I posted about a Jabberwocky-translation site over three years ago, but because I know you can’t have too many Jabberwocky translations, here‘s another one (hot off the presses: NEWEST November 1998!). A tip of the Hatlo hat to V. for the link! [N.b.: The site is, or was, run by Keith Lim, and it has parodies and other links under the umbrella title of Jabberwocky Variations.]

Update. Adam Rice has, as promised, posted Japanese translations of “Jabberwocky”; you can read informed commentary on how they’re done at No-sword.


  1. A good Russian translation might be built around Khlebnikov’s word “zinziver” from the poem “Kuznechik.”

  2. Here’s a version in “Gronings“, a Dutch variant of Low German.

  3. Wow. Interesting how Eurocentric the Jabberwockification community is. Hardly a foothold outside languages originating in Europe. Are Choctaw, Japanese, Hebrew and Klingon the only exceptions?

  4. One of my more ridorkulous party tricks is the ability to recite the (well, a) French version from memory. Can I remember what the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was all about? No. Can I rememeber any of my highschool trig? Again with the no. But Le Jasseroque, committed to memory during high school as well? Bien sur, chaque mot! These, evidently, are my brain’s priorities. (I found my translation in “The Annotated Alice,” which is well worth a read just anyway, if you enjoy that sort of stuff.)

  5. Oh, and belated congrats on the four years, LH! That’s like a whole presidency! Except that you not only know how to pronounce “nuclear,” you could probably rattle off its etymology, to boot.

  6. Years ago, someone sent me 11 different translations of Jabberwocky in Japanese, and they’ve been sitting on my hard drive ever since.
    This has motivated me to get off my butt and post them to my blog, finally. Check ’em out.

  7. There is an Ancient Greek version in In Three Tongues. A Google search finds this old CLASSICS-L message mentioning it, but only quoting one line.
    So here goes.
    καυσπροῦντος ἤδη, γλοῖσχρα διὰ περισκιᾶς
    στρυβλοῦντα καὶ στρομφοῦντ’ ἂν εὑρίσκοις τόφα,
    δεινὴ δ’ ἐπέσχε σωθρία βορυγρόφας,
    ῥάθαισι δ’ ἀντιποικὸν[1] ὕμνησαν ῥάθαι
    ἔκγριμμα· τὸν δὲ πρέσβυν ἐξαυδᾶν κλύω·
    ‘παῖ, παῖ, φύγοις ἄν ἐμπέδως Ἰάμβροχα,
    ἔιτ’ ὄνυχι μάρπτων εἴτε δὴ δάκνων τύχοι
    γνάθοισιν, ἀπρόσοιστον· ὣς δ’ αὔτως φυγεῖν
    ὄρνιθα δεινὸν Γυπογῦπ’· οὐδ’ ἂν φθάνοις
    ἐλθὼν δαφλοισβῷ πρὸς λόγους Βανδράρπαγι.’
    ὁ δ’ ἐν χεροῖν εὔκοπνον ἐξάρας ξίφος
    θήρας ὅμως μετ’ ἴχνος ὀλγώδους ἔβη·
    τέλος δ’ ἀπειπών, πολλὰ συννοούμενος,
    πλείστην ὅπου παρέσχε φλαττόθρατ σκιάν,
    ἔστη δι’ ὀλίγου· χὠς ἔβοσκεν ἀργίλας
    θυμῷ μερίμνας, ἐμπύροισιν ὄμμασιν
    σμύζων Ἰάμβρωξ ἔπτετ’ ἐκ ψυδνῆς νάπης,
    δῆλος δὲ βορβολισμὸς ἦν ποτωμένου·
    ταύτην δὲ καὶ δίχ’, ὡς ἐσεῖδε, καὶ τρίχα,
    ἔνθεν τε κἄνθεν διάτορον πληγὴν νέηων,
    ἔσνιξεν, ἐξέσναξεν εὐκόπνῳ ξίφει,
    εῖθ’ οὗπερ ἔκτα κειμένης τεμὼν κάρα
    γαυχούμενος κατῆλθεν· ἀσπαστὸν δ’ ἰδὼν
    ἐλθόνθ’ ὁ πρέσβυς, τοιάδ’ ἐξεφρίγκασεν·
    ‘ὦ χαῖρε λάμπωψ· ὡς Ἰαμβροχοκτόνον
    τόδ’ ἀγκάλισμα παιδὸς ἀσμένως ἔχω.
    ὦ τρισβακαρτὸν ἦμαρ· ὦ καλοῦ καλά.’
    ἤδη δ’ ἐκαύσπρει, γλοῖσχρά τ’ ἐν περισκιᾷ
    στρυβλοῦντα καὶ στρομφοῦντ'[2] ἂν εὑρίσκοις τόφα,
    δεινὴ δ’ ἐπέσχε σωθρία βορυγρόφας,
    ἔκγριμμα δ’ ἀντιποικὸν ὕμνησαν ῥάθαι.
    Ronald Knox. The Salopian, June, 1918
    [1] fn. in the original: ποικός. ἀντὶ τοῦ ἄποικὸς· Hesych.
    [2] printed as στρομφον̑ντ’. Cf. line 2. γλοῖσχρά is also suspicious in its accents. I do not know why the last four lines do not just repeat the first four.

  8. Excellent! How I wish I’d had that around during my grad school days; I’d have been the toast of GYPSY [nostalgic ’70s grad-school bar reference].

  9. marie-lucie says

    Re translations of Jabberwocky into French:
    I looked up both translations on the site – the best translation would be a mixture of both. I think that ‘Le Jaseroque’ does a better job with the proper names, but the other one (by Parisot) is a better overall translation, based on the originality of the coinages and also on the overall rhythm of the French verse – the rhythm of Le Jaseroque is not very French. The original is a poem with a strong metrical structure and a good translation should have such a structure also, according to the rules of the new language.
    I own a copy of The Annotated Alice and also translations of the Alice books into French, Italian, German and Russian – the latter by Vladimir Nabokov. These were all published by the same firm. Are there any more that are available?

  10. (Klingon Translation)
    puqloDwI’ ja’pu’vawq taHjaj
    pe’vIl chop Ho’Du’Daj; pe’vIl Suq pachDu’Daj
    Ha’DIbaH puv juchyub yIyep
    bInDepSuHach vaQeHmuS ghombe’ DanIDjaj

    ‘etlhDaj veSpatlh HujtaH ghopDaj–
    jagh HoSlaw’ law’ veqlargh Hos puS! nIteb nej nI’
    vaj Sor tamtam, ghaH retlhDaq Qam
    nI’be’ leSlI’ ghah (Sor retlhDaq) ‘ej ghaH QublI’

  11. John Cowan says

    Evertype has published many translations of Alice in a uniform edition: Sambhasa, Middle English, Belarusian, Palatine German, Russian (not Nabokov’s), Hungarian, Synthetic Scots, Icelandic, Samoan, Hawai’ian, Viennese German, Neo, Doric Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Appalachian English, Shetlandic, Esperanto, Jerriais, Lingua Franca Nova, Borain Picard, Mennonite Low German, Ulster Scots, Latin, Scots, Low Saxon, Swedish, Italian, French, Manx, Welsh, German, English words of one syllable, Irish, Cornish. Many of these are older translations in the public domain.

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