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This Is My Name on Foreign

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The name is Bondov. Jerzy Bondov.note 

"So instead of calling me 'Dragon' in your tongue, you'll call me 'Dragon' in some other tongue?"

A character chooses an alias by translating their name into some foreign language, which may be lampshaded as uninspired. See also You Are the Translated Foreign Word.

If the character's name is changed because the work itself is being translated into a foreign language, it's a Dub Name Change. When a character or family emigrates to a new country and changes their name permanently, it's a Naturalized Name. If a name isn't translated but just pronounced more fancily, that's Pretentious Pronunciation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: Before he became a humanoid hommunculus and took on the name Papillon, French for butterfly, the character had the family name of Chouno. The "chou" is Japanese for butterfly, the "no" is just there to make it a surname. His grandfather had the same surname, and opted to just translate it, naming himself Doctor Butterfly.
  • Io Naruko of Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! is, as a Magical Boy, Battle Lover Sulfur. "Io" means "sulfur". This is a subversion though as someone else (a pink wombat alien, to be precise) chose it for him.
  • In the anime version of Hayate the Combat Butler, Himegami, a Battle Butler in a Wig, Dress, Accent disguise, insists that he is not Himegami, but in fact "Princess God"... which is a literal translation into English for "Himegami". Nobody is fooled.
  • Lycoris Recoil: The Lyco Reco crew help a Hackette, who goes by the alias "Walnut", fake her own death. Afterwards she ends up joining them, with Chisato insisting she tell them her real name, claiming that "Walnut is the name of a dead man". Eventually Walnut begrudgingly gives the name "Kurumi", which Chisato points out is walnut in Japanese. Interestingly, this seems to be an alias derived from an alias, rather than her real name. Kurumi is clearly very young, but the elite hacker known as "Walnut" has been around for atleast 30 years, and has seemingly died multiple times, so it's likely some sort of legacy.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: When the Nakano sisters decide to find jobs to pay for their own expenses and not to rely on their father's money, Itsuki chooses to work as a food critic under the alias "May" (as in the month of). This is a literal English translation of her Japanese name (五月).

    Audio Dramas 
  • Dr. Johann Schmidt from the Big Finish Doctor Who Seventh Doctor audios Colditz and "Dr. Klein's Story" turns out to have been John Smith before he was stranded in Germany. As in "John Smith", the usual name the Doctor gives for himself when he can't get away with not giving a name — he's an Alternate Universe Eighth Doctor.

    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix, whenever any Gaul has to disguise himself as a member of another nationality they just replace the -ix in their name with the appropriate suffix.
    • In the first story a Roman spy named Caligula Minus disguised himself as a Gaul and called himself Caliguliminix.
    • When Asterix and Obelix disguise themselves as Roman legionarii, they use the names "Asterus" and "Obelus"...
    • In Asterix and Son, a Roman named Odoriferus infiltrates the Gaulish village under the name Aromatix.
  • Talia from the Batman comics is the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, whose name means "The Demon's Head". When she took over Lex Luthor's company, she used the alias 'Talia Head' (using the English pronunciation of the surname 'Heed').
  • The Captain America villain the Red Skull often Anglicizes his birth name, Johann Schmidt, into John Smith as a disguise (though he has used dozens of others). The opposite was done in Alistair MacLean's 1967 WWII thriller novel (and the 1968 film version) Where Eagles Dare, where SOE commando Major John Smith talks his way past his Gestapo captors using his cover identity of Major Johann Schmidt of SS Military Intelligence.
  • Commando. A British officer by the name of Taylor is revealed to be a German spy who says his real name is "Schneider" which, he points out, is German for tailor. The man he's revealing this to exclaims: "Schneider, Taylor—of course!" as if that's somehow significant—it's not like he'd heard the spy's German name before.
  • In one of the Last 52 universes in Dark Nights: Death Metal, the chief psychiatrist at a surprisingly cheerful and non-Bedlam House-seeming Arkham Asylum is named Gottlieb, and claims to have no connection to Amadeus Arkham. After the asylum's dark secret has been revealed, he notes that Gottlieb and Amadeus mean the same thing ("beloved of God").
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "Instruments of War", the 12th Doctor enters Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's tent, flashing his psychic paper and announcing himself as Dr. Johann Schmidt, the German version of his Go-to Alias of 'Dr. John Smith'. As it happens, Rommel is one of the people strong-minded enough to resist the psychic paper's effect, but enough weird stuff is going on that a madman waving an empty wallet in his face barely registers.
  • Trickster, enemy of The Flash, was born Giovanni Giuseppe but at some point anglicized it as James Jesse. Note that a "straight" transliteration of his birth name would actually be "John Joseph"- he most likely chose his new name deliberately as an homage to the Old West outlaw Jesse James.
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), Storm Shadow's codename comes from his surname Arashikage (嵐影), which literally means "Storm Shadow" in Japanese. An issue of the comic also has Snake-Eyes adopting the alias of Mr. Hebime (蛇眼).
  • In Marvel 1602, an Alternate Universe taking place in the year, you guessed it, 1602, Captain America (aka Steve Rogers) is actually from a dystopian future of the normal 616 timeline, but was sent back by the evil "President-For-Life" to get rid of him. He is taken in by a local Native American tribe and takes on the name Rojhaz, which isn't actually a word in any Native American language, but it would sound enough like one to the new European settlers to pass as one. (Of course, these are the same people who manage to Hand Wave the fact that he is apparently a blond-haired, blue-eyed Native American, so perhaps he needn't have tried so hard.) The series also includes characters 'local' to 1602 whose names would be this trope if they were aliases, like Carlos Javier (Charles Xavier), Roberto Trefusis (Bobby Drake), Hal McCoy (Hank McCoy) and Scotius Summerisle (Scott Summers). Magneto's name, "Enrique", is probably the biggest offender. (Although it's not his birth name. It was given to him when he was abducted from the ghetto and forcibly converted to Christianity.)
    • Also notable is Peter Parquagh. In Spider-Man 1602, it's revealed that his real name is Peter Parker, but as an apprentice to Queen Elizabeth's agent Nicholas Fury, he was advised to change the spelling so it sounded French because "Parker" is Scottish and Queen Elizabeth had no love of the Scots after dealing with Mary Queen of Scots. Who was also a former queen of France.
      • Not to mention that "Parker" is English outside the world of 1602 and Elizabeth had no problems with the Scots after they deposed Mary.
  • In Nightwing (Rebirth) #51, Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, has set up shop as a psychiatrist in Bludhaven under the name "Dr Gruidae". Gruidae is the scientific name for the crane family.
  • In most continuities of The Punisher, Frank Castle changed his name from "Castiglione" to "Castle" when he signed onto his third tour of Vietnam. This would later inform his choice of aliases, most of which are transliterations of his original surname (meaning "Fortification") being rendered into English as "Fort, Rook, Tower, Stronghold" etc.
  • In The Shadow 1941: Hitler's Astrologer graphic novel, the Nazi officer Col. Friedrich Wolff is revealed to be a renegade Russian army officer named Ivan Fedorovich Volko.
  • Spider-Man: India (2004), a four-issue Alternate Universe mini-series, showed how Spider-Man might look if he was born in modern-day India. Character names include Pavitr Prabhakar (Peter Parker), Nalin and Hari Oberoi (Norman and Harry Osborn) and Meera Jain (Mary-Jane).
  • Tintin:
    • The villain Dr. Müller reappears in the Middle East, where he is known as Mull Pasha.
    • Colonel Sponz becomes Colonel Esponja in the Banana Republic of San Theodoros.
  • Eddie Brock, Venom, once disguised himself as a cop with the nametag "Badger". Brock is the old English word for a badger.

