Write Your Name in Runes: Convert Letters to Runic Symbols

The Rune Converter transforms Roman alphabet, as used in modern English, into five systems of Germanic runic writing: Elder Futhark, Anglo-Saxon runes, Long Branch Younger Futhark, Short Twig Younger Futhark and staveless runes (note that it does not translate the words themselves, it only converts letters into runes). A possibility to choose between these allows to establish a connection with a certain bloodline, tradition or historical period: for instance, if one wishes to emphasize the Viking connection, why use the Elder Futhark, if Vikings did not use it? One should choose between one of the Younger Futhark options instead.

Note that the present converter works with modern English only. Letters with Old Norse (or any other) diacritics won’t be converted into runes.









What Types of Runes Are Supported?

  • Elder Futhark is the most ancient Germanic runic alphabet that was in use from the 2nd to 8th centuries by all Germanic tribes. This system of runic writing has a very peculiar and complex inner structure.
  • Anglo-Saxon Futhorc.
  • Long Branch variant of the Younger Futhark, also known as Danish runes, is the normal or standard representation of the Younger Futhark, which began to develop at the end of the 8th century and was accepted by the 10th century in the whole of Scandinavia.
  • Short Twig variant of the Younger Futhark is also known as Rök runes. It was used in Norway and Sweden along with the Long Branch variant that was more characteristic for Denmark.
  • Staveless or Hålsinge runes were used only in a restricted area and may be a good example of minimalism. They also may be interpreted as a secret writing system.

What To Write With Runes?

Perhaps the most obvious idea is to write with runes one’s own name. For more creative solutions and complex phrases one may find helpful to read about the magic runes or runic love quotes. Note that Scandinavians had a tradition to write with runes various Latin sentences.

Before You Ask a Question in the Comments Section Below

Make sure you checked the following articles:

A Guide to Writing in Norse Runes
How to Write a Name in Runes for a Tattoo
How to Translate into Runes Correctly
How to Write an Authentic Runic Inscription
Should I Write in Runes Phonetically?

Please do not post requests to translate anything into Old Norse. This page is about how to convert letters into runes, not about how to translate from English into ancient languages.

Waiver of Liability

Keep in mind that computer generated texts should be used with caution for any permanent use like tattoos or engravings. This tool is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind.

{ 435 comments… read them below or add one }

Caleb Zetterberg

My last name, “Zetterberg” is swedish and I’m thinking about getting it as a tattoo. I’m wondering how the Swedish Vikings would have written it. I want it to be as accurate as possible and was wondering what type of Futhark the Swedish Vikings used. I’m also wondering if it would be correct to keep the the double “t”s or shorten it to just one.

Thanks.

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Viking Rune

Hi Caleb. In the 9th century Old Norse diverged into Old West Norse and Old East Norse, then Old East Norse diverged into the dialects of Denmark and Sweden. So Swedish and even Old Swedish are a lot different than Old Norse. The Younger Futhark has no rune for “z”, since this sound developed in Swedish later in history. Thus we have two options: (1) find out the etymology of your second name and reconstruct its possible elder (Old Norse) form; (2) write your name in medieval runes, which have counterparts for all letters of the Roman alphabet (under the influence of Latin). Unfortunately, I cannot help you with Swedish etymology: the second element (“berg”) must be the same as ON berg, ‘rock'; but the first element is unclear for me. At all events, any attempt to write anything with runes should have a clear objective: we have to decide whether we want to write it the way Vikings (medieval Swedes, ancient Germanic warriors etc) would carve it, or we just want to use runes in order to pay homage to a certain heritage or tradition. In the first case, we have to be prepared for etymological research (like the one about the runic form of the word Mjöllnir). In the second case we are free to use runes more or less arbitrarily (why not just use s instead of z).
Runic inscriptions usually have one rune for double consonants. Swedish Vikings used Norwegian-Swedish or Rök runes, also known as short-twig runes.

