5 Curiosities of Harry Potter in Translation
When you are reading Harry Potter in more than one language, you can't help but notice the differences and various linguistic peculiarities that only make sense in a certain language. If you seek translation magic, you will be able to discover it between the lines and talk to fellow magicians as you share the knowledge and learn even more. If you take the acronyms that have been used in the book, then you will see that they have been adapted to fit the language. If you plan to learn a foreign language, reading Harry Potter books will help you to discover a lot of interesting things and become a part of the local culture as you learn the linguistic spells!
5 Curiosities of Harry Potter in Translation
- Learning Latin or Ancient Greek Became Fun!
If you are students who learn Latin or who have to fight the challenges of Ancient Greek, you will be surprised to know that there are versions of both languages. Not many books have been translated into these so-called "dead" languages. Speaking of Latin, you will discover various explanations of the character names. Peter Needham did a great job explaining things and adding unique explanations. For example, we can learn that “Voldemort” means “a flight of death” if we take a literal Latin translation.
- The Character Names Make More Sense!
For example, Voldemort's name has a composition of "volde", which means "violent" in Danish, and "mort", which means "dead" in French. The French translators also state that Voldemort would mean “the one who steals the death”. Another interesting example is “Oliver Wood” who suddenly turned to “Olivier Dubois” in French. It does make sense because the last name literally stands for “made of wood”. As a foreign language learner, you will have a lot to learn! For example, the French translation could not use “Voldemort”, so they used Tom Elvis Jedusor instead. It might not make much sense, but once you learn more about the French language and the culture, it will unfold some magic!
- Abbreviations in Different Languages.
For example, the French translation has "ASPIC" for "Accumulation de Sorcellerie Particulièrent Intensive et Contraignante", which can be translated literally as "Particularly Intensive and Constraining Sorcery Accumulation". Now, the German version has "UTZ". It stands for "Unheimlich Toller Zauberer", which means "The Frightening Amazing Wizard" if we translate it. In case you search for assistance with translation or understanding of how translation works, check online translation services reviews to find a suitable language expert. If you start with a foreign language, you will always learn something useful as you discover the language in a much deeper way.
- The Farsi Language Trick!
If you are coming from Iran, Iraq, or the parts of Afghanistan where the Farsi language is spoken, you will find more than twenty different versions of Harry Potter shop. These are not among the legit versions (the ones that are accepted by international copyright), so these are not easy to obtain and learn. The Farsi translation has a lot of specific adjustments and even has several parts missing! Therefore, they have many adapted versions, and children from different parts of the country often have their versions of the story!
- Dumbledore's Spell.
In case you did not know, it is an old English word that means "a bumblebee". J.K. Rowling herself said that the word sounded like music to her, so she thought of using it. Now, the Italian version of the book uses the word "Silente'' instead. It means "a silent one", yet the translators probably spoke of the person who seeks silence as he deals with the students!
The Matters of Perception
Since Harry Potter books have been written in English, you can enjoy the original language of the book if you are a foreign learner. Since you know the book well, you can use any foreign language version to compare the chapters and the language. It will not only help you to learn all the unknown words and grammar but let you see how the famous spells have been understood by the translator. It is all a matter of perception as you have to deal with another culture. When you need to add some magic to make things inspiring, you have to work with the words, just like with the ingredients of a certain spell. There is a lot to explore, so take your time, and you will discover a lot of amazing things!
As a linguist and an academic advisor, Andrew Mazur loves to share his discoveries. His posts focus on education, technology, and culture. Follow Andrew to find out more about the cultural peculiarities of the world as he shares the educational magic.