• 05 May 2010
    Willi Wunderwanst. Larten Krapula. Lucas Leopardo. Recognise any of those names? No? You would if you'd read the translated versions of Cirque Du Freak in Germany, France and Brazil!! As well as changing the name of the book itself, many of my foreign publishers have also changed the names of many of the characters. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing what translators in other countries come up with -- and I thought I'd share the fun with you! So, without any further ado, please allow me to introduce you to ...

    RHAMUS TWOBELLIES -- Mr Twobellies has been renamed more than any other character in the book, and in some very interesting ways! In Brazil he's known as SANCHO DUAS PANÇAS. In Denmark he's THOMAS TOMAVE. In France and the Netherlands he keeps his first name, and his surname is literally translated, so it's RHAMUS DOUBLEBIDE and RHAMUS TWEEBUIK respectively. In Germany, he goes by the tongue-twisting handle of WILLI WUNDERWANST!! In Spain it's Rhamus Dostripas. Norwegians know and love him as Rhamus - Mannen Med To Mager. If you're out Indonesai way, ask for Rhamus Dua Perut. Hungarians marvel at Ketgyomru Rhamus. He's harder to recognise on the bill in Finland than most places -- Kaapo Kaksmaha!!! And in the Czech Republic he checks into hotels as Rhamus Pupkeduo.

    THE SNAKE-BOY -- we don't learn Evra's real name until Book 2, so in all the translations of CDF, he keeps his descriptive name. In Brazil he's O MENINO-COBRA. In Denmark, SLANGEDRENGEN. In France, LE GARCON-SERPENT. In Germany, DEN SCHLANGENJUNGEN. In the Netherlands, DE SLANGENJONGEN. In Spain, El Nino Serpiente. In Norway, Slangegutten. In Indonesia, Bocah Ular. In Hungary, Kigyotesty Fiu. In Finland, Kaarmepoika. And in the Czech Republic you need to beware of Hadi Chlapec.

    TOMMY JONES -- Tommy's name hasn't been changed in any of the countries, but in Brazil they shortened his first name to TOM. Amazingly, it was only when I saw this that I twigged to the fact that I'd called one of my characters TOM JONES!!!!! What a missed opportunity! If I'd thought of this back when I was writing CDF, I'm sure I could have found a place to have him say "It's not unusual ..." Curses!!!

    THE WOLF-MAN -- like the Snake-Boy, the Wolf-Man's descriptive name travels well, and has simply been translated in every country. The list reads: Brazil, O HOMEM-LOBO. Denmark, ULVEMANDEN. France, L'HOMME-LOUP. Germany, DEN WOLFSMANN. The Netherlands, DE WOLFMAN. Spain, El Hombre Lobo. Norway, Ulvemannen. Indonesia, Manusia Serigala. Hungary, Farkasember. Finland, Susimies. And the Czech Republic, Vlci Muzi.

    ANNIE SHAN -- Darren's younger sister retains her name in all countries except Brazil, where, for some unknown reason, she now goes by the alias of JOANA!!!!

    MR TALL -- another one whose name is easy to translate. In Denmark, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Hungary they keep the name exactly as it appears in the UK. In Brazil he's SR. ALTÌO. In France, M. LEGRAND. In Germany, MEISTER RIESIG. In Spain, Mister Alto. In Norway, Herr Hoy. In Finland, Herra Pitka. And in the Czech Republic he's Pan Topol.

    SIVE AND SEERSA -- the Twisting Twins hold on to their names in most countries, but in Brazil they're THORSO E KONTHORSO, and if you want to cheer for them in Denmark, you'll have to call them SIV OG SLYNGE!

    STEVE LEOPARD -- Darren's best friend hangs onto his name in most of the world, but in France he's known simply as STEVE LEONARD (no nickname), while in Brazil he goes by the alliteratively lush name of LUCAS LEOPARDO!!!

    ALEXANDER RIBS -- the boniest member of the troupe is fairly easy to recognize, no matter which language the Cirque Du Freak poster might be written in. In the Netherlands he's exactly the same. In Brazil, ALEXANDRE COSTELA. In Denmark, KNOGLE-ALEXANDER. In France, ALEX LE DESOSSE. In Germany, ALEXANDER KNOCHEN. In Spain, Alexander Calavera. In Norway, Radmagre Alexander. In Indonesia, he's the tongue-twisting Alexander Si Manusia Tulang. In Hungary, Bordas Alexander. In Finland, Luuranko-Aleksanteri. And in the Czech Republic, Alexabdr Lunt.

    GERTHA TEETH -- in Denmark, France and the Netherlands, they keep her first name and simply translate her surname. So it's TAND-GERTHA, GERTHA GUEULE, and GERTHA TANDEN. Similarly, in Spain, Norway, Indonesia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic she's Gertha Dientes, Gertha Med Tenna, Gertha Geligi, Vasfogu Gertha, and Gerta Zubata. But in Germany, if you want to say hello to the toothy one, you have to ask for BERTHA BEISSER. In Finland she's the healthily hygeienic Hammas-Hertta. And In Brazil she masquerades as the dentally dynamic DIANA DENTADA!

    HANS HANDS -- short of stature, but big of heart, Hans holds onto his handle practically everywhere he goes. In Denmark he's HAND-HANS. In France, HANS LA MAIN LESTE. In Germany, HANS HÄNDE. In the Netherlands, HANDEN HANS. In Spain, Hans El Manos. In Norway, Hans Med Henda. In Indonesia, Hans Tangan. And in Hungary, Kezes Hans. But sometimes he has to carry an alternate passport with him! Because in Finland he's Kasi-Kalle. In the Czech Republic he's Rudy Von Ruka. And when the Cirque Du Freak plays Rio De Janeiro they know him as MANO MÌO!

    and, to round out the cast list, your favourite grumpy vampire and mine: LARTEN CREPSLEY -- the grim-faced, orange-haired grouch goes by the same name in all countries except two. In the Czech Republic they hail him as Larten Hroozley (derived from the Czech word, "hruzny", which means "creepy"). And in France, where (perhaps to confuse any French vampire hunters) he adopts the guise of LARTEN KRAPULA!!! (In the UK, obviously, he keeps this a very closely guarded secret, aware of the rather unfortunate connotations of that particular surname ...)

    * * *

    And that's all for now! More charcter names will follow, one list for each book -- so keep looking back for updates! Please note that I've only been able to include names from books with an alphabet which I can readily translate (which is why there's no mention of Japan, Taiwan, Israel, etc.)
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