    Fan Works 
  • In Double Agent Vader, Vader's Rebel codename is "Ekkreth", which is "Skywalker" in the Amatakka language; it suits Anakin Skywalker's sense of humor to tell his allies (and any enemies who learn of the rebel agent Ekkreth) exactly who he is in a language none of them understand. In a bit of a twist, Amatakka is a local Tatooine language that Anakin grew up speaking, and "Ekkreth" is his family's actual surname that got translated as "Skywalker" when they had to deal with outsiders who didn't speak the language.
  • In Freeze on the Stones, a Once Upon a Time fic that draws more characters into the Dark Curse and gives them really appropriate curse names, Jafar's name is an example of this trope; his curse name is Conrad Rivulet, with the surname being a literal translation of his name.
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us: Ba'wov and K'Gan -> Bowie and Keegan. A case of picking a similar-sounding name rather than translating it (the characters are Klingons).

    Film — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Master Oogway's name is an Anglicisation of "Ugui", which is Mandarin Chinese for "Tortoise".
    • The Furious Five are all named after the animal they are, which is also the fighting style they use. Shifu means "Teacher", Tai-Lung is "Great Dragon" (great as in huge and terrifying), and Po means "Precious" or "Favourite" (read: chosen).
  • In Robots, Fender's name used to be "Bumper" in another city, but had to change it to his current name in Robot City—suggesting a translation kerfuffle within Robot City.
  • The main character of Rock-A-Doodle is named Chanticleer - which is the name of a rooster in the Reynard the Fox tales, and has become a French byword for "rooster". Evidently he's supposed to be the same one, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing that from watching the movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Curse of the Undead, Spanish nobleman and vampire Drago Robles goes by the alias of Drake Robey when he returns to his family's old estates, which are now in the US.
  • As in the quote above, Bowen in Dragonheart gives the dragon the name "Draco" - Dragon in Latin. Interesting in that Draco himself objects rather loudly to being called "dragon", but has no problem with the name "Draco", even feeling honoured by the name, because it is the name of the constellation of stars revered by dragons as their own heaven.
  • In the 1980 version of Fame, Raul Garcia takes on the name Ralph Garci while studying at P.A.
  • When General Turgidson remarks on the strange name of Doctor Strangelove, it's explained that it was translated from the German "Merkwürdigliebe". A bit of a Bilingual Bonus, since speakers of German would know the name sounds even more unusual in German than its translated counterpart does in English.
  • In The Living Daylights, the false Soviet passport Koskov and Whitaker to smuggle James Bond out of Tangier bears the name "Jerzy Bondov".
  • Murder by Proxy: Casey's birth name was Casimir Morokowski. He changed it to the more 'American' sounding 'Casey Morrow'.
  • In Run for the Sun, Nazi Colonel Von Andre is masquerading as Dutch archaeologist Dr. Van Anders.

  • In the wake of the Bulgarian national revival in the 19th century, many people did the inverse (This Is My Name On Native"), choosing the Slavic versions of popular Greek names (Greek culture had previously been seen as superior and Hellenisation was a trend for a while). Hence the joke "we named him Svetlyo, after his grandpa Lambi". Svetlyo is a name coming from the Slavic root "svet-" (light) and Lambi (as well as the word "lamp") comes from Greek "lampo", meaning the same.

