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Do Superheroes Get Their Names Translated?


I never really grew up with comic books, but I have become a fan of a lot of superhero movies these past few years.  When I was travelling, I noticed that the names of some of these characters would be translated and others would not. Since we grew up hearing about these guys, we take for granted their superhero names. However when you start to look at it, most of the names are a combination of an animal or an element and their gender and age.  So I started to do some research on it, and while it’s hard to find examples in every language, I want to point out some of the most well-known ones.

Superman: In languages such as French, German and Spanish, his name does not get translated. Although in Portuguese, some prefer to refer to him as Super-Homem, which is a literal translation. Funny enough, though, in Swedish he becomes stålmannen, steelman.

Batman: In Spanish, it is common to see both Batman and his translated name of El Hombre Murciélago together, especially in comic books. In addition, his birth name Bruce Wayne was changed to Bruno Díaz. And in Italian he is often referred to as l’uomo pipistrello!

Spider-Man: While the most current rebooted movie franchises for Superman and Batman don’t have their superhero name in the title, The Amazing Spider-Man does. In Spanish, most comic books and the movie franchises call him by his literal name translation, el Hombre Araña. In French, it was common to refer to him as L’Homme araignée back in the 70s, but present day French and many other languages simply refer to him by his original English name Spider-Man.

Wonder Woman: Rumor is she is making a comeback in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie, so we will have to see how the translation plays out. In Spanish she has been referred to as Mujer Maravilla in the past. Briefly, in German, she was called Wundergirl in the 1970s-1980s comics, but it was then decided to keep her original English name.

So whether you are looking for a translation of a comic book or for a movie, trust in your friendly neighborhood translation company. Request a free quote today!