Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Secrets of the Darkest Art



Chinese (Mainland)
Jiānduān hēi-mófǎ jiēmì
尖端 jiānduān = 'tip, point, advanced'.
黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ = 'black magic'.
揭秘 jiēmì = 'expose secret'.
Exposing the secrets of advanced black magic
Chinese (Taiwan)
Hēi-mófǎ de mìmì
黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ = 'black magic'.
de = connecting particle
秘密 mìmì = 'secret'.
Secrets of black magic
Fukai yami no hijutsu
深い fukai = 'deep'.
yami = 'darkness, shadow'.
no = connecting particle
秘術 hijutsu = 'secret skill'.
Secret skills of deep darkness
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Những Bí Mật Của Nghệ Thuật Hắc Ám những = plural marker
bí mật (秘密)= 'secret'.
của = 'belonging to'.
nghệ thuật (藝術) = 'arts'.
hắc ám (黑暗) = 'dark'.

Secrets of the dark arts

As with all books concerning the dark arts, this is an evil volume.

Darkest arts

'Dark arts' is normally translated as 黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ by the Chinese translators, and this book title is no exception.

The Vietnamese translator uses nghệ thuật hắc ám 'dark art', which also follows her practice in other places. As we've pointed out elsewhere, the use of nghệ thuật to translate 'art' seems a little out of place. The 'arts' referred to here are not the kind of arts found in the 'performing arts', where there is a creative artistic element. The meaning of 'arts' here is closer to 'techniques'.

The Japanese translator uses 闇の秘術 yami no hijutsu 'secret-techniques of darkness'. yami follows her practice at other places, although she also uses 黒魔術 kuro-majutsu 'black magic' at places.

This title is, however, not 'dark arts' but 'darkest arts'. To express the English superlative, translators follow several strategies:

  • Ignore it. This is the case with the Taiwanese and Vietnamese translations, where 'darkest arts' is simply expressed as 'dark arts'.
  • Add 尖端 jiānduān, meaning 'tip, advanced' (Mainland translation).
  • Add 深い fukai, meaning 'deep' (Japanese translation)


Normally the word for 'secrets' is 秘密 (Chinese mìmì, Japanese himitsu) or bí mật (Vietnamese). In this title, the Taiwanese and Vietnamese translators use this word. The result is a title meaning simply Secrets of Black Magic or Secrets of the Dark Arts.

The Mainland Chinese and Japanese translators adopt a different tack.

The Mainland translator uses 揭秘 jiēmì, meaning to reveal or open the lid on secrets. This suggests that the book opens up the secrets of black magic.

The Japanese translator embeds the concept of secrecy in the name of the dark arts themselves: 闇の秘術 yami no hijutsu. The word 秘術 hijutsu itself means 'secret techniques'.

Category: Dark Arts

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