Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation

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




Chapter 8: The Potions Teacher

 

(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) 魔药课老师
Móyào-kè lǎoshī
= 'magic'.
yào = 'medicine'.
= 'subject'.
老师 lǎoshī = 'teacher'.
The magic medicines lesson teacher
Chinese (Taiwan) 魔藥學老師
Móyào-xué lǎoshī
= 'magic'.
yào = 'medicine'.
xué = 'study' or '-ology'.
老師 lǎo-shī = 'teacher'.
The magic medicine-ology teacher
Japanese 魔法薬の先生
Mahō-yaku no sensei
魔法 mahō = 'magic'.
yaku = 'medicine'.
no = connecting particle
先生 sensei = 'teacher'
The magic medicine teacher
Vietnamese Bậc thầy độc dược bậc thầy = master (thầy = 'teacher').
độc () = 'poison'.
dược () = 'medicine'.
The poison medicine master

The Potions teacher is, of course, Professor Snape. The English back-translations here are a bit clumsy so as to bring out the differences in expression.

/ móyào (Chinese) and 魔法 mahō-yaku (Japanese) both simply mean 'magic medicine'. The Vietnamese translates 'potion' as độc dược meaning 'poison medicine'. This is not actually a 'poison medicine', rather it means something with medicinal properties that happens to contain poisonous ingredients.

Incidentally, yào, yaku, and dược (pronounced 'yuoc' or 'zuoc') all trace back to the same Chinese word . What is interesting is that the final 'k' sound has been lost in modern Chinese (Mandarin), but is still retained in Japanese and Vietnamese, as well as Chinese dialects such as Cantonese. The character is the original Chinese character, simplified differently in Japan () and Mainland China ().

The word 先生 sensei means 'teacher' in Japanese. (In Chinese, 先生 xiān-sheng means 'Mr' or 'husband'). The Vietnamese thầy is the usual term of address for a teacher.

(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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