Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation
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Chapter 8: The Potions Teacher

 

Chinese (Mainland)
魔药课老师
Móyào-kè lǎoshī
= 'magic'.
yào = 'medicine'.
= 'subject'.
老师 lǎoshī = 'teacher'.
The Magic Medicine 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 (Chinese characters show etymology)
Bậc thầy độc dược bậc thầy = master (thầy = 'teacher').
độc () = 'poison'.
dược () = 'medicine'.
The Poison Medicine Master
Mongolian (previous)
Шидэт уусмалын багш
Shidet uusmaliin bagsh
шид shid = 'supernatural power, magic, sorcery'.
шидэт shidet = 'having magic, magical, supernatural'.
уусмал uusmal = 'solution' (Genitive form).
багш bagsh = 'teacher'. (From Chinese 博士 bóshì ='doctor (academic)'.)
The Teacher of Magical Solutions
Mongolian (new)
Шидэт уусмалын багш
Shidet uusmaliin bagsh
шид shid = 'supernatural power, magic, sorcery'.
шидэт shidet = 'having magic, magical, supernatural'.
уусмал uusmal = 'solution' (Genitive form).
багш bagsh = 'teacher'. (From Chinese 博士 bóshì ='doctor (academic)'.)
The Teacher of Magical Solutions

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.

Potions

A potion is 'a liquid with healing, magical, or poisonous properties'.

    The Chinese translations use 魔药 / 魔藥 móyào meaning 'magic medicine'.

    Similarly, the Japanese uses 魔法 mahō-yaku 'magic medicine'.

    The Mongolian uses шидэг уусмал shidet uusmal 'magical solution'.

    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 ().

Teacher

    The Chinese word for 'teacher' is 老师 / 老師 lǎoshī.

    The Japanese word 先生 sensei means 'teacher'. In Chinese, 先生 xiān-sheng means 'Mr' or 'husband'.

    The Vietnamese thầy is the usual term of address for a teacher.

    The Mongolian word for 'teacher', багш, was originally borrowed from Chinese 博士 bóshì ='doctor (academic)', as in 'doctorate' or 'doctor's degree'.

(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 7
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