Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation

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Names of Wizards and Magical Folk in the Chinese translations of Harry Potter

 

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

 

VARIOUS WIZARDING FOLK
English
Mainland
Taiwan
Notes
Voldemort 伏地魔
Fúdìmó
佛地魔
Fódìmó
The characters in the Mainland name for Voldemort are 'to duck down/hide', 'ground', 'evil spirit, demon', together meaning something like 'demon hiding underground'. The Taiwanese name means 'Buddha', 'ground', 'evil spirit, demon'.

According to an article in Beijing English-language magazine, City Weekend, the character for 'Buddha' was considered by the Mainland translator but discarded as unsuitable for such an evil person.
You Know Who 神秘人
shénmì-rén
那個人
nàge rén
'You know who' is translated as 'that person' in the Taiwanese version, 'the mysterious person' in the Mainland version.
那個人 nàge rén 'that person' is commonly used in everyday life and has special, rather unflattering connotations -- 'you know, that person, the one who....', without needing to name the person. This is quite an effective translation of 'You Know Who'. (Thanks to a visitor from Taiwan for alerting me to this connotation).
Tom Riddle 汤姆・里德尔
Tāngmǔ Lǐdé'ěr
湯姆・瑞斗
Tāngmǔ Ruìdǒu
汤姆 / 湯姆 is standard for 'Tom'. 'Riddle' is transliterated sound-by-sound in the Mainland version, impressionistically in the Taiwanese.
Marvolo 马沃罗
Mǎwòluó
魔佛羅
Mófóluó
Voldemort's grandfather, who appeared in Book 6. The Mainland name is a transliteration. The characters have no particular meaning (for instance, means 'horse').

On the other hand, the first character in the Taiwanese version, , means 'evil spirit, demon'. The second character, , means 'Buddha'. By translitering the name this way, the Taiwanese translators draw a connection between 'Marvolo' and 'Voldemort' as both and are used in the transliteration of Voldemort's name, 佛地魔. What is more, the other members of the Gaunt household also have names starting in . (Note: the rendition of 'Marvolo' here differs from that earlier found in the name 'Tom Marvolo Riddle', which was 馬佛魯 Mǎfólǔ).
Merope 梅洛普
Méiluòpǔ
魔柔
Móróu
Voldemort's mother. The Mainland name is a reflection of the English pronunciation, but fails to show that the final 'e' should be pronounced ('Merope' is a name from ancient Greek). So instead of 'Meropee', the Mainland translator bases the pronunciation on 'Merope'.

The Taiwanese version does not attempt a proper transliteration. Instead, it strives to give Merope's name meaning by using the two characters ('evil spirit, demon') and róu ('soft, gentle').
Morfin 莫芬
Mòfēn
魔份
Mófèn
Voldemort's uncle. The Mainland version uses two characters conventionally used in transliteration ( = 'no one, nothing, not, don't' fēn = 'sweet smelling'), with no really clear meaning. The Taiwanese version uses the of 'Marvolo' and 'Merope', meaning 'evil demon, devil', followed by fèn 'part, portion'.
Grindelwald 格林德沃
Gélíndéwō
葛林戴華德
Gělíndàihuádé
An interesting case where, for a change, the Mainland transliteration is more impressionistic than the Taiwanese.
James Potter 詹姆・波特
Zhānmǔ Bōtè
詹姆・波特
Zhānmǔ Pōtè or Bōtè
The same in both versions. The standard transliteration for 'James' is actually 詹姆斯 Zhānmǔsī. Has the Mainland version copied the Taiwanese?
Lily Potter 莉莉・波特
Lìlì Bōtè
莉莉・波特
Lìlì Pōtè or Bōtè
Phonetic transliteration.
Sirius Black 小天狼星・布莱克
Xiǎo-tiānláng-xīng Bùláikè
天狼星・布莱克
Tiānláng-xīng Bùláikè
天狼星 Tiānláng-xīng = 'heaven wolf star' = 'Sirius' (the star). 布莱克 Bùláikè = 'black' (phonetic). 'Black' is transliterated as Bùláikè, because, like 'Mr Brown' or 'Mr White', it is a name, not an actual colour.

