The Names of Gadgets and Objects in Harry Potter
|古卜莱仙 Gǔbǔláixiān =
'Gubraithian'. (Phonetic in function but with the following meanings: 古 =
old, 卜 =
divination, 仙 = celestial, fairy, immortal.)
火 huǒ = 'fire'.
|Gubraithian fire (Gubulai immortal/fairy/celestial fire)|
|不 bù =
滅 miè = 'go out, be extinguished'.
火 huǒ = 'fire'.
Gubureishian no hi
|グブレイシアン Gubureishian =
の no = connecting particle
火 hi = 'fire'.
|Fire of Gubraithian|
||Lửa = 'fire'.
Gubraithian = 'Gubraithian'.
A branch of Gubraithian fire is a peace offering Dumbledore prepared for Hagrid and Olympe to give to the Gurg of the giants (Book 5, chapter 20, Hagrid's Tale). Gubraithian fire is an everlasting fire.
The Japanese translator appears to have been confused by the name ('Fire of Gubraithia? Fire of 'Gubraith'?). She has translitered the pronunciation directly from English, which yields the awkward 'Fire of Gubraithian'. A less anglicised version might have been, for instance, グブライスの火 Guburaisu no hi 'fire of Gubraith', depending on the original Celtic pronunciation. The Vietnamese translation also adopts the English word unchanged.
By contrast, the Mainland Chinese version is quite a creditable effort. Gǔbǔláixiān is phonetic but several characters have meaning: 古 = old, 卜 = divination, 仙 = celestial, fairy, immortal. In Chinese, this name could be interpreted as gǔbǔlái xiān-huǒ Gubulai Celestial/Fairy/Immortal Fire.
The Taiwanese version avoids all these problems by translating Gubraithian fire as 'undying fire'. This is a fairly sensible solution -- there is no real need to burden the reader with obscure and incomprehensible English terms -- but does detract from Harry and Ron's puzzled response ('A branch of --?') and Hermione's explanation, 'Everlasting fire'. (In the Taiwanese translation, 'Everlasting fire' becomes 永遠不會熄滅的火啦！ yǒngyuǎn bú huì xīmiè de huǒ la! 'Fire that will never go out!')