Magick Moste Evile

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Zhìdú mófǎ
至毒 zhìdú = 'extremely/very/ utmost poison/venom/evil'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
Utmost poison magic
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Jí'è mófǎ
極惡 jí'è = 'extreme/utmost evil'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
Utmost evil magic
Mottomo ja'aku naru majutsu
最も mottomo = 'most'.
邪悪なる ja'aku naru = 'wickedness, viciousness, evil'.
魔術 majutsu = 'magic, sorcery, witchcraft'.
Most wicked witchcraft
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Pháp Thuật Ác Hại Nhất pháp thuật (法術) = 'magic'.
ác hại (惡害) = 'harmful, wicked'.
nhất ='most'.
Most wicked magic

Rowling here deliberately uses a quaintly archaic (although probably inauthentic) spelling for the words 'magic', 'most', and 'evil', conveying an impression of mediaeval witchcraft. Harking back to this darker, more primitive age places a distance between the book and the prosaic, unmagical world of the present.

The word 'most' here means 'very' or 'extremely'. The two Chinese translations both manage to come up with relatively literary expressions (one using zhì, one using / ) that convey this meaning without baldly saying 'most'. The Japanese translation uses 最も mottomo, which means 'most' but can also mean 'extremely'. The Vietnamese translation uses nhất, also meaning 'most' or 'very' (elsewhere appearing in the conventional dialectal form nhứt), but with a similar meaning of 'very'.

The Japanese translator manages to convey some of the antique feeling of the title by using the old-fashioned adjectival form 邪悪なる ja'aku naru rather than 邪悪な ja'aku na.

Category: Dark Arts

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