Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


Holidays With Hags


Chinese (Mainland) 与母夜叉一起度假
Yǔ mǔ-yèchā yìqǐ dùjià
= 'with'.
母夜叉 mǔ-yèchā = 'female yaksha' = 'ugly and fierce woman, shrew'.
一起 yìqǐ = 'together'
度假 dùjià = 'spend holidays'
Spending Holidays with an Ugly Shrew
Chinese (Taiwan) 與巫婆共度假期
Yǔ wūpó gòngdù jiàqī
= 'with'.
巫婆 wūpó = 'witch'.
共度 gòngdù = 'spend together'.
假期 jiàqī = 'vacation, holidays'.
Spending Holidays with a Witch
Japanese 鬼婆とのオツな休暇
Oni-baba to no otsu na kyūka
鬼婆と oni-baba to = 'ogre-granny' + 'with' = 'with a witch/ogress'. Both oni and baba are derogatory terms.
= connecting particle
オツな otsu na = 'strange, odd; witty, smart, chic'.
休暇 kyūka 'holiday'.
Chic Holidays with a Witch
Vietnamese Nghỉ lễ với phù thủy nghỉ lễ = 'holiday for a festival'.
với = 'with'.
phù thủy = 'sorceror'.
Holiday with a Sorceror

The books in the Gilderoy Lockhart Series (except for Magical Me) follow a simple but humorous pattern in English. All describe spending time with a particular kind of unsavoury creature, expressed in the form 'X with Y'. In each case there is alliteration between X and Y (Break with a Banshee, Gadding with Ghouls, Holidays with Hags, etc.).

The interesting points in any translation are:

    How this assortment of unpleasant creatures is translated.

    How the parallel meanings are expressed.

    How the effect of the alliteration is reproduced. This is the most difficult task because alliteration is, of course, dependent on the particular sound of words in a language.


A hag is an ugly old woman, the type often identified with a witch.

  • The Mainland Chinese version uses the word yaksha, a kind of Buddhist demon, which is popularly applied to fierce and ugly women.
  • The Taiwanese version uses a word that is the most common translation of the English word 'witch'.
  • The Japanese uses a word meaning 'ogre-granny', an abusive term often applied by children to disliked old women.
  • The Vietnamese settles for the general word for 'sorceror'.

The Japanese alliterates 鬼婆 oni-baba with オツな otsu na. Otsu is usually written otsu, indicating the second in a series (the first is ). The meaning has developed in the direction of 'different, strange, odd', and even further as 'witty, smart, chic, tasty'.

Break With A Banshee Gadding With Ghouls Travels With Trolls
Voyages With Vampires Wandering With Werewolves Year With The Yeti

Category: Adventure

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