Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Duìfù duō-dòng hé fánzào dòngwù de jīběn mózhòu
对付 duìfù = 'to deal with, cope with, counter, tackle'.
多动 duō-dòng = 'active'.
= 'and'.
烦躁 fánzào = 'fidgety, agitated'.
动物 dòngwù = 'animal'.
de = connecting particle
基本 jīběn = 'basic'.
魔咒 mózhòu = 'magic incantation, spell'.
Basic spells to deal with active and fidgety animals
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Wèi mánglù kùnrǎo de péngyǒu suǒ tígòng de jīběn mófǎ
wèi = 'for'.
忙碌 mánglù = 'busy'.
困擾 kùnrǎo = 'perplex, puzzle, trouble'.
de = connecting particle
朋友 péngyǒu = 'friend'.
suǒ = 'which'.
提供 tígòng = 'supply, provide'.
de = connecting particle
基本 jīběn = 'basic'.
魔法 mófǎ = 'magic'.
Basic magic provided for busy and troubled friends
忙しいビジネス魔ンのための簡単な呪文 ー 即席頭の皮はぎ
Isogashii bijinesuman no tame no kantan na jumon — sokuseki atama no kawa-hagi
忙しい isogashii = 'busy'.
ビジネス魔ン bijinesuman = 'businessman'.
no = connecting particle
ため tame = 'sake, benefit'.
no = connecting particle
簡単な kantan na = 'simple'.
呪文 jumon = 'spell'.
即席 sokuseki = 'instant'.
atama = 'head'.
no = connecting particle
皮はぎ kawa-hagi = 'skin-stripping' = 'skinning'.
Simple spells for busy businessmen — instant scalping
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Bùa Chú Căn Bản Cho Bận Rộn Và Sinh Sự bùa chú = 'charms and incantations'.
căn bản (根本) = 'basic'.
cho = 'for'.
bận rộn = 'busy'.
= 'and'.
sinh sự = 'pick a quarrel'.
Basic spells for the busy and querulous
Mongolian (new)
өдөх, уурлуулах ердийн шившлэг
ödökh, uurluulakh yördiin shivshleg
өдөх ödökh = 'stir up, arouse, provoke'.
уурлуулах uurluulakh = 'anger' (causative of уурлах uurlakh 'become angry', from уур uur 'anger'.)
ердийн yördiin = 'ordinary'.
шившлэг shivshleg = 'invocation'
ordinary invocations for provoking and angering

The English refers to a book of practical spells for people who have neither the time nor the peace of mind to work on difficult spells. A corresponding Muggle title might be Basic Recipes for Those On The Go or Japanese For Busy People.

The Mongolian translator has not translated this as a book title. The passage simply says that Harry looked through the 'table of contents of ordinary spells that provoke and anger'. There is no capitalisation nor any use of inverted commas or guillemets. The reason would appear to be that the translator had no idea how to translate the title and decided to leave it as ordinary text.

Unfortunately, as we shall see, the Mongolian translator is not the only one to totally misinterpret the meaning of 'for the busy and vexed'.

But first, 'basic hexes':

How is 'basic hexes' translated?

'Basic hexes' is translated straightforwardly in all translations, with some differences in nuance.

How is 'for' translated?

The people who will benefit from this book are those who feel themselves busy and vexed. From the kind of hexes found in the book ('instant scalping', 'pepper breath', and 'horn tongue'), it is also clear that it is designed to help such people vent a little spleen.

Unfortunately, two translators misunderstand the meaning of the word 'for', completely skewing the meaning.

Other translations get this detail right.

How is 'the busy and vexed' translated?

In this book title, the meaning of 'busy and vexed' is 'busy and vexed people'. All translators come up with adequate, sometimes creative translations to express this meaning, except the the translator from Mainland China (producing a rather comic mistranslation) and the Mongolian translator (producing a vague and inaccurate rendition).

The Mainland Chinese translator drops a real clanger, while the Mongolian translation is simply vague and evasive.

Where does 'scalping' come from (Japanese translation)?:

The Japanese translator adds 'instant scalping' to the title. This is based on the original English, which reads:

'Instant scalping', 'pepper breath', and 'horn tongue' are all items in the index of Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed. The translator should have kept the name of the book and the index items separate.

Category: Spells and Charms (Popular)

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