The Kingkiller Chronicle, a series of fantasy novels by Patrick Rothfuss, has been translated into more than thirty languages worldwide.

Translation process

For an authorised translation, the publisher must first buy the foreign rights to the books of the series. The publishers then select translators locally.

Rothfuss understands the difficulty of translation and has written multiple times about it in his blog. To facilitate the translation process he has put together a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions list for the translators: "It clarifies things that are potentially murky, and brings up some of the potential difficulties that I’ve become aware of."[1] He has also set up a forum where translators of the books can visit, ask questions and read the answers he has posted up to questions from the past. As of August 2011, there are over 300 of question-and-answer threads in the forum and the FAQ list he has compiled is more than 60 pages long.[2]

Issues in translation

The Kingkiller Chronicle has been known to present challenges to translators, such as rhymes, culture, songs, jokes, invented words, and names that revolve around spellings or initials. These have been dealt with by various translators with different degrees of modification to the meaning of the original text.

Culture and language

Many of the nuances of American culture and language will be unfamiliar to international readers. Rothfuss gives the idiom “pulling my leg” as an example of a phrase that doesn’t mean what it actually says. In English, if a man is pulling his leg, it means you’re playing a joke on him, teasing him. Rothfuss explains: "There are a thousand little things like that stand in the way of true fluency, and you can’t just copy them over into the new language and have them make any sense."[3]

Rhymes and acronyms

The series involves many songs, poems, and rhymes. Rothfuss discusses the difficulty of staying true to the letter of the work, or true to the spirit of the work: "A word-by-word translation is going to be clunky and awkward. But a beautiful one isn’t going to actually say the exact same thing as the original. A translator needs to walk that fine line between. Or rather, they have to dance madly back and forth over that line."[3] He also likes to use odd turns of phrases in his work which taking literally do not make sense and are therefore very difficult to translate.[2]

The nicknames Rothfuss has given to various places has also proven to be difficult to translate. Notable examples are the nicknames the students give to the buildings of the University, like Fishery for Artificery, which are some kind of slang, and the names Auri has made up for the places in the Underthing, which are more intended as puns, like the word Billows (which was misheard by Kvothe as Belows, Bellows, Blows).[1]

Invented words and names

Rothfuss invented a great number of words and phrases for the books such as names, magical words, items, and place names. Many of these words involve wordplay, rhyming, and historical references that are difficult to translate.

Rothfuss explains that he doesn't use names that actually exist in the world, because they tend to accrete and evolve over time: "I work hard to create real-seeming names for things in my world. Names that give a strong impression without actually saying anything. Names like Mincet lane, and Cricklet, and Downings. These real-seeming (but in reality made-up) names sound really good in English, but they’re a huge pain to translate."[2]

Some translators explicitly ask Rothfuss if he can give them permission to change names of characters that have a very English sound into something that would suit their own culture. For example, Dutch translator Lia Belt asked to change Jake, Graham, Shep and Carter to Jaap, Gard, Stef and Karsten. Rothfuss has agreed to the change, but explained that Carter is, by profession, a carter and advised the translator to maintain that.[4]

Implication in texts

Rothfuss relies heavily on implication in his writing. He intentionally implies more than he actually explains in the text, as he believes it makes for a more engaging reading experience. He explains with the following example: "While he’s narrating, Kvothe rarely says something clear-cut and expository like, 'Wilem obviously thought I was a fucking idiot.' Instead, Kvothe describes what Wilem says and does. Maybe Wil makes a sarcastic comment. Maybe he looks disproving. Maybe he raises an eyebrow. If I do my job right, it should be abundantly clear what Wil thinks of Kvothe. Best of all, it has more of an effect on the reader because you see it and know it for yourself, rather than having it poked down your throat by a narrator."[2]

List of editions by country

The original American English versions of the books were published in the United States by DAW Books, and by Gollancz in the United Kingdom. The publisher of the Dutch edition of The Name of the Wind, De Naam van de Wind, was the first to buy the rights for a foreign edition.[1]

There is currently no official list of authorised translations available. The following list of all editions is compiled by contributors of this wiki and may not be complete.

Country Language Title of series Publisher Translator
Brasil Portugese A Crônica do Matador do Rei Acqueiro Vera Ribeiro
Bulgaria Bulgarian Хрониките на Кралеубиеца Прозорец Ангел Ангелов
Catalonia Catalan Crònica de l'Assassí de Reis Plaza & Janés Ernest Riera Arbussa
China Simplified Chinese 弒君者传奇 江西教育 李天奇
Croatia Croatian Kronike Kraljosjeka Algoritam Petra Mrduljaš Doležal
Czech Republic Czech Kronika Královraha Argo Triton Jana Rečková
Denmark Danish Kongedræberkrøniken Tellerup Bjarne Skovlund
Estonia Estonian Kuningatapja kroonika Varrak Juhan Habicht
Finland Finnish Kuninkaansurmaajan kronikka Kirjava Satu Hlinovsky
France French Chronique du tueur de roi Bragelonne Colette Carrière
Germany German Die Königsmörder-Chronik Klett-Cotta Jochen Schwarzer
Greece Greek ? Anubis Γιώργος Καρατζήμας,
Ανδρέας Μιαούλης
Italy Italian Le Cronache dell'Assassino del Re Fanucci Gabriele Giorgi
Israel Hebrew רשומות קוטל המלכים זמורה ביתן עמנואל לותם
Hungary Hungarian A királygyilkos krónikája Gabo Bihari György
Japan Japanese キングキラー・クロニクル 白夜書房 山形 浩生,
渡辺 佐智江,
守岡 桜
Korea Korean ? 서울문화사 공보경
Latvia Latvian Karaļkāvēja hronikas Zvaigzne ABC Zane Rozenberga
Lithuania Lithuanian Karaliaus žudiko kronikos Tyto Alba Aidas Jurašius
Norway Norwegian Kongedreperkrøniken Bazar Morten Hansen
Poland Polish Kroniki Królobójcy Rebis Jan Karłowski,
Mirosław P. Jabłoński
Portugal Portugese A Crônica do Regicida 1001 Mundos Renato Carreira
Romania Romanian Cronicile Ucigasului de Regi R.A.O. Graal Soft
Russia Russian Хроника убийцы короля Эксмо Олефир А.
Serbia Serbian Hronika o kraljoubici Laguna Vesna Stojković
Slovakia Slovak Príbeh kráľovraha Ikar Michal Jedinák
Slovenia Slovenian Kraljemorčeve kronike Mladinska knjiga Sergej Hvala
Spain Spanish La Historia de Kvothe RH Mondadori Gemma Rovira
Sweden Swedish Berättelsen om kungadråparen Ponto Pocket Ylva Spångberg
Taiwan Traditional Chinese 弒君者三部曲 漫遊者文化 洪慧芳
The Netherlands Dutch De Kronieken van Kvothe Boekerij Lia Belt
Turkey Turkish Kral Katili Güncesi İthaki Cihan Karamancı


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Patrick Rothfuss Blog. On the Perils of Translation (January 31, 2008)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Patrick Rothfuss Blog. Fanmail Q&A: Why does it take so long to translate the book? (August 26, 2011)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Patrick Rothfuss Blog. The Perils of Translation: Babelfish (December 11, 2008)
  4. Patrick Rothfuss Blog. The Perils of Translation: Part 2 (February 11, 2008)