  • "The Deaf Man" is a recurring villain in the 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain, and he always uses aliases that are some play on 'deaf' in a foreign language. These have included Mort Orrechio (Italian for "dead ear"), L. Sordo ('el sordo') and Herr Taubmann. And he likes to call Detective Steve Carella and say something like "You'll have to speak up. I'm a little hard of hearing." Even though he's worn a hearing aid in public, it's anyone's guess whether he really has a hearing problem.
  • In the book The Bean Trees, Esteban and Esperanza introduce themselves as "Steven" and "Hope" to someone who might be racist towards latinos.
  • In the Ben Snow short story "The Trail of the Golden Cross" by Edward D. Hoch, the Mexican Bandito Zanja turns out to really be a white man named Cole Fosse; Zanja and Fosse being the Spanish and French, respectively, for 'ditch'.
  • In the Bernie Rhodenbarr novel The Burglar in the Library, the victims suspect the murderer Daken Littlefield of being their accomplice Pettisham (an Anglicization of the French name Petitchamp) using this sort of alias. They're wrong.
  • In Rafael Sabatini's novel Captain Blood: His Odyssey (though not in the film based on it), the title character Peter Blood uses the aliases Don Pedro Sangre and Le Sang when dealing with the Spanish and French respectively.
  • Ripped from the Headlines Roman à Clef example: when Edgar Allan Poe relocated the murder of Mary Rogers from New York to Paris so C. Auguste Dupin could investigate it, he renamed her Marie Rogêt.
  • Diogenes Club series by Kim Newman:
    • "The Gypsies in the Wood": The illustrations David Harvill does for the Faerie Aerie children's books are credited to "B. Loved". "Beloved" is the English translation of "David".
    • "Moon Moon Moon": The high priestess of a moon-worshiping cult calls herself Luna Selene Moon.
    "That’s like being named Moon Moon Moon," put in Richard.
    "Which, as Richard has helpfully pointed out, is gilding the lily. She was born Bridget Gail Tully. It could have been worse. She could have called herself 'June Bassoon Moon'."
    "Or Luna Ticwitch?" Richard ventured.
    • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, trainee costumed crime-fighter Amy has a dream featuring a group of mysterious lordly figures who represent the crime-fighters and other Differently Powered Individuals of earlier generations, with their names warped in various ways. Series recurring character Dr Shade is represented as "Doktor Schatten"; another series recurring character, Geneviève Dieudonne, gets the inverse treatment, being represented as "Jennifer God".
  • Discworld:
    • Lily Weatherwax in Witches Abroad went by the name of Lillith Tempscire (a literal translation of weatherwax in French).
    • In Maskerade, Henry Slugg goes by the name Enrico Basilica.
    • In The Colour of Magic, an alternate-universe version of Twoflower was named "Zweiblumen". Rincewind was changed to "Rjinswan", but that apparently isn't an actual translation of anything. There is, however, Rincewind's possible Ephebian ancestor Lavaeolus, which is pseudo-Latin for... 'rincer' of wind.
      • This gets flipped in the German version, where Twoflower's name is Zweiblum. The alternate-universe Zweiblum is named Twoflower.
      • "Rijn" (not Rjin) is Dutch for Rhine, and "swan" means, well, swan. This name having a "real" meaning is most likely coincidence.
    • The Truth has a subtle one which achieves a Shout-Out. The Dwarf who sets up a printing press business in the city is called Goodmountain. In his native Überwald it would have been Gutenberg.
    • Many dwarfs have Luke Nounverber names in English/Morporkian. It's confirmed that these names are translated from Dwarfish in Feet of Clay; apparently Cheery Littlebottom's surname is a translation of the Dwarfish "Sh'rt'azs".
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • In Timewyrm: Exodus, the Doctor translates his occasional makeshift identity of "Dr John Smith" into German, presenting himself as "Dr Johann Schmidt". Hitler's advisor Dr Kriegslieter, meanwhile, turns out to be the War Chief.
    • The Master continues to use translations of "Master" as aliases, including "Inspector LeMaitre" (Last of the Gaderene) and "Duke Dominus" (the short story "The Duke of Dominoes"). In The Quantum Archangel, the Master poses as a Serbian businessman called "Gospodar", prompting the Sixth Doctor to wonder if he's "running out of languages".
  • In the Dracula novel, the title character poses as a Count de Ville (Dracula = "son of the Dragon/Devil", de Ville = Devil).
  • Elantris: When Raoden becomes an Elantrian, he starts introducing himself as "Spirit". His real name is derived from the aon (kind of like a Chinese character, only magical) Rao, which means spirit.
  • The title character of Ella Enchanted once pretends to be Ayorthaian to disguise herself. "Elle" is apparently "Ella" in Ayorthaian, a language where words seem to all begin with a vowel and end with the same vowel.
  • The surname of Russian sleuth Erast Fandorin is one of these. He is German Russian by ancestry, and the family name was originally Van Dorn.
  • Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan: In Debt of Honor, John Clark attempts to pass himself off as a Russian using the name "Ivan Klerk". When it's pointed out to him that "Klerk" is an extremely uncommon name in Russia, he rationalizes that his grandfather was an Englishman who emigrated to Russia in the '20s and Russified his name.
  • In the James Bond novel Casino Royale, it's mentioned that Le Chiffre's aliases are the word "cypher" in various languages.
  • In "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower", one of the stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Mr. Simonelli's name, Giorgio Alessandro Simonelli, is entirely based on this trope. Simonelli's mother was seduced or raped by one of the Fair Folk, and because of the Fairy's unusual complexion and facial features, she believed that he was a foreigner, likely an Italian. Thus, when her father raised the child following her Death by Childbirth, he named him by taking his own name, George Alexander Simon, and translating each part into Italian equivalents.
  • The title character of Marjorie Morningstar was born Morgenstern, one of those immigrants who translated her name.
  • In Monster Hunter Alpha, Russian werewolf Nikolai Petrov introduces himself as Nicholas Peterson when trying to impersonate an American local. His old rival, Earl Harbinger, is already looking for Nikolai and thus sees through it as soon as he finds out.
