Last weekend, the Icelandic media reported on a 13 year old American boy, from a farm in Wisconsin, who has, in his spare time, translated 20 Icelandic children's books into English.
The 13 year old, Peter Streich, is visiting Iceland with his father, and said that he had become interested in Nordic culture after reading Tolkien's Hobbit. Peter said that he realized Icelandic was the "most pristine" of all the Nordic languages, most similar to the language used by the Vikings and thus his interest was engaged. Over the last year, with the help of grammar books and the internet, Peter has taught himself Icelandic. He says he uses the internet portal ordabok.is to look up words for his translations.
The translations include "Litla gula hænan", by Steingrímur Arason and "Thorrablót" by Sigrún Eldjárn.
According to Morgunbladid, Peter's Icelandic is so fluent that when he reads out loud "it sounds almost perfect ". Morgunbladid goes on to point out that "it is incredible how much progress he has made in such a short amount of time".
Peter told Morgunbladid that his interests are currently centered on Iceland, and that he would like to try living in Iceland when he is older. He said he has already looked into various aspects on what he needs to do to make that a reality. "Iceland is a beautiful country and the people here are very friendly, strong of will and broadminded. Reading is widespread, and I like that. I also like the culture better here than at home in the US, and also the low population density."
Peter's father told Morgunbladid that on their trip in Iceland Peter sometimes introduced himself to strangers and addressed them in Icelandic. He said that he felt very proud of his son when he saw the smiles that appeared on the faces of these people when they heard how well he had mastered the language.