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

 

Professor Trelawney's First Prediction (Book 5)

 

This is the prediction made many years ago by Madam Trelawney to Albus Dumbledore in the Hog's Head (Book 5 Chapter 37). The prophecy was made in a harsh, hoarse voice quite unlike Trelawney's usual ethereal, mystic tones. The prophecy was partially overheard by Snape and passed on to Voldemort.

This was Trelawney's first true prediction. The second was made to Harry many years later during his third year, as depicted in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

English

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...

The language of the English original is solemn in tone, using archaic expressions associated with subjects considered religious or weighty. Some examples include:

  • 'approaches' is in the present tense. More colloquially, this would be 'is approaching'.
  • 'thrice' is archaic. Modern English would use 'three times'.
  • 'as the seventh month dies' uses the poetic or dramatic conceipt of a month 'dying', in preference to the normal view of a month ending or drawing to a close. This adds to the ominous tone of a prophecy predicting death. The passage also uses 'seventh month' in preference to the more prosaic 'July'.
  • 'knows not' is archaic, typical of Biblical or Elizabethan language. Modern English would use 'doesn't know'.
  • 'for' is found only in written English. Colloquial English would prefer 'because'.

 

Chinese (Mainland)

拥有征服黑魔头能量的人走近了……出生在曾三次击败黑魔头的家庭……生于第七个月月末……黑魔头标记他为其劲敌,但是他拥有黑魔头所不了解的能量……一个必须死在另一个手上,因为两个人不能都活着,只有一个生存下来……那个拥有征服黑魔头能量的人将于第七个月结束时出生……
Yōngyǒu zhēngfú Hēimó-Tóu néngliàng de rén zǒujìn le ...... chūshēng zài céng sāncì jībài Hēimó Tóu de jiātíng...... shēng yú dì-qī-ge yuè yuèmò...... Hēimó-Tóu biāojì tā wéi qí jìngdí, dànshì tā yōngyǒu Hēimó-Tóu suǒ bú liǎojiě de néngliàng...... Yī-ge bìxū sǐ zài lìng yī-ge shǒu-shàng, yīnwei liǎng-ge rén bù néng dōu huó-zhe, zhǐ yǒu yī-ge shēngcún-xiàlai...... Nà-ge yōngyǒu zhēngfú Hēimó-Tóu néngliàng de rén jiāng yú dì-qī-ge yuè jiéshù shí chūshēng......

The language of the Mainland version is simple and straightforward. There are some elements typical of written Chinese, e.g.:

  • 拥有 yōngyǒu is a form more typical of the written language, where speech would use just yǒu.
  • 曾三次 céng sāncì 'in the past three times' is more likely found in the written than the spoken language.
  • 生于 shēng yú 'be born in' is a written expression in Chinese. Just prior to this the translator uses the more colloquial 出生在 chūshēng zài.
  • 标记他为其劲敌 biāojì tā wéi qí jìngdí 'mark him as his formidable opponent': The expression 为其 wéi qí 'as his' is more typical of written than spoken language.
  • 黑魔头所不了解的能量 Hēimó-Tóu suǒ bú liǎojiě de néngliàng 'power that the Black Magic Chief does not understand': The use of suǒ here is more written than spoken.

Despite the use of such written expressions, however, the overall tone is rather colloquial. The 'dying' of the seventh month is turned into 'the end of the month' or 'when the month finishes'. The clause 'for neither can live while the other survives' is rendered very colloquially.