  • In The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel), the characters deduce a connection between the horse Christmas Bells and Mrs. Carillon's missing husband Noel:
    "You see, the French word for Christmas is 'Noël,' and 'Carillon' means 'bells.'"
    "You mean Christmas Bells means Noel Carillon?" Mrs. Carillon said. "No wonder I like that horse."
  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of the Ball of Twine", Nick uses the alias Mr Velluta while posing as a journalist. Velluta is Italian for Velvet.
  • In the Phryne Fisher novel Away With The Fairies, John Bell turns out to be an Italian named Giovanni Campana.
  • The Prespa Tetralogy The Iron Candlestick: An Inverted Trope with Sultana, a Bulgarian who is named after the ruler of the Ottoman empire (the Sultan) and her granddaughter Tzareva, named after her but referring to the ruler (Tzar) of the Bulgarian empire of old.
  • While in Gallica (that world's version of France), Halt from Ranger's Apprentice introduces himself as "Arretay" - a phonetic pronunciation of arretez, the French word for "stop".
  • In Salvage For The Saint, Charles Tatenor's real name is revealed to be Schwarzkopf. As literally translating his surname into English would have sounded ridiculous ('blackhead'), he went for something that sounded like blackhead in French (tête noire).
  • In Stravaganza, the young protagonists from modern-day Britain get Italian names when they begin to travel to the land of Talia. A particular winner of this linguistic lottery is Sky Meadows, now dubbed "Celestino Pascoli."
  • The main character of VALIS is named "Horselover Fat", which is a translation of "Philip Dick" (given name from Greek and surname from German). It also features a character named Philip Dick who may or may not be an Author Avatar. It's complicated.
  • In War and Peace, Pierre Bezukhov, as part of calculating the Number of the Beast, uses the name l'Russe Besuhof, which is just "th'Russian Bezukhov". Please note, even "Pierre Bezukhov" is an example of this trope - his Russian first name is Pyotr. At the time Tolstoy was writing most business in the Russian court was conducted in French as a result of their national Western European fandom, so the first names of his higher-class characters get translated back and forth a lot, depending upon who's speaking.
  • Another Real Life example: The many foreign translations of Warrior Cats. Since most of the characters names are collections of nouns and verbs, they all have to be translated for foreign audiences to understand their significance (the exception being the Japanese translation, which uses the original English names, leading to a lot of Gratuitous English).
  • Old Shatterhand, the fictional avatar of writer Karl May, is always called "Charlie" (usually spelled phonetically: Scharlih) by his good friend, the Apache chief Winnetou. The Arabian version in the Orient Cycle goes by name "Kara ben Nemsi", "Karl the son of Germans".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Meta example in the Galton and Simpson sitcom Casanova 73 - the would-be Casanova is named Newhouse.
  • Not exactly an alias, but on The Colbert Report, Stephen is occasionally visited by his Hispanic counterpart, Esteban Colberto.
  • CSI: Miami: In "Dispo Day", ambitious reporter Enrique Ramirez's real name is Erik Riden: he changed to appeal to the Hispanic audience in Miami.
  • Kaamelott:
    • King Arthur is referred to as Arturus during his youth in the Roman legion; warlords from the crumbling Roman Empire still call him this after his return to Britain.
    • At one point, Arthur offers his old friend Caius a lordship in Britain if he leaves the legion, explaining his name would become Kay, just like his hornblower. Caius is not thrilled to be associated with a mere hornblower.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor himself has used the names "Doctor von Wer" ("The Highlanders") and "the Great Wizard Quiquaequod" ("The Dæmons"), although this is clearly a coincidence since his name isn't "Who".
      • "Quiquaequod" was a name given to him by another character, which definitely makes that one a coincidence (it's the masculine, feminine, and neuter forms of the word 'who' in Latin combined).
      • More likely "von Wer" is intentional on the Doctor's part, given he uses 'WHO' on his car's registration plates. Why he does it is anyone's guess.
      • Until he gives us this gem to question if that really is his name...
      Person: Doctor who?
      The Doctor: That's what I said.
    • The Master used "Reverend Magister" in "The Dæmons" and "Professor Thascalos" in "The Time Monster". His later incarnations preferred Significant Anagrams or Paper Thin Disguises like Colonel Masters.
    • Played for a dramatic reveal in "A Good Man Goes to War", when it turns out that River Song's name is actually the closest approximation, in the language of the Forest People, of Melody Pond. See, it's a pretty simple language, so obviously "Melody" becomes "Song", and they don't quite have a word that means "Pond" because "The only water in the forest is the river..."
      • Additionally, the reason the name is reversed is because it was stitched on a piece of cloth with the first and last names on different sides. So it's pretty easy to mess up which one is which. Also, it ends up being irrelevant, as the first time she hears the name "River Song" is when the Doctor mentions it.
  • Father Brown: In "The Island of Dreams", Father Brown realises that Sandy Beauchamp's surname is the French for 'Fairfield': the surname of the boy who had drowned at the holiday camp 15 years earlier.
  • Horrible Histories has a sketch where Alexander the Great is calling all of his cities Alexandria, to the great annoyance of Hephaestion, when suddenly:
    Alexander: I think I'll call this one Iskanderun.
    Hephaestion: Why Iskanderun?
    Alexander: It's Turkish.
    Hephaestion: Is it Turkish for Alexandria?
    Alexander: Yes.
  • Not a person's name, but Robin from How I Met Your Mother has read the news for both Metro News One to Tokyo Ichi Action News.
    • There's also Barney's Swedish cousin, Bjorney. Like 83% of everything about Barney, the cousin is fictional.
  • An unusual involuntary example on Star Trek: Voyager: when the crew is brainwashed to fight in the Hirogen's World War II holodeck simulation (just go with it), Seven of Nine's name in the simulation is "Mademoiselle de Neuf."

