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

 

Practical Defensive Magic and Its Use Against the Dark Arts

 

Chinese (Mainland) 实用防御魔法及其对黑魔法的克制
Shíyòng fángyù mófǎ jí qí duì hēi-mófǎ de kèzhì
实用 shíyòng = 'practical'.
防御 fángyù = 'defence'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
= 'and'.
= 'its, their'.
dùi = 'towards, regarding'.
hēi = 'black'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
de = connecting particle
克制 kèzhì = 'control'.
Practical defensive magic and its control of black magic
Chinese (Taiwan) 實用防禦魔法及其對抗黑魔法之使用
Shíyòng fángyù mófǎ jí qí dùikàng hēi-mófǎ zhī shǐyòng
實用 shíyòng = 'practical'.
防禦 fángyù = 'defence'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
= 'and'.
= 'its, their'.
對抗 dùikàng = 'to resist, oppose, counter'.
hēi = 'black'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
zhī = connecting particle (classical or formal)
使用 shǐyòng = 'use'.
Practical defensive magic and its use for opposing black magic
Japanese 実践的防衛術と闇の魔術に対するその使用法
Jissen-teki bōei-jutsu to yami no majutsu ni taisuru sono shiyō-hō
実践的 jissen-teki = 'practical' (as opposed to 'theoretical').
防衛 bōei = 'defence'.
-jutsu = 'technique, art'.
to = 'and'.
yami = 'darkness'.
no = connecting particle
魔術 majutsu = 'magic (the craft of magic)'.
に対する ni taisuru = 'towards, against' ( ni = general particle meaning 'at', 'to' etc., 対する taisuru = 'to be directed at').
その sono = 'its'.
使用 shiyō = 'use'.
-hō = 'method'.
Practical defence technique and its method of use against dark magic
Vietnamese Pháp Thuật Phòng Vệ Thiết Thực Và Ứng Dụng Phòng Chống Nghệ Thuật Hắc Ám

Pháp Thuật Phòng Thủ Thực Tiễn và Ứng Dụng Chống Lại Nghệ Thuật Hắc Ám
pháp thuật (法術) = 'magic'.
phòng vệ (防衛) = 'defence'.
thiết thực (切實) = 'effective, efficacious, realistic, real'.
= 'and'.
ứng dụng (應用) = 'application, use'.
phòng chống = 'to protect against'.
nghệ thuật (藝術) = 'arts'.
hắc ám (黑暗) = 'dark'.

phòng thủ (防守) = 'defend'.
thực tiễn (實踐) = 'practice'.
chống lại = 'resist'.
Effective defensive magic and its use to protect against the dark arts

Practical defensive magic

实用防御魔法/ 實用防禦魔法 shíyòng fángyù mófǎ ('practical defence magic') is used by both Chinese translators. The word 实用 / 實用 means 'actual use' or 'practical use'. This is a fairly straightforward literal translation.

The Vietnamese pháp thuật phòn vệ thiết thực is also a fairly literal translation. Thiết thực is a word with a broad range of usage meaning here 'effective' or 'practical'. The later translation in Book 7, pháp thuật phòng thủ thực tiễn, despite some differences in word choice, is similarly quite literal. Thực tiễn refers to 'practice' as opposed to theory.

Similarly, instead of 実用 jitsuyō, the Japanese equivalent to 實用 ('practical use'), the Japanese translator chooses 実践的 jissen-teki. 実践 jissen, which is cognate with Vietnamese thực tiễn, is somewhat more academic in tone and similarly refers to 'practice' as opposed to 'theory'. The suffix -teki is a peculiarly Japanese usage meaning '-al' or '-ical' that was first adopted in the 19th century and is quite different from Chinese de, which is simply a grammatical connecting particle

The Japanese version omits the word 'magic' altogether: 防衛術 bōei-jutsu means 'technique/art of defence'. The suffix -jutsu indicates practical techniques.

'Its use against': Nominalisation

Grammatically, 'its use against the dark arts' is known as a nominalisation, which simply means converting the verb ('use') to a noun 'the use'. With 'use' as a verb, we would start with 'to use practical defensive magic against the dark arts'. After changing the verb into a noun, we get 'the use of practical defensive magic against the dark arts'.

