Confronting the Faceless

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Zāoyù wúliǎn yāoguai
遭遇 zāoyù = 'come across, encounter'.
无脸 wúliǎn = 'without face, faceless'.
妖怪 yāoguai = 'monster, devil, evil spirit'.
Encountering faceless monsters
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Duìkàng wúliǎn dírén
對抗 duìkàng = 'to counter, to resist, to oppose'.
無臉 wúliǎn = 'without face, faceless'.
敵人 dírén = 'enemy, foe'.
Countering faceless enemies
Kao no nai kao ni taimen suru
顔のない kao no nai = 'to have no face', derived from 顔がない kao ga nai 'to have no face'. ga changes to no in a relative clause (rentai shushoku).
kao = 'face'.
ni = particle indicating direction (accompanies following verb)
対面する taimen suru = 'to meet, to face, to confront'.
Meeting a faceless face
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Đối Diện với Vô Diện đối diện (對面) = 'face-to-face, tête-à-tête'.
với = 'with'.
vô diện (無面) = 'no face, faceless'.
Face-to-face with the faceless

Given Rowling's love of word play, it's amazing this title isn't Facing the Faceless. Perhaps she felt it was just a little bit too forced.


'Confronting' can mean 'to encounter face-to-face'; it can also have a more active or aggressive meaning of 'to oppose, to meet a challenge'. The Mainland translator chooses the first meaning. The Taiwanese translator clearly chooses the second. The Japanese and Vietnamese translations lie somewhere in between.

The Faceless:

As in many other cases in the Harry Potter books, this expression is quite vague because it doesn't spell out the noun — a faceless what is what readers must imagine for themselves. This adds rather than detracts from the terror. It is the very vagueness of the faceless entity that makes it so fearful. But because the CJV languages don't have this particular kind of expression (the + adjective), the translators must somehow decide what the faceless entity is going to be.

Other examples of this kind of expression can be seen at Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed, Jinxes for the Jinxed, and Predicting the Unpredictable: Insulate Yourself Against Shocks.

Category: Dark Arts

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