elves: Indic counterpart?

Valerie J Roebuck vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET
Tue Feb 8 03:25:30 EST 2005

I have been pondering this and similar questions from time to time,
ever since a colleague challenged me to translate "The Lord of the
Rings" into Sanskrit!  I rather quickly decided that life is probably
too short, especially since it would really require MahAbhArata-style
zlokas for the main narrative, with excursions into other metres for
the poetic set-pieces....  I too thought that gandharva might be the
best bet for 'elves', though it's unsatisfactory for the reasons you
state.  There are similar problems with the other kinds of non-human
peoples involved.

Are Peter Jackson's films screened in Thailand, or India, dubbed or
subtitled in local languages?  If so, how do they deal with this
problem?  That might provide some clues.

Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester, UK

At 7:43 pm -0500 7/2/05, Allen W Thrasher wrote:
>A Thai friend is trying to translate the poem on the Ring in the Lord of
>the Rings into Thai, for a multilingual page of such translations.  She
>asked me for help on what would be a good translation for "elves," since
>Thai lore of supernatural beings is largely based on Indian.  The only
>thing I could think of was gandharvas, since they are beautiful,
>elegants, and sprightly, but they are erotic in a way in which elves (at
>least Tolkien's) aren't. I am inclined to think there really isn't
>anything much like elves, either Tolkien's or others'.  But does anyone
>have any ideas?

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