Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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Chapter 26: Seen and Unforeseen

 

Chinese (Mainland)
梦境内外
Mèngjìng nèiwài
梦境 mèngjìng = 'dreamland'.
内外 nèiwài = 'inside and outside'
Inside and outside of dreams
Chinese (Taiwan)
看得見與看不見
Kàn-de-jiàn yǔ kàn-bu-jiàn
看得見 kàn-de-jiàn = 'can see, visible'.
= 'and (formal)'.
看不見 kàn-bu-jiàn = 'can't see, invisible'.
Can see and cannot see
Japanese
過去と未来
Kako to mirai
過去 kako = 'past'.
to = 'and'.
未来 mirai 'future'.
Past and future
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Biết và không biết trước biết = 'to know, be aware of'.
= 'and'.
không = 'not'.
biết = 'to know, be aware of'.
trước = 'before, beforehand'.
To know and to not know beforehand

All translators struggle with this title. The English passive is a succinct and elegant form that does not always travel well to other languages. Moreover, it is not totally clear what 'seen' refers to -- Harry's interview in the Quibbler, which was seen by Professor Umbridge, or the dream in which Harry saw through the eyes of Voldemort? 'Unforeseen' refers to Professor Trelawney's dismissal, which she ironically failed to foresee, despite being the teacher for divination.

Departing from literal translation of the English, the Chinese translator comes up with the brief but descriptive 'inside and outside of dreams'. The Japanese translator also departs considerably from the English with 'past and future'.

The Taiwanese translator cleaves closer to the English. For 'unforeseen', the translator uses 看不見 kàn-bu-jiàn, 'can't see, invisible'. Although slightly different in meaning, this does not do great violence to the sense.

The Vietnamese translator manages to stay closest to the 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 25
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