Bathrobe's Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


Weird Wizarding Dilemmas and Their Solutions


Chinese (Mainland) 古怪的魔法难题及其解答
Gǔguài de mófǎ nántí jí qí jiědá
古怪 gǔguài = 'eccentric, odd, strange'.
de = connecting particle
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
难题 nántí = 'difficult problem'.
= 'and' (formal).
= 'its, their' (formal).
解答 jiědá = 'answer, explanation'.
Odd magical problems and their answers
Chinese (Taiwan) 怪異魔法困境及其解決方式
Guàiyì mófǎ kùnjìng jí qí jiějué fāngshì
怪異 guàiyì = 'monstrous, strange, unusual'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
困境 kùnjìng = 'difficult position, predicament'.
= 'and' (formal).
= 'its, their' (formal).
解決 jiějué = 'solution, resolution'.
方式 fāngshì = 'way, fashion, pattern'.
Strange magical predicaments and their methods of solution
Japanese 奇妙な魔法のジレンマとその解決法
Kimyō na mahō no jirenma to sono kaiketsu-hō
奇妙な kimyō na = 'strange, weird'.
魔法 mahō = 'magic'.
no = connecting particle
ジレンマ jirenma = 'dilemma' (from English).
to = 'and'.
その sono = 'its, their'.
解決 kaiketsu = 'solution'.
= 'method'.
Weird magical dilemmas and their methods of solution
Vietnamese Những Thế Bí Pháp Thuật Quái Đản Và Giải Pháp những = plural marker
thế bí = 'difficulties, embarrassing situation'.
pháp thuật (法術) = 'magic'.
quái đản (怪誕) = 'fantastic, monstrous, weird'.
= 'and'.
giải pháp (解法) = 'solution (to a problem)'.
Weird magic difficulties and solutions


The persistent impression gained from the Mainland Chinese translations of Harry Potter is that the translators are scholarly types who know only what they read in books. For some examples, see the footnotes to the Chinese translation of Harry Potter, which dish up fascinating tidbits like 'Majorca, in the western Mediterranean, belongs to Spain'.

The serious schoolbookish tone shows through in this title. The English version has a slightly colloquial feel. 'Weird' is the kind of informal word that appeals to young people. This is the sort of title that might be expected of a book of dilemmas in real-world wizardry. Instead, the Chinese translator interprets it as a book of problems of the type studied by earnest young students swotting to pass their exams, complete with the correct answers at the back of the book!

The Taiwanese translator is somewhat closer to the mark with her choice of 困境 kùn-jìng meaning 'predicament' or 'difficult spot'. The 'solutions' are less cut-and-dried answers than suggestions for resolving the problem.

The Vietnamese and Japanese translations are also closer to a book of practical solutions than a book of model problems.

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