Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


Prefects Who Gained Power


Chinese (Mainland) 级长怎样获得权力
Jí-zhǎng zěnyàng huòdé quánlì
级长 jízhǎng = 'class captain'.
怎样 zěnyàng = 'how, in what way'.
获得 huòdé = 'gain, take'.
权力 quánlì = 'power, authority'.
How class captains gain(ed) power
Chinese (Taiwan) 功成名就的級長們
Gōngchéng míngjiù de jízhǎng-men
功成名就 gōngchéng míngjiù = 'be successful and famous'.
de = connecting particle
級長 jízhǎng = 'class captain'.
-men = plural marker
Class captains who became successful and famous
Japanese 権力を手にした監督生たち
Kenryoku o te ni shita kantokusei-tachi
権力 kenryoku = 'power, authority'
o = object particle.
手にした te ni shita = past tense of 手にする te ni suru 'to get in hand' = 'to get, gain' ( te = 'hand').
監督生 kantoku-sei = 'supervisory student'.
たち -tachi = plural marker
Prefects who gained power
Vietnamese Những Huynh trưởng đạt tới quyền lực những = plural marker
huynh trưởng (兄長) = 'elder, predecessor' (indicating respect to elder student).
đạt () = 'to attain, achieve'.
tới = 'to arrive at, attain, get'.
quyền lực (權力) = 'power, authority'.
Elder (students) who attained power


A prefect is a student from the final year in school who is given certain powers and responsibilities to supervise other students. The system is designed to cultivate leadership. Prefects are chosen for their maturity and ability to handle people and situations. Prefects have a difficult task. The co-opting of students to the side of authority can result in latent or overt resentment. In Hogwarts, Percy Weasley's appointment as a prefect is greatly resented by his younger brothers. Percy lives up to their resentment by asserting his authority arrogantly and ingratiating himself to his superiors.

There is no direct equivalent of prefects in school systems of the east. The two Chinese-language translations use terms referring to 'class captains'. The Japanese uses a term meaning 'supervisory student'. The Vietnamese uses Huynh trưởng, a term that indicates respect to an elder student (the original characters 兄長 mean 'elder brother + older'). The meaning of Huynh trưởng unfortunately doesn't convey a very clear meaning to Vietnamese speakers.

Power (Shared Vocabulary):

The term 权力 / 權力 (quán-lì, kenryoku, quyền lực) is used to translate 'power' in all but the Taiwanese translation. The power implied by this term is power or authority in the political sense, the right to control or dominate other people. The fact that Percy is reading such a book is a hint at the nature of his ambitions.

The Taiwanese translator comes up with a less harsh rendition implying merely that Percy is merely ambitious for a successful career. In normal circumstances the translator could be congratulated for coming up with a more natural translation, but in this case the result is misleading.

Category: Who's Who / Biography

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