Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Chapter 27: The Lightning-Struck Tower



Simplified Chinese (China)
Bèi shǎndiàn jīzhòng de tǎlóu
bèi = passive particle
闪电 shǎndiàn = 'lightning'.
击中 jīzhòng = 'strike, hit (a target)'.
de = connecting particle
塔楼 tǎlóu = 'tower building, turret'.
The tower that was struck by lightning
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Shǎndiàn jízhòng de gāotǎ
閃電 shǎndiàn = 'lightning'.
擊中 jízhòng = 'strike, hit (a target)'.
de = connecting particle
高塔 gāotǎ = 'tall tower'.
Tall tower that was struck by lightning
Inazuma ni utareta tō
稲妻 inazuma = 'lightning'.
ni = particle (here meaning 'by')
撃たれた utareta = 'was hit by' (past tense of 撃たれる utareru 'to be hit', passive of 撃つ utsu 'to hit').
= 'tower'.
The tower that was struck by lightning
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Tháp sét đánh tháp () = 'tower'.
sét = 'thunder, lightning'.
đánh = 'to strike'.
The lightning-struck tower.

A fairly literal translation of a very succinct English expression. The Taiwanese version demonstrates that it is perfectly possible to make sense in Chinese without slavishly translating the passive.

The Japanese word 稲妻 inazuma, meaning 'lightning', has the rather poetic meaning 'bride of paddy rice'.

Note the character used to write utsu in Japanese. There are a number of characters that can be used to write utsu, with slightly different meanings. 打つ means 'to hit or strike with force'. 討つ means 'to strike and destroy' using weapons such as swords. 撃つ means 'to attack' with arrows or bullets. There are several others. The existence of a choice of characters derives from the fact that the general Japanese word utsu, 'to hit', corresponds in meaning to several different Chinese words ( , tǎo, Mainland / Taiwan), all with somewhat different meanings. It is a testimony to the enduring nature of this system that the Japanese translation ends up using the same character, (), as the Chinese translations.

(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 26
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