Translating Family Names in Hungarian: A Diachronic Survey


  • Tamás Farkas Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
  • Mariann Slíz Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest



history of Hungarian family names, translation of personal names, name assimilation, name changes in Hungary, fictional names


In our paper we focus on the translating practice and translatability of surnames used in Hungarian, from the problems of translating the immediate predecessors of surnames to the questions of translating surnames today. Our main interest is in how multilingualism, language contact situations, language prestige considerations, customs, fashion and other potential factors affect the use of these names in different languages, and the translatability in a wider sense in the actual practice in Hungary and other countries. We shall look at name translation practice in medieval documents, the relevant questions of spontaneous and conscious surname changes, the changes of Hungarian surnames used outside of Hungary, and finally the questions of translating surnames occurring in fiction.

Author Biographies

Tamás Farkas, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Mariann Slíz, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Mariann Slíz is Lecturer in the Institute of Hungarian Linguistics and Finno-Ugric Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She received her PhD in 2010. She is the co-editor of Névtani Értesítő, the journal of Hungarian onomastics. Her main research interests are onomastics (especially personal names, name theory and literary names), historical linguistics and cultural history. She has published several articles on historical personal names (mainly on the history of Hungarian family names) and on the use of fictional names. Her latest major works include Személynévadás az Anjou-korban [Naming in the Angevin Age] (2011), Anjou-kori személynévtár (1301-1342) [A Dictionary of Personal Names in the Angevin Age] (2011), and Személynevek a középkori Magyarországon [Personal Names in the Medieval Hungary] (2011).






Cluster Articles: Teaching and Translating Hungarian Language and Culture