There is one minor difference between the two versions: The Mainland version adds the word xiǎo, meaning 'young' or 'little' in front of 'Sirius'. This is something of a mystery until you realise that the first time Black is mentioned in Book 1 Chapter 1, Hagrid calls him Young Sirius Black. The Taiwanese translator drops the 'young' later on, but for some reason the Mainland translators decide to keep it.
Peter Pettigrew 小矮星彼得
Xiǎo'ǎixīng Bǐdé
彼得・佩迪魯
Bǐdé Pèidìlǔ
The Taiwanese version is an ordinary transliteration. 彼得 Bǐdé is the standard Chinese way of writing 'Peter'.

The Mainland version is a creative, if somewhat curious, rendition. 矮星 aǐxīng is an astronomical term meaning 'dwarf star'. xiǎo means 'little' or 'young'. The name thus means 'Little Dwarf Star Peter'. It may be modelled on Sirius Black's name, which refers to the star Sirius. By calling Peter a 'dwarf star', the translation vividly conveys Pettigrew's physical and moral stature. (The 'Petti-' in English 'Pettigrew' also means 'small' or 'petty'.)
Nymphadora Tonks 尼法朵拉・唐克斯
Nífǎduǒlā Tángkèsī
小仙女・東施
Xiǎo-xiānnǚ Dōngshī
Tonks objects quite violently to 'Nymphadora', presumably because it suggests 'nymphomaniac'. In the Mainland version, 尼法 Nífǎ literally means 'nun law'; the rest has little meaning. The translators add a footnote explaining that '''Nympha", the first part of Nymphadora, is not a very tasteful term in English.'
The Taiwanese translator adopts a more interesting solution. 東施, meaning 'east bestow', is modelled on the name of the ancient Chinese beauty 西施 Xī Shī, literally 'west bestow' (see Xishi). In fact, Dōngshī is the name of an ugly woman, neighbour of Xishi the beauty. According to the Chinese idiom 東施效顰 Dōngshī xiàopín, Dongshi tried to imitate the knitted brows of her alluring neighbour and only succeeded in making herself look uglier! (Thanks to Simon Summer for pointing this out). Still, Tonks prefers this to the rather cutesy, childish 小仙女 Xiǎo-xiānnǚ 'little fairy girl (or nymphette)' that her mother gave her, despite the fact that it does not appear to contain connotations of nymphomania!
Kingsley Shacklebolt 金斯莱・沙克尔
Jīnsīlái Shākè'ěr
金利・俠鉤帽
Jīnlì Xiágōumào
The Mainland version is almost completely phonetic in its nature, although not phonetically accurate (it leaves the 'bolt' off 'Shacklebolt'). The Taiwanese is a rather comic if not very meaningful rendering. 金利 means 'interest (on money)'; 俠鉤帽 means 'chivalrous hook hat'.
Ludo Bagman 卢多・巴格曼
Lúduō Bāgémàn
魯多・貝漫
Lǔduō Bèimàn
Phonetic transliteration. The Taiwanese transliteration is shortened by omitting the 'g'.
Cornelius Oswald Fudge 康奈利・奥斯瓦尔德・福吉
Kāngnaìlì Aòsīwǎ'ěrdé Fújí
康泥留斯・傲司沃・夫子
Kāngníliúsī Aōsīwō Fūzǐ
Both are phonetic transliterations. The Mainland version is shorter than usual. In fact, the standard Chinese transliteration for 'Cornelius' is 科尼利厄斯 Kēnílì'èsī.

