Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat


Simplified Chinese (China)
fēn = 'divide'.
yuàn = 'house'.
mào = 'hat'.
The House-sorting Hat
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
fēn = 'divide'.
lèi = 'type'.
mào = 'hat'.
The Sorting/ Classification Hat
Kumi-wake bōshi
kumi = 'class'.
分け wake = 'division'.
帽子 bōshi = 'hat'
The Class-sorting Hat
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Chiếc nón phần loại chiếc = counter for hats, particularly conical styles
nón = 'hat'.
phần () = 'divide'.
loại () = 'type'.
The (pointed) Sorting Hat
Mongolian (previous)
Хуваарилагч малгай
Khuvaar'lagch malgai
хуваарилагч khuvaar'lagch = 'divider, distributor (one who divides or distributes)'.
малгай malgai = 'hat, cap, headgear (broad sense)'.
The Allocator Headgear
Mongolian (new)
Хуваарилагч бүрх
Khuvaar'lagch bürkh
хуваарилагч khuvaar'lagch = 'divider, distributor (one who divides or distributes)'.
бүрх bürkh = 'hat (narrow sense)'.
The Allocator Hat

This is the famous hat that assigns new students to their respective houses in Hogwarts. Each year the hat makes up a new song to sing to the students.

For the text of the song that the sorting hat sang, see Sorting Hat's Song.


In English, a 'hat' generally refers to a traditional style of hat with a brim. While usage varies, items such as 'caps' and 'beanies' tend to be regarded as separate categories on their own rather than as a type of hat. In the languages covered here, there is a greater tendency to include all types of headwear under a single term.

    Chinese 帽子 màozi and Japanese 帽子 bōshi both tend to refer to headwear in general. Translators use this term for the sorting hat.

    Vietnamese nón can refer to hats in general. However, in combination with the counter chiếc it refers specifically to traditional conical straw hats as used in the Vietnamese countryside. The Vietnamese translation appears to be presenting the sorting hat as this kind of straw hat.

    Mongolian малгай malgai is also used for headwear in general and was used in the previous translation. The new translation uses the term бүрх bürkh, which corresponds more closely to the narrow sense of 'hat' in English.


The English name of the hat refers only to 'sorting', without explicitly indicating what students are sorted into. In the CJV languages, all translations specify what the hat sorts people into. In fact, it would sound nonsensical in these languages to speak only of a hat that 'sorts'. Only the Mongolian translations follow the English.

    The Taiwanese and Vietnamese translations refer to a division into 'sorts' or 'types' ( lèi or loại).

    The Mainland Chinese and Japanese versions indicate a division into 'houses' ( yuàn) or 'classes' ( kumi).

To indicate sorting, translations use words meaning 'to divide' or 'to distribute'.

    The Chinese word for 'to sort', fēn, is the same as that in Chapter 6, where it is used for fractions, but here it is a verb meaning 'to divide'. Both 分院 fēn-yuàn and 分類 fēnlèi form compound expressions meaning 'divide-house' and 'divide-type' respectively.

    Vietnamese uses phần, a borrowing from Chinese . Like the Chinese, phần loại forms an expression meaning 'divide-type'.

    Japanese uses the verb 分ける wakeru 'to divide'. In the word 組分け kumi-wake 'division into (school) classes', the verb is truncated to 分け -wake 'division', which constitutes a kind of deverbal noun. 分け -wake is found in compound words like 組分け kumi-wake and 手分け te-wake 'dividing up (for a job)', etc.*

    In the Mongolian, the word for 'sorting' is хуваарилагч khuvaar'lagch, from the verb хуваарилах khuvaar'lakh = 'divide, distribute, allot'. It has the meaning of 'one who divides, distributes, or allots'.

In the Chinese translations the words in 'sorting hat' are bound closely together, forming the compound expressions 分院帽 fēn-yuàn-mào and 分類帽 fēnlèi-mào. These drop the -zi from the independent word for 'hat', which is 帽子 màozi. The result is a more tightly bound expression.

* Cases where a deverbal noun is used in a compound word can be found throughout titles in the Harry Potter series: The Burrow, The Whomping Willow, The Knight Bus, The Leaky Cauldron, The Boggart in the Wardrobe, Back to the Burrow, The Weighing of the Wands, The Death Eaters, The Sorting Hat's New Song, Draco's Detour, The Tale of the Three Brothers, The Wandmaker, The Final Hiding Place, The Missing Mirror, The Lost Diadem, and The Prince's Tale. There are also cases where a deverbal noun is used as an independent noun, that is, not part of a compound word.

(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 6
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