Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised


Simplified Chinese (China)
Èlǐsī mójìng
厄里斯 Èlǐsī = 'Elisi'.
= 'magic'.
jìng = 'mirror'.
Elisi Magic Mirror
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Yìruòsī jìng
意若思 Yìruòsī = 'Yiruosi', characters mean 'wish seems like thought'.
jìng = 'mirror'.
Yiruosi Mirror / 'Wish seems like thought' Mirror
Mizo no kagami
みぞ mizo = 'ditch'.
no = connecting particle
kagami = 'mirror'
Mirror of the Ditch / Erised (Desire) Mirror
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Tấm gương Ảo ảnh tấm = counter for mirrors, glass, etc.
gương = 'mirror'.
ảo ảnh (幻影) = 'illusion'.
Mirror of Illusion
Mongolian (previous)
Шидэт толь
Shidet tol'
шид shid = 'supernatural power, magic, sorcery'.
шидэт shidet = 'having magic, magical, supernatural'.
толь tol' = 'mirror'.
Magic Mirror
Mongolian (new)
Хүслийн толь
Khusliin tol'
хүсэл khüsel = 'wish, desire'. (Genitive form хүслийн khüsliin 'of desire'.)
толь tol' = 'mirror'.
Mirror of Desire

Neither the Taiwanese nor Mainland Chinese version tries to reproduce the trick name of the mirror ('Erised' is 'desire' spelt backwards - the full English name means 'I show not your face but your heart's desire'). They simply approximate the sound. The Taiwanese version is the more creative of the two: 意若思 yì ruò sī means roughly 'wish seems like thought' or 'meaning is like what you think', an indication of the nature of the mirror.

The Japanese translator is more creative: she reverses the syllables of 望み nozomi 'desire' to yield 溝の mizo no, 'of the ditch' (shown in hiragana as みぞの mizo no in order not to obscure the connection). Fortunately, reversing nozomi yields a real Japanese word, and even better, it vaguely suggests the idea of being trapped in a ditch! Note that it is the syllables, not the individual letters, that are inverted: NO-ZO-MI is reversed to MI-ZO-NO.

The Vietnamese calls the mirror the 'Mirror of Illusion' and explains the derivation of the English name in a footnote.

The previous Mongolian translation simply called the Mirror of Erised a 'magic mirror'. The newer translation calls it the 'mirror of desire', in line with its (unreversed) meaning in English.

(For a more thorough treatment, see Word Play: The Mirror of Erised.)

(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 11
Back to Top