Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Predicting the Unpredictable: Insulate Yourself Against Shocks



Simplified Chinese (China)
Yùyán wúfǎ yùjiàn de shì: Shǐ nǐ zìjǐ miǎnshòu dǎjī
预言 yùyán = 'to prophesy, predict, foretell'.
无法 wúfǎ = 'unable to, incapable of'.
预见 yùjiàn = 'to foresee, predict'.
de = connecting particle
shì = 'matter, thing'.
使 shǐ = 'to make, to cause to'.
= 'you'.
自己 zìjǐ = 'self'.
miǎn = 'to avoid, be excused from, exempt from'.
shòu = 'to suffer, be subjected to'.
打击 dǎjī = 'hit, strike, attack'.
Predict things that are unforeseable: make yourself exempt from suffering attacks
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Yùcè nà bù kě yùcè de yīqiè: Dāng nìjìng lái xí shí, ràng nǐ yuǎn lí dǎjī yǔ shīwù
預測 yùcè = 'to calculate, forecast, predict'.
= 'that, those'.
不可 bùkě = 'not able, impossible'.
預測 yùcè = 'to calculate, forecast, predict'.
de = connecting particle
一切 yi-qie` = 'everything'.
dāng = 'when' (forms a pair with shí below) .
逆境 nìjìng = 'adversity'.
lái = 'come'.
= 'to attack'.
shí = 'time'.
ràng = 'to make, cause to'.
= 'you'.
yuǎn = 'far, distant'.
= 'from'.
打擊 dǎjī = 'attack'.
= 'and'.
失誤 shīwù = 'error, fault, misjudgement'.
Forecast all that can't be forecast: when adversity strikes, distance yourself from attacks and errors
予知不能を予知する — ショックから身を守る
Yochi-funō o yochi suru — shokku kara mi o mamoru
予知 yochi = 'predict'.
不能 funō = 'unable'.
o = object particle
予知する yochi suru = 'to predict'.
ショック shokku = 'shock (English)'.
から kara = 'from'.
身を mi o = 'body, person' + object particle.
守る mamoru = 'to protect'.
Predict the unpredictable - protect your person from shocks
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Tiên Đoán Điều Bất Khả Tiên Tri: Tự Phòng Chống Biến Cố Không Ngờ tiên đoán (先斷) = 'foretell, predict'.
điều () = 'thing, matter, affair'.
bất khả (不可) = 'impossible'.
tiên tri (先知) = 'prophesy'.
tự ()= 'self'.
phòng chống = 'protect against' (phòng: ).
biến cố (變故) = 'event, happening, occurrence'.
không ngờ = 'unexpected'.
Predict things impossible to predict: protect yourself against unexpected events

The English is fairly simple but sends some of the translators (particularly the Taiwanese translator) into contortions. To explore the differences of approach, the English is broken up into four parts:

1. The verb for 'to predict':

English itself has a number words for looking into the future: 'foretell, foresee, predict, prophesy, forecast, divine, foreknowledge', etc. The CJV languages also have several possibilities. For some reason, each translator uses a different word.

    Simplified Chinese (China) uses 预言 yùyán (literally, 'to say beforehand') and 预见 yùjiàn (literally, 'to see beforehand'), which respectively mean 'to prophesy, foretell' and 'to foresee'.

    Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) uses 預測 yùcè (literally, 'to measure beforehand'). This is more likely to be used by research institutes and weather bureaus, whose business it is to forecast future events and trends based on calculations. This is a very hard-headed approach to magic.

    Japanese uses 予知 yochi (literally, 'to know beforehand'). (The character yo has been simplified as but is the same as Chinese / ). The emphasis here is on foreknowledge rather than 'prophecy'.

    Vietnamese uses tiên đoán (literally 'to judge/decide earlier or in advance') and tiên tri (literally 'to know earlier or in advance'). The Chinese-character equivalent to tiên đoán is 先斷 xiānduàn, a combination unknown in Chinese itself. The characters equivalent to tiên tri are 先知 xiānzhī, which means in Chinese 'to know beforehand'.

2. 'The unpredictable':

This is a concise construction in English meaning 'That which cannot be predicted'. A similar construction can be used for people: 'The Untouchables' meaning 'People who cannot be touched'. Other languages are certainly not lacking in this kind of expression — Classical Chinese is particularly terse in this regard — but for translators, conveying the meaning may require it to be spelt out.

    Simplified Chinese (China) uses 无法预见的事 wúfǎ yùjiàn de shì 'things that it is impossible to foretell'.

    Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) uses the more long-winded 那不可預測的一切 nà bù kě yùcè de yīqiè 'all those things that it's impossible to calculate/forecast'.

    Japanese uses a more 'Classical Chinese' type expression than the Chinese themeselves. 'The unpredictable' is simply 予知不能 yochi funō'unpredictable'. This is treated as a noun, being directly followed by the object particle o.

    Vietnamese uses điều bất khả tiên tri, meaning 'things/affairs impossible to predict'.

3. 'Shocks':

'Insulate yourself against shocks' is an electrical image in English, but this is avoided by the translators, who use expressions implying either an adverse situation or attack or an unexpected event.

    Simplified Chinese (China) uses 打击 dǎjī. This is often used as a verb meaning 'to attack' in political slogans (e.g., 'Attack Unhealthy Tendencies in Society'), but as a noun can simply mean 'an adverse blow'.

    Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) spins 'shocks' out into a rather verbose construction. First, to ensure that the meaning is conveyed correctly, the translator adds a clause meaning 'when adversity strikes' (逆境 nìjìng meaning 'adverse situation'). None of the other translators feel the need to set the scene in this way. The expression for 'shock' itself is the all-embracing 打擊輿失誤 dǎjī yǔ shīwù ('attacks and errors').

    Japanese uses ショック shokku from English. Shokku is often used in Japanese where something surprising or unexpected happens. Shokku datta! 'I got a shock!'. It's used even more broadly than in English, with some interesting 1970s examples like Nikuson shokku 'Nixon Shock' (Nixon's recognition of China) and Oiru shokku 'oil shock' (the oil crises).

    Vietnamese uses biến cố không ngờ, which means 'unexpected happenings'. This is a straightforward and natural rendition of the English that emphasises the unexpected nature of the event.

4. 'Insulate Yourself Against':

    Simplified Chinese (China) uses the slightly roundabout 使你自己免受 shǐ nǐ zìjǐ miǎnshòu 'make yourself exempt from receiving/suffering...'. 使 shǐ'to cause' is a written expression with a causative meaning.

    Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) uses a similar expression: 讓你遠離 ràng nǐ yuǎn lí 'make yourself distant from...' ràng has a less bookish feel than 使 shǐbut serves the same function.

    Japanese uses the straightforward 身を守る mi o mamoru 'protect (one's) body/person'. The form mamoru is the 'neutral' form of the verb, not a command.

    Vietnamese also uses the relatively straightforward tự phòng chống 'protect self against...'

Category: Divination

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