Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised
Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese characters are shown in parentheses.
Èlǐsī = 'Erised'.
魔 mó = 'magic'.
镜 jìng = 'mirror'.
|Erised magic mirror|
= 'Erised', characters mean 'wish seems like thought'.
鏡 jìng = 'mirror'.
|Erised mirror / 'Wish seems like thought' mirror|
Mizo no kagami
mizo = 'ditch'.
の no = connecting particle
鏡 kagami = 'mirror'
|Mirror of the ditch / Erised mirror|
|Vietnamese||Tấm gương Ảo ảnh||tấm
= counter for mirrors, glass, etc.
gương = 'mirror'.
ảo ảnh (幻影) = 'illusion'.
|The mirror of illusion|
Neither the Taiwanese nor Mainland Chinese version tries to reproduce the trick name of the mirror ('Erised' is 'desire' spelt backwards - the full English name means 'I show not your face but your heart's desire'). They simply approximate the sound. The Taiwanese version is the more creative of the two: 意若思 yì ruò sī means roughly 'wish seems like thought' or 'meaning is like what you think', an indication of the nature of the mirror.
The Japanese translator is more even more creative: she reverses the syllables of 望み nozomi 'desire' to yield 溝の mizo no, 'of the ditch' (shown in hiragana as みぞの mizo no in order not to obscure the connection). Fortunately, reversing nozomi yields a real Japanese word, and even better, it vaguely suggests the idea of being trapped in a ditch! Note that it is the syllables, not the individual letters, that are inverted: NO-ZO-MI is reversed to MI-ZO-NO.
The Vietnamese calls the mirror the 'Mirror of Illusion' and explains the derivation of the English name in a footnote.
(For a more thorough treatment, see Word Play: The Mirror of Erised.)