Spanish and French Translations of the Riddles in the Hobbit or there and back again: A Prismatic Approach
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The riddles in chapter five of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien have intrigued researchers for many years. Influenced by Norse mythology, they were more than a game: they were a cultural tradition, with binding powers and serious consequences. Filled with wordplay and meaning, their answers were hidden behind stylistic features of language. Translators tried their best to capture and transfer the voice of the author and his characters into other languages. The novel was first translated into Spanish and French in the 1960s. Over time, literary genres and the status of writers evolved. Works get retranslated, and signs of involvement from translators in the process can still be detected. A close link between culture and language may reveal that through reading, translators create individual perceptions of the source text. As though reading through a different lens, they may develop a prismatic approach to translation.