David Salo is the man
behind all Elvish translations in the LotR movies. Recently, I sat down
with him (he was at one computer and I was at another, but I assume we
were both sitting down), and here's what he had to say:
When did you first read The Lord of the Rings?
David Salo: I first tried to read The
Lord of the Rings around 1975 or 1976, when I was six or seven years
old. I found it rather difficult, and I didn't finish it for quite some
time, though I must have finished it by 1977, when The Silmarillion was
Undomiel: Which of Tolkien's books did you find most helpful
for learning Elvish?
David Salo: I used all of Tolkien's
books to help me learn Elvish, but the most helpful were Tolkien's
notes to the song book The Road Goes Ever On, which explain Galadriel's
song Namárië and the Sindarin hymn to Elbereth. I also found the
etymological glossary in The Lost Road extremely helpful.
What is your favorite of the languages Tolkien created (Quenya,
Sindarin, Rohirric, etc.)?
DS: My favorite language is, of course,
Sindarin, since I have spent so much time on it! It is perhaps the most
complex, and the one Tolkien worked the hardest on; but I think he may
have liked Quenya better, since he actually produced quite a lot more
text in Quenya.
Can you recommend any published book(s) or web sites for people who
want to learn Elvish?
DS: For learning about Quenya and
Sindarin, the best site I can recommend is Helge Fauskanger's
Ardalambion at http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/.
How do you say "The Lord of the Rings" in Quenya/Sindarin?
DS: Tolkien in one place rendered "The
Lord of the Rings" as _Heru i Million_ in Quenya, but the word Mil or
Millë for ring does not appear elsewhere; in the Lord of the Rings
itself, Tolkien twice uses the word corma, in which case the title
should have be Heru i Cormaron. The Sindarin equivalent would be Hîr i
Chyrf, but we don't actually know if Sindarin had the word corf =
Which is your favorite LotR movie?
DS: I can't say which movie is my
favorite, since I haven't seen The Return of the King yet! I'm hoping
that will be my favorite. :)
Which of all the LotR actors/actresses spoke Elvish the best?
DS: I think that all the actors and
actresses who had to use Elvish did very well. I particularly liked Liv
Tyler's enunciation. Many of the singers who sang Elvish on the
soundtrack did quite well too.
Do you have a favorite character from Tolkien's writings?
DS: There are so many characters in
Tolkien's world that I like that it is hard to choose a favorite. I
would like to be as wise as Gandalf; but often I feel more like Bilbo.
to Mr. Salo for the interview!