Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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Most Potent Potions

 

 

Chinese (Mainland)
强力药剂
Qiánglì yàojì
强力 qiánglì = 'powerful'.
药剂 yàojì = 'medicament, drug'.
Powerful Potions
Chinese (Taiwan)
超強魔藥
Chāoqiáng móyào
chāoqiáng = 'super-strong'.
móyào = 'magic medicine'.
Super-strong Magic Medicines
Japanese
最も強力な薬
Mottomo kyōryoku na kusuri
最も mottomo = 'most'.
強力な kyōryoku na = 'powerful' (na links the adjective to the noun).
kusuri = 'medicine'.
Most Powerful Medicines
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Độc dược Tối hiệu nghiệm độc dược (毒藥) = 'poison medicine'.
tối () = 'most'.
hiệu nghiệm (效驗) = 'efficacious'.
Most Efficacious Medicines

The choice of vocabulary represents the attempt of each translator to render the three elements of the English:

Most Potent

'Potent' is used to indicate that a medicine is powerful in its effect. 'Most' is to indicate that the potions are very or particularly powerful, not necessarily that they are the most powerful potions that can be found.

    For 'potent', the Mainland Chinese and Japanese translations use 强力 qiánglì / 強力 kyōryoku, a general word with the meaning of 'powerful'. The Mainland Chinese translator ignores 'most' (perhaps wisely). For 'most', the Japanese translator uses 最も mottomo, which is similar to the English in meaning both 'most' and 'extremely'.

    The Taiwanese translator collapses the two concepts into one word: 超強 chāoqiáng, a combination of chāo 'super' and qiáng 'strong'.

    For potent, the Vietnamese translator uses hiệu nghiệm meaning 'efficacious' — the equivalent Chinese word, 效驗 (效验) xiàoyàn, means 'desired result, intended effect' — which is possibly a more suitable word for medicines. 'Most' is rendered as tối.

Potions

‘Potion' is a rather old-fashioned word for a liquid medicine, a poison medicine, or a miraculous medicine. The word chosen is different in each translation.

    The Mainland translator uses 药剂 yàojì, a word referring to a medicine made according to a formula or prescription. This term is also used elsewhere for translating book titles containing the word 'potion' but not at at the chapter title of Book One Chapter 8.

    The Taiwanese translator goes for 'magic medicine', 魔藥 móyào. This term is used at the chapter title of Book One Chapter 8 but not for translating 'potion' at other book titles.

    The Vietnamese translator uses độc dược meaning 'poison medicine', although this refers to the ingredients rather than to the effect of the medicine itself. The Vietnamese also uses this word for 'potions' elsewhere.

    The Japanese translator, in line with a tendency elsewhere, glosses over the word 'potion' and simply uses the ordinary word for 'medicine', kusuri.

Category: Potions

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