Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 11: The Duelling Club


Simplified Chinese (China)
Juédòu jùlèbù
决斗 juédòu = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
俱乐部 jùlèbù = 'club'
The Duelling Club
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
決鬥 juédòu = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
shè = 'society, club'.
The Duelling Society
Kettō kurabu
決闘 kettō = 'decisive struggle' = 'duel'.
クラブ kurabu = 'club'.
The Duelling Club
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Câu lạc bộ đấu tay đôi câu lạc bộ (俱樂部) = 'club'.
đấu () = 'fight, battle against'.
tay đôi = 'two (together)'
The Duelling Club
Mongolian (previous)
Халз тулааны клуб
Khalz tulaanii klüb
халз тулаан khalz tulaan = 'frontal fight' = 'duel' (genitive form).
клуб klüb = 'club'.
The Duelling Club
Mongolian (new)
Халз тулааны клуб
Khalz tulaanii klüb
халз тулаан khalz tulaan = 'frontal fight' = 'duel' (genitive form).
клуб klüb = 'club'.
The Duelling Club


A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules (Wikipedia). A duel usually requires the presence of witnesses. According to Etymology Online, the word 'duel' is originally from Latin duellum, an Old form of bellum 'war'. It was later reinterpreted as being from Latin duo 'two' and applied to combat between two persons. Such combat was common in the early modern period.

    Chinese and Japanese use the same word for 'duel', having the meaning of 'decisive fight'. However, the common origin of the term in the two languages is obscured by the use of three character variants, , , and , to write dòu or 'struggle, fight'.

    Vietnamese uses đấu, also related to , meaning 'to fight or battle against', along with tay đôi, an expression that means 'two (together)'. Tay đôi and is used where a situation involves two sides, such as 'bilateral policies'. Together đấu tay đôi means 'single combat'.

    The two Mongolian translations use the standard word for 'duel', халз тулаан khalz tulaan, consisting of халз khalz 'frontal' and тулаан tulaan meaning 'fight, struggle'.


It is common both in the West and in East Asia for students to belong to school-affiliated clubs and societies of various types. It is unlikely, however, that many have duelling clubs. The duelling club at Hogwarts was established by Gilderoy Lockhart.

The use of the word 'club' to describe associations of people in English apparently evolved from the idea that people gathered in a 'club-like mass' (i.e., similar to the kind of club for hitting people). The word 'club' has been borrowed into the major East Asian languages.

    The Japanese translation uses the word クラブ kurabu. At one time the Japanese used to write this word as 倶楽部 kurabu, with characters chosen for their meaning: 'together + pleasure + department'. The match to the English pronunciation is rather loose as the three characters should theoretically be read gu-raku-bu.

    The Chinese borrowed the Japanese term in Chinese-character form and proceeded to pronounce it in the Chinese fashion as 俱乐部 jùlèbù, thus taking it further away from the English pronunciation.

    The Vietnamese word for 'club' has in turn been borrowed from Chinese by pronouncing the characters 俱樂部 (Simplified 俱乐部) with their Vietnamese pronunciation as câu lạc bộ. The connection with English 'club' is barely discernible unless you know Chinese characters and the history of the word.

    The Mongolian translators also use the English word, this time borrowed via Russian. While the borrowed form keeps the Russian spelling (клуб klub), it is not pronounced klub as it should be according to the rules of Mongolian orthography. As with other words borrowed from Russian, the vowel у is pronounced not as у (u) but as ү (ü).

    The only translation that avoids using the English borrowing is that from Taiwan, which translates 'club' as shè 'society, club'. This suffix is commonly used in the names of clubs and associations at Taiwanese high schools and universities (thanks to Zeyoung Liou for pointing this out).

(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 10
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