Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation
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Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel

 

Chinese (Mainland)
尼可・勒梅
Níkě Lèméi
尼可 Níkě = 'Nick'
勒梅 Lèméi = 'Lemei'.
Nick Lemei
Chinese (Taiwan)
尋找尼樂・勒梅
Xúnzhǎo Nílè Lèméi
尋找 xúnzhǎo = 'to seek'.
尼樂 Nílè = 'Ni-le'.
勒梅 Lèméi= 'Lemei'.
Looking for Ni-le Lemei
Japanese
ニコラス・フラメル
Nikorasu Furameru
ニコラス Nikorasu = 'Nicolas'.
フラメル Furameru = 'Flamel'.
Nicolas Flamel
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Nicolas Flamel Nicolas Flamel (pronunciation: Ni-cô-lát La-men). Nicolas Flamel
Mongolian (previous)
Николас Фламел
Nikolas Flamel
Николас Nikolas = 'Nicolas'.
Фламел Flamel = 'Flamel'.
Nicolas Flamel
Mongolian (new)
Николас Фламел
Nikolas Flamel
Николас Nikolas = 'Nicolas'.
Фламел Flamel = 'Flamel'.
Nicolas Flamel

Nicolas Flamel is a historical figure from the 12th-13th centuries who is supposed to have found the secret of the Philosopher's Stone. The English name that corresponds to 'Nicolas' is 'Nicholas', with the final 's' pronounced. In contemporary French, however, 'Nicolas' should be pronounced 'Nicola' (/nikɔla/), with the final 's' being silent.

The Japanese, Vietnamese, and Mongolian translators do not appear to have been aware of the French pronunciation. They all indicate that the 's' should be pronounced.

Nicolas

In Japanese, the generally accepted pronunciation of his name is ニコラ Nikora. The Japanese translator gives ニコラス Nikorasu.

In Vietnamese the name is spelt 'Nicolas Flamel'. In the originally published instalments, a footnote indicates that the pronunciation of 'Nicolas' is Ni-cô-lát.

Both Mongolian versions give the name as Николас nikolas. Note that Russian practice, which Mongolian generally takes as a model, is to render 'Nicola' as Николя nikolya.

Flamel

'Flamel' is rendered in Japanese as フラメル Furameru, which is the standard rendition of this name whether the original is English or French.

In Vietnamese it is written 'Flamel', but a footnote in the original instalments indicates that this should be pronounced La-men, presumably because 'fl' is difficult for Vietnamese speakers to pronounce.

In the Mongolian translations, 'Flamel' is rendered as Фламел flamel. This is a direct transliteration of the English. As is standard for transliterations from foreign languages, the Cyrillic letter э ('e') is replaced by е ('e'). It is worth noting, however, that the Mongolian has not followed the Russian transliteration, which is Фламель flamel'. The soft sign at the end of the Russian name indicates that the final л ('l') is pronounceed as a light 'l', as in French.

Chinese

The Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese translators come up with slightly different versions of the name, neither of which tries to be phonetically accurate. As in other places in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it is clear that the Mainland translator was guided by the Taiwanese translation, which appeared earlier.

The Mainland translator changes the Taiwanese translator's very impressionistic transliteration of 'Nicolas', 尼樂 Nílè, into something approximating the English name 'Nick', i.e., 尼可 Níkě.

'Flamel' is rendered in both versions as 勒梅 Lèméi.

But not even 尼可・勒梅 Níkě Lèméi comes very close to being an accurate transliteration of the French alchemist's name. Although there is no standard transliteration of Nicolas Flamel's name in Chinese, the following are some possible renderings gleaned from the Internet:

  • 尼古拉·弗拉梅尔 Nígǔlā Fúlāméi'ěr
  • 尼古拉·弗勒梅 Nígǔlā Fúlèméi
  • 尼古拉·弗拉曼尔 Nígǔlā Fúlāmàn'ěr

(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 12
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