Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
envelope

 

Texts of Songs and Other Passages

 

The Sorting Hat's Song (Book 1)

The Sorting Hat makes its first appearance at Chapter Seven (The Sorting Hat), where it sings the following song.

 

English
arrow up
Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindor's apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!

Word play includes:

    I'll eat myself (=I'll eat my hat)
    I can cap them all
    You're in safe hands
    For I'm a Thinking Cap (from common expression used by teachers to young children: 'Put your thinking caps on!')

Chinese (Mainland)
arrow up
你们也许觉得我不算漂亮,
但千万不要以貌取人,
如果你们能找到比我更漂亮的帽子,
我可以把自己吃掉。
你们可以让你们的圆顶礼帽乌黑油亮,
让你们的高顶丝帽光滑挺括,
我可是霍格沃茨测试用的魔帽,
自然比你们的帽子高超出众。
你们头脑里隐藏的任何念头,
都躲不过魔帽的金睛火眼,
戴上它试一下吧,我会告诉你们,
你们应该分到哪一所学院。
你也许属于格兰芬多,
那里有埋藏在心底的勇敢,
他们的胆识、气魄和豪爽,
使格兰芬多出类拔萃;
你也许属于赫奇帕奇,
那里的人正直忠诚,
赫奇帕奇的学子们坚忍诚实,
不畏惧艰辛的劳动;
如果你头脑精明,
或许会进智慧的老拉文克劳,
那些睿智博学的人,
总会在那里遇见他们的同道;
也许你回进斯莱特林,
也许在这里交上真诚的朋友,
但那些狡诈阴险之辈却会不惜一切手段,
去达到他们的目的。
来戴上我吧!不必害怕!
千万不要惊慌失措!
在我的手里(尽管我连一只手也没有)你绝对安全
因为我是一顶会思想的魔帽!
Nǐmen yě xǔ juéde wǒ bú suàn piàoliang,
Dàn qiānwàn bú yào yǐ mào qǔ rén,
Rúgǔonǐmen néng zhǎo dào bǐ wǒ gèng piàoliang de màozi,
Wǒ kěyǐ bǎ zìjǐ chīdiào.
Nǐmen kěyǐ ràng nǐmen de yuándǐng lǐmào wūhēi yóuliàng,
Ràng nǐmen de gāodǐng sīmào guānghuá tǐngkuò,
Wǒ kě shì Huògéwōcì cèshì-yòng de mómào,
Zìrán bǐ nǐmen de màozi gāo chāo chū zhòng.
Nǐmen tóunǎolǐ yǐncáng de rènhé niàntou,
Dōu duǒbuguò mómào de jīn jīng huǒ yǎn,
Dàishang tā shì yí xià ba, wǒ huì gàosu nǐmen,
Nǐmen yīnggāi fēn dào nǎ yīsuǒ xuéyuàn.
Nǐ yě xǔ shǔ yú Gélánfēnduō,
Nàli yǒu máicáng zài xīndǐ de yǒnggǎn,
Tāmen de dǎnshí, qìpò hé háoshuǎng,
Shǐ Gélánfēnduō chū lèi bá cuì;
Nǐ yě xǔ shǔ yú Hèqípàqí,
Nàlǐ de rén zhèngzhí zhōngchéng,
Hèqípàqí de xuézǐmen jiānrěn chéngshí,
Bú wèijù jiānxīn de láodòng;
Rúguǒ nǐ tóunǎo jīngmíng,
Huò xǔ huì jìn zhìhuì de lǎo Lāwénkèláo,
Nà xiē ruìzhì bóxué de rén,
Zǒng huì zài nàlǐ yùjiàn tāmen de tóngdào;
Yě xǔ nǐ huì jìn Sīláitèlín,
Yě xǔ nǐ zài zhèli jiāoshang zhēnchéng de péngyǒu,
Dàn nà xiē jiǎozhà yīnxiǎn zhī bèi què huì bù xī yíqiè shǒuduàn,
Qù dádào tāmen de mùdì.
Lái dàishang wǒ ba! Bú bì hàipà!
Qiānwàn bú yào jīnghuāng shīcuò!
Zài wǒ de shǒulǐ (jinguǎn wǒ lián yìzhī shǒu yě méi yǒu) nǐ juéduì ānquán
Yīnwèi wǒ shì yīdǐng huì sīxiǎng de mómào!

