Runic translator

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In his book 'The Hobbit' J.R.R. Tolkien uses a variant of the anglo-saxon runes for the writing on Thror's map. The translator on this page uses these runes to translate an English text into runic script.

To use the translator simply enter your text in the text box and click the Translate button. The runic text will appear in the area below the buttons. You can use the Clear text button to erase the English text, and the Reset text button to restore the last translated text.

When you translate a text you will see that the entered English text is also modified somewhat. This is done to make the text fit the capabilities of the runic script. Sometimes an English character can not be translated at all, in which case it is replaced by a  symbol.

Translator

 

A little game

Enter some text in the text box and then click the Translate and Clear text buttons. Now ask a friend to translate the runic text back into English. To verify the answer click on the Reset text button.

About the runes

In 'The Hobbit' Tolkien does not make use of the full set of anglo-saxon runes, but uses only the ones in the following table. The translator on this page also uses only these runes.

A

A

L

L

W

W

B

B

M

M

X

X

C

C

N

N

Y

Y

D

D

O

O, OO

Z

Z

E

E

P

P

EE

F

F

CW

Q

NG

NG

G

G

R

R

TH

TH

H

H

S

S

HW

WH

I

I, J

T

T

word

word

K

K

U

U, V

sentence

sentence

 

unknown

unknown

Of course the unknown symbol is not a real rune. The translator uses it to indicate that a character from your English text could not be translated. There is no separate rune for the letter Q; instead the combination of a C and a W rune is used. And a combination of an H and a W rune is used for WH, reflecting that in the runic script the position of these characters is reversed when they occur paired. The single and triple dot are used to separate words and sentences.

More about runes

There are many sites on the internet that relate to Tolkien's use of anglo-saxon and other runes. Here is just one of them.

Tolkien's rune alphabet. One page from a whole site about J.R.R. Tolkien. It gives the runic alphabet (including the two runes for ST and EA that are mentioned in the introduction of 'The Hobbit', but are not actually used on Thror's map) and some examples.


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