A Functional Approach to Translating Names in Michael Ende’s Children’s Books


  • Nikolina Zobenica University of Novi Sad, Serbia


Michael Ende (1929–1994) is one of the most renowned German authors of 20th century children’s literature. As a representative of fantastic literature, Ende frequently plays with words when naming his characters, various objects and places, which is a challenge for translators of his works. Ende’s books translated into Serbian so far are the cult titles The Neverending Story and Momo, then adventures of an unusual boy Jim, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver and Jim Button and the Wild 13, a book on magic The Night of Wishes; or, The Satanarchaeolidealcohellish Notion Potion and the collection of short stories The School of Magic. When translating names in these books, translators often had to be creative and to make a choice of a certain approach in the translation process. The aim of this paper is to analyse the name translations from the aspect of the functional approach, as elaborated by Hans-Joseph Vermeer and Katharina Reiß, a concept known as skopos theory. According to the theory, the translation process purpose (intentionality) and goal (finality) of a text are of key importance, which can, but does not have to be identical in the original and the translation, as is decided by a number of external factors. Although the function and purpose of children’s literature are complex, they do not change when translated into a foreign language.

Author Biography

Nikolina Zobenica, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Docent za užu naučnu oblast Germanistika (Predmet: Nemačka književnost) na Odseku za germanistiku Filozofskog fakulteta u Novom Sadu