Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


The Titles of Magical Books in Harry Potter


Voyages With Vampires


Chinese (Mainland) 与吸血鬼同船旅行
Yǔ xīxuěguǐ tóng chuán lǚxíng
= 'with'.
吸血鬼 xīxuěguǐ = 'suck-blood-demon' = 'vampire'.
tóng = 'same'.
chuán = 'boat'.
旅行 lǚxíng = 'trip, travel'.
Boat Trip with a Vampire
Chinese (Taiwan) 與吸血鬼同行
Yǔ xīxuěguǐ tóngxíng
= 'with'.
吸血鬼 xīxuěguǐ = 'suck-blood-demon' = 'vampire'.
同行 tóngxíng = 'travel together'.
Travel Together with a Vampire
Japanese バンパイアとバッチリ船旅
Banpaia to batchiri funatabi
バンパイアと banpaia to = 'vampire' (English) + 'with' = 'with a vampire'.
バッチリ batchiri = 'spot-on'.
船旅 funatabi = 'boat journey' = 'voyage'.
Making a Spot-on Boat Trip with a Vampire
Vietnamese Hành trình với Ma cà rồng hành trình (行程) = 'journey'.
với = 'with'.
ma cà rồng = 'blood-sucking demon, ghoul, vampire'.
Journey with a Ghoul/Vampire

The books in the Gilderoy Lockhart Series 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.


Blood-sucking monsters seem to travel well across cultures.

  • The word 'vampire' has a conventional translation as 'blood-sucking demon' 吸血鬼 xīxuěguǐ in Chinese, which is also found in Japanese (pronounced kyūketsuki).
  • Here, however, the Japanese translator uses バンパイア banpaia, borrowed from English. Dracula and his ilk are, of course, as well known in Japan as anywhere else on earth.
  • The Vietnamese translator uses the term ma cà rồng (sometimes also known as a ma cà lồ), a blood-sucking creature originally hailing from the mountainous northern regions. The ma cà rồng resembles a Western vampire, with long, tangled hair, long canine tooth, and blood oozing out of its mouth. It is believed to capture children and suck their blood until dead.


Chinese (Taiwan) 與吸血鬼同行 yǔ xīxuěguǐ tóngxíng forms a parallel with the advertising expression 與時代同行 yǔ shídài tóngxíng 'Moving with the times'. The Mainland translation refers to a 'boat trip' (船旅行).

The Japanese translator reproduces the alliterative effect with banpaia and batchiri (indeed, バンパイア banpaia was probably chosen over 吸血鬼 kyūketsuki for this reason). Note the grammar: the title is an abbreviated form of the full sentence Banpaia to batchiri funa-tabi o suru ('To travel spot-on with a vampire').

Break With A Banshee Gadding With Ghouls Holidays With Hags
Travels With Trolls Wandering With Werewolves Year With The Yeti

See also Blood Brothers: My Life Among the Vampires.

Category: Adventure

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