Translating English Fictional Names

An Analysis of Anthroponyms in the Italian Translations of “The Lord of the Rings”


  • Gloria Mambelli Università degli Studi di Verona



translation, fictional names, anthroponyms, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien


This paper highlights the pivotal role played by proper names in fantasy literature and examines the techniques employed by the Italian translators of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in the translation of anthroponyms.
Notwithstanding the vast number of neologisms found in fantasy literature and the challenges they pose to translators, fictional names typical of such genre still play a marginal role in Translation Studies. The aim of this paper is to identify problems and trends relating to the translation procedures adopted in the Italian translations of one of the most representative works of the aforementioned genre.
The second and latest Italian translation of The Lord of the Rings (2019-2020), published fifty years after the first one (1970), was the prompt for this investigation focusing on a sample of translatable anthroponyms. Source and target names were analysed and classified in order to identify translation trends characterising the two Italian translations. The results of the investigation show a higher tendency towards adaptation in the previous translation and a preference for more source-oriented techniques in the newest one.

Author Biography

Gloria Mambelli, Università degli Studi di Verona

Gloria Mambelli is a PhD student in Foreign Languages and Translation Studies at the University of Verona. Her research project investigates borrowings of French and Latin origin in Middle English domains pertaining to rural life from a synchronic and diachronic perspective. Her research interests include English historical linguistics, lexicography, and translation.


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Articles (general section) - English language and linguistics