Translation is highly literal.

Word play is missed or ignored (except for the obvious 'You're in safe hands'). 'I'll eat myself' is translated quite literally, and so is 'I'm a thinking cap'.

The translator mistranslates 'if you can find / A smarter hat than me' as 'A prettier hat than me'.

'You can keep your bowlers black' is misinterpreted. In English this has two peculiar rhetorical devices:

    'You can keep your bowlers' = 'I don't need any bowlers'.
    'Bowlers black' = 'black bowlers'.

The meaning is thus 'I don't need any fancy black bowlers, thank you very much!'. The translator translates it as 'you can put your bowlers in a black and shiny condition'.

When the Sorting Hat talks about 'your bowlers' or 'your top hats' in English, it doesn't mean that the bowlers and top hats literally belong to the audience. The Sorting Hat is simply saying that he doesn't need those bowlers and top hats that people think are so fancy. Nevertheless, the Chinese translator faithfully and tediously translates every 'your' and 'yours' in the song. (This device exists in Chinese, but in this case the rendition smacks of translationese.)

Conjunctions:

In the following lines, the Mainland translator inserts a 'but' (indicated in italics), as though the last two lines are a caution about seeking friends in Slytherin:

    Or perhaps in Slytherin
    You'll make your real friends,
    But those cunning folk use any means
    To achieve their ends.

This adds a nuance missing from the English.

In the final line 'For I'm a Thinking Cap!', the 'for' serves no real purpose. It is simply a conventional means of expression. The translator faithfully translates 'You're in safe hands because I'm a Thinking Cap!' In reality, there is no logical causative connection at all.

As a final point, the Mainland translator appears to have cribbed heavily from the Taiwanese translation.

 

