Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Fowl or Foul? A Study of Hippogriff Brutality



Simplified Chinese (China)
Jiāqín háishì guàishòu?

Yīngtóu-mǎshēn-yǒuyì-shòu yěmàn-xìng yánjiū
家禽 jiā-qín = ' domestic fowl, poultry'.
还是 hái-shì = 'or'.
怪兽 guài-shòu = 'strange/monstrous beast'.

鹰头马身有翼兽 yīngtóu-mǎshēn-yǒuyì-shòu 'hawk-headed, horse-bodied, winged beast' = 'hippogriff'.
野蛮性 yěmàn-xìng = 'barbarity, brutality'.
研究 yánjiū = 'study, research'.

1. Poultry or Monstrous Beast

2. A Study of Hippogriff Brutality

Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Fēiqìn huòshì èshòu? Yīngmǎ cánkù xíngwéi yánjiū
飛禽 fēiqìn= 'bird(s)'.
或是 huòshi = 'or'.
惡獸 èshòu = 'evil beast'.
鷹馬 yīngmǎ = 'hawk-horse' = 'hippogriff'.
殘酷 cánkù = 'cruel, brutal'.
行為 xíngwéi = 'actions, behaviour'.
研究 yánjiū = 'study, research'.
Bird or Evil Beast? A Study of the Cruel Behaviour of Hippogriffs
Tori ka tori ka?

Hippogurifu no zannin-sei in kansuru kenkyū
tori = 'bird'.
盗り tori = 'thief, robber'.
.... ka ... ka (following nouns) = 'or'. AかBか = 'A or B'.

ヒッポグリフ Hippogurifu = 'Hippogriff' (written in phonetic katakana script, used for writing foreign words).
no = connecting particle
残忍性 zannin-sei = 'cruelty, brutality'. (残忍 zannin = 'cruel', -sei = 'nature, characteristic', together mean 'cruel nature, brutal nature').
に関する in kansuru = 'concerning, regarding'.
研究 kenkyū = 'study, research'.
1. Bird or Thief?

2. A Study concerning the Brutality of Hippogriffs
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Chim Hay Quỷ? Một Nghiên Cứu Về Tính Hung Ác Của Bằng-Mã chim = 'bird'.
hay = 'or'.
quỷ () = 'spirit of the dead, evil spirit, fiend, devil'.
một = 'one'.
nghiên cứu (研究) = 'study, research'.
về = 'about, concerning'.
tính () = 'nature'.
hung ác (兇惡) = 'cruel'.
của = 'of, belonging to'.
Bằng-mã (鵬馬) = 'eagle horse' = 'hippogriff'.
Bird or Evil Spirit? A Study concerning the Cruelty of Hippogriffs

Both the Japanese and Mainland translators mistakenly translate this as two separate titles.


For the first title, the Japanese translator captures the pun on 'fowl' and 'foul' by using the unusual word 盗り tori. As a general meaning, tori refers to 'the action of taking' or 'a person who takes'. By using the character 盗り, however, which means 'rob' or 'steal', the translator forces tori to take on the meaning 'thief' or 'robber'. In this way the the pun on 'fowl' and 'foul' is reproduced.

The Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese translators translate the question 'fowl or foul?' quite straightforwardly, without attempting to catch the pun. The Vietnamese word quỷ, 'evil spirit, devil', is related to the Chinese word guǐ, a very common word with the basic meaning of 'ghost or spirit of the dead'.


'Brutality' is translated with a different word in each version, although all are based on Chinese roots. The '-ity' ending of the English word 'brutality' is reproduced in three of the four versions by the very productive form -xìng (in Chinese), -sei (in Japanese), or tính (in Vietnamese, where it is a prefix in this case). has the meaning 'nature', 'character' or 'attribute' and is regularly used to create words corresponding to '-ity' in English.

Category: Magical Creatures

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