Margaret Carroux (née Bister) (May 31, 1912- July 22, 1991) was a German translator. She translated many French and English literary works into German, sometimes under the pseudonyms Emmi Heimann or Martin Boor. Her most famous translation is that of The Lord of the Rings (published as Der Herr der Ringe, 1969/1970), which she translated with the poetess Ebba-Margareta von Freymann.
Margaret Carroux tried to capture the literary style of Tolkien's original work, to create the same atmosphere in the German version. During her translation work, she used the "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings". In the original books, all characters differ from each other through different levels of language, from the formal archaic speech to the everyday speech. Some critics of Carroux accused her of standardising this linguistic feature too much, for a nearly constant old language-style. But many fans like her old-fashioned rendering, because it follows the original text's flow and style very closely.
In 2008 a revised edition of the Carroux-translation was published. Stephan Askani, lector of publisher Klett-Cotta and translator Lisa Kuppler had revised the original translation. With the help of the "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" and the actual HarperCollins-edition of The Lord of the Rings of 2004, they corrected and recompiled some place-names - especialy of villages in the Shire and errors in spelling of Elvish or Old English words and names in the text and the poems.
Carroux and Tolkien
In September 1967 Margaret Carroux contacted J.R.R. Tolkien through publisher Rayner Unwin, about her work on translating The Lord of the Rings. Carroux sent to Tolkien her translation of Leaf by Niggle to allow him the opportunity to evaluate her work as a translator of his literary works. She asked Tolkien for a meeting, too. But Tolkien was ill at that time and so the meeting took place three months later on December 13, 1967 in Oxford. In early December Carroux had already sent the part of The Lord of the Rings she had translated so far (about a hundred pages) to Tolkien. After their meeting in Oxford, they corresponded with each other to discuss some problems Carroux experienced while translating, especially with the poems. Carroux sent him some scripts and Tolkien praised and elated her.
- "I should certainly not have taken the trouble that I took with your specimens, if I had not felt that you had the sympathy and understanding required, and only needed a little help and some encouragement to persevere in what is a very difficult task."
- ― Fragment from Tolkien's letter to Carroux, September 29, 1968
In the same letter Tolkien talks about his scrupulosity, if a co-translator, for example a lyricist, would read the text intensely enough, to understand the exact meaning or importance of the poems. Because of this, Tolkien extended to Carroux more help with the poems.
Works by J.R.R. Tolkien translated by Carroux
- 1964: Leaf by Niggle (as Blatt von Tüftler in the book Fabelhafte Geschichten )
- 1969-1970: The Lord of the Rings (as Der Herr der Ringe)