Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Chapter 18: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs


Simplified Chinese (China)
Yuèliang-liǎn, Chóng-wěiba, Dà-jiǎobǎn hé Jiǎntóu chāzi
月亮脸 Yuèliang-liǎn = 'moon face'.
虫尾巴 Chóng-wěiba = 'worm tail'.
大脚板 Dà-jiǎobǎn = 'large foot-sole' (dialect).
= 'and'.
尖头叉子 Jiǎntóu chāzi = 'sharp-end prongs'.
Moon face, worm tail, large foot-sole and sharp prongs
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Yuèyǐng, Chóngwěi, Shòuzú yǔ Lùjiǎo
月影 Yuèyǐng = 'moon reflection/shadow'.
蟲尾 Chóngwěi = 'worm tail'.
獸足 Shòuzú = 'beast foot'.
= 'and' (written).
鹿角 Lùjiǎo = 'deer horn, antler'.
Moon reflection, worm tail, beast foot and deer horns
Mūnii, Wāmutēru, Paddofutto, Pronguzu
ムーニー Mūnii = 'moony'.
ワームテール Wāmutēru = 'wormtail'.
パッドフット Paddofutto = 'padfoot'.
プロングズ Puronguzu = 'prongs'.
Moony, wormtail, padfoot, prongs
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Mơ mộng ngớ ngẩn, Đuôi trùn, Chân nhồi bông, và Dây nhợ lòng thòng mơ mộng = 'day dream'.
ngớ ngẩn = 'simple, foolish, empty-headed'.
đuôi = 'tail'.
trùn = 'earthworm'.
chân = 'foot, leg, paw'.
nhồi = 'stuffed, padded'.
bông = 'cotton'.
= 'and'.
dây = 'string, wire'.
nhợ = 'rope, cord'.
lòng thòng = 'hanging down, dangling'.
Foolish day dream, earthworm tail, cotton-padded paw, dangling wires.

The nicknames of the four schoolmates indicate the animal that they habitually transform into. Of course, the meaning can't be made too clear at the outset or it would spoil the story.

In general, the Mainland and Taiwanese translations make a creditable attempt at rendering the English names in Chinese but the flavour of the names so created is quite different. The Taiwanese version takes advantage of the economy and conciseness of written Chinese to coin short two-character compounds. The Mainland translator uses longer colloquial expressions of 3-4 characters. The difference between modern colloquial speech and the traditional written language can be seen in examples such as yuèliang (modern colloquial) vs yuè (classical written) for 'moon', and wěiba (modern colloquial) vs wěi (classical written) for 'tail'.

The Vietnamese translator also tries to capture the meaning of the English but goes somewhat astray. 'Moony' appears to have been confused with 'mooning about', losing the important connection with the moon. 'Padfoot' becomes 'cotton-padded foot or paw'. 'Prongs' has for some inexplicable reason been transformed into 'dangling cords or wires' - no connection with the magnificent deer Patronus here!

The Japanese simply transliterates the English names into katakana, which loses the meaning unless the reader is able to make the connection via English (which is quite possible - most Japanese, for instance, would be able to connect Mūnii with 'moon' -- that is, if they don't they confuse it with a well known brand of paper nappies!)

(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 17
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