  • Main character Jang Gun of the Manhwa Yureka selects "General," the rough English translation of "Janggun", as the name for an AI based on himself—he ends up using the moniker instead when the AI isn't as cooperative as he expected.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Terry and the Pirates, the thug Weazel goes by the name Belette (French for 'weasel') while working for Baron de Plexus.

  • In The Lives of Harry Lime, one episode has Harry sent after a con woman whose aliases all mean Brown in various languages (Braun, Brunelle, etc.).
  • The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes once featured the character of an opera singer named Liza Bordelli. It turned out she was actually American, but used an Italian version of her name on stage... because her real name was Lizzy Borden.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's common for Dungeons & Dragons characters to have last names with an Adjective-Noun structure (Goldmoon, Brightaxe, etc.), although they tend to be in Common (English) regardless of what language the character speaks natively. Apparently D&D characters translate their names into whatever language they're speaking at the moment.
  • When Peter Adolph tried to trademark the Association Football tabletop game he'd invented, he was told he couldn't trademark the name The Hobby, as it was too generic. Knowing "hobby" was also the common name for a species of falcon, he took the bird's Latin name, falco subbuteo, and Subbuteo was born.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Magic Origins set retcons Gideon Jura as originally being from Theros, with the birth name "Kytheon Iora". When his first planeswalk lands him in Bant, a knight hears his name "Kytheon" as "Gideon", implying "Gideon Jura" is a case of this trope that ended up sticking.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has the Black Hand, an elite subsect of the Sabbat faction of vampires. There's also the Tal'mahe'Ra, also known as Manus Nigrum (Arabic and Latinnote  for "Black Hand" respectively), an Ancient Conspiracy hidden throughout vampire society as a whole, which claims to have created the Black Hand of the Sabbat.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Subverted in one case, where a daemon was using the True Name of a Space Wolf squad against them. However, as it was pulling their names from the mind of someone accompanying them, it couldn't control one (Bjorn, later Bjorn the Fell-Handed) as it continually called him "Bear" instead.
    • Kharn the Betrayer's name is close to the Arabic word for traitor (khayin), although it as probably chosen for its similarity with carnage and Khorne.

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock, Andrew Ryan's real name is actually Andrei Ryanovski. Though only his first name can be considered a proper translation, his last name being more of a anglicization.
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Alucard shows up under the pseudonym "Genya Arikado". The last name is just altering his name to fit Japanese pronunciation.
  • Gabriel Knight learns that he is descended from the German family Ritter; "ritter" translating in English as "knight".
  • One of the creators of Gate Of Thunder and Lords Of Thunder is credited by the pseudonym "Red Kaminarimon." "Kaminarimon" is Japanese for "thunder gate."
  • In the Game & Watch version of Ice Climber, the manual gives the Condor's name as "Hentori", which is just Japanese for "weird bird". This is not present in the NES version.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy, in a Nazi uniform, identifies himself as "Captain Heinrich". This is before the audience learns that his actual given name is 'Henry'.
  • In the Metal Gear series, the real name of Gray Fox is Frank Jaeger (or Yeager), but he also uses the alias of Frank Hunter, which is what the name Jaeger means in German. His adoptive sister goes by the convenient alias of Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid.
  • Splatoon 2: Pearl's given game in Japanese is Hime. Her stage name in most regions is "MC Princess", which pretty much means the same thing in English.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: Frederica Bernkastel is an immortal who has suspicious connections to Rika Furude (Japanese order: Furude Rika). The Bernkastel that appears in Umineko: When They Cry is pretty much an Enemy Without composed of the pain of all the Rikas during their respective loops.

    Web Comics 
  • In General Protection Fault, Dr. Not takes on a variety of pseudonyms for her name, some of which are based on foreign words for "Not", such as "Dr. Alexis Nicht" when in Paris.
  • Unsounded: Duane Adelier doesn't think to use an alias while laying low in the enemy nation of Cresce, so Sette introduces him as the more local-sounding Dune Adel. Thanks to his perceptive glamour, if people expect him to be Crescian, they see him as one.
    Sette: Naw, ya said it wrong! Dune. Dune Adel. You'll like him! Crescian as the Queen's larboard tit.

    Web Original 
  • On the Dream SMP, upon initiation into the now-dissolved faction of El Rapids, characters were often called by their names translated into Spanish to signify their membership in the faction. Those with names that don't directly translate across (mainly because of the use of Screen Names) usually have the title "Señor" tacked in front of their names.note  Mexican Dream, a mysterious entity associated with the faction, also had a tendency to address characters with their names in Spanish, even if they weren't part of El Rapids.
  • Empires SMP Season 2: This trope is mainly used in regard to Sausage's unnamed kingdom of origin and Sanctuary, its refugee-built successor, as both regions' architectural style and culture are based on Latin America.
    • Most of the residents of Sanctuary have Spanish names, and Sausage sometimes switches between their names in Spanish and English. Sausage himself does so indirectly by naming his Elytra-wings "El Chorizo Volador", i.e. "The Flying Chorizo".note 
    • The previously-unnamed sunflower deity venerated in Sausage's old kingdom is honoured as "Santa Perla" in Sanctuary. However, that in itself is a Spanish translation; the original historical figure who became Santa Perla was the Farmer Queen PearlescentMoon of Gilded Helianthia (from Season 1 of the series), who spoke English/Common and not Spanish. Sausage uses both the original English and translated Spanish names interchangably for the most part.
  • Pirates SMP: Kuervo settles for an Anglicized, translated version of his name when interacting with "English-speaking folk", though many on the server still prefer to call him by his original Spanish name.
    Kuervo: If you must blink, do so now, for you are about to join the adventures of the Fearless, the Great, the Handsome, the Admired, the Tempting, the Daring, the Heroic, the Undaunted, Kuervo. And… for the English speaking folk, 'Krow' will do. That's 'Krow' with a 'K'. Gracias.