 

Chinese (Taiwan)

擁有消滅黑魔王力量之人將降臨 ..... 出身於曾三次抵禦他之父母,出生於第七個月份消失之時 ..... 黑魔王將標記他為己之同等,然他將擁有黑魔王所未知之力量 ..... 兩者必將死於另一人之手,因兩者無法同存於世 ..... 擁有消滅黑魔王力量之人將出生於第七個月份消失之時 .....
Yōngyǒu xiāomiè Hēimó-Wáng lìliang zhī rén jiāng jiànglín...... chūshēng yú céng sān-cì dǐyù tā de fùmǔ, chūshēng yú dì-qī-ge yuèfen xiāoshī zhī shí...... Hēimó-Wáng jiāng biāojì tā wéi jǐ zhī tóngděng, rán tā jiāng yōngyǒu Hēimó-Wáng suǒ wèi zhī zhī lìliang...... liǎng-zhě bì jiāng sǐ yú lìng yī rén zhī shǒu, yīn liǎng-zhě wúfǎ tóng cún yú shì...... yōngyǒu xiāomiè Hēimó-Wáng lìliang zhī rén jiāng chūshēng yú dì-qī-ge yuèfen xiāoshī zhī shí......

The Taiwanese translation is more solemn and literary in tone. This is seen in the use of expressions like:

  • jiāng as a future tense marker, not found in the spoken language.
  • zhī instead of colloquial de.
  • 未知 wèi zhī 'not know', which is typical of written language.
  • 兩者 liǎng-zhě 'both' rather than colloquial 兩個 liǎng-ge.
  • 同存於世 tóng cún yú shì 'together survive in the world', a four-character expression. This forms a marked contrast with the Mainland version's very lame and colloquial rendering.

 

Japanese

闇の帝王を打ち破る力を持った者が近づいている......七つ目の月が死ぬとき、帝王に三度抗った者たちに生まれる...... そして闇の帝王は、その者を自分に比肩する者として印すであろう。しかし彼は、闇の帝王の知らぬ力を持つであろう......一方が他方の手にかかって死なねばならぬ。なんとなれば、一方が生きるかぎり、他方は生きられぬ......闇の帝王を打ち破る力を持った者が、七つ目の月が死ぬときに生まれるであろう......
Yami no Teiō o uchi-yaburu chikara o motta mono ga chika-zuite iru...... nanatsu-me no tsuki ga shinu toki, Teiō ni sando aragatta mono-tachi ni umareru...... soshite Yami no Teiō wa, son mono o jibun ni hiken suru mono to shite shirusu de arō. Shikashi kare wa, Yami no Teiō no shiranu chikara o motsu de arō...... ippō ga tahō no te ni kakatte shinaneba naranu. Nantonareba, ippō ga ikiru kagiri, tahō wa ikirarenu...... Yami no Teiō o uchi-yaburu chikara o motta mono ga, nanatsu-me no tsuki ga shinu toki ni umareru de arō......

The Japanese also tends to the colloquial. The use of 死なねばならぬ shinaneba naranu is literary in tone. The use of であろう de arō for future events that have not yet happened is typical of both prophecies and translationese. The use of kare 'he' is also typical of translationese and history textbooks. Both tend to distance the tone from everyday speech.

 

Vietnamese

- KẺ CÓ QUYỀN NĂNG ĐÁNH BẠI CHÚA TỂ HẮC ÁM ĐANG XUẤT HIỆN... CON CỦA NHỮNG NGƯỜI ĐÃ BA LẦN THÁCH THỨC HẮN, SINH RA KHI THÁNG THỨ BẢY TÀN ĐI... VÀ CHÚA TỂ HẮC ÁM SẼ KHIẾN KẺ ẤY LÀ ĐỐI THỦ NGANG CƠ, NHƯNG KẺ ẤY LẠI CÓ NHỮNG QUYỀN PHÉP MÀ CHÚA TỂ HẮC ÁM KHÔNG BIẾT ĐƯỢC... BÀ HAI NGƯỜI ẤY, KẺ NÀY SẼ CHẾT VỀ TAY KẺ KIA, BỞI VÌ NGƯỜI NÀY KHÔNG THỂ SỐNG KHI KẺ KIA TỒN TẠI... KẺ CÓ QUYỀN NĂNG ĐÁNH BẠI CHÚA TỂ HẮC ÁM SẼ ĐƯỢC SINH RA KHI THÁNG THỨ BẢY TÀN ĐI...

The Vietnamese version is also quite plain-spoken and straightforward. (I am not qualified to judge whether this reproduces the tone of the English or not.)

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