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

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

 

Chinese (Mainland)

怪兽及其产地
Guàishòu jí qí chǎndì

神奇动物在哪里
Shénqí dòngwù zài nǎ-lǐ

怪兽 guàishòu = 'strange beast'.
= 'and'.
= 'their' (written style).
产地 chǎndì = 'place of origin, native haunt'.

神奇 shénqí = 'magical, strange'.
动物 dòngwù = 'animal'.
zài = 'at'.
哪里 nǎ-lǐ = 'where?'

1. Strange Beasts and their Native Haunts

2. Where are the Magical Animals?
(published version for Comic Relief)

Chinese (Taiwan) 怪獸與牠們的產地
Guàishòu yǔ tāmen de chǎndì
怪獸 guàishòu = 'strange beast'.
= 'and'.
牠們 tāmen = 'they'.
de = connecting particle (possessive)
產地 chǎndì = 'place of origin, native haunt'.
Strange Beasts and their Native Haunts
Japanese 幻の動物とその生息地
Maboroshi no dōbutsu to sono seisoku-chi
maboroshi = 'phantasm, phantom, apparition, illusion, dream'.
no = connecting particle
動物 dōbutsu = 'animal'.
to = 'and'.
その sono = 'that, its/their'.
生息 seisoku = 'inhabit'.
chi = 'place, land'.
Phantasmal Animals and their Habitats
Vietnamese Quái vật kỳ thú và nơi tìm ra chúng

Quái Vật Hoang Đường Và Nơi Tìm Chúng
quái vật (怪物) = 'monster'.
kỳ thú (奇趣) = 'magic'.
= 'and'.
nơi = 'where'.
tìm ra = 'find'.
chúng = 'them'.

hoang đường (荒唐)= 'legendary, mythical, fictitious'.
Magical Monsters and Where to Find Them

'Where to find them':

'Where to find them' is a very natural English expression but can be difficult for foreign learners to grasp. 'Where to find them' at first sounds like a question (Where to find them?), but in fact means 'places where they can be found'. To express this, both the Chinese and Japanese versions come up with compound words meaning 'place of origin' or 'place of habitation'. The Vietnamese translator follows the English in its structure.

'Fantastic Beasts'

'Fantastic' is translated variously as:

  • maboroshi in Japanese referrs to a 'phantasm, illusion, dream', very close to the idea of 'beasts of fantasy'.
  • quái vật in Vietnamese, meaning 'monster' or 'sphinx'. The word quái vật is related to Chinese 怪物 guàiwù, made up of two characters meaning 'strange, odd, queer, bewildering' + 'thing'. 怪物 guàiwù has meanings ranging from 'monster, monstrosity, freak' to 'eccentric, queer person, oddball'. The cognate Japanese term 怪物 kaibutsu is variously glossed as 'monster, goblin, hideous creature', or 'sphinx, mysterious creature'. 怪物 is often encountered in Chinese and Japanese when talking about monsters.
  • 怪獸 (怪兽) guàishòu in the Chinese versions, with characters meaning 'strange, odd, bewildering' + 'beast, animal'. This is a less common word that attempts to capture the concept of a 'beast'. The Mainland translator appears to have followed the Taiwanese.

'Their':

The expression 牠們的 tāmen de 'their' in the Taiwanese translation is rather colloquial for a book title. The Mainland version substitutes , a Classical Chinese word still used in formal prose, which is more appropriate for an academic book.

Note on the character : The Chinese word meaning 'he, she, it', is written differently depending on whether it's being used for a male, a female, an animal, or an object. To mean 'he', is written ; to mean 'she', is written ; to mean 'it', is written (Taiwan only) or (both Mainland and Taiwan).

Charity Relief:

When the People's Literature Publishing House put out 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' for Charity Relief, they may have felt that 怪兽及其产地 Guàishòu jí qí chǎndì was lacking in appeal -- too academic, perhaps? The title was changed to 神奇动物在哪里 Shénqí dòngwù zài nǎ-lǐ 'Where are the magic animals?'

Category: Magical Creatures

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