夫子 fūzǐ (Taiwanese version) can also be a respectful term for a Master (such as 'Master Confucius'), or an old term of address for one's husband.
Rufous Scrimgeour 鲁弗斯・斯克林杰
Lǔfúsī Sīkèlínjié
盧夫・昆爵
Lúfū Kūnjué
The Taiwanese version is much shorter and phonetically more simplified than the Mainland version.
Barty Crouch 巴蒂・克劳奇
Bādì Kèláoqí
巴堤・柯羅奇
Bātí Kēluóqí
Phonetic transliterations.
Amelia Susan Bones 阿美莉亚・苏珊・博恩斯
Āměilìyà Sūshān Bó'ēnsī
愛蜜莉・蘇珊・波恩
Aìmìlì Sūshān Bō'ēn
'Amelia' is 阿美莉亚 in the Mainland translation, definitely a girl's name (the second character means 'beautiful', the third is found only in girl's names). In the Taiwanese version, it is 愛蜜莉, which is shorter and sweeter -- the first two characters mean 'love' and 'honey'.
'Susan' is a standard name and is the same in both versions.
'Bones' is phonetic in both, although the Taiwanese translator shortens it by omitting the final /s/.
Arthur Weasley 亚瑟・韦斯莱
Yàsè Wéisīlái
亞瑟・衛斯理
Yàsè Wèisīlǐ
For some reason, 'Arthur' long ago became fixed as 亚瑟 Yàsè in Chinese.
Molly Weasley 莫丽・韦斯莱
Mòlì Wéisīlái
茉莉・衛斯理
Mòlì Wèisīlǐ
Phonetic transliteration. 茉莉 Mò-lì in the Taiwanese version means 'Jasmine'.
Bertha Jorkins 伯莎・乔金斯
Bóshā Qiáojīnsī
柏莎・喬金
Bóshā Qiáojīn
Phonetic transliteration. 伯莎 Bó-shā is standard for 'Bertha'.
Mundungous Fletcher 蒙顿格斯・弗莱奇
Měngdùngésī Fúláiqí
蒙當葛・弗列契
Měngdānggě Fúlièqì
Phonetic transliteration.
Lucius Malfoy 卢修斯・马尔福
Lúxiūsī Mǎ'ěrfú
魯休思・馬份
Lǔxiūsī Mǎfèn
Phonetic transliteration, except that the Taiwanese for 'Malfoy' is the rather unflattering 'horse part'. Both and are Chinese surnames.
Amycus Carrow 阿米库斯・卡罗
Āmǐkùsī Kǎluó
艾米克
Àimǐkè
Phonetic transliteration.
Alecto Carrow 阿莱克托・卡罗
Āláikètuō Kǎluó
艾朵
Àiduǒ
Phonetic transliteration.
Rita Skeeter 丽塔・斯基特
Lìtǎ Sījītè
麗塔・史譏
Lìtǎ Shǐjī
Phonetic transliteration. 丽塔 / 麗塔 Lìtǎ is standard for 'Rita'. The Mainland version produces the full name but loses the rhyme (in British English) between 'Rita' and 'Skeeter'. The Taiwanese version does away with the final syllable 'ter' altogether, but compensates by giving the name a meaning: shǐ means 'history'; means 'ridicule, mock, satirise' -- the ideal description of our attractive 43-year-old reporter! (Shǐ is generally pronounced in Taiwan).
Mr Ollivander 奥利凡德先生
Àolìfándé xiānsheng
奧利凡德先生
Àolìfándé xiānsheng
Phonetic transliteration. 先生 xiān-sheng means 'Mr'. Being found in Book 1, the Mainland name is possibly taken from the Taiwanese translation.
Igor Karkaroff 伊戈尔・卡卡洛夫
Yīgē'ěr Kǎkǎluòfū
依果・卡卡夫
Yīguǒ Kǎkǎfū
Phonetic transliterations.
Viktor Krum 威克多尔・克鲁姆
Weīkèduō'ěr Kèlǔmǔ
維克多・喀浪
Wéikèduō Kāláng
威克多尔 Wēikèduō'ěr is clearly an attempt at producing a Russian-style pronunciation. The English name 'Victor' is normally 维克Wéi-kè-tuō.

I suspect that Rowling had a wicked comical intent with Viktor's surname here, giving the word 'crumb' an Eastern European pronunciation (vowel similar to that in the word 'push').The Mainland translator's Kèlǔmǔ is probably a better approximation of the intended pronunciation than the Taiwanese.
Olympe Maxime 奥利姆・马克西姆
Aòlìmǔ Mǎkèxīmǔ
歐琳・美心
Oūlín Měixīn
'Maxime' is a poor phonetic transliteration in the Mainland edition. The Taiwanese version uses the rather nice rendition 美心 Měixīn ('beautiful heart').
Fleur Delacour 芙蓉・德拉库尔
Fúróng Délākù'ěr
花兒・戴樂古
Huār Dàilègǔ
In the Mainland version 'Fleur' is nicely rendered as 芙蓉 Fúróng, meaning 'cottonrose hibiscus' or 'lotus', a kind of flower. In the Taiwanese version it is rendered as 花兒 Huār, meaning 'flower', a direct translation of the French word fleur. Both give priority to sense over pronunciation.
Stan Shunpike 斯坦・桑帕克
Sītǎn Sāngpàkè
史坦・桑派
Shǐtǎn Sāngpài
Phonetic transliteration. 斯坦 Sītǎn is standard for 'Stan'. The Taiwanese version would be pronounced 'Shtan' in standard Mandarin, but in the mouths of southern speakers becomes 'Stan'.
Ernie Prang (Ern) 厄恩・普兰(厄恩)
È'ēn Pǔlán (È'ēn)
爾尼・普蘭(老爾)
Ěrní Pǔlán (Lǎo Ěr)
Phonetic transliteration. The English has an interesting alternation between 'Ernie' and 'Ern', which is reproduced in the Taiwanese as 爾尼 Ěrní ('Ernie') and 老爾 Lǎo Ěr ('Ern'). Lǎo means 'old' and is a term of familiar respect in Chinese.

