Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived


Simplified Chinese (China)
Dànàn bù sǐ de nánhái
大难不死 dànàn bù sǐ = 'great disaster not die'.
的 de = connecting particle
男孩 nánhái = 'male child' (boy).
The Boy Who Did Not Die in a Disaster
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Huó-xiàlái de nánhái
huó = 'to live'.
下來 -xiàlái = 'to come down, continue on down to the present'.
de = connecting particle
男孩 nánhái = 'male child' (boy).
The Boy Who Lived On
Ikinokotta otoko-no-ko
生き残る ikinokoru 'survive, live' (Past tense).
男の子 otoko-no-ko = 'male child' (boy).
The Boy Who Survived
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Đứa bé vẫn sống đứa bé = 'boy' (đứa = classifier for children, etc., = 'small/young').
vẫn = 'still'.
sống = 'alive'.
The Boy Who is Still Alive/The Boy is Still Alive
Mongolian (previous)
Ус уух хувьтай хүү
Us uukh khuv'tai khüü
ус us = 'water'.
уух uukh = 'drink'.
хувьтай khuv'tai = 'have a destiny'.
ус уух хувьтай us uukh khuvtai = 'survive a dangerous situation'.
хүү khüü = 'boy'.
The Boy Who Survived
Mongolian (new)
Амьд үлдсэн хүү
Am'd üldsen khüü
амьд am'd = 'alive'.
үлдэх üldekh 'remain' (Past tense).
хүү khüü = 'boy'.
The Boy Who Remained Alive

In 'The Boy Who Lived', the word 'lived' has a rather special meaning, different from, say, 'Trolls lived in the mountains' or 'Witches lived in the sixteenth century'. Here it means to survive an accident or disaster, as in the phrase 'to live to tell the tale'. All the translations reflect this meaning (although the Vietnamese is rather weak - it rather implies that Harry is not dead yet!).

    The Mainland Chinese version uses 大难不死 dànàn bù sǐ 'great disaster not die', a set phrase that is used in cases of a lucky or miraculous escape from death. It originally formed the first part of the Chinese proverb 大难不死必有后福 dànàn bù sǐ bì yǒu hòufú: 'After surviving a great disaster, one is bound to have good fortune in later years.'

    The previous Mongolian translation uses an expression meaning 'survive a dangerous situation', literally 'have a destiny to drink water'.

    The Taiwanese translation uses the expression 活下來 huó-xiàlái 'live and come down', that is live down to the present.

    The Japanese translation uses the verb 生き残る iki-nokoru 'survive', formed from 生きる ikiru 'be alive' and 残る nokoru 'remain'.

    The new Mongolian translation simply translates the title as 'The boy who remained alive'.

    The Vietnamese translation, vẫn sống, means 'still alive'.

(A summary of this chapter can be found at Harry Potter Facts. Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

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