Legion of Super-Heroes in Finnish

(or More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Finnish But Were Afraid To Ask)

Name in EnglishFinnish translation [1]Literal translation back to English
Legion of Super-HeroesAvaruussankaritSpace Heroes
Bouncing BoyPomppupoikaBounce Boy
Brainiac 5Aivomies 5Brain Man 5
Chameleon BoyKameleonttipoikaChameleon Boy
Colossal BoyJättipoikaGiant Boy
Cosmic BoyKosminen Poika [4]Cosmic Boy
DawnstarAamutähtiMorning Star
Dream GirlUnelmatyttöFantasy Girl [5]
Duo DamselKaksoistyttöDuplicate Girl
Element LadElementtipoikaElement Boy
Karate KidKaratepoikaKarate Boy
Lightning LassSalamatyttöLightning Girl
Lightning LadSalamapoika [6]Lightning Boy
Phantom GirlAavetyttöPhantom Girl
Princess ProjectraPrinsessa ProjectraPrincess Projectra
Sun BoyAurinkopoikaSun Boy
Timber WolfSusi [7]Wolf
Ultra BoyUltrapoikaUltra Boy
Saturn GirlSaturnustyttöSaturn Girl
Shadow LassVarjotyttöShadow Girl
Shrinking VioletMinityttö [8]Mini(ature) Girl
Star BoyTähtipoikaStar Boy
Chemical KingKemiakuningas [9]Chemistry King
Ferro LadRautapoikaIron Boy
Invisible KidNäkymätön [10]Invisible

[1] Finnish translations courtesy of a LSH poster insert in TERÄSMIES 12/82 (Finnish Superman book, December 1982 issue). Original publication of poster insert uncertain, drawn by George Perez, presumed a DC PRESENTS issue.

[2] Finnish has a stronger tendency towards compound nouns than English. Maintaining two-part names (Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy) as two-part names in Finnish (Pomppu Poika, Kameleontti Poika) would be incorrect. Hence the compounding in Finnish translations. In most cases, I separated the elements back to two part names in the literal translations back to English, though.

[3] All the 'Boy', 'Lad' and 'Kid' ending were translated into 'poika' endings, and all the 'Girl', 'Damsel' and 'Lass' endings were translated into 'tyttö' endings, eliminating any minute semantic difference that existed in the original English names. 'Poika' is a generic Finnish word and correlates to 'boy', and 'tyttö' similarly correlates to 'girl'.

[4] Cosmic Boy retains a two-part name in Finnish because it's an adjective-noun combination. Most other names are noun-noun and can be compound nouned in Finnish. Maintaining the 'Cosmic/Kosminen' as an adjective, it can't be compounded with 'Boy/poika' in Finnish. The brief text blurb for him in the poster did however attempt to give him an alternate noun-noun name, referring to him in parentheses as 'Kosmospoika', 'Kosmos' being a noun meaning 'Cosmos', and since it's a noun, it could be compounded with 'poika'.

[5] The English word 'dream' refers predominantly in Dream Girl's case to the dreams we see when we sleep (as opposed to say, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream!" idealistic dreams). The word 'unelma' which the Finnish translator used, rarely if ever refers to sleeping dreams but rather predominantly refers to dreams of owning and doing things in the future (i.e. 'dreaming of having a Porsche', 'dreaming of having sex with Geri Halliwell'), and even more specifically, positive such dreams -- not fears of losing things or bad things happening. Resultantly, I decided that in this context, 'unelma' translated back into English best as 'fantasy'.

[6] Irrelevant side note regarding Lightning Lad -- 'salama' is the Finnish word for 'lightning' (or rather, it refers specifically to a lightning bolt). The Flash was 'Salama' in Finnish comics, and Kid Flash (Wally West) was also called 'Salamapoika'. I wonder how many people will get snickers from the resemblance of 'salama' to 'salami'. I assure you, the words don't share common origins. :)

[7] The translator completely dropped the 'Timber' element from Timber Wolf's codename. I can't exactly blame him -- to date I don't quite know what the 'Timber' word is supposed to signify. As far as I know, 'timber' means like, lumber or something. So he could've translated it as 'Tree Wolf' or something, I guess. The only rationale I can come up with for the 'Timber Wolf' name is that a 'timber wolf' is a specific subspecies of the wolf, like the polar bear is a subspecies of the bear. If that's true, though, I can't quite fathom why whoever named the subspecies would name the subspecies according to a tree-toppling warning shout...

[8] A 'shrinking violet' is an English-language phrase that has no direct equivalent in Finnish. Translating it literally ('Kutistuva Orvokki') would have been clumsy, would have had no connotations of a shy, timid person, and because it's not a slang phrase in Finnish, it would've appeared just as two random words slapped together because both applied to the character individually but had no connection to each other. Resultantly, a more trimmed-down and manageable codename was a good call, resulting in the simple 'Miniature Girl'.

[9] 'Chemical King' would have translated directly to 'Kemikaalikuningas', if the 'chemical' was a noun (i.e. referring to chemicals), or to 'Kemiallinen Kuningas' if the 'chemical' was an adjective (i.e. meaning chemistry-related). Knowing his powers, I suspect the latter was the intent behind the 'Chemical King' codename, and evidently the translator concurred. Here you can witness the same phenomenon as with Cosmic Boy -- the literal translation is an adjective-noun pairing ('Kosminen Poika', 'Kemiallinen Kuningas'), but for the sake of avoiding clumsiness, the adjective is transformed into a closely related noun ('Cosmic' --> 'Cosmos', 'Chemical' --> 'Chemistry'), resulting in 'Kosmospoika' (Cosmos Boy) and 'Kemiakuningas' (Chemistry King) -- noun-noun pairings can be compounded and therefore be reduced in clumsiness.

[10] The translation completely dropped the 'Kid' part of the Invisible Kid's codename. Why, I have no idea. A single adjective (Invisible/Näkymätön) as a codename isn't any less unconventional in Finnish than it is in English. Näkymätön Poika (Invisible Boy) would have sounded much more normal/better. I strongly suspect that the dropping of the Kid/poika/Boy in this name is due to a simple oversight.

Created by Samy Merchi <samy@iki.fi> on 20-Jan-2000.