Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Gadding With Ghouls



Simplified Chinese (China)
Yǔ shíshī-guǐ tóngyóu
= 'with'.
食尸鬼 shíshī-guǐ = 'eat-corpse-demon'.
同游 tóngyóu = 'travel together'.
Travelling with Cadaver-Devouring Demons
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Yǔ èguǐ sìchù yóudàng
= 'with'.
惡鬼 èguǐ = 'evil demon'.
四處 sìchù = 'four places' = 'everywhere'.
遊蕩 yóudàng = 'to loaf about, loiter, wander'.
Wandering the World with Evil Demons
Gūru o-bake to no kūru na sansaku
グール gūru = 'ghoul' (English)
お化けと o-bake to = 'ghost' + 'with'
= 'with a ghost'.
no = connecting particle
クールな kūru na = 'cool' (from English), plus adjectival ending na.
散策 sansaku = 'a walk'.
Cool walk with ghoul ghosts
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Lang thang với ma xó lang thang = 'to wander'.
với = 'with'.
ma xó = 'spirit of house corners';
'busybody who knows about other people's affairs'.
Roaming with the Spirit of House Corners (or Busybodies)
Mongolian (previous)
Бугнуудтай тэнүүлчилсэн нь
Bugnuudtai tenüülchilsen n'
буг bug = 'evil spirit, vampire' (Comitative form 'with').
-нууд -nuud = plural
тэнүүлчлэх tenüülchlekh = 'wander, roam'.
нь n' = particle here used to mean 'about'.
About having Roamed with Evil Spirits
Mongolian (new)
Ороолонтой орооцолдсон нь
Oroolontoi orootsoldson n'
ороолон oroolon = 'vampire, fiend, brute' (Comitative form 'with').
орооцолдох orootsoldokh = 'entangle' (Past form).
нь n' = particle here used to mean 'about'.
About having Tangled with Fiends

The books in the Gilderoy Lockhart Series follow a simple but humorous pattern in English.

All describe spending time with a particular kind of unsavoury creature.

All are expressed in the form 'X with Y'.

In each case there is alliteration between X and Y (Break with a Banshee, Gadding with Ghouls, Holidays with Hags, etc.).

The interesting points in any translation are:

    How this assortment of unpleasant creatures is translated.

    How the parallel expressions are treated.

    How the effect of the alliteration is reproduced. This is the most difficult task because alliteration is, of course, dependent on the particular sound of words in a language.


A ghoul is an evil spirit of Islamic origin that was said to dig up graves and devour the cadavers. The translators come up with rather different renditions.

    The Mainland Chinese translator, with 'cadaver-devouring demon' (食尸鬼 shíshī-guǐ), comes closest to the original meaning of 'ghoul'.

    The Taiwanese translator settles for the more generic 'evil demon' (惡鬼 èguǐ).

    The Japanese translator uses the English word ghoul (グール gūru) with an explanation that this is a kind of お化け o-bake or 'ghost'.

    The Vietnamese translator has not tried to come up with a Vietnamese equivalent for the 'ghoul', instead using ma xó, a kind of spirit that was worshipped in house corners. Colloquially it refers to busybodies who know everything about the affairs of other families (as though they were actually there and able to see everything, like a ma xó sitting in the corner). The ma xó doesn't have anything in common with a ghoul and is essentially a harmless creature.

    The previous Mongolian translation uses буг bug, a term for a kind of evil spirit.

    The new Mongolian translation uses the term ороолон oroolon, referring to a vampire, fiend, or brute.

In contrast to the original meaning of ghoul, however, Rowling comes up with her own definition in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, where the Ghoul is described as 'residing in attics or barns belonging to wizards, where it eats spiders and moths'.


'Gad' means to go busily from place to place without a specific aim or purpose, although it can imply gadding about for pleasure. The word was chosen for the book title to achieve alliteration with 'ghouls'. Translators use the following terms:

    The Mainland translator uses the succinct term 同游 tóngyóu meaning 'travel together'.

    The Taiwanese translator uses the more expressive 四處遊蕩 sìchù yóudàng meaning to loaf about, loiter, wander about everywhere (literally to 'four places').

    The Japanese translator comes up with 散策 sansaku, a term meaning 'strolling or walking about'. It can be extended to cover leisurely travels for pleasure, but does not convey the sense of 'busyness' conveyed by 'gad'.

    The Vietnamese has lang thang 'to wander'. The concept of getting about a lot is also conveyed by the word ma xó, which can refer to restless busybodies.

    The previous Mongolian translation uses тэнүүлчлэх tenüülchlekh 'to wander, roam'.

    The new Mongolian translation departs from the sense of the English by using the verb орооцолдох orootsoldokh 'be entangled', from the verb ороох orookh 'to tangle, coil'. The purpose is to achieve alliteration (see below).


The Japanese and new Mongolian translations make an attempt at the alliteration of 'gadding with ghouls'.

    The Japanese translation uses a pun on 'ghoul' (グール gūru) and 'cool' (クール kūru).

    With the similar-sounding ороолон oroolon 'vampire, fiend, brute' and орооцолдсон orootsoldson 'entangle with', the new Mongolian translation also manages to reproduce the alliteration of the English original.
Break With A Banshee Holidays With Hags Travels With Trolls
Voyages With Vampires Wandering With Werewolves Year With The Yeti

Category: Adventure

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