    Western Animation 
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Tony Stark mentions his family's last name was Starkovic before they came to the United States, though it was 'like seven generations ago'. Since his mother's name is Maria Carbonelli and according to Howard wanted to name him Antonio, Tony's first name may itself be a case of Americanizing a foreign name.
    • There's also Temugin Khan, who, having moved countries three times, was Temugin in Mongolia, Tian Jin in China, and Gene in the United States, although Depending on the Writer Temugin may still be his legal first name in the United States, rendering Gene a localization of sorts.
  • At one point in Steven Universe, Steven and the Gems need to infiltrate a Gem facility. Steven suggests disguises, calling himself "Esteban Universidad", despite his name not mattering to any of the gems running it. Amusingly, his translation is wrong, as it's actually equivalent to "Steven University". ("Universe" in Spanish would be universo.)

    Real Life 
  • When engineer August Horch was kicked out of the auto manufacturing firm he founded, losing trademark rights to his name, he started a new company called Audi (Horch! and Audi! mean "Listen up!" in German and Latin, respectively).
  • The creator of Fez, Philippe Poisson, is French-Canadian. He goes by the Pen Name Phil Fish, a literal English translation.
  • Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik went on English-speaking forum by the name Andrew Berwick.
  • Casanova went by the name Newhouse in England, a literal translation of Casa Nova.
  • Many immigrants translate their name into the language of their new country—Schmidt becomes Smith, Weiss becomes White. And in 19th-century New York, the captain of industry August Belmont used to be Schönberg (German into French).
    • Piano manufacturer Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg ("stone-way" or "paved road") went halfway, changing his name to Henry Engelhard Steinway.
    • This is also why there are so many more Millers in the U.S. than in Britain — English millers had a reputation for cheating their customers, so "Miller" was an unpopular surname. American Millers were mostly originally Müller, Møller etc.
    • In the 19th and 20th century, many European Jews changed their last name to make it sound less stereotypically Jewish to escape persecution or discrimination. For instance, German actor Leopold Dessauer became Ludwig Dessoir (Leopold is, however, a German name, and surnames combining the name of a town with the suffix "-er" are not exclusive to Jewish families, although they were frequently perceived as "Jewish"). Such a change could be accompanied or occasioned by a religious conversion, as e. g. in the case of writer Isaac Elias Itzig, who became Julius Eduard Hitzig when he was baptised in 1799; "Itzig" is an Ashkenazy variant of "Isaac" (which in the 19th century was used as a pejorative German slang word for "Jew"), while "hitzig" is German for "hot-blooded" or "hot-headed".
      • In an inversion of the above, in a radio story, a man in New York City was the target of anti-Muslim crime. He was an immigrant from the Middle East who'd changed his name to fit in better. In NYC, that means his name was something along the lines of Stanley H. Rosenberg.
    • Most of the Martians (Hungarian scientists of Jewish descent born at the beginning of the 20th century), upon immigating to an Anglophone country, started not only putting their given names first, but also adopted more English-sounding variants thereof. This includes Neumann János (John von Neumann), Erdős Pál (Paul), Teller Ede (Edward), Pólya György (George), Wigner Jenő (Eugene). This continued with more contemporary famous Hungarians: of the Pólgar sisters, Zsuzsanna and Zsófia adapted their names to Susan and Sophia; only Judit bucked the trend.
  • Common in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, people of international fame (like physicians or astronomers) Latinized their names or adapted them to host country's language when travelling.
    • The famous Flemish Renaissance anatomist Andreas Witinck went by the name of Andreas Vesal (after the town Wesel where his family was from) which was Latinized into Andreas Vesalius.
    • The 11th-century Persian physician, philosopher, astronomer and alchemist Abū Alī al-Husayn ibn Abdullāh ibn Sīnā became known in Europe as Avicenna.
    • The Dutch priest and Protestant martyr Jan de Bakker is known to history as Johannes Pistorius.
    • The Swedish Carl von Linné, father of modern taxonomy, still known to many as Carolus Linnaeus.
    • Philipp Melanchthon was born as Philipp Schwartzerd. His last name means black earth.
    • Jehan Cauvin, better known by the Latinized form Johannes Calvinus or translations thereof into other languages, such as John Calvin in English or Jean Calvin in French.
    • Michel de Nostredame did not try very hard when he called himself Nostradamus.
    • This phenomenon was not just restricted to scholars and internationally famous persons, it became quite common to translate family names into Latin or Greek; such names are sometimes called "humanists' names". Some examples from German:
    • Latin to German:
      • Agricola = Bauer ("farmer, peasant")
      • Faber, Fabricius = Schmidt, Schmid etc. ("smith")
      • Miles = Ridder (Low German for "knight")
      • Sartorius = Schneider, Schröder ("tailor")
      • Sutor = Schuhmacher ("shoemaker")
      • Textor = Weber ("weaver")
    • Greek to German:
      • Chrysander = Goldmann or Goldschmied
      • Neander = Neumann ("new man")
      • Xylander = Holzmann ("wood-man")
    • In the 19th century there also was a bit of an English fashion in Germany, leading to a spate of children being given English first names, but also to a Hamburg merchant family called Oswald to change the spelling to O'Swald.
      • In a reversal, German poet Heinrich Heine was originally named Harry Heine (after an English friend of his father's) but changed from the English to the German form of the name when he converted to Protestantism.
    • A fictional example of Latinization is Phineas Nigellus in Harry Potter. Niger is Latin for "black". Although in-universe that's not so much Latinisation as Anglicisation, as Phineas Nigellus is an ancestor of the Black family.
