Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Chapter Titles in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese

Chapter 2: The Vanishing Glass


(For the romanisation of Chinese and Japanese, see Transliteration. To understand the writing systems of CJV, see Writing Systems. For word order notes, see Word Order)

Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese characters are shown in parentheses.


Chinese (Mainland) 悄悄消失的玻璃
Qiāoqiāo xiāoshī de bōli
悄悄 qiāoqiāo = 'quietly'.
消失 xiāoshī = 'to vanish'.
de = connecting particle
玻璃 bōli = 'glass'.
The glass that quietly vanished
Chinese (Taiwan) 消失的玻璃
Xiāoshī de bōli
消失 xiāoshī = 'to vanish'.
de = connecting particle
玻璃 bōli = 'glass'.
The glass that vanished
Japanese 消えたガラス
Kieta garasu
消えた kieta, past tense of 消える kieru 'to vanish, disappear'.
ガラス garasu = 'glass', from Dutch. Refers to the substance, as in 'a pane of glass'.
(A glass container or cup is called a グラス gurasu, from English 'glass'.)
The glass that vanished
Vietnamese Tấm kính biến mất tấm = counter for glass, mirrors, etc. Indicates a pane of glass.
kính () = 'glass, glasses'.
biến mất = 'vanish'.
The glass that vanished/The glass vanishes

The 'vanishing glass' refers, of course, to the pane of glass in front of the boa constrictor's enclosure at the zoo which vanished mysteriously when Dursley knocked Harry out of the way to have a look. (In the book the pane of glass just vanished and let the snake out. In the movie, it vanished and reappeared again when the snake had gone, trapping Dudley on the wrong side of the glass!)

This chapter title looks like a fairly straightforward expression, but English is a tricksy language with more meanings than first meet the eye.

First, 'vanishing' here has two possible meanings: (1) Present tense: a glass that vanishes (e.g., a kind of trick or magical glass that has the property of vanishing if you try and touch it), and (2) Past tense: a glass that vanished (for instance, a mystery story about 'the case of the vanishing glass'). Here the correct meaning is the second one, and that's how it's been translated in all three languages.

Secondly, the English doesn't make it clear whether it was a pane of glass, a glass container, or even an eye-glass that vanished -- it could easily have been a glass of water that disappeared from a table, for instance. The translations all make it clear that glass (a pane of glass) and not a glass was meant.

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

Chapter 1
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