Cross-linguistic comparison of screen translations of names in hayao miyazaki’s animated films

Lindsey N. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the screen translation, into English and Chinese, of some of the names in Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. In particular, in drawing onomastic examples from Miyazaki’s six animated fantasies, this study provides insights into the naming practices and strategies adopted by the screen translators into languages of distinct linguistic families. The analysis of names sorted into four categories yields the following results: (a) each screen translator used different approaches to the translation of names, and (b) shared similarities with the source language and culture play a crucial role in the translation task. In brief, the first category concerns the films’ protagonists, for which the strategy of diminution is observed in Chinese but not in English translation. The second concerns the names of supporting human characters. Here, screen translators adopt several strategies, including direct phonetic transfer and incorporation of courtesy titles. The third comprises names of anthropomorphic and non-human creatures, and translated samples are shown more likely to be denotative and descriptive. Finally, there is no loss in translation with respect to the symbolic implication of location names. In general, screen translators utilized various linguistic strategies to produce onomastic substitutes that are acceptable to the local audience. Concurrently, they strived not to deviate too much from the original character names, in form and meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalVoprosy Onomastiki
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Comparative naming
  • Diminutive
  • Film onomastics
  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Japanese animation
  • Personal names
  • Screen translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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