempt to type in a phrase, the translator will most likely return, "Sorry, that word is not in the dictionary." However, if does serve as a convenient lookup tool if you don't feel like sifting through online Elven dictionaries yourself.
Translate to Elvish Using Online Dictionaries
The most accurate translations from English to Elvish will come from looking up the individual words you're trying to translate within the online dictionaries you'll find throughout the Internet. Most of these dictionaries are based upon the detailed descriptions by Tolkien and the actual alphabet and language that he created. The following online dictionaries are some of the most useful.
- Arwen Undomiel is a beautifully designed website that doubles as a fan site dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The "Elvish" section of this site offers just about everything you'd ever need to know about the language, including an interview with David Salo, the foremost expert on the language. Halfway down the page you'll find links on the right to two dictionaries for English to Elvish translations. The word listings in these dictionaries are some of the most comprehensive that you'll find anywhere online.
- The Sindarin Dictionary Project is a place where you can go to learn more about the Sindarin Elvish language, including the dictionary project itself, and a couple of free applications that let you load the dictionary onto your computer. This Sindarin Dictionary is one of the most impressive collections of Elvish words that you'll find anywhere on the Internet.
- Ardalambion is another fan website devoted to the "Tongues of Arda". If you're interested in learning all there is to know about the amazing languages Tolkien developed, this is the website to check out. It covers languages like Sindarin, Westron, Khuzdul and even Orkish. Once you're done reading this website it will be very apparent how deeply Tolkien loved language, and how broad his imagination was when it came to developing an entirely new language straight out of his own mind.
The creatures and characters that you'll discover throughout the world of Middle Earth are fascinating all on their own, but when you add in the beautiful languages and dialect of the many characters throughout the book, the story becomes more than just an adventurous tale. It transforms into a world that feels almost as real as our own.