English loves nominalisations; they are part and parcel of writing 'sophisticated' prose. It's also relatively easy to nominalise: the object of the verb gets the preposition 'of' and the rest of the sentence remains largely the same. (Keeping the subject of the sentence complicates things a little, but not much. Here there is no subject since the sentence doesn't indicate who uses practical defensive magic against the dark arts.)

In the English version, the process goes like this:

'to use practical defensive magic against the dark arts'
1. 'the use of practical defensive magic against the dark arts'
2. 'its use against the dark arts'

In English, the process is:

    1. Nominalise: The verb 'to use' becomes the noun 'use'. (Note that the pronunciation is different: the verb 'use' is pronounced with a /z/; the noun 'use' is pronounced with an /s/.)
      * Since 'use' is now a noun, the construction must be changed to 'the use of xx'.
      * The rest of the sentence remains the same. The word order doesn't change and the preposition 'against' stays where it is. The object of the preposition 'against', i.e., 'practical defensive magic', is still the object of the preposition.
    2. Reduce 'practical defensive magic' to a pronoun ('it'). The use of practical defensive magic becomes its use, now placed before the noun.

This makes nominalisation in English a relatively simple process that minimises changes to the original sentence.

Nominalisation is not quite simple in Chinese. Let's first look at how Taiwanese translation handles this process.

To use against is expressed as the verb 對抗 dùikàng ('to resist, oppose, counter') in the Chinese. The sentence thus has serial verbs: 'use practical defensive magic, counter dark arts'. Serial verbs make the process and the result a little more complicated.

使用實用防禦魔法對抗黑魔法
shǐyòng shíyòng fángyù mófǎ duìkàng hēi-mófǎ
'To use practical defensive magic to counter black magic'
1. 實用防禦魔法的對抗黑魔法的使用
shíyòng fángyù mófǎ de duìkàng hēi-mófǎ de shǐyòng
'practical defensive magic's counter-black-magic's use'
2. 其對抗黑魔法之使用
dùikàng hēi-mófǎ zhī shǐyòng
'Its counter-black-magic's use'
    1. Nominalise: In Chinese, nominalisation involves:
      a. converting the main verb (使用 shǐyòng) to a noun, which generally involves no change: i.e., 使用 shǐyòng
      b. placing the object (實用防禦魔法 shíyòng fángyù mófǎ) before the verb, followed by the linking form de
      c. placing the second verb (對抗 duìkàng 'counter') and its object (黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ 'black magic') immediately before the verb, again inserting the particle de.
    The result is two fragments ending in de stacked up before a noun. The " de ... de .." construction can be literally read as 'practical defensive magic's counter-black-magic's use'.
    (Note that Chinese de is also used to indicate relative clauses ('the x that...'). This part could thus be interpreted as 'the use of practical defensive magic which counters black magic'.)

    However it is viewed, nominalisation in Chinese is clumsier than in English.

    To remove some of the clumsiness, the translator converts the second de into a classical-style particle, zhī, which has the same meaning (possessive) but has a touch of elegance.

    2. 'Its' in Chinese is normally 它的 tā de, the possessive of 'it'. This is quite ungainly, especially in written prose. To get around this clumsy construction, Chinese conventionally makes use of the Classical Chinese form 'of it, its, their' as a literary equivalent of 它的 tā de. This is what the translator does here.

The nominalisation that emerges, 其對抗黑魔法之使用 qí dùikàng hēi-mófǎ zhī shǐyòng ('its counter-black-magic's use'), is succinct and relatively elegant. But it took a bit of work.

The Mainland Chinese version follows a different tack. It simplifies the whole structure by omitting the verb 使用 shǐyòng 'to use':

实用防御魔法克制黑魔法
shíyòng fángyù mófǎ kèzhì hēi-mófǎ
'Practical defensive magic controls black magic'
1. 实用防御魔法的对黑魔法的克制
shíyòng fángyù mófǎ de duì hēi-mófǎ de kèzhì
'practical defensive magic's against-black-magic's control'
2. 其对黑魔法的克制
duì hēi-mófǎ de kèzhì
'Its against-black-magic control'

'To use against' is translated as 克制 kèzhì 'to control'. The translator eliminates the verb 'to use', which simplifies the grammatical structure: 'Practical defensive magic controls black magic'.

