Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Chapter 15: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang


Simplified Chinese (China)
Bùsībādùn hé Démǔsītèlǎng
布斯巴顿 Bùsībādùn = 'Beauxbatons'.
= 'and'.
德姆斯特朗 Démǔsītèlǎng = 'Durmstrang'
Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Bōbādòng yǔ Démǔlán
波巴洞 BōbādòngPōbādòng?) = 'Beauxbatons'.
= 'and' (written).
德姆蘭 Démǔlán = 'Durmstrang'.
Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
Bōbaton to Dāmustorangu
ボーバトン Bōbaton = 'Beauxbatons'.
to = 'and'.
ダームストラング Dāmustorangu = 'Durmstrang'.
Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Trường Beauxbatons và trường Durmstrang trường () = 'school'. Beauxbatons (pronunciation: Bô-ba-tông).
= 'and'.
trường () = 'school'.
Durmstrang (pronunciation: Đơm-xtrang).
Beauxbatons school and Durmstrang school

The European flavour of these names is apparent to an English speaker. Beauxbatons, with the exotic spelling 'beaux', is obviously French. Durmstrang, with its 'ur' and 'str' spelling combinations, is German in feeling, reminiscent of the 'Sturm and Drang' (Storm and Stress) movement in German literature of the 19th century. But while it sounds German, Durmstrang does not seem to be a German school, or at least, not a purely German school. Karkaroff is a Slavic name and Krum is a Bulgarian.

How is this handled in languages, such as Chinese and Japanese, where the Roman alphabet is not used and there is less familiarity with European cultures?

    The Mainland translator is completely unacquainted with either French or German. The silent 'x' in Beauxbatons is spelt out and the 'str' combination in Durmstrang is rendered as 'str' rather than 'shtr'. For the Chinese reader, the names of the schools are merely two cumbersome foreign words.

    The Taiwanese translator appears more savvy about French, rendered as 波巴洞 Bōbādòng. In the case of 'Durmstrang', however, phonetic accuracy is sacrificed in favour of a three-character expression (德姆蘭 Démǔlán).

    In the Vietnamese version, the English words are used without change. Looking at the pronunciation footnotes, the representation of French 'ons' (in fact, a nasalised 'o') as 'ong' is traditional. Đơm-xtrang is modelled on an anglicised pronunciation.

    The Japanese version also seems to be based on an anglicised pronunciation of the two words. While most English speakers know enough about French to pronounce 'Beauxbatons' as 'Bo-baton', many are inclined to pronounce 'Durmstrang' as though it were an English word. This is reflected in the transliterations ボーバトン Bōbaton and ダームストラング Dāmustorangu.

Note: Schools and universities in Vietnam are normally prefixed with trường meaning 'school'.

(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 14
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