Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Chapter 5: Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes


Simplified Chinese (China)
Wéisīlái mófǎ bǎxì
韦斯莱 Wéisīlái = 'Weasley'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
把戏 bǎxì = 'cheap trick, game'.
Weasley's magic tricks
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Wèishì wūshī fǎbǎo
Wèi = 'Weasley' (short for 衛斯理 Wèisīlǐ ).
shì = 'family, clan'.
巫師 wūshī = 'wizard'.
法寶 fǎbǎo = 'jewel of the law' = 'magic weapon/formula'.
Weasley family's wizard magic weapons
Wiizurii Wizādo Wiizu (WWW)
ウィーズリー Wiizurii = 'Weasley'.
ウィザード Wizādo = 'Wizard'
ウィーズ Wiizu = 'Wheeze'.

Wiizurii Wizaado Wiizu (WWW)
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Mánh phù thủy của nhà Weasley mánh = 'trick, ruse'.
phù thủy = 'sorceror, wizard'.
của = 'of'.
nhà = 'house'.
Weasley (pronunciation: Guýt-li)
Wizard's tricks of the house of Weasley

To translate the word 'wheeze', which means something like 'an old joke', the Mainland and Vietnamese translators use words referring to a trick or a prank.

The Taiwanese translator uses the Buddhist term 法寶 fǎbǎo, 'jewel of the law', which actually refers to the Buddhist sutras. By extension (thanks to certain magical powers attributed to Buddhism) it means a 'magic weapon or formula'.

The Japanese translator transliterates the three words 'Weasley Wizard Wheeze' into katakana, adding a 'W' above each word to indicate the alliterative effect. Japanese readers would be hard put to make sense of this. Apart from the fact that it involves the Weasleys and is an English expression, it doesn't say much. Understanding would come only with Ron's explanation half way through the chapter. While not the best method of translation, it does give a good illustration of the great tolerance of the Japanese for katakana vocabulary (i.e., words transliterated from English).

(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 4
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