    1. Nominalise: As noted above, the In Chinese, nominalisation involves:
      a. converting the verb to a noun, which generally involves no change (i.e., 克制 kèzhì)
      b. placing both the subject (实用防御魔法 shíyòng fángyù mófǎ ) and the object (黑魔法 hēi-mófǎ) before the verb.
      c. inserting the particle de after the subject and the object.

    The resulting form 实用防御魔法的黑魔法的克制 shíyòng fángyù mófǎ de hēi-mófǎ de kèzhì 'practical defensive magic's black magic's control' is unclear in Chinese. In order to indicate that black magic is the object, it is necessary to add the coverb duì 'towards, against', thus 黑魔法的克制 duì hēi-mófǎ de kèzhì 'control directed at black magic'. There are still two de's in the sentence because, unlike English, which allows prepositions to occupy their original position in the construction, Chinese requires 对黑魔法 duì hēi-mófǎ to be followed by de.

    2. The final version changes 实用防御魔法的 shíyòng fángyù mófǎ de 'practical defensive magic's' to 'its, their', as in the Taiwanese version.

The result therefore looks very similar to the Taiwanese but is actually different grammatically.

The Japanese version runs as follows:

実践的防衛術を闇の魔術に対して使用する
jissen-teki bōei-jutsu o yami no majutsu ni taishite shiyō suru
'to use practical defensive skills against dark magic'.
1. 実践的防衛術の闇の魔術に対する使用
jissen-teki bōei-jutsu no yami no majutsu ni taisuru shiyō
'the use of practical defensive skills against dark magic'.
2. 闇の魔術に対するその使用
yami no majutsu ni taisuru sono shiyō
'its use against dark arts'

'To use against' is translated quite literally as (に)対して使用する (ni) taishite shiyō suru 'to use directed (at)'. This is less adversarial in meaning than the original English because (に)対して (ni) taishite means simply 'directed (at)' or 'with regard (to)'.

    1. Nominalise:
      a. The verb 使用する shiyō suru is composed of the noun 使用 shiyō 'use' plus the verb する suru 'to do'. Nominalisation involves dropping する suru.
      b. The object 実践的防衛術を jissen-teki bōei-jutsu o 'practical defensive techniques' is converted into a genitive ( o --> no) modifiying 使用 shiyō 'use'.
      c. Unlike 'against' in English, which remains in place after nominalisation, (に)対して (ni) taishite 'towards' needs to be modified to fit in with the noun. There are two ways of doing this. One is to add the linking word no, as in (に)対しての (ni) taishite no. The other is to turn 対して taishite back into its original verb: (に)対する (ni) taisuru 'be directed at', which modifies 使用 shiyō 'use'. The translator uses the second, which is less clumsy and more natural.
    2. 'Its' is rendered in Japanese as その sono 'it' or 'its'. This is a kind of translationese and is commonly found in Japanese academic prose.

The Japanese is less clumsy than the Chinese because placing modifying phrases and clauses before nouns is a standard process in Japanese, allowing it to adapt more easily to the trend to nominalisation inspired by English. Moreover, the word order largely remains the same.

Vietnamese is even simpler than English. It places modifying clauses after the noun without the need to add relative pronouns.

The Vietnamese translation runs as follows:

ứng dụng pháp thuật phòng vệ thiết thực phòng chống nghệ thuật hắc ám
'to apply practical defensive magic to protect against the dark arts'
ứng dụng pháp thuật phòng vệ thiết thực phòng chống nghệ thuật hắc ám
'to apply practical defensive magic to protect against the dark arts'
ứng dụng phòng chống nghệ thuật hắc ám
'apply to protect against the dark arts'

The Vietnamese translation ửng dụng phòng chống... makes explicit the concept of 'against' with the verb phòng chống 'to protect against/to ward off' in the expression phòng chống nghệ thuật hắc ám ('protect against the dark arts'). At another place the translator uses chống lại 'to resist'.

The Vietnamese translator makes minimal changes from the original sentence to the final form. The object, pháp thuật phòng vệ thiết thực, is omitted from the book title, yielding the meaning 'application to protect against the dark arts'.

Category: Dark Arts

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