ByJancy Richardson, writer at Creators.co
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

We know that the amazing phenomenon of Harry Potter has gone insanely global, but did you know the books have been translated into at least 67 languages?

Now, it's hard to translate any novel, let alone one with the inventive and unusual names and wordy tricks that make up the fantastical Harry Potter universe...

Check out some interesting facts about Harry Potter in translation across the world...

HP has even been translated into dead languages

The cover for Peter Needham's Latin Harry Potter!
The cover for Peter Needham's Latin Harry Potter!

Some academics undertook the mammoth project of translating Harry Potter into Latin - Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis - and Ancient Greek - Ἅρειος Ποτὴρ καὶ ἡ τοῦ φιλοσόφου λίθος. The latter was the longest Ancient Greek text written since 3AD!

--------------------------------------

Operation Feather

When the Harry Potter books were initially released, translators were not given advance access to the text. This meant that there was always a rush to translate HP into languages other than English the second the English books hit book stores.

In Italy, fans set up 'Operation Feather,' sending a whole bunch of feathers to Italian Potter publishers Salani in protest of the late release of the Italian version.

In France, many were so desperate to read book 5 that they bought it in English: as a result, Order of the Phoenix became the first ever non-French book to top the French bestseller list.

--------------------------------------

So. Many. Harry. Potters!

Iranian Harry Potter books in Farsi.
Iranian Harry Potter books in Farsi.

Apparently, there are 16 different unauthorized versions of Harry Potter in Farsi, the official language in Iran. However, because Iran is not included in the Universal Copyright Convention, publishers can publish whatever foreign texts they like without being prosecuted or paying royalties.

--------------------------------------

Japanese Hagrid

Japanese Harry Potter, books 1 -3.
Japanese Harry Potter, books 1 -3.

Accents and dialects always present a problem for translators. Hagrid's speech has a serious West Country inflection (this is a largely rural area in the South West of England). For the Japanese translation, the translator approximated this provincial, accented feel by rendering Hagrid's speech in the Tōhoku dialect.

--------------------------------------

Hebrew Sirius

Some Harry Potter books in Hebrew.
Some Harry Potter books in Hebrew.

Harry Potter is not overtly religious, but being set in the UK, there are some Christian cultural references. When Sirius Black sings a parody of traditional Christmas carol 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' the Hebrew translator changed the song to a jokey version of the Chanukah song, 'Mi Y'malel' for an Israeli audience.

--------------------------------------

Swedish N.E.W.T.s

Swedish Harry Potter, books 1 - 7.
Swedish Harry Potter, books 1 - 7.

Acronyms like N.E.W.T.s - Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Levels - are tricky in translation. For the Swedish translation, the magical exams became the F.U.T.T. - Fruktansvärt Utmattande Trollkarls-Test, which translates to Terribly Exhausting Wizard's Test. 'Futt' also works as a comic abbreviation - it means 'measly' in Swedish.

--------------------------------------

German Mirror of Erised

German Harry Potter, books 1 -3.
German Harry Potter, books 1 -3.

Obviously, the Mirror of Erised works because it's a mirror that shows your desires - 'Erised' is 'Desire' backwards. The German novel - Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen - took the simplest approach. 'Begerhren' is German for 'desire,' so the mirror was called 'Der Spiegel Nerhegeb.'

--------------------------------------

French Voldemort has a different middle name

French Harry Potter covers, books 1 -3.
French Harry Potter covers, books 1 -3.

When J.K. Rowling came up with the anagram 'I am Lord Voldemort', she couldn't have made it much harder for translators if she tried! In the French book - Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers - Riddle's name rearranges to say 'Je suis Voldemort' / 'I am Voldemort'... making his full name Tom Elvis Jedusor... which gives him the fabulous middle name of ELVIS.

--------------------------------------

Think Tank

The Pensieve is a lovely example of JKR's wordplay: 'Pensive' means 'thinking hard' and 'sieve' is like a kitchen colander. Here are some international attempts at replicating the cunning wordplay of the Pensieve:

German: Denkarium, from the verb 'denken' (to think) and 'aquarium.'

Swedish: Minnessåll, literally 'memory's sieve.'

Norwegian: Tanketank; 'thought-tank.'

--------------------------------------

Dumblin' across the world

Italian Harry Potter covers, books 1 -3.
Italian Harry Potter covers, books 1 -3.

J.K. Rowling revealed that she took the name Dumbledore from an old Devonian (an English dialect) word for 'bumblebee,' which was replicated in the Czech translation, calling him Professor Brumbál. However, for the Italian version, a literal translation was used - as 'dumb' can be synonymous for mute, the Italian Dumbledore is named Prof. Silente!

--------------------------------------

I don't know about you, but it gives me a warm feeling in my heart to think about kids (and grown-ups, obvs) all over the world getting to experience the magic of Harry Potter. What's your favorite fact about HP in translation?

Poll

Did you find these facts about Harry Potter in translation interesting?

Sources: Wikipedia, Blogspot

Trending

Latest from our Creators