  • French food conglomerate Danone operates in the US as Dannon, a presumably more English-sounding name. The Danone name change was for phonetic reasons. If an American were to read Danone aloud they'd say Dan-On-Ee or Dan-One or some variation. In French, Danone sounds (almost) exactly like the American pronunciation of Dannon. Hence they maintained the phonetics of their original name by altering the spelling to fit the phonetics of another language, emphasizing the sound of the brand name over its written form. It makes sense, as you can enter a store and ask for Danone/Dannon and be understood, accent or no accent. In theory. Similarly, the Japanese Kashio is Casio in the US. And in fiction, Gojira became Godzilla.
    • In an obscure and further example of the trope, Danone was originally founded by Isaac Carasso in Barcelona (Spain) in 1919 and was named after his son Daniel, who used the nickname "Danon" (which sounds in Spanish the same as "Danone" sounds in French and "Dannon" in US English). Even before moving to France, the brand used the form Danone because it looked classier.
    • Similarly, the food chain Chef Boyardee is owned by the Boiardi family. They changed the spelling to keep the pronunciation clear.
    • The Bic brand of ballpoint pen was developed by a Frenchman whose last name was Bich (the problems this would cause when marketed in the Anglosphere should be obvious, Bich). Hence, the brand name was changed so that the pronunciation would stay the same.
    • In an interesting case, the company did not change the name for the German market. Even advertisment has succumbed to the fact that all germans pronounce the company as Dan-On-Ee and most germans that go out of country react confused when seeing a brand they are familiar with, just to hear that person "mess up" the pronounciation.
  • The cleaning product brand previously known as Jif changed its name to Cif, the advertising campaign in Britain at least playfully suggesting because its name was not 'on foreign' enough, with accompanying clips of various Continental Europeans showing themselves as being unable to pronounce the old name. "hif?"
  • Ricky Martin's real name is Enrique Martí­n Morales
  • Charles Lutwidge Dodgson took a (vague) Latin version of his given names (Carolus Ludovicus) as a pen name, reversed it, and there we have it — Lewis Carroll.
  • On the Argentine comedy group Les Luthiers, all the illegitimate children of composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero (that sometimes went along the name Wolfgang Amadeus Mastropiero or Peter Ilich Mastropiero) with the contessa Shortshot were translations of Shortshot in different languages: Patrick McKleinschuss, Giovanni Colpocorto, Rafael Brevetiro, Mario Abraham Kortzclap, Anatole Tirecourt, Johnny Littlebang.
  • According to urban legend, in mid-20th century Soviet Union, Physics books by Albert Einstein were signed as (translated to English) Albert Singlestone due to his obviously Jewish last name. While the story is almost certainly falsenote , it jokingly reflects the awkward attempts of the Soviet Union to reconcile widespread antisemitism with an internationalist stance.
  • Before the 20th century, it was the norm to translate the given names of rulers into different languages, although these days it only seems to be the case with the popes and in multilingual countries. The late pope Josef Ratzinger for instance is called Benedictus in Latin, Benedict in English, Benoît in French, Benedikt in German, Benedetto in Italian and Benedicto in Spanish. A former King of the Belgians was called Baudouin in French and Boudewijn in Flemish.
    • This practice also used to extend to the first names of some famous writers and composers, for instance Bedrich Smetana was first known to Germans as "Friedrich Smetana" and Jules Verne as "Julius Verne".
  • It still happens with some Russian names, for instance Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's first name is often spelled Alexander, and Sergei Prokofiev is still often called Serge Prokofiev in French, not Serguei.
    • Josef Stalin. His Russian name is Iosif (the Russian equivalent of Joseph). His original Georgian name is Ioseb before he adopted the now well-known name. His real name is actually Ioseb Besarionis je J̌uḡašvili, which was rendered in Russian as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. He took the nom de guerre Koba (after a Georgian folk hero) around the turn of the century and became Stalin in 1912, which sounds Russian and is generally taken to mean "man of steel"note .
  • The 16th-century composer Roland de Lassus came from Mons in the Netherlands (now Belgium) but since his time in Italy was usually known by the Italian form of his name, Orlando di Lasso.
  • Georg Friedrich Händel became George Frederic Handel after he moved to London.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was christened (in Latin) Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, where it is thought that the Greek "Theophilus" stands for the German name "Gottlieb". However, he preferred the French translation and called himself Wolfgang Amadé, which was later usually rendered in the Latinized form.
  • The Austrian noble family of Neipperg changed its name to Montenuovo by translation into Italian.
  • Many High School foreign language classes have the students take a name common in the language being studied (assuming the name isn't already). Often the student picks that language's version of their own name, if one exists.
    • Chinese students studying abroad usually pick an English name, which, if it is a direct translation of their own name, has a high chance of being antiquated. In more modern times, they tend to pick names that resemble the sound of their own name, those of famous people they are fans of, or from a list.
  • Chuck Norris' real name is Carlos Norris. Was nicknamed "Chuck" by a fellow airman in Korea.
  • Transformers comic artist Pat Lee translated his name into Japanese katakana. However, rather than properly translate it, he used a letter replacement font without knowing how katakana works, resulting in 'Michiyamenotehi Funana'. After the fandom dug up an old website of his featuring the katakana, it became a mocking nickname.
  • During World War I, the English members of the noble family of Battenberg - a side-branch of the ruling house of the Grand Duchy of Hessen in Germany - anglicized their family name to Mountbatten.
    • Funnily enough, Battenberg cake is still called Battenberg cake in Britain.
  • Celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentiis named her daughter Jade, which is the English translation of her own first name.
