Characters in other countries

Astrid Lindgren’s imaginary characters have always found their way into the rest of the world. Not all characters have conquered all nations, but regardless of whether we are talking about Mio, Karlsson on the Roof or Pippi Longstocking, one or other of them has always found readers somewhere on this earth.

Pippi Longstocking

The one who has travelled most of all is Pippi Longstocking, in spite of the fact that she is probably also the most controversial of Astrid Lindgren’s creations. She has been translated into sixty-four languages at the last count (2009). Here are some of Pippi Longstocking’s names in different languages.

Երկարագուլպա Պիպին (armenian)
Pippi Långstrump (Swedish)
Pipi Ŝtrumpolonga (Esperanto)
Peppi Pitkätossu (Finish)
Pipi Pikksukk (Estonian)
Fifi Brindacier (French)
Lína Langsokkur (Icelandic)
Pippi Calzelunghe (Italian)
Pipe Phakidomyte (Greek)
בילבי בת-גרב / Bilbee Bat-Gerev (Hebrew)
Pipi Duga Carapa (Croatian)
Changwazi Pipi (Chinese)
Pippi Calzaslargas eller Pippa Mediaslargas (Spanish)
Pippi Thung-Taow Yaow (Thai)
Pippi Langstrumpf (German)

Karlsson on the Roof

Even a rare figure such as Karlsson on the Roof has been flying around the world, and more often than not he has been allowed to keep his Swedish name, Karlsson. But in some countries that has not been possible. These are some examples of what they have called him in other languages:

Karelsen (Afrikaans)
Katto-Kassinen (Finish)
Kalli à thakinu (Icelandic)
Kljukec (Slovenian)
Karkulin (Czech)

Karlsson’s immense popularity in Russia and the former Soviet Union is well known. The book The World’s Best Karlson was translated into Russian as early as 1957 and has since been published in approximately sixty different editions – most of which have been pirate copies without formal permission or agreement. When Karlsson was released as an animated film in the Soviet Union it was a total success. The fact that the Russian Karlsson is a little bit kinder than the one in Astrid Lindgren’s books may have had something to do with it too.

The Brothers Lionheart

The Brothers Lionheart appears to be a universal story, its theme having captivated children and adults the world over. The story of Jonathan’s and Scotty’s struggle against Tengil was so powerful that the book was released only as an underground, so-called samizdat edition in the Communist Czechoslovakia during the seventies.

Next to Pippi Longstocking, The Brothers Lionheart is Astrid Lindgren’s most widely translated book. Here too, the book title has been translated as it is, by many foreign publishers – but not everywhere. Here are some examples of what the book is called in other languages:

Al-akhawan (Arabic)
Finge ridew Duibhei (Bengali)
Bratjata s Lavski sarca (Bulgarian)
Bröderna Lejonhjärta (Swedish)
Vennad Lõvisüdamed (Estonian)
Vejleni, Leijonamieli (Finish)
Les frères Coeur-de-Lion (French)
Adelphoi Leontokardoi (Greek)
Haahim Lev-ari (Hebrew)
I fratelli Cuordileone (Italian)
Haruka-na kuni no kyodai (Japanese)
Shixin Xiongdi (Chinese)
Bratja Lvinoe Serdtse (Russian)
Los hermanos Corazón de Léon (Spanish)
Song Pinong Pu Klar (Thai)
Die Brüder Löwenherz (German)
Oroszlánszivü Testvérek (Hungarian)

The Brothers Lionheart has been translated into at least 46 languages. In some countries it has, of course, only been sold in smaller numbers, but the list testifies to how well received this story about good and evil and about life and death has been all around the world. Regardless of the cultural backgrounds of the readers.

Mardie (Madicken), Ronia and Mio

Mardie is a character whose name has been changed in many countries:

Madicken (Swedish)
Grynet (Danish)
Grétka (Slovakian)
Marikken (Norwegian)
Madika (Polish)
Madikena (Latvian)

But the world has not been able to resist Ronia and Mio – in almost all nations they have been allowed to keep their original names!

Most popular

This is the world-wide top-ten list of Astrid Lindgren’s most popular characters and books:

1. Pippi Longstocking
2. Brothers Lionheart
3. Emil i Lönneberga
4. Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter
5. The Bullerby Children
6. Karlsson-on-the-Roof
7. Mio, my Son
8. Bill Bergson, Master Detective
9. Rasmus and the Tramp / Rasmus and the Vagabond
10. Mardie

Most sold books

Here is a list of the countries where Astrid Lindgren has sold the most books (Sweden excepted):

1. Germany
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Italy
6. Japan
7. Holland
8. France
9. USA
10. Poland

Emil in Lönneberga, ArabicMaster Detective Bergson lives dangerously, complex Chinese (Taiwan)Pippi Longstocking, EnglishPippi Longstocking, FinishPippi Longstocking, JapaneseSeacrow island, ItalianPippi Longstocking, UkrainianSeacrow island, NetherlandsKati in Paris, JapaneseKarlsson on the Roof, Russian