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Caleb

According to ancestry.com, the “Zetter” in “Zetterberg” is an ornamental spelling of “Säter”, which they said means ‘mountain pasture’ and “berg” means ‘mountain’. So apparently the non-ornamental spelling would be “Säterberg”. How would this be written correctly in the runes used by Swedish Vikings?

Thank you for helping.

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Viking Rune

Hi Caleb. Svenska Akademiens ordbok points out:

seetther 1554 . sether 1548 ( : Seth(e)r ) — 1556 . setter 1543 — 1565 . säter (-th-) 1541 — 1582 . sätter (-æ- , -tth-) 1540 — 1563 )
[ fsv. säter , säther , n.; jfr fvn. setar , sæter , mlt. seter , mht. schet(t)er , ä. t. schetter ; ytterst av indiskt ursprung o. sammanhörande med sanskr. citrah , fläckig, brokig.

Wikipedia says: “The name for the common mountain pasture in most Scandinavian languages derives from the old Norse term setr. In Norwegian the term is sæter or seter, in Swedish säter. The place name appears in Sweden in several forms Säter and Sätra and as a suffix: -säter, -sätra, -sätt and -sättra. Those names appear extensively over Sweden with a centre in the Mälaren basin and in Östergötland.” They also say that saeter is “a seasonally occupied herding station.”

So we know that the two elements of your second name appear to derive from Old Norse words setr and berg. In Swedish the combination of these gave Säterberg. I am not sure if earlier Old Norse form existed (that is whether Swedish Vikings actually could call someone by the combination of the above two elements; after all, second names as such emerged later in history). Can we reconstruct it in Old Norse as *Setrberg? I am not sure. Assistance of a specialist in Swedish etymology is needed: please contact someone with deeper knowledge in this field.
Even though the form Säterberg is later than the Viking Age, I would use this one to be written in runes. If not Swedish Vikings, their heirs would use the following sequence in short-twig runes: sól-ár-týr-ár-reið-bjarkan-ár-reið-kaun. You can type in “seterberg” (ä=e) in the converter above and choose “short-twig”.

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Caleb Zetterberg

Thank you very much, this is exactly what I was wondering. You’ve helped me a lot.

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Heather

I completely fell in love with the tales of the selkies the first time I heard them. I am designing a tattoo and would like to have the word selkie in runes as part of the design. I used the converter and prefer long branch aesthetically. I’ve done a bit of research about the tradition of the selkies especially in Orkney and I’m curious as to which type of runes would be most accurate for the stories.
Thank you for all the information!

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Viking Rune

Hi Heather. Runic inscriptions from Maeshowe are perhaps the best known in Orkney. Most of the signs are long-branch type, but some resemble to short-twig. Please be aware that the word selkie is not Old Norse: it seems to be connected with the Scots word selk, from Old English seolh, ‘seal’.

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Andrew Schultz

Hi I was looking into getting my last name translated and possibly getting a tattoo of it. I haven’t decided yet I am just kinda researching a little bit before I get it done. My last name is Schultz does anybody have any suggestions??

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Viking Rune

Hi Andrew. As far as I was able to find out, the surname Schultz is derived from the Middle High German word schulteize or schultheiße meaning the person in charge of collecting payments on behalf of the lord of the manor, mayor, or judge. The name was given to the head of a village. Since it is Middle High German, it was not used in Common Germanic language, when the Elder Futhark was in use. I believe that in such a case any type of runes may be used quite arbitrarily, since we do not try to reconstruct anything, we just use runic system to transcribe modern (or Middle High German) orthography.

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jake jeeter

I just wanted to drop a quick line for a couple reasons. First, to say thanks for the multi-character transcriber.

Second, I wish that you, the author might put some sort of disclaimer somewhere in here. During a cursory scan, I didn’t see anything mentioned.

