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Old 06-14-2021, 08:01 AM   #15
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I am in a bit of a dilemma. I am trying to translate Beren's title (knyaz), and this one word is proving more difficult than doing word-play and puns and weird expressions and other language tricks. As far as my research shows, Beren and his predecessors only held the title of Lord of Ladros. In this fic though, he is often addressed as knyaz or knyazhich (son of a knyaz). His mother Emeldir is a knyaginya. And I have no idea how to put that into English.

Because. Knyaz translates to "prince". "Prince" has two meanings, son of a king, and person who rules more or less independently but still under a king. The "Princes of the Noldor" actually fulfill both criteria, being descendants of Finwe as well as rulers of their own lands under the High King of the Noldor. Semantically, the word is fine. But it's as limp as a dead fish. It's flimsy. And very awkward in the feminine. Luthien is a princess - but you just can't call Emeldir a princess. (As an aside, I wonder if the person who called Nerwen "princess" would ever be able to speak again, if the word is taken with all the modern connotations). And even for the male title holders, it's still questionable, and creates confusion. I don't want to make it "prince". I'm not calling Beren a "duke", another possible direct translation. Alternatively, could be translated even as "chieftain", but that lacks the right air. I don't know what to call him.

So, I searched the length of Wikipedia and Google in general for title ideas, and gave up on finding anything that would be a perfect replacement. For now I have the male as "prince" and female as "lady", but I want to change it to something decently suitable. The possibilities right now that I see:

1) Leave the title as Lord, and then Lady for the female. Not my favourite, because lords are bountiful in Beleriand, and knyaz in the fic is specific for Edain rulers (perhaps even just Beoring rulers - I don't quite remember). Also, "lord" is more general, and can mean anything from a High King to a respectful title without any authority or lands attached.

2) Earl and, dunno, Lady again. Wiki's definition is close to what I'm looking for: "The title originates in the Old English word eorl, meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead." I already had half a mind to call him Jarl, except the J is visually jarring. So Earl would be a good replacement... except that it is very much Eorl and Rohan. And I sort of imagined that in the language development of ME, the title Eorl and related words came after the name Eorl, in the manner of "Caesar" in our world. Of course, I can write it off as a "translation from Taliska" thing, where the more "modern" word is used to translate the title in full knowledge that Beren's "real" title would have sounded different. Or, alternatively, if Eorl was named "noble" for an existing word, then the word use is completely justified. There is also "Count/Countess" which is a similar real world title, but I don't like it as much, it's a bit too Comte and French.

3) Something that means "King" but sounds distinct. Perhaps a variation of konung. That might be an acceptable solution, though it also has the feminine problem, and will be slightly problematic for me personally, because "konung" is the word my LOTR translation uses for Kings of Rohan.

Any thoughts or suggestions? What sounds less jarring - Earl Beren? Cyning Beren?
You passed from under darkened dome, you enter now the secret land. - Take me to Finrod's fabled home!... ~ Finrod: The Rock Opera

Last edited by Galadriel55; 06-14-2021 at 08:05 AM.
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