Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts


Chinese (Mainland) 黑魔法的兴衰
Hēi-mófǎ de xīngshuāi
黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ = 'black magic'.
de = connecting particle
xīngshuāi = 'rise and fall'.
The Rise and Fall of Black Magic
Chinese (Taiwan) 黑魔法的興起與衰落
Hēi-mófǎ de xīngqǐ yǔ shuāiluò
黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ = 'black magic'.
de = connecting particle
興起 xīngqǐ = 'rise'.
= 'and'.
衰落 shuāiluò = 'fall'.
The Rise and Fall of Black Magic
Japanese 黒魔術の栄枯盛衰
Kuro-majutsu no eiko-seisui

Yami no majutsu no seisui
kuro = 'black'.
魔術 majutsu = 'magic crafts'.
no = connnecting particle
栄枯 eiko = 'flourish and decay'.
盛衰 seisui = 'rise and fall'.

yami = 'darkness'.
The Rise and Fall of the Black Magic Arts

The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts
Vietnamese Thăng trầm của nghệ thuật Hắc ám

Sự Thăng Trầm Của Nghệ Thuật Hắc Ám
thăng trầm (昇沉) = 'rise and sink'.
của = 'belonging to, of'.
nghệ thuật (藝術) = 'arts'.
hắc ám (黑暗) = 'dark'.

sự = classifier for nouns denoting actions, states, events, etc.
The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts

Dark Arts:

The translation of 'Dark Arts' is essentially the same in the Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese versions.

In Japanese, 魔術 majutsu is essentially synonymous with 魔法 mahō 'magic'. In Chinese, 魔術 / 魔术 móshù would not be appropriate for the 'Dark Arts' as it is now identified with 'magic tricks' or 'conjuror's tricks', like pulling rabbits out of hats, etc.

The Japanese translator switches from 黒魔術 kuro-majutsu 'black magic' to 闇の魔術 yami no majutsu 'dark magic' at Book 7.

Vietnamese nghệ thuật mainly refers to the creation of artistic works or to creative skills and intelligence ('the art of leadership'). It seems less appropriate as a translation of the 'Dark Arts'.

Rise and Fall:

Each version uses a different expression for 'rise and fall', but all are based on Chinese roots. Note how the Mainland translator condenses 興起與衰落 xīngqǐ yǔ shuāiluò (Taiwanese version) into the more economical 兴衰 xīngshuāi.

Japanese 栄枯盛衰 eiko-seisui is a poignant term for the rise and fall of fortunes in history. The Vietnamese is a little weaker as it can mean simply 'ups and downs'.

The Vietnamese translator is slightly inconsistent in translating the title in different places. In the second mention she adds the classifier sự. The Japanese translator is similarly inconsistent when she switches from 栄枯盛衰 eiko-seisui to 盛衰 seisui at Book 7.

Category: History

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