The Hobbit and book translations

Sometimes when trying to get a concept or idea over to children it is a good idea to start from a story or illustration to get their interest. Below is a recent article discussing the Hobbit and its various translations and also the different illustrations depending on where it was published.

That in itself is quite remarkable but also is the fact that JR Tolkien was happy to allow different illustrations from my experience of the publishing industry once they have their mind-set on a  particular picture or illustration nothing changes their mind. That is why I am offering individuals the chance to create their own book using a template allowing them to have exactly what they want and not what someone else perceives they want. It doesn’t have to be bilingual or anything specifically to do with languages just one language is fine. Please get in touch if you wish to write in a language other than English so that we can discuss the correct font.

For more info go to:

Extracts from the story are highlighted below:

The Hobbit has been translated into many different languages, and these translations have often been accompanied by fresh and interesting illustrations.

Naturally a Latin edition (popular in Latin America?), Hobbitus ille aut illuc atque rursus retrorsum, published in 2012. There are two Persian translations, one published in 2002, and another, هابيت يا آنجا و بازگشت دوباره (hābit yā ānjā va bāzgašt dobāre), published in 2004.  It’s wonderful that hobbit is almost the same word in Persian: hābit, and it may well be that Persian children are reading hābit yā ānjā va bāzgašt dobāre right now.

There are at least five Russian translations, some of them are supported by splendid illustrations by the Soviet artist Mikhail Belomlinsky, done in 1976.  He also did new maps with place names in Russian.  You can check out the 1976 Russian Hobbit here (Note that Bilbo is shown having hairy legs and not just the top of his feet — this was due to a mistake in translation.)  Our country is fortunate to have Mr. Belomlinsky, who has done many other fine illustrations, living in New York since 1989.

Czech Hobbit

       Cover for Czech edition, by Jiri Salamoun.

And here is a webpage which collects some of the cover pages and a few illustrations from the many translations.  Some of my favorites were done in 1973 by Jiri Salamoun for the Czech edition.  His work is more primative, and is disrespective of tradition proportions, but seems to fit better the mood of adventure and fantasy conveyed by the book.