Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter

 

Confronting the Faceless

 

Chinese (Mainland) 遭遇无脸妖怪
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
Chinese (Taiwan) 對抗無臉敵人
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
Japanese 顔のない顔に対面する
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 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:

'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.

  • The Mainland translator chooses 妖怪 yāoguai meaning 'monster, devil, evil spirit'.
  • The Taiwanese translator transforms it into an 無臉敵人 wúliǎn dírén or 'faceless foe'.
  • The Japanese translator goes one further and speaks of a 顔のない顔 kao no nai kao or 'faceless face'.
  • Only the Vietnamese translator adheres to the spirit of the English and uses vô diện -- 'no face' or 'facelessness'.

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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