Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Dreadful Denizens of the Deep



Simplified Chinese (China)
Dìdǐ shēnchù de kěpà dòngwù
低地 dìdǐ = 'bottom of the earth'.
深处 shēnchù = 'deep place'.
de = connecting particle
可怕 kěpà = 'terrible'.
动物 dòngwù = 'animal'.
Terrible animals of the depths of the bottom of the earth
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Hǎiyáng-zhōng de kěpà jūmín
海洋中 hǎiyáng-zhōng = 'in the ocean'.
de = connecting particle
可怕 kěpà = 'terrible, frightful'.
居民 jūmín = 'resident, inhabitant, denizen'.
Terrible inhabitants of the oceans
Fukai minasoko no fukakai na jūmin
深い fukai = 'deep'.
水底 minasoko = 'bottom of the water'.
no = connecting particle
不可解な fukakai na = 'mysterious'.
住人 jūmin = 'resident, inhabitant'.
Mysterious inhabitants of the deep water bottom
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Những Cư Dân Khủng Khiếp Dưới Đáy Sâu những = plural marker
cư dân (居民) = 'resident, inhabitant, denizen'.
khủng khiếp (恐怯) = 'terrible, frightful'.
dưới = 'under, down in, down at'.
đáy = 'bottom'.
sâu = 'deep'.
Terrible inhabitants of the deep bottom

'Denizens of the Deep':

'Denizens' and 'deep' present slight problems here.

    'Denizen' generally means 'inhabitant, resident', but in phrases like 'denizens of the forest' or 'denizens of the air' it refers to the animals or birds that live in these places. Three of the translators go with the meaning 'inhabitant'; the Mainland Chinese translator uses the word 'animal'.

    'The deep' is a conventional phrase referring to the oceans in general, carrying associations of dark depths. The Taiwanese translation, 'in the oceans', is mundane but accurate. The Japanese version captures the meaning of deep ocean bottoms. The Vietnamese translations uses an expression directly referring to the depths. The Mainland translation mistakenly translates 'the deep' as 'depths of the earth'.


'Dreadful' is rendered correctly in the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese versions with words meaning 'terrible'. The Japanese translator has substituted 'mysterious' for 'terrible'.

Note that the Vietnamese word khủng khiếp 'terrible, frightful' would be 恐怯 if written in Chinese characters. This is another case, however, where Chinese elements have been used to create a purely Vietnamese word. 恐怯 does not occur in Chinese.

Category: Magical Creatures

arrow up