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

 

Most Potent Potions

 

Chinese (Mainland) 强力药剂
Qiánglì yàojì
强力 qiánglì = 'powerful'.
药剂 yàojì = 'medicament, drug'.
Powerful Potions
Chinese (Taiwan) 超強魔藥
Chāoqiáng móyào
chāoqiáng = 'super-strong'.
móyào = 'magic medicine'.
Super-strong Magic Medicines
Japanese 最も強力な薬
Mottomo kyōryoku na kusuri
超強 mottomo = 'most'.
強力な kyōryoku na = 'powerful' (na is a form of the verb 'to be' linking the adjective to the noun).
kusuri = 'medicine'.
Most Powerful Medicines
Vietnamese Độc dược Tối hiệu nghiệm độc dược (毒藥) = 'poison medicine'.
tối () = 'most'.
hiệu nghiệm (效驗) = 'efficacious'.
Most Efficacious Medicines

The choice of vocabulary represents the attempt of each translator to render the three elements of the English:

Most:

The force of the English word 'most' is to indicate that the potions are very powerful, not necessarily that they are the most powerful potions. The word is ignored by the Mainland translator (perhaps wisely so), rendered quite literally in the Japanese and Vietnamese translations, and rendered with a prefix meaning 'super' in the Taiwanese translation.

Potent:

Used to indicate that something is ‘powerful’, and so rendered by the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese translators. The Vietnamese translator uses a word meaning 'efficacious' (the cognate word in Chinese means 'desired result, intended effect'), which is possibly a more suitable word for medicines.

Potions:

‘Potion' is a rather old-fashioned word for a liquid medicine, a poison medicine, or a miraculous medicine. The word chosen is different in each case. Japanese uses a plain word meaning 'medicine'. The Mainland translator uses a word referring to a medicine made according to a formula or prescription. The Taiwanese translator goes for 'magic medicine'. The Vietnamese translator uses a word meaning 'poison medicine', although this refers to the ingredients rather than to the effect of the medicine itself.

Category: Potions

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