  • In Japan you sometimes get a similar effect from alternatively reading a kanji in its Japanese or Chinese pronunciation. Thus the Minamoto clan was also known as the Genji and their mortal enemies the Taira clan as the Heike or Heishi.
  • In 1492, who sailed the ocean blue to reach The Americas? He definitely didn't do so under the name Christopher Columbus; that's the version later given him by the English (also the Germans and others), but was it Cristoforo Colombo (Italian, for he was born in Genova) or Cristóbal Colón (Spanish, for he was employed by the king and queen of Spain)? Or maybe he preferred the neutral Latin version, Christophorus Columbus?
  • The stage name of the singer Gotye (real name Wouter "Wally" De Backer) is a roundabout example of this. Gotye is a phonetic spelling of the French name Gautier, of which Wouter is the Dutch form (and Walter the English form). Since he was born in Belgium, it's likely he was actually called that before his family moved to Australia.
  • Russian author Mikhail Lermontov was the descendant of a Scot named Learmont.
  • Doing this is very easy for names natively set in Chinese characters, because there are 4 languages that use (or have used) Chinese characters: Chinese (as Hanzi, 汉字), Korean (as Hanja, 한자), Japanese (as Kanji, 漢字) and Vietnamese (as chữ Hán, 𡨸漢). Thus you get things like the most famous discovery of the Korean botanist 禹長春 (pronounced "Woo Jang-choon" in Korean) being known as the "Triangle of U" because he developed it while working in Japan and going by the name "U Nagaharu".
    • Just within Chinese itself there is a lot of this due to all the different pronunciations of the Hanzi in different dialects/languages. To help prevent confusion, police records store suspects' names orthographically rather than phonetically, frequently using a telegraphing code that would have otherwise gone obsolete decades ago.
  • The grocery store Trader Joe's sells ethnic food under alternate names containing appropriate foreign translations of "Joe" (i.e. Trader Jose's, Trader Giotto's, Trader Jacques', etc.), though there are exceptions like "Trader Ming's" as Chinese does not sound like "Joe" at all. (Giottonote  is not a translation of "Joe" (short for Joseph) into Italian, that would be e. g. Beppe (short for Giuseppe), while Jacques is the French form of James or Jacob).
  • The Corsican Buonaparte family changed its Italian name to French after Corsica became part of France and the local independence movement was defeated. Father Carlo Buonaparte became Charles Bonaparte, and his sons Giuseppe, Napoleone, Luciano, Luigi, and Girolamo became Joseph, Napoléon, Lucien, Louis, and Jérôme. Joseph, Louis, and Jérôme were later made kings of Spain, Holland, and Westphalia by their brother Napoléon, and were also known to their new subjects as José, Lodewijk, and Hieronymus, respectively.
  • Jacob Schwartzdorf, who conducted the original productions of Oklahoma! and many other Broadway musicals, Americanized his name by translating it to Jay Blackton.
  • Hollywood film director Lewis Milestone (of All Quiet on the Western Front fame) Americanized his name from Lieb Milstein.
  • We don't know what the original surname of Nicolaus Copernicus was, since Copernicus is clearly a Latinized version of what was originally in Polish or German (and possibly related to the once-large copper industry in his ancestral region of Silesia, although some contend that it may have been related to the wild dill plant, or koper in Polish, common in Silesia.). This was a contributing factor to the still recurring dispute as to his "correct" nationality.
  • The co-inventor of the automotive torpedo was either named Giovanni Luppis or Ivan Vukic, depending on whom you talk to. He was descended from a mercantile family from Italy that settled in Croatia serving in the Austro-Hungarian navy. Both versions of his name roughly mean "John Wolfson."
  • Even as late as the 1970s, Swiss confectionery and foodstuffs firm Nestlé accepted that monoglot Brits whose language has no accented letters would not know how to pronounce "Nestlé" as it should be in French. So even in TV adverts, the firm's name was pronounced as if it were the English word "nestle"note , with a silent "t" and no accented "é" on the end. Old TV adverts preserve this Anglicised pronunciation, possibly accepting that the Brits would not recognise a poncy foreign affectation like a French acute-accented "e" and would always recognise the chocolate as being called "Nestle". It's only comparatively recently that TV advertising began using the correct ''nest-ley" pronunciation. Weirdly, the United States (which is reputedly even worse with foreign languages than Britain) never got this; their famous 1950s commercials for Quik chocolate milk powder featuring ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson (sample) all use an approximation of the correct pronunciation (the "t" gets a bit lost and the final "e" sound is a bit Americanized, but it is pronounced).
    • This is an example twice over. German-born Heinrich Nestle (no accent—the last "e" is not silent, but pronounced differently in German from French.) became Henri Nestlé (with accent) when he came to the French-speaking Swiss city of Lausanne to seek his fortune (He founded the company bearing the French version of his name in nearby Vevey where it is still headquartered.).
  • Happens sometimes when conquering and renaming cities. A prime example is Bilhorod Dnistrovskiy in Ukraine, which throughout the centuries has borne names in various languages meaning "white castle" or "white city": Asprokastron (Greek), Album Castrum (Latin), Akkerman (Turkish), Byalgrad (Bulgarian), Byelgorod (Russian), Cetatea Alba (Romanian), Bilhorod (Ukrainian).
  • Defied by baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Initially, American sportswriters and baseball cards called him "Bob" or "Bobby" Clemente, but Clemente, who was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, insisted they call him Roberto.
  • Willem Dafoe's real name is "William Dafoe" but he picked the Dutch translation of his first name as a nickname.
  • Gal Gadot's parents Hebraized their surname from "Greenstein" (the family originated in Central Europe) to the more Israeli-sounding "Gadot".
  • Sam Lake, the creative director of Remedy Entertainment is actually named "Sami Järvi". Järvi is the Finnish word for Lake.