Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation

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Names of Places in the Chinese translations of Harry Potter

 

(For the romanisation of Chinese and Japanese, see Transliteration. To understand the writing systems of CJV, see Writing Systems.)

 

PLACE NAMES
English
Mainland
Taiwan
Notes
Privet Drive 女贞路
Nǚzhēn Lù
水蠟樹街
Shuǐlà-shù Jiē
Both 女贞 nǚzhēn and 水蠟樹 shuǐlà-shù are types of plant. Although given in English-Chinese dictionaries as translations for 'privet', they are actually somewhat different plants.

It is clear that Little Whinging is one of those relatively new urban developments where all the streets have been named after a particular theme (in this case 'flowers'), in keeping with Rowling's characterisation of it as an extremely boring place.
Magnolia Crescent 木兰花新月街
Mùlán-huā Xīnyuè Jiē
蘭月街
Lányuè Jiē
The Mainland version means 'Magnolia-flower New-moon Street'. The Taiwanese version means 'Orchid Moon Street'. It is not clear looking at the two names that 'Crescent' is just a fancy word for a kind of street (a curved street). They are quite likely to be interpreted as 'Magnolia-Newmoon Street' and 'Orchidmoon Street' respectively.

Incidentally, Magnolia Road is 木兰花路 Mùlán-huā Lù ('Magnolia-flower Road') and 木蘭路 Mùlán Lù ('Magnolia Road') respectively. The connection between the names of the two streets is quite unclear in the Taiwanese version.
Little Whinging 小惠金区
Xiǎo Huìjīn-qū
小惠因區
Xiǎo Huìyīn-qū
'Little Huijin/Huiyin District'. 惠金 Huìjīn is literally 'endow gold' but the characters are used for phonetic purposes only.
The Burrow 陋居
Lòujū
洞穴屋
Dòngxué-wū
The Burrow is the small, higgledy-piggledy home of the Weasley's. 陋居 lòujū means 'mean or humble dwelling'. 洞穴屋 dòngxué-wū means 'cave house'. Neither quite conveys the meaning of 'The Burrow'.
Ottery St. Catchpole 奥特里 ‒ 圣卡奇波尔
Aòtèlǐ Shèng Kǎqíbō'ěr
凱奇波區奧特瑞街
Kǎiqípō-qū Aòtèruì-jiē
This quaint English name combines 'Ottery', the name of a river, with what appears to be a saint called St Catchpole (there is another town in the area called 'Ottery St Mary').

The Mainland version uses a phonetic version (奥特里 Aòtèlǐ = 'Ottery', 卡奇波尔 Kǎqíbō'ěr = 'Catchpole'). 'Saint' is rendered shèng 'saint, sacred', the normal way of rendering 'Saint' in Chinese.

The Taiwanese version is also phonetic, but misinterprets 'St' as meaning 'street'. The meaning is Catchpole District, Ottery Street. ( means 'district', jiē means 'street'.)
Stoatshead Hill 白鼬山
Bái-Yòu Shān
鼬頭丘
Yòutóu Qiū
The Mainland version literally means 'White weasel mountain', where 白鼬 ('white weasel') is the Chinese word for a stoat or ermine. The Taiwanese version means literally 'Weasel head hill'. shān is the general and most widely used term in Chinese for anything from a hill to a mountain. qiū refers strictly to hills but is not so common in everyday usage.
Diagon Alley 对角巷
Duìjiǎo Xiàng
斜角巷
Xiéjiǎo Xiàng
Diagon Alley, the wizard's shopping alley in London. Both translations have a similar meaning: 'Diagonal Alley' or 'Oblique Angle Alley'. See section on Word Play.
Knockturn Alley 翻倒巷
Fāndǎo Xiàng
夜行巷
Yèxíng Xiàng
The sinister alley running off Diagon Alley. The Mainland translation means 'knock down alley', based on the surface meaning of 'Knockturn'. The Taiwanese translation means 'nocturnal alley', based on the hidden pun. See section on Word Play.

Hogsmeade

霍格莫德
Huògémòdé
活米村
Huómǐ Cūn
The Village of Hogsmeade, located near Hogwarts. The Mainland version keeps the two names Hogwarts and Hogsmeade parallel.

The Taiwanese translator chooses characters meaning 'live/alive + rice + village'. Although not very accurate phonetically, the name is much more memorable.
Godric's Hollow 高锥克山谷
Gāozhuīkè Shāngǔ
高錐克洞
Gāozhuīkè Dòng
This name provides strong circumstantial evidence that the Mainland translator relied on the earlier Taiwanese translation of Book 1. Here, 'Godric' is the same in both translations. Compare this with 'Godric Gryffindor' (see the Four Houses), where the Taiwanese translator uses 高錐客 Gāozhuīkè (with a difference of one character) but the Mainland translator uses 戈德里克 Gēdélǐkè instead.

山谷 shāngǔ means 'mountain valley, ravine'. Dòng means 'hole, cavity'. Neither seems to properly capture the idea of a 'hollow', which is nothing more than a small valley or basin.
Little Hangleton 小汉格顿
Xiǎo Hàngédùn
小漢果頓
Xiǎo Hànguǒdùn
Both transliterate 'Hangleton' phonetically and translate the word 'little' into Chinese as xiǎo.

 

SCHOOLS
English
Mainland
Taiwan
Notes
Hogwarts 霍格沃茨
Huògéwòcí
霍格華茲
Huògéhuázī
Both are phonetic renditions. The Mainland version is marginally more accurate than the Taiwanese.

Beauxbatons

布斯巴顿
Bùsībàdùn
波巴洞
Bōbādòng
The Mainland translator doesn't seem to realise that the 'x' in 'Beauxbatons' is not pronounced. (A nodding acquaintance with French should be required of all translators of English literature!)
Durmstrang 德姆斯特朗
Démǔsītèlǎng
德姆蘭
Démǔlán

Mainland version: This is one case where shi might be better than si (German 'str' is pronounced 'shtr'). The Taiwanese translator has plumped for brevity over accuracy.

 

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