Recently, I noticed an article in the 20 Minuten declaring Dagobert Duck as the richest fictional character. (The headline came from a Forbes magazine article listing the richest fictional characters. Some people have too much free time on their hands.) Fortunately, the article came with a picture Herr Dagobert, because otherwise, I never would have known that was the German name for the Disney character the English-speaking world refers to as Scrooge McDuck.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered a child-marketed character’s renaming. In the German-speaking world, Strawberry Shortcake is known as Emily Erdbeer, a name that, not surprisingly, I am rather partial to. Pippi Longstocking’s original Swedish name is Pippi Långstrump, and her French moniker is Fifi Brindacier. Even her rather rich full name gets translated: English- Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking; Swedish- Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump; and French- Fifilolotte Victuaille Cataplasme Tampon Fille d’Efraïm Brindacier.
Also, you may have noticed how Pippi is the same in both English and Swedish, but in French, Fifi is quite different. Any French-speaker can easily explain that, thanks to a lack of the short vowel sound /I/, the name Pippi in French would have a sound that is a little too close to another word referring to urination.