The following is an ENORMOUS pet peeve of mine that I see over and over again whenever transcription from English to Runic occurs: Many people think that by replacing English (Latin) letters with their Rune equivalents, that they are writing in a foreign language; Norse, Danish, Saxon, Viking, or whatever. This is absolutely not the case. It does not work this way. All you are doing is writing in English using different scribbles, and letters do not equal language. If I were to convert “I am walking to the store” into the Rune characters, no Viking, Saxon, Norseman, etc, would be able to read that. He might even chop my head off for putting such gibberish in front of him. Correct translation from English to any of the Runic languages requires 2 steps. First, you need to translate the phrase from English to the proper language, and THEN those words are written with their Runic characters.

I was at a Scandinavian festival where I saw a man making “Runestones” by simply converting English letters into Runic characters; things such as “Welcome to the So-and-so’s house”. But all he was doing was replacing character for character. You would think that at a Scandinavian festival that people would be wiser about the languages and their alphabets. Unfortunately not.

Anyway, thanks again for the site. I’d be interested in your comments regarding the translation issue above.

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Viking Rune

Hi Jake. Thanks for your very pertinent comment. Please note that above the disclaimer concerning the converter reads: “Note that it does not translate the words themselves, it only converts letters into runes.” Thanks for drawing our visitors’ attention to this fact again.

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Ken

Hello!

I just found this blog, and have been having the most enjoyable time reading through the various postings. Thanks!

Like some of the other people here, I’d like to include runes into a tattoo. I’ve found a word that I would like to have: “trúa” which means “believe, trust, have faith in”. (I’m using the on-line University of Texas English-Old Norse dictionary.) My preference is for the long branch Younger Futhark.

When I use ‘trúa’ – with the thingie over the u – I get the runes tyr-reid-ar. But when I use ‘trua’ – without the thingie over the u – I get tyr-reid-ur-ar.

Would you have any advice on which is/would be/could be the more historically accurate?

(Alternatively, I could make my life easier and go for the Old West Norse word “tro” but then I’d probably choose the Elder Futhark for tyr-raido-oþila.)

Thanks!

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Viking Rune

Hello Ken. Thanks for the feedback. The converter does not work with symbols specific for Scandinavian languages, only with the standard English alphabet. That’s why you get only three runes when you use “trúa”, since the ú is not converted. However, in the Younger Futhark the same rune is used for both short (u) and long (ú) sound. The correct sequence for trúa will be týr-reið-úr-ár.

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Wes

Hi!

I (like many on this site) am looking for help with a tattoo to represent my Viking heritage in the Younger Futhark. My nickname is Undead (as in zombie). I have researched and could not find a direct translation of the word to any Scandinavian language. I found a Norwegian word for zombie (Dorsk) and a reference to a Undead type creature in Nordic folklore (Draugr). But before I go getting a permanent marking in my flesh, I would love to know what your suggestion is for the most accurate and truest translation of this word. So I can then turn it into a runic tattoo.

Thanks so much!

Also, this site is amazing and it’s easily one of the most interesting web sites I come across in quite a long time.

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Viking Rune

Hi Wes. Draugr is not a translation of the word “undead” and not quite the same thing as zombie. However, it is a quite close Norse parallel to what we mean in most cases when we say “undead” or “zombie”. It is interesting that many modern Icelanders believe that draugar walk among them in the streets unnoticed.

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Samu

Great website! I have been looking for information about runes and Viking history, and this is the best resource for it, thank you for that!

When you have read about Viking history, have you found out anything about that time “Finnish” people? Under the Swedish rule the southern part of Finland was called Österland, but what before that? Little piece of information what I found out was in Wikipedia: “There is no evidence of a state-formation, although there are a few referrals to kings ruling in Finland in Norse sagas, usually considered untrustworthy.” What might these referrals be?

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Viking Rune

Hi Samu. Thanks for the feedback. May be The World of Ladoga: Society, Trade, Transformation and State Building in the Eastern Fennoscandian Boreal Forest Zone C. 1000-1555 by Jukka Korpela, available at Google Books, would help.

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Sean

I was wondering if what it puts up for “wolf” is accurate?

Can anyone help me out with this?

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Viking Rune

Hi Sean. The converter does not translate words, it only converts letters of the English alphabet into Germanic runes. Old Norse words for ‘wolf’ are úlfr and vargr.

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