Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation

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Harry Potter:
Mistranslations in the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese versions


What did the boa constrictor say to Harry as it left for Brazil? (Taiwanese and Chinese versions)


Whether you read the Taiwanese or the Mainland version of Harry Potter in Chinese, you'll have a hard time finding out what the boa constrictor actually said to Harry as it escaped from its tank in the reptile house (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 2).

In the English original, the crucial passage runs:

The Taiwanese version goes:

We might equally ask where the snake's speaking debut went to. This sentence is a vital clue to the origin of the menacing whisper that Harry hears in Book 2. Not being aware that Harry can hear snakes talk, Taiwanese readers miss that clue, which spoils the effect somewhat.

Turning to the Mainland edition, we find the following:

This remarkable change of story (the snake had only just told Harry that he was born in the zoo) puts our friend the snake in a somewhat different light. At the very least, he doesn't come across as very truthful.

The upshot of all this is that roughly one quarter of mankind is denied the pleasure of knowing what the snake actually said - unless, of course, they read the English original.

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