Chapter 17: The Heir of Slytherin
|Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)|
Sīláitèlín de jìchéng-rén
Sīláitèlín = 'Slytherin'.
的 de = connecting particle
继承人 jìchéng-rén = 'heir'.
|Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)|
Shǐláizhélín de chuánrén
Shǐláizhélín = 'Slytherin'.
的 de = connecting particle
傳人 chuánrén = 'successor, exponent (of a craft)'.
Surizarin no keishō-sha
Surizarin = 'Slytherin'.
の no = connecting particle.
継承者 keishō-sha = 'heir'.
|슬리데린 Seullidelin = 'Slytherin'.
의 -ui = connecting particle.
후계자 (後繼者) hugye-ja = 'successor, heir'.
|Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)|
|Người kế vị Slytherin||người kế vị = 'heir (to
the throne, etc.)'
(kế vị = 繼位)
Slytherin (pronunciation according to footnote: Xờ-li-thơ-rin).
|Слизерин Slizerin = 'Slytherin' (-ий -iiGenitive form).
залгамжлагч zalgamjlagch = 'heir, successor'.
|Слизерин Slizerin = 'Slytherin' (-ий -ii Genitive form).
залгамжлагч zalgamjlagch = 'heir, successor'.
The self-proclaimed heir of Salazar Slytherin was Tom Riddle.
How is 'heir' translated?
An heir is generally defined as either:
- a person legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that person's death.
- a person who inherits and continues the work of a predecessor.
There are two possible grounds for Tom Riddle's claim to be Slytherin's heir. The first is his direct descent from Slytherin through his mother. Thanks to this blood relationship, Riddle was able to speak Parselmouth, a gift that only descendants of Slytherin enjoyed, enabling him to open the Chamber of Secrets. The second is his conviction that he upholds Slytherin's values, including his embrace of the Dark Arts and his prejudice against Muggles — even though he was half Muggle himself. Tom Riddle effectively saw himself both as Slytherin's blood descendant and as his spiritual successor.
There is a certain fuzziness in Riddle's perception of himself as Slytherin's heir, which has occasioned debate among fans and clarifications from Rowling. This fuzziness has led to certain differences in the way 'heir' is translated.
- The Mainland Chinese version uses 继承人 jìchéng-rén 'person who inherits', the standard dictionary translation for 'heir'. The verb 继承 jìchéng, formed of the morphemes 继 jì 'to continue, maintain, carry on' and 承 chéng 'inherit, succeed', covers both inheritance of an earlier person's traditions or work, and inheritance of their position or property by dint of a legal right or rights bestowed by a will. This is broad enough to cover Tom Riddle's position as the heir of Slytherin in all possible senses.
- The Japanese translation uses virtually the same term: 継承者 keishōsha (者 sha also means 'person'), which can similarly refer either to a person who inherits the status or work of a previous person (including carrying on a tradition or art) or one who inherits the property of a person.
- The Taiwanese version uses 傳人 chuánrén ('transmit + person', simplified 传人), emphasising blood descent and the transmission of tradition. 傳人 chuánrén can refer to a person to whom a skill or craft has been passed on; it is frequently used for master craftsmen, kung fu masters, etc. 傳人 chuánrén thus presents Tom Riddle as Slytherin's heir by virtue of transmitting his craft and carrying on his work.
The term can also be used for blood lineage (the Chinese regard themselves as the 'sons/heirs of the dragon', or 龍的傳人 / 龙的传人 lóng de chuánrén), which also fits in with Riddle's narrative.
- The Mongolian translators use the word залгамжлагч zalgamjlagch, meaning 'successor, heir, inheritor', from the
verb залгамжлах zalgamjlakh 'to succeed, follow in succession, inherit', which is in turn derived from
залгамж zalgamj 'succession, continuation, continuity', and ultimately from the verb
залгах zalgakh 'to connect, link, join, extend, couple, attach'. Leaving aside the very different derivational
processes of Mongolian, the sense of the word залгамжлагч zalgamjlagch covers both