Chinese (Taiwan)
arrow up
喔,你們大概覺得我不夠漂亮,
千万別用外表來評斷一切,
要是你們能找到一頂比我更聰明的帽子,
我就自己把自己給吞得精光。
你們大可讓你的圓頂禮帽漆黑如墨,
讓你的高頂絲帽高挺又閃亮,
我可是霍格華茲的分類帽,
自然比它們更炫更棒。
你們腦袋裡藏了些什麼念頭,
全部逃不過分類帽的銳利法眼,
所以戴上我吧,我將會告訟你們,
你們應該分到哪一個學院。
你也許是屬於葛來分多,
那裡有著蘊藏在內心深處的勇氣,
他們的勇敢、活力和騎士精神,
是葛來分多特有的最大利器;
你或許是屬於赫夫帕夫,
那裡的人既正直又忠貞,
耐力十足的赫夫帕夫學生誠實無欺,
且不畏任何勞苦艱辛;
若是你心思敏捷,
就可以進入智慧的老雷文克勞,
那些機智而博學的好學之士,
將會在這裡找到自己的同好;
或者你也可能會來到史萊哲林,
你可以在這兒遇到氣味相投的兄弟,
那些狡猾多謀的人將會不擇任何手段,
只求達到他們的目的。
所以戴上我吧!不要害怕!
千萬不要心裡發毛!
在我的手裡(雖然我連一隻手也沒有)你絕對安全,
因為我可是一頂會思想的帽帽!
Wō, nǐmen dàgài juéde wǒ bú gòu piàoliang,
Qiānwán bié yòng wàibiǎo lái píngduàn yíqiè,
Yàoshì nǐmen néng zhǎodǎo yīdǐng bǐ wǒ gèng cōngmíng de màozi,
Wǒ jiù zìjǐ bǎ zìjǐ gěi tūn de jīngguāng.
Nǐmen dà kě ràng nǐ de yuándǐng lǐmào qíhēi rǔ mò,
Ràng nǐ de gāodǐng sīmào gāotǐng yòu shǎnliàng,
Wǒ kě shì Huògéhuázì de fēnlèimào,
Zìrán bǐ tāmen gèng xuan gèng bàng.
Nǐmen nǎodài lǐ cáng le xiē shémo niàntóu,
Quánbù tàobuguò fēnlèimào de ruìlì fǎyǎn,
Suǒyǐ dàishang wǒ ba, wǒ jiāng huì gàosu nǐmen,
Nǐmen yīnggāi fēndào něi yīge xuéyuàn.
Nǐ yěxǔ shì shǔyú Gěláifēnduō,
Nàlǐ yǒuzhe yùncáng zài nèixīn shēnchù de yǒngqì,
Tāmen de yǒnggǎn, huólì hé qíshì jīngshén,
Shì Gěláifēnduō tèyǒu de zuì dà lìqì;
Nǐ huò xǔ shi 4 shǔyú Hèfūpāfū,
Nàlǐ de rén jì zhèngzhí yòu zhōngzhēn,
Nàilì shízú de Hèfūpāfū xuéshēng chéngshí wúqī,
Qiě bú wèi rènhé láokǔ jiānxīn;
Rě shì nǐ xīnsī mǐnjié,
Jiù kěyǐ jìnrù zhìhuì de lǎo Léiwénkèláo,
Nà xiē jīzhì ér bóxuw2 de hǎo xué zhī shì,
Jiāng huì zài zhèlǐ zhǎodào zìjǐ de tónghǎo;
Huòzhě nǐ yě kěnèng huì lái dào Shǐláizhélín,
Nǐ kěyǐ zài zhèr yùdào qìwèi xiāngtóu de xiōngdì,
Nà xiē jiǎohuá duōmóu de rén jiāng huì bù zé rènhé shǒuduàn,
Zhǐ qiú dádào tāmen de mùdì!
Suǒyǐ dàishàng wǒ ba! Bú yào hàipà!
Qiānwàn búyào xīnlǐ fāmáo!
Zài wǒ de shǒulǐ (suīrán wǒ lián yīzhī shǒu yě méi yǒu) nǐ juéduì ānquán,
Yīnwèi wǒ kě shì yīdǐng sīxiǎng de màomào!

Most of the points that apply to the Mainland translation also apply to the Taiwanese.

However, there are several changes made by the Mainland translator to the Taiwanese translation that are not necessarily improvements:

    'I'll eat myself': the Taiwanese translator misses the hidden meaning ('I'll eat my hat'), but does jazz the Chinese up a little in compensation ('I'll eat myself right up!').

    The Taiwanese translator does not mistake the meaning of 'if you can find / A smarter hat than me'.

     

Japanese
arrow up
私はきれいじゃないけれど
人は見かけによらぬもの
私をしのぐ賢い帽子
あるなら私は身を引こう
山高帽子は真っ黒だ
シルクハットはすらりと高い
私はホグワーツの組分け帽子
私は彼らの上をいく
君の頭に隠れたものを
組分け帽子はお見通し
かぶれば君に教えよう
君が行くべき寮の名を

グリフィンドールに行くならば
勇気あるものが住う寮
勇猛果敢な騎士道で
他とは違うグリフィンドール

ハッフルパフに行くならば
君は正しく忠実で
忍耐強く真実で
苦労を苦労と思わない

古き賢きレイブンクロー
君に意欲があるならば
機智と学びの友人を
ここで必ず得るだろう

スリザリンではもしかして
君はまことの友を得る
どんな手段を使っても
目的遂げる狡猾さ

かぶってごらん!恐れずに!
興奮せずに、お任せを!
君を私の手にゆだね(私は手なんかないけれど)
だって私は考える帽子!
Watashi wa kirei ja nai keredo
Hito wa mikake ni yoranu mono
Watashi o shinogu kashikoi bōshi
Aru nara watashi wa mi o hikō
Yamataka-bōshi wa makkuro da
Shiruku hatto wa surari to takai
Watashi wa Hoguwātsu no kumi-wake bōshi
Watashi wa karera no ue o iku
Kimi no atama ni kakureta mono o
Kumi-wake bōshi wa o-mitōshi
Kabureba kimi ni oshieyō
Kimi ga iku-beki ryō no na o

