What I think is usually funny about literary translations is that the translators even feel the need to translate proper names at all. How ridiculous can you get! ..... Stil, why does Merry Brandybuck who lives in Buckland on the Brandywine River need to be changed at all?
Because the Common Speech does not
equal english! The Hobbits did not speak English
. If you suddenly found yourself in the Shire you wouldn't understand a word they said. The hobbit names has a meaning, what Tolkien wrote was the translation from Common to English, so why shouldn't we translate it so they get a meaning in Norwegian or Polish or German? I honestly thought you knew this Grondy.
If a caracters name is Phillip Paulson we don't translate it to Fillip Pňlsson. In children books we sometimes do, like the Harry Potter books where most of the names have a meaning and names like Hermione just sounds stupid and is not used in Norwegian. She has a common name in English, so she got a common Norwegian name (Hermine) which is close to the original one. The Norwegian translater has done a good job.
This coming from a one-language person who probably doesn't really appreciate the problem, I guess
Hobbiton to Hobsala and Brandybucks to Vinbock
Now that's just silly. Hobbitun and Brennibukk is better. Hobsala... *giggling*