5 Famous Fictional Characters’ Names In Other Languages

Something about “Käsna-Kalle Kantpüks” just has a nice ring to it.
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5 Famous Fictional Characters’ Names In Other Languages

You might assume that your favorite characters from your go-to TV shows, books and movies go by the same names wherever they’re found across the world. How could Dumbledore ever not be “Dumbledore”? Does Donald Duck keep his name in Italy, Finland and Bulgaria? Translating pop culture content from one language to another is often not very straightforward. It involves tweaking all sorts of elements to fit new cultural and linguistic contexts, often with some silly results. Check out these famous fictional characters’ names in other languages.

Albus Dumbledore

Everyone’s favorite half-moon-spectacled headmaster from the Harry Potter series has been getting a lot of attention lately for his role in the most recent Fantastic Beasts movie. He’s Albus Dumbledore in the original linguistic renditions of the books and movies, but his name’s not the same in most of the non-English world:

Dutch: Albus Perkamentus (in Dutch, perkament means “parchment”)

Italian: Albus Silente (“Silent”)

Afrikaans: Albus Dompeldorius

Japanese: アルバス・ダンブルドア Arubasu Danburudoa (the “nipponized” garaigo form of his English name)

Czech: Albus Brumbál (this one stays true to the “bumblebee” that inspired the name “Dumbledore”)

 

Donald Duck

Donald and Daisy Duck characters
Brad Barket/Getty Images

He can be ill-tempered and fussy, but you can’t help but love that famous Disney duck. The way he waddles, his quintessential sailor get-up and his famed alaryngeal vocalization all make him instantly recognizable across the planet. English speakers call him Donald Duck, but that’s not necessarily the case in other parts of the world. Here are his names in other languages:

Danish: Anders And

Finnish: Aku Ankka

Italian: (Paolino) Paperino

Spanish: El Pato Donald

Bulgarian: Patoka Donald

Lithuanian: Antulis Donaldas

 

Squirtle

The beloved Japanese Pokémon series has caught on like wildfire since its inception, spurring translations into dozens of languages worldwide. You might not have known that the name for Pikachu across most languages is just that—”Pikachu” (or some transliteration of it). That’s not very interesting. Instead, enjoy the names for his adorable shelled water-type Pokémon pal Squirtle (who, one can argue, is cuter anyway):

German: Schiggy (it comes from Schildkröte, or “turtle”)

French: Carapuce (a portmanteau of carapace, “shell,” and puce, “cute”)

Japanese: ゼニガメ Zenigame (his original name before it was localized to English)

Korean: 꼬부기 Kkobugi (from 꼬마 kkoma, “kid,” and 거북이 geobugi, “turtle”)

Spanish: Squirtle (Spanish phonetics would give it the pronunciation skeert-lay)

 

Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants character
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The undersea, patty-flipping, pineapple-dwelling titular character of the show Spongebob Squarepants is basically an international phenomenon. The show has been dubbed and translated into more than two dozen languages, and it’s served as the muse for countless memes across the weird and wacky internet. Here’s Spongebob’s full name in languages across the world:

Estonian: Käsna-Kalle Kantpüks

Albanian: Bob Sfungjeri Pantallona-katrori

Danish: SvampeBob Firkant

Spanish: Bob Esponja Pantalones Cuadrados

Turkish: SüngerBob KarePantolon

 

Cinderella

Before she was a Disney princess, she was the ash-covered, down-on-her-luck girl next door out of 17th-century French literature. She made her way into the 1812 collection of folk tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm, and her rags-to-riches redemption tale has become the ultimate glow-up story for generations. Though today she mostly goes by her English name around the world, here’s what Cinderella has been called in different languages:

German: Aschenputtel (aschen, “ashes,” + puttel, an old Hessian word for “dirty girl”)

Spanish: Cenicienta

French: Cendrillon (her original name in Charles Perrault’s 1697 work Histoire ou contes du temp passé)

Italian: Cenerentola

Swedish: Askungen

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