Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


Flesh-Eating Trees of the World


Chinese (Mainland) 食肉树大全
Shíròu-shù dàquán
食肉 shíròu = 'meat-eating'.
shù= 'tree'.
大全 dàquán = 'complete work, complete collection'.
Complete collection of meat-eating trees
Chinese (Taiwan) 世界食肉樹大全
Shìjiè shíròu-shù dàquán
世界 shìjiè = 'world'.
食肉 shíròu = 'meat-eating'.
shù= 'tree'.
大全 dàquán = 'complete work, complete collection'.
Complete collection of world meat-eating trees
Japanese 世界の肉食植物
Sekai no shokuniku shokubutsu
世界 sekai = 'world'.
no = connecting particle
肉食 shokuniku = 'meat-eating'.
植物 shokubutsu = 'plant'.
World's meat-eating plants
Vietnamese Cây Ăn Thịt Trên Thế Giới cây = 'tree'.
ăn thịt = 'eat meat'.
trên = 'on, in'.
thế giới (世界) = 'world'.
Meat-eating trees of the world

There are just a few points of difference among the translations:

  • The Chinese translators (Mainland and Taiwanese) both add the word 大全 dàquán, meaning 'complete work, complete collection', in order to clarify the title.
  • The Mainland translator leaves out 'world'.
  • The Japanese translator uses 植物 shokubutsu ('plant') rather instead of 'tree', which could, for instance, have been 樹木 jumoku. However, 植物 shokubutsu sounds more natural in the context.

The word 'flesh-eating' is of some interest. Rowling could have used 'meat-eating' or 'carnivorous', but chose 'flesh-eating' instead, presumably because of the immediacy of the English word 'flesh-eating' over the Latin-based 'carnivorous', and because 'flesh-eating' is used of animals whereas 'meat-eating' can be used of people. Flesh is always raw whereas meat can be cooked.

Chinese and Japanese both have two words for 'carnivorous': 食肉 (shíròu or shokuniku) and 肉食 (ròushí or nikushoku), representing 'eat + meat' and 'meat + eat' respectively. The variation in order doesn't affect the meaning. However, the translators' choices appear to mirror the current preferred order of each language. For 'carnivore', Vietnamese normally uses the instantly understandable native expression ăn thịt, meaning 'eat meat', which is used in this translation.

Category: Magical Plants

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