Charm Your Own Cheese

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Gěi nǐ de nǎilào shīshàng mófǎ
gěi = 'give'.
= 'you'.
de = connecting particle
奶酪 nǎilào = 'cheese'.
施上 shīshàng = 'to work, cast'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
Give Your Cheese an Application of Magic
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Duì nǐ de rǔlào xià fúzhòu
duì = 'towards, directed at'.
= 'you'.
de = connecting particle
乳酪 rǔlào = 'cheese'.
xià = 'cast, place'.
符咒 fúzhòu = 'incantations (Daoist)'
Place an Incantation on Your Cheese
Jika-sei mahō chiizu no tsukuri-kata
自家製 jika-sei = 'home-made'.
魔法 mahō = 'magic'.
チーズ chiizu = 'cheese' (from English cheese).
no = connecting particle
つくり方 tsukuri-kata = 'method of making', from つくる tsukuru = 'to make' + -kata 'method'.
How to Make Home-made Magical Cheese
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Ếm bùa phô mai của chính mình ếm bùa = 'cast a spell on'.
phô mai = 'cheese' (from French fromage').
của = 'belonging to'.
chính mình = 'onself'.
Cast a Spell on Your Own Cheese
Mongolian (previous)
Шидээр бяслаг бүтээхүй
Shideer byaslag büteekhüi
шид shid = 'magic, sorcery' (Instrumental case = 'with magic').
бяслаг byaslag = 'cheese'.
бүтээх büteekh = 'make, produce' (Archaic past tense).
Making Cheese with Magic
Mongolian (new)
Бяслаг хийх шид
Byaslag khiikh shid
бяслаг byaslag = 'cheese'.
хийх khiikh = 'make'.
шид shid = 'magic, sorcery'.
Magic for Making Cheese

This is one of three cookery-related books found in the kitchen at 'The Burrow'.

This is a very interesting title in English. Before looking at what it means, let's look at what it could mean:

The third appears to be the correct one. This title is thus modelled on books like 'Bake Your Own Bread' or 'Build Your Own Backyard BBQ'. This extends the meaning of the word 'charm' in a way that is part of the genius of English. Note that 'own' in this case emphasises that the cheese is made by the consumer him/herself, as opposed to being bought in a shop.

Two points are important in translating the full sense of the title: firstly, the translation should imply that something is being 'created' by means of magic charms, and secondly, it should imply doing this oneself in contrast to buying from someone else. How do the translators fare?


Only some of the translators use expressions related to making cheese.

Both Chinese translators and the Vietnamese translator use expressions meaning 'put a spell on your cheese'.

There is no doubt a kind of incongruous charm and humour about casting a spell on a lump of cheese, in keeping with Rowling's whimsical book titles, but they miss the all-important aspect that this is a book designed to tell you how to prepare food.


Cheese is an integral part of the Western diet but has traditionally been absent from or just a minor part of the diet of sedentary East Asians. The Mongols, on the other hand, traditionally enjoy a diet of diary.


The word 'own', as mentioned above, emphasises the act of creating the cheese oneself rather than buying it from someone else.

Category: Household magic

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