The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter
Confronting the Faceless
Zāoyù wúliǎn yāoguai
|遭遇 zāoyù = 'come across, encounter'.
无脸 wúliǎn= 'without face, faceless'.
妖怪 yāoguai = 'monster, devil, evil spirit'.
|Encountering faceless monsters|
Duìkàng wúliǎn dírén
|對抗 duìkàng= 'to counter, to resist, to oppose'.
無臉 wúliǎn = 'without face, faceless'.
敵人 dírén = 'enemy, foe'.
|Countering faceless enemies|
Kao no nai kao ni taimen suru
|顔のない kao no nai = 'to have no face', derived from 顔がない kao ga nai 'to have no face'. が ga changes to の no in a relative clause (rentai shushoku).
顔 kao = 'face'.
に ni = particle indicating direction (accompanies following verb)
対面する taimen suru = 'to meet, to face, to confront'.
|Meeting a faceless face|
|Vietnamese||Đối Diện với Vô Diện||đối diện (對面) = 'face-to-face, tête-à-tête'.
với = 'with'.
vô diện (無面) = 'no face, faceless'.
|Face-to-face with the faceless|
Given Rowling's love of word play, it's amazing this title isn't Facing the Faceless. Perhaps she felt it was just a little bit too forced.
'Confronting' can mean 'to encounter face-to-face'; it can also have a more active or aggressive meaning of 'to oppose, to meet a challenge'. The Mainland translator chooses the first meaning. The Taiwanese translator clearly chooses the second. The Japanese and Vietnamese translations lie somewhere in between.
As in many other cases in the Harry Potter books, this expression is quite vague because it doesn't spell out the noun -- a faceless what is what readers must imagine for themselves. This adds rather than detracts from the terror. It is the very vagueness of the faceless entity that makes it so fearful. But because the CJV languages don't have this particular kind of expression (the + adjective), the translators must somehow decide what the faceless entity is going to be.
- The Mainland translator chooses 妖怪 yāoguai meaning 'monster, devil, evil spirit'.
- The Taiwanese translator transforms it into an 無臉敵人 wúliǎn dírén or 'faceless foe'.
- The Japanese translator goes one further and speaks of a 顔のない顔 kao no nai kao or 'faceless face'.
- Only the Vietnamese translator adheres to the spirit of the English and uses vô diện -- 'no face' or 'facelessness'.
Other examples of this kind of expression can be seen at Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed, Jinxes for the Jinxed, and Predicting the Unpredictable: Insulate Yourself Against Shocks.
Category: Dark Arts