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

 

"Hissy hissy, little snakey" (Book 6)

 

This little ditty, which starts out in a way reminiscent of 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star', was crooned by Morfin in Parseltongue at Book 6 Chapter 10.

English

Hissy hissy, little snakey,
Slither on the floor,
You be good to Morfin
Or he'll nail you to the door.

'Be good or...' is a point to look for in the translation.

 

Chinese (Mainland)

嘶嘶,嘶嘶,蛇宝宝,
快快在地上爬过来,
你要对莫芬特别好,
不然就把你钉在大门外。

Sīsī, sīsī, shé-bǎobǎo,
Kuài kuài zài dì-shàng pá-guòlái,
Nǐ yào duì Mòfēn tèbié hǎo,
Bùrán jiù bǎ nǐ dìng zài dàmén wài.

As in other cases, the Mainland version even rhymes!

The imperative 'be good' becomes 你要 nǐ yào, roughly 'you shall' or 'you must'. The ditty makes it clear that the snake must be good to Morfin (对莫芬 duì Mòfēn). This is followed by 不然就 bùrán jiù 'otherwise...'.

 

Chinese (Taiwan)

嘶,嘶,小小蛇,
在地上慢慢滑,
你要乖乖聽魔份的話,
否則他會把你釘上門。

Sī, sī, xiǎo xiǎo shé,
Zài dì-shàng mànmàn huá,
Nǐ yào guāiguāi tīng Mófèn de huà,
Fǒuzé tā huì bǎ nǐ dìng shàng mén.

A slight attempt at rhyme in lines 2 and 3?

'Be good or...' is similar to the Mainland version, 你要 Nǐ yào 'you should'. However, for 'be good' it uses 乖乖 guāiguāi, a term habitually used when admonishing children to 'be good'. The meaning is something like 'docile, obedient'. This is followed by 否则 fǒuzé 'or else, otherwise'.

 

Japanese

シュー、シューとかわいい蛇よ
クーネ、クーネと床に這え
モーフィンさまの機嫌取れ
戸口に釘づけされぬよう
Shū, shū to kawaii hebi yo
Kūne kūne to toko ni hae
Mōfin-sama no kigen tore
Toguchi ni kugi-zuke sarenu yō

For 'Be good or...', the Japanese uses a direct imperative 機嫌取れ kigen tore 'be nice to', with the implication of 'put Morphin on your good side' or 'put Morphin in a good mood'. This is followed by the construction されぬよう sarenu yō meaning 'so that you won't...'

 

Vietnamese

Rít đi, rít đi, rắn nhí,
Trườn trên sàn
Mi hãy biết điều với Morfin
Nếu không hắn đóng đinh mày lên cửa.

No rhyme in the Vietnamese.

The 'Be good or...' construction begins with mi hãy 'you should', followed by nếu không 'otherwise', similar in meaning to 不然 bùrán and 否則 fǒuzé in the Chinese.

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