Gurifindōru ni iku naraba
Yuki aru mono ga sumau ryō
Yūmō kakan na kishidō de
Hoka to wa chigau Gurifindōru

Haffurupafu ni iku naraba
Kimi wa tadashiku chūjitsu de
Nintai-zuyoku shinjitsu de
Kurō o kurō to omowanai

Furuki kashikoki Reibunkurō
Kimi ni iyoku ga aru naraba
Kichi to manabi no yūjin o
Koko de kanarazu eru darō

Surizarin de wa moshikashite
Kimi wa makoto no tomo o eru
Donna shudan o tsukatte mo
Mokuteki togeru kōkatsu-sa

Kabutte goran! Osorezu ni!
Kōfun sezu ni, o-makase o!
Kimi o watashi no te ni yudane (watashi wa te nanka nai keredo)
Datte watashi wa kangaeru bōshi!

The Japanese translator is not as guilty of overly literal translation as the Chinese.

    'I'll eat myself' is translated as the rather lame 'I'll withdraw'.

      You can keep your bowlers black,
      Your top hats sleek and tall,

    is translated simply and effectively as

      Bowler hats are pitch black,
      Top hats are long and tall.

It is very difficult to translate the rhythms and devices of English verse into Japanese, and vice versa. The Japanese translation is very prosaic and tends to fall flat. One wonders whether this flatness could have been avoided in some places by, for instance, writing Watashi wa karera no ue o iku / Hoguwātsu no kumi-wake bōshi sa!, instead of the lame Watashi wa Hoguwātsu no kumi-wake bōshi / Watashi wa karera no ue o iku.

Vietnamese
arrow up
Ờ này, ta dẫu không xinh
Nhưng mà chớ xét ngoại hình.
Xét về thông minh, sắc xảo
Đố nón nào qua mặt ta.
Các ngươi cứ đội nón hoa.
Mũ cối, mũ nồi tùy thích
Không sao, ta đây chấp hết
Nón ta: phân loại Hogwarts
Những điều giấu chẳng nói ra
Ta đọc được từ trong óc
Hãy chải đầu và vuốt tóc
Đặt lên, ta nói cho nghe
Người nào vô Gryffindor
Cái lò luyện trang dũng cảm
Người nào vô Hufflepuff
Nơi đào tạo kẻ kiên trung
Khó khăn chẳng khiến ngại ngùng
Đáng tin, đúng người chính trực
Ai vào Ravenclaw được
Nơi đào luyện trí tinh nhanh?
Vừa ham học lại chân thành
Hoặc Slytherin cũng thế
Dạy cho đa mưu túc trí
Làm sao miễn đạt mục tiêu

Hãy đội lên! Hãy đội nào!
Đừng sợ sệt, nghe ta nói
Nghe ta nói, ta phân loại
Ngươi là ai, ở nhà nào
Hãy bình tĩnh, đội lên nào
Trong vành nón như tay ấm.

The Vietnamese translator reworks the song rather liberally, avoiding the worst excesses of the Chinese translators. Instead of 'bowler hats' and 'top hats', we get 'mũ cối' and 'mũ nồi' (PLA hats and green berets!).

This method of translation neatly sidesteps 'I'll eat myself', which does not need to be translated at all. The pun 'You're in safe hands' is translated as 'inside the brim of my hat it's like warm hands'.

    Gryffindor,
    Where dwell the brave at heart,
    Their daring, nerve and chivalry
    Set Gryffindor's apart

is translated simply as 'Gryffindor where bravery is forged'.

Arguably, this is a better translation than the others because it is natural, concise, and is good enough to stand on its own as a ditty in Vietnamese.

 

arrow up