Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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Texts of Songs and Other Passages

 

The Gringott's Warning (Book 1)

 

These are the words that were engraved on the silver door inside the entrance of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Diagon Alley. They warn of the fate that awaits those who try to rob the bank.

English

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

There are several constructions that show promise of difficulty in translation.

  • 'Take heed of what awaits the sin of greed'. The 'what' clause is quite vague. All it is saying is that something -- something unspecified but ominous-sounding -- awaits people who commit the sin of greed.
  • 'For those who take, but do not earn'. The 'those' in this sentence refers to 'people who take'.
  • 'Beware of finding more than treasure here'. Again, the sentence hints ominously that something more than treasure -- something unpleasant that the thief hadn't bargained for -- is awaiting.

Chinese (Mainland)

请进,陌生人,不过你要当心
贪得无厌会是什么下场,
一味索取,不劳而获,
必将受到最严厉的惩罚,
因此如果你想从我们的地下金库取走
一份从来不属于你的财富,
窃贼啊,你已经受到警告,
当心招来的不是宝藏,而是恶报。
Qǐng jìn, mòshēngrén, búguò nǐ yào dāngxīn
Tāndé-wúyàn huì shì shénme xiàchěng,
Yíwèi suǒqǔ, bùláo'érhuò,
Bì jiāng shòudào zuì yánlì de chéngfá,
Yīncǐ rúguǒ nǐ xiǎng cóng wǒmen de dìxià jīnkù qǔzǒu
Yī fèn cónglái bù shǔyú nǐ de cáifù,
Qièzéi a, nǐ yǐjīng shòudào jǐnggào,
Dāngxīn zhāolái de bú shì bǎozàng, ér shì èbào.

The Mainland translation shows a number of signs of having taken the Taiwanese translation as a reference point. For the most part the wording is similar, rearranged and changed somewhat to make it look original.

The three points above are handled as follows:

  • 'Take heed of what awaits the sin of greed': 你要当心贪得无厌会是什么下场 nǐ yào dāngxīn tāndé-wúyàn huì shì shénme xiàchěng -- 'you should be careful what might be the fate of greed'. The translator makes the reference specific by using the word 下场 xiàchěng 'end, fate'.
  • 'For those who take, but do not earn': the question here is the translation of 'those'. In fact, the Mainland translator does not translate 'those', speaking only of the severe punishment for 一味索取,不劳而获 yíwèi suǒqǔ, bùláo'érhuò -- 'persistently exacting/demanding, reaping without sowing'.
  • 'Something more than treasure' is spelt out clearly: 不是宝藏,而是恶报 bú shì bǎozàng, ér shì èbào -- 'not treasure but retribution'.

Note also that 'beneath our floors' has been translated specifically as 我们的地下金库 wǒmen de dìxià jīnkù -- 'our underground vaults'.

Chinese (Taiwan)

進來吧,陌生人,不過
你得當心貪婪之罪招致的後果,
那些想要不勞而獲的傻瓜,
必將遭受到最嚴厲的懲罰,
如果你意圖追求我們的地下金庫
一份永不屬於你的財富,
竊賊啊,你已受到警告,
當心招來寶藏之外的噩運。
Jìnlái ba, mòshēngrén, búguò
Nǐ děi dāngxīn tánlán zhī zuì zhāozhì de hòuguǒ,
Nà-xiē xiǎng yào bùláoérhuò de shǎguā,
Bì jiāng zāoshòu dào zuì yánlì de chéngfá,
Rúguǒ nǐ yìtú zhuīqiú wǒmen de dìxià jīnkù
Yī fèn yǒng bù shǔyú nǐ de cáifù,
Dàozéi a, nǐ yǐ shòudào jǐnggào,
Dāngxīn zhāolái bǎozàng zhī wài de è'yùn.

As the Taiwanese translation acted as the model to the Mainland translation, the devices employed are largely the same as seen above.

  • 'Take heed of what awaits the sin of greed': 你得當心貪婪之罪招致的後果 Nǐ děi dāngxīn tánlán zhī zuì zhāozhì de hòuguò -- 'you must be careful of the consequences that the sin of greed leads to'. This spells out more clearly the idea of 'what awaits' the sin of greed.
  • 'For those who take, but do not earn': The Taiwanese version translates 'those' as 傻瓜 shǎguā -- 'fools, idiots'. This is the clear addition of an extra meaning not found in the original.
  • 'Something more than treasure' is translated as 寶藏之外的噩運 bǎozàng zhī wài de è'yùn -- 'bad luck besides treasure'.

Japanese

見知らぬ者よ 入るがよい
欲のむくいを 知るがよい
奪うばかりで 稼がぬものは
やがてはつけを 払うべし
おのれのものに あらざる宝
わが床下に 求める者よ
盗人よ 気をつけよ
宝のほかに 潜むものあり
Mishiranu mono yo  iru ga yoi
Yoku no mukui o  shiru ga yoi
Ubau bakari de  kaseganu mono wa
Yagate wa tsuke o  harau beshi
Onore no mono ni  arazaru takara
Waga yuka-shita ni  motomeru mono yo
Nusubito yo  ki o tsukeyo
Takara no hoka ni  hisomu mono ari

The Japanese translation is less literal than the Chinese. The language is somewhat archaised, adding to the solemn effect.

  • 'Take heed of what awaits the sin of greed': 欲のむくいを 知るがよい yoku no mukui o shiru ga yoi -- 'you should take heed of the retribution (recompense) of greed'. The language is simple and brief.
  • 'For those who take, but do not earn': 奪うばかりで 稼がぬものは ubau bakari de kaseganu mono wa -- 'person(s) who only take and do not earn'. 'Those' is translated as もの mono, here meaning 'people'.
  • 'Beware of finding more than treasure here': 宝のほかに 潜むものあり takara no hoka ni hisomu mono ari -- 'something other than treasure lurks'. By using the verb 潜む hisomu, 'to lurk', the translator indicates that something unpleasant is waiting.

Vietnamese

Khách lạ, mời vào, nhưng chú ý:
Hễ tham thì thâm.
Những ai hưởng mà không hiến,
Đến phiên thì trả gấp nhiều lần vay.
Vậy cho nên nếu khám phá được.
Dưới sàn, kho tàng không phải của mình.
Thì, quân trộm cắp, hãy coi chừng.
Cái mi lãnh đủ không phải kho tàng đâu
.

For the three expressions above, the Vietnamese translation is as follows:

  • 'Take heed of what awaits the sin of greed': chú ý: Hễ tham thì thâm. The expression hễ tham thì thâm is a Vietnamese idiom warning of the bad consequences of greed (tham).
  • 'For those who take, but do not earn': Những ai hưởng mà không hiến. The translator uses a construction with ai (made plural by những), meaning '(those) who'. Literally, the meaning is 'who take but do not earn'.
  • 'Beware of finding more than treasure here': Cái mi lãnh đủ không phải kho tàng -- 'The thing you will suffer the consequences of is not buried treasure'. The suggestion of something ominous other than treasure is carried by the slang verb lãnh đủ 'suffer the consequences of'.
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