Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection



Simplified Chinese (China)
Hēi'àn lìliàng: zìwèi zhǐnán
黑暗 hēi'àn = 'dark'.
力量 lìliàng = 'force'.
自卫 zìwèi = 'self-protection'.
指南 zhǐnán = 'guide'.
The Dark Forces: A Self-Protection Guide
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Hēi'àn lìliàng: zìwèi zhǐnán
黑暗 hēi'àn = 'dark'.
力量 lìliàng = 'force'.
自衛 zìwèi = 'self-protection'.
指南 zhǐnán = 'guide'.
The Dark Forces: A Self-Protection Guide
闇の力 ー 護身術入門
Yami no chikara - goshin-jutsu nyūmon
yami = 'darkness/shadow'.
no = connecting particle
chikara = 'strength'.
護身 goshin = 'protect-body' = 'self-protection'.
-jutsu = 'art, technique'.
入門 nyūmon = 'introduction'.
The Dark Forces - An Introduction to the Arts of Self-Protection
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Những lực lượng hắc ám: Hướng dẫn tự vệ

Thế Lực Hắc Ám - Hướng Dẫn Tự Vệ
những = plural marker
lực lượng (力量) = 'force'.
hắc ám (黑暗) = 'dark'.
hướng dẫn (嚮引) = 'guide'.
tự vệ (自衛) = 'self-protection'.

thế lực (勢力) = 'influence, power'.
hắc ám (黑暗) = 'dark'.
The Dark Forces: A Self-Protection Guide
Mongolian (previous)
Хар хүчнээс хамгаалах зааварчилгаа
Khar khuchnees khamgaalakh zaavarchilgaa
хар khar = 'black'.
хүч khüch = 'force, power' (ablative хүчнээс khüchnees 'from force').
хамгаалах khamgaalakh = 'protect'.
зааварчилгаа zaavarchilgaa = 'instructions'.
Instructions for Protecting against Dark Forces
Mongolian (new)
Харын хүчээс биеэ хамгаалах гарын авлага
Khariin khuchees biee khamgaalakh gariin avlag
хар khar = 'black' (genitive харын khariin).
хүч khüch = 'force, power' (ablative хүчээс khüchees 'from force').
бие bii = 'body' (reflexive биеэ biee 'one's own body).
хамгаалах khamgaalakh = 'protect'.
гарын авлага gariin avlag = 'hand book'. (гарын gariin 'of hand' + авлага avlag 'manual')
Handbook to Protect Oneself against Dark Forces

Dark Forces

There are four books about the 'dark arts' but only one referring to the 'dark forces'. In this title, 'dark' is translated as:

    黑暗 hēi'àn 'dark' in both the Mainland and Taiwanese translations (the Mainland influenced by the Taiwanese). Elsewhere, 'dark arts' is translated as 黑魔法 hēi mófǎ 'black magic'.

    Hắc ám 'dark' in the Vietnamese. This is the Chinese word 黑暗 hēi'àn.

    闇の yami no 'of the darkness/shadow' in the Japanese. yami belongs to the native vocabulary, not the stratum borrowed from Chinese. As a word it has a sinister feel.

    Хар khar 'black' in the Mongolian translations. One uses it as a plain adjective, the other in the genitive form meaning 'of the black'.

'Forces' is translated with words meaning 'power', 'strength', or 'force':

    力量 lìliang 'strength' in both the Mainland and Taiwanese translations.

    In Vietnamese, lực lượng 'strength', which is from the Chinese word 力量 lìliang. Unlike Chinese or Japanese, Vietnamese shows that 'forces' is a plural with the plural marker những.

    The Japanese translation uses chikara 'strength'. This is also a word from the native stratum.

    Хүч khüch 'power, strength' in the Mongolian translations. A slightly different ablative form is used in the two translations.


'Self-protection' in English uses the productive 'self-' prefix ('self-control', 'self-service', 'self-acting', 'self-destruct', 'self-indulgence', 'self-hurt', etc.)

    The Chinese translations use the ready-made form 自衛 / 自卫 zìwèi 'self-protection', which is transparently 'self' + / wèi 'protect, defend'.

    The Vietnamese translation uses same term as the Chinese, tự vệ 'self-defence' (自衛).

    The Japanese uses 護身 goshin 'self-protection, self-defence'. This is literally go 'protect' + shin 'body', and refers to self-defence at a close personal or physcial level. 護身術 goshin-jutsu is a term for self-protection techniques. The same word exists in Chinese as 護身 / 护身 hùshēn. The Japanese translator would not have chosen 自衛 ji-ei as this is now mostly associated with the 'Self Defence Forces', the name by which Japan's military are known.

    Mongolian lacks a single word to render 'self-defence' and conventionally uses the set phrase бие хамгаалах bii khamgaalakh 'protect the body (or self)'. The old translation omits the бие bii 'body' to simply write хамгаалах khamgaalakh 'protect'. Since this is a clause or verb, and not a fixed noun, it participates actively in the grammar of the sentence. It requires the noun to take the ablative case ('from the forces') and бие bii 'body' must take the reflexive form биеэ biiee 'own body', which indicates that the body being protected is that of the subject of the sentence.


'Guide' refers to a guide book.

    The conventional Chinese word for 'guide' is 指南 zhǐnán, literally meaning 'point south'. The word derives from an ancient Chinese vehicle fitted out with a human figure that always pointed south, no matter which way the vehicle moved. It is used in both the Mainland and Taiwanese translations (although it should again be pointed out that the Chinese translation at the first few books cribbed from the Taiwanese translation).

    Vietnamese uses the word hướng dẫn, which is created from the Chinese elements 'direction, orientation' and 'lead'. However, 嚮引 xiàngyǐn is not current in modern Chinese.

    The Japanese translation uses the simple term 入門 nyūmon, literally meaning 'enter gate'. It is a common title for beginner's textbooks, having the sense of 'introduction'. The same term exists in both Chinese and Vietnamese.

    The previous Mongolian translation uses зааварчилгаа zaavachilgaa, meaning 'instruction, teaching', from зааварчилах zaavarchilakh 'to instruct, teach', related to заавар zaavar 'instructions, directions', and ultimately заах zaakh 'to teach'.

    The newer Mongolian translation uses гарын авлага gariin avlag 'hand book'.

In English, the noun 'guide' conventionally takes the preposition 'to' in order to indicate what the guide deals with. The use of prepositions is a strong feature of English and is not necessarily shared by other languages, especially non-European languages.

The word for 'guide' or 'introduction' forms compound expressions in the CJV languages (自衛指南 / 自卫指南, Hướng Dẫn Tự Vệ 'self-defence guide', 護身術入門 'self-defence introduction'), which have all been influenced by the Chinese tendency to create strings of nouns. In Mongolian, 'guide book' is modified by the preceding clause, that is, 'which protects (the body) against dark forces'.

Category: Dark Arts

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