Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed



Simplified Chinese (China)
Duìfù duō-dòng hé fánzào dòngwù de jīběn mózhòu
对付 duìfù = 'to deal with, cope with, counter, tackle'.
多动 duō-dòng = 'active'.
= 'and'.
烦躁 fánzào = 'fidgety, agitated'.
动物 dòngwù = 'animal'.
de = connecting particle
基本 jīběn = 'basic'.
魔咒 mózhòu = 'magic incantation, spell'.
Basic spells to deal with active and fidgety animals
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Wèi mánglù kùnrǎo de péngyǒu suǒ tígòng de jīběn mófǎ
wèi = 'for'.
忙碌 mánglù = 'busy'.
困擾 kùnrǎo = 'perplex, puzzle'.
de = connecting particle
朋友 péngyǒu = 'friend'.
suǒ = 'which'.
提供 tígòng = 'supply, provide'.
de = connecting particle
基本 jīběn = 'basic'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
Basic magic provided for busy and perplexed friends
忙しいビジネス魔ンのための簡単な呪文 ー 即席頭の皮はぎ
Isogashii bijinesuman no tame no kantan na jumon — sokuseki atama no kawa-hagi
忙しい isogashii = 'busy'.
ビジネス魔ン bijinesuman = 'businessman'.
no = connecting particle
ため tame = 'sake, benefit'.
no = connecting particle
簡単な kantan na = 'simple'.
呪文 jumon = 'spell'.
即席 sokuseki = 'instant'.
atama = 'head'.
no = connecting particle
皮はぎ kawa-hagi = 'skin-stripping' = 'skinning'.
Simple spells for busy businessmen — instant scalping
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Bùa Chú Căn Bản Cho Bận Rộn Và Sinh Sự bùa chú = 'charms and incantations'.
căn bản (根本) = 'basic'.
cho = 'for'.
bận rộn = 'busy'.
= 'and'.
sinh sự = 'pick a quarrel'.
Basic spells for the busy and querulous

The English refers to a book of practical spells for people who have neither the time nor the peace of mind to work on difficult spells. A corresponding Muggle title might be Basic Recipes for Those On The Go or Japanese For Busy People.

From the kind of hexes found in the book ('instant scalping', 'pepper breath', and 'horn tongue'), it is also clear that it is designed to help those who feel themselves vexed vent a little spleen!

The Mainland Chinese translator misinterprets 'for' to mean 'for dealing with', and fails to notice that 'busy and vexed' means 'busy and vexed people'. The results are bizarre: the book is transformed into a collection of spells to deal with busy and vexed animals! (Although in the context, that of fighting dragons, this is an understandable error.)

The Taiwanese translator fills in the missing word 'people' (vexed people) with the ubiquitous 朋友 péngyǒu 'friend'. This word is used both in the Mainland and Taiwan to indicate a friendly attitude towards the listener ('little friend' = 'child', 'foreign friend' = 'foreigner', etc.). It is especially beloved of radio and TV announcers.

The Japanese translator translates 'the busy and vexed' as 'busy businessmen', but with a twist. The word bijinesuman is usually written ビジネスマン, but the translator has mischievously inserted the character ma meaning 'demon' or 'magic' instead of katakana ma, yielding ビジネス魔ン bijinesuman.


The Japanese translator adds 'instant scalping' to the title. This is based on the original English, which reads:

    He stared hopelessly down the index of Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed: instant scalping ... but dragons had no hair ... pepper breath ... that would probably increase a dragon's firepower ... horn tongue ... just what he needed, to give it an extra weapon ...

'Instant scalping', 'pepper breath', and 'horn tongue' are all items in the index of Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed. The translator should have kept the name of the book and the index items separate.

Category: Spells and Charms (Popular)

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