Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 16: Through the Trapdoor


Simplified Chinese (China)
Chuānyuè huóbǎn-mén
穿越 chuānyuè = 'pass through'.
活板门 huóbǎn-mén = 'trap door'.
Passing Through the Trap Door
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Chuānyuè huóbǎn-mén
穿越 chuānyuè = 'pass through'.
活板門 huóbǎn-mén = 'trap door'.
Passing Through the Trap Door
Shikakerareta wana
仕掛ける shikakeru = 'set' (Past passive, 'was set')
wana = 'trap'.
The Set Trap (The Trap That Was Set)
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Bẫy sập bẫy sập = trap door.
Trap Door
Mongolian (previous)
Сөхдөг хаалганы цаана
Sökhdög khaalagnii tsaan
сөхөх 'lift up, raise up, open' (Habitual form).
хаалга khaalag = 'door'. (Genitive form).
сөхдөг хаалга sökhdög khaalag = 'trap door'.
цаана tsaan = 'beyond, other side'.
Beyond the Trap Door
Mongolian (new)
Нүх рүү орсон нь
Nükh rüü orson n'
нүх nükh = 'hole, opening'.
рүү rüü = 'into, to'.
орох orokh = 'go into' (Past Tense).
нь n' = 'about'.
Going into the Opening

The Chinese versions are faithful to the English, referring to passing through the trap door.

The Chinese word for 'trap door' is interesting. As we saw in the title for Chapter 1, huó means 'to live'. It also has the meaning of 'movable', 'flexible', 'not fixed'. Something that is rigid or fixed is called or 'dead'. In this case, a trap door is literally a 'live board door', i.e., a door with a 'moving board'.

The Vietnamese departs slightly from the English, using only the word for 'trap door', bẫy sập.

The older Mongolian translation refers to 'beyond the trap door'. The word for trap door is сөхдөг хаалга sökhdög khaalag, meaning a door that 'lifts up', 'opens up', 'raises up'.

The newer Mongolian version translates the title more freely as 'going into the opening'. It concludes with the particle нь n', which is used in titles to indicate that this is a story about 'what happened when'.

The Japanese translator latches on to the 'trap' in 'trap door' and changes the meaning completely into a 'set trap' (or 'set traps').

(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 15
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