Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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Chapter 24: Sectumsempra

 

Chinese (Mainland)
神锋无影
Shénfēng wúyǐng
神锋 shénfēng = 'magic blade, supernatural blade'.
无影 wúyǐng = 'no shadow, no trace'.
Magic blade no trace
Chinese (Taiwan)
撕淌三步殺
Sītǎng sānbù-shā
= 'to rip, tear'.
tǎng = 'to drip, trickle'.
三步 sānbù = 'three paces'.
shā = 'to kill'.
Rip drip three-paces kill
Japanese
セクタムセンプラ
Sekutamusenpura
セクタムセンプラ sekutamusenpura = 'Sectumsempra'
Sectumsempra
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Cắt sâu mãi mãi cắt = 'to cut'.
sâu = 'deep'.
mãi mãi = 'forever'.
Cut deeply forever

Sectumsempra is a spell that Harry learnt from the half-blood prince's potions book. He uses it in a fight with Malfoy, without realising what it actually does. To his surprise, blood spurts out of Malfoy's face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. 'Sectumsempra' is made up of 'sectum' from Latin sectus (past participle of the verb seco 'to cut') and sempra 'forever'. The meaning appears to be 'to cut forever', or possibly 'to always (unfailingly?) cut'.

The Mainland translator creates the excellent 神锋无影 shénfēng wúyǐng, a 'supernatural blade that leaves no trace'.

The Taiwanese version attempts to retain some semblance of the English pronunciation, while imbuing it with meaning in Chinese. Sītǎng sānbù-shā is similar to 'Septumsempra' in sound. The meaning is 'rip, drip, three paces kill', which brings out the action of slashing, the trickling of blood, and the ability to kill at three paces (or to kill in three steps?).

The Vietnamese translator follows the etymology of the English: Sectum = cắt sâu ('cut deeply'), Sempra = mãi mãi ('forever').

The Japanese translator simply transliterates the English name.

(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 23
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