Bathrobe's Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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The Translation of 'Owl' in Harry Potter

 

Grey owl

 

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

 

Since there is no such species as a 'Grey Owl', the name can only be understood as a description of the owl's colour.

 

GREY OWL
 
English
China
Taiwan
Japan
Vietnam
OFFICIAL NAME -
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Grey owl as translated in the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese versions of Harry Potter
Bk 4 Ch 28:
'The Madness of Mr Crouch'
grey owl 灰色猫头鹰
huī-sè māotóuyīng
'grey-coloured owl'
灰色貓頭鷹
huī-sè māotóuyīng
'grey-coloured owl'
灰色モリフクロウ
hai-iro mori-fukurō
'grey-coloured forest owl' ('grey-coloured Tawny Owl')
con cú xám
'grey owl'
Bk 4 Ch 28:
'The Madness of Mr Crouch'
grey owl 灰色猫头鹰
huī-sè māotóuyīng
'grey-coloured owl'
灰鴞
huī-xiāo
'grey owl' (looks like, but is not a species name')
灰色モリフクロウ
hai-iro mori-fukurō
'grey-coloured forest owl' ('grey-coloured Tawny Owl')
con cú xám
'grey owl'

Reference to a 'grey owl' is found in only one place (2-3 mentions), where Hermione receives hate mail in response to Rita Skeeter's scurrilous journalism.

The Chinese (Mainland) and Vietnamese versions are straightforward expressions meaning 'grey-coloured owl'.

The Taiwanese translator first uses 灰色貓頭鷹 huī-sè māotóuyīng, which sounds exactly like a 'grey-coloured owl', then for some reason switches to 灰鴞 huī-xiāo ('grey owl') which looks like a species of owl.

The Japanese translator uses 灰色モリフクロウ hai-iro mori-fukurō 'grey-coloured forest owl'. This name makes the grey owl look like a grey-coloured relative of the モリフクロウ mori-fukurō or Tawny Owl. Zoologically speaking, however, there is no such species as a hai-iro mori-fukurō.

Note: In Japanese, the whole sentence departs somewhat from the English. The English text runs:

'the grey owl landed in front of her plate, closely followed by four barn owls, a brown owl and a tawny'.

This is translated into Japanese as:

'the grey-coloured forest owl landed in front of Hermione's plate, and was immediately followed by four barn owls and two brown forest owls.'

The translator has for some reason conflated 'a brown owl and a tawny' into 'two brown forest owls'. What is more, the 'brown forest owl' (茶モリフクロウ cha mori-fukurō) is not even an actual species name in Japanese (see Brown Owl)!

 

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