Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
envelope

 

The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter

 

Armando Dippet: Master or Moron?

 

Chinese (Mainland) 阿芒多・迪佩特:大师还是白痴
Āmángduō Dīpèitè: Dàshī háishì báichī
阿芒多・迪佩特 Āmángduō Dīpèitè = 'Armando Dippet'.
大师 dàshī = 'master, great teacher'.
还是 háishì = 'or'.
白痴 báichī = 'imbecile, moron'.
Armando Dippet: master or imbecile?
Chinese (Taiwan) 阿曼多・狄劈:大師或白痴?
Āmànduō Dìpī: Dàshī huò báichī?
阿曼多・狄劈 Āmànduō Dìpī = 'Armando Dippet'.
大師 dàshī = 'master, great teacher'.
huò = 'or'.
白痴 báichī = 'imbecile, moron'.
Armando Dippet: master or imbecile?
Japanese アーマンド・ディペット 偉人か愚人か
Āmando Dipetto: Ijin ka gujin ka
アーマンド・ディペット Āmando Dipetto = 'Armando Dippet'.
偉人 ijin = 'great man'.
愚人 gujin = 'moron'.
... か ... か ... ka... ka = 'or'.
Armando Dippet: great man or moron?
Vietnamese Armando Dippet: Bậc Thầy hay Thằng Dở Hơi Armando Dippet = 'Armando Dippet'.
bậc thầy = 'teacher'.
hay = 'or'.
thằng dở hơi = 'art'.
Armando Dippet: Teacher or

Another libellous work by the inimitable Rita Skeeter.

Armando Dippet

This is transliterated rather differently by the Taiwanese and Mainland translators, especially 'Dippet'. The Mainland version uses 迪佩特 Dīpèitè, the standard Mainland style of meticulously rendering each individual sound. The result is that in an effort to represent the final 't' it's given its own extra syllable, , since no Mandarin syllables end in 't'. This approach to transliteration is one reason that north Chinese pronunciation of English is so difficult to understand as many speakers find it hard to break the habit of adding extra syllables to try and get their mouths round English consonant clusters.

The Taiwanese translator uses 狄劈 Dìpī, following the south Chinese tendency to omit final consonants when transliterating English. This tradition may have arisen in dialects like Cantonese, which have final consonants. Whether it is appropriate to Mandarin, which is the language of the Taiwanese translation, is another question.

Master or moron?

The 'master or moron' question is directly related to Dippet's position as previous head or master of Hogwarts. The title of Skeeter's book is highly disrespectful, implying that despite his exalted position, Dippet was in fact a moron. The alliteration so beloved of Rowling again makes its appearance (master / moron).

Unlike the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese translators, the Japanese translator is somewhat creative with the title. Rather than stick closely to the English 'master / moron' pair, Matsuoka creates her own 偉人 / 愚人 (ijin / gujin, 'great man / imbecile') pair.

A similar 'A or B' title is Fowl or Foul? A Study of Hippogriff Brutality. The use of the word for 'or' is similar in both book titles.

 
Fowl/Foul
Master/Moron
Chinese (Mainland)
... 还是 ...
... 还是 ...
Chinese (Taiwan)
... 或 ...
Japanese
... か ...
... か ...
Vietnamese

Theoretically there is a difference in Chinese between 還是 / 还是 háishì and 或是 huòshì, the first being used in questions posing an alternative, the second in non-questions, but here there does not appear to be a difference.

Category: Who's Who / Biography

arrow up