 

THE FOUR FRIENDS (THE ANIMAGI)
English
Mainland
Taiwan
Notes
Moony 月亮脸
Yuèliang-liǎn
月影
Yuè-yǐng
月亮 yuèliang = 'moon', liǎn = 'face'.
yuè = 'moon', yǐng = 'shadow, reflection'.
Wormtail 虫尾巴
Chóng-wěiba
蟲尾
Chóng-wěi
chóng = 'insect, worm', 尾巴 wěiba = 'tail'.
chóng = 'insect, worm', wěi = 'tail'.
Padfoot 大脚板
Dà-jiǎobǎn
獸足
Shòu-zú
= 'large', 脚板 jiǎobǎn = 'footpad'.
shòu = 'beast', = 'foot, leg'.
Prongs 尖头叉子
Jiāntóu chāzi
鹿角
Lù-jiǎo
尖头 jiāntǒu = 'sharp-head', 叉子 chāzi = 'fork'.
鹿 = 'deer', jiǎo = 'horn, antler'.

 

MAGICAL FOLK
English
Mainland
Taiwan
Notes
Ronan 罗南
Luónán
如男
Rúnán
Ronan the Centaur: Ronan is transliterated phonetically in the Mainland version. The Taiwanese version uses characters meaning 'like a man'.
Bane 贝恩
Bèi'ēn
禍頭
Huòtóu
Bane the Centaur: 'Bane' is a rather unpleasant word meaning 'a woe', 'a source of pain or ruin', 'a curse'. The Mainland version just transliterates the name phonetically as Bèi'ēn. The Taiwanese version translates the meaning as Huòtóu ('source of ruin').
Firenze 费伦泽
Fèilúnzé
翡冷翠
Fěilěngcuì
Firenze the Centaur: Firenze is the Italian name for the city of Florence, which in Chinese is 佛罗伦萨 Fóluólúnsà or 佛羅倫斯 or Fóluólúnsī (Taiwan). The Mainland translator transliterates the name phonetically, without reference to the city. The Taiwanese translator uses an old transliteration of 'Firenze', based directly on the Italian. 翡冷翠 Fěilěngcuì is still sometimes used for its poetic and romantic associations. (Thanks to 'Crystal' for pointing this out).
Griphook 拉环
Lāhuán
拉環
Lāhuán
Griphook the Gringotts goblin: Translated as 'pull' + 'ring' in both Mainland and Taiwanese versions.
Dobby 多比
Duōbǐ
多比
Duōbǐ
Dobby the house elf: transliterated phonetically in both versions.
Winky 闪闪
Shǎnshǎn
眨眨
Zhǎzhǎ
Winky the house elf: Shǎn means 'to flash' or 'to blink' (like a blinking light); zhǎ means 'to wink' or 'to blink' (like a blinking eye).
Kreacher 克利切
Kèlìqiè
怪角
Guàijiǎo
Kreacher the house elf: 克利切 Kèlìqiè is purely phonetic. 怪角Guàijiǎo is phonetic (after a fashion) and has the meaning 'strange horn' or 'weird angle'.
Fenrir Greyback 芬里尔・格雷伯克
Fēnlǐ'ěr Géléibókè
焚銳・灰背
Fénruì Huībèi
The Mainland version is phonetic. Only the Taiwanese version translates 'Greyback' as (literally) 灰背 Huībèi or 'grey back'. 'Fenrir' in the Taiwanese version becomes 焚銳
Fénruì 'burning sharp'.

 

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