8 Popular TV Characters That Have Bizarre Names In Other Languages

European Culture & Traditions, Funny, Languages

It’s easy to forget that every country and culture interprets words and sounds differently, including the names and catchphrases we are familiar with on TV.

For this reason, direct translation is often impossible, but to an outsider, the results can be bizarre and hilarious.

Here are some classic examples of what happens when non-Anglophone countries have made the choice to translate the names we took for granted:


Harry Potter

The Dursleys

The Dutch translators of the UK’s favourite franchise clearly saw it necessary to translate a large number of the characters’ names into more ‘Dutch-friendly’ versions.

It was hard to choose between them, but you have to admit that Duffeling is an amusing substitute for the despised Dursley family.

Translated characters 1

Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore’s name has mutated in various different languages (again with the Dutch), but we were particularly bemused by ‘Silent Albus’ (WTF Italy) and the Latvian simplification of the surname.

It’s hard to take him seriously now.

Translated characters 2

Hufflepuff

Though this is not exactly a character name (unless you count Helga Hufflepuff, which of course I do), we couldn’t let you miss out on the hilarious foreign versions of this Hogwarts house.

P.S. To be fair, the English version sounds pretty funny too. Stop bullying Hufflepuff everyone, it’s a good house too..!

Translated characters 3

The Simpsons

Sideshow Bob:

While far being from the only character whose name has been translated in other languages, Sideshow Bob has a selection of the most interesting choices in translation on the list.

My new personal favourite has to be Tingel-Tangel Bob. He sounds much friendlier.

As for the French ‘Tahiti Bob’, if you have an explanation for this particular translation, let us know in the comments! It’s baffled us so far..

Translated characters 4

BONUS:

Have you ever considered how the classic Bart-ism ‘Eat my shorts’ would be translated into foreign languages?

Translated characters 5

Star Wars

The French are masters of unnecessarily translating things. While ‘D2-R2’ is frustratingly backwards, at least it comes from a place of logic (in French, it sounds like a stutter to pronounce ‘R- deux- de- deux’).

But Jabba the Hut is not a woodsman. And frankly, the rest of the changes could have been avoided as well.

In their defence, they realised their mistake and these translations only exist in the first film that came out (‘A New Hope’).

Translated characters 6


What surprising or strange translations have you come across in TV shows or movies? Leave us a comment and we could put together a list of even more examples!

Do you find languages as fascinating as we do? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Original images courtesy of Wikia & Wikipedia

3 comments

  • Poufsouffle is actually a very good translation in meaning as well as aesthetics (what the sounds suggest) while staying relatively close to the original. The other houses are Griffondor (griffyndor sounded French to begin with), Serpentard (pretty obvious) and Serdaigle (eagle’s talon).

    You got the translation of Ciucciate il calzino seriously wrong it seems. Calzino is *not* derived from Cazzo (which is slang for Penis).

    • Hello! Thank you for your feedback ? It’s fascinating to see all of the choices in translation, though for the moment we have only picked out a few favourites.
      Bart’s catchphrase in every language is cleverly made to sound as though it is *almost* offensive. Here we’ve translated simply what the phrase actually says (‘Suck [the] sock’).
      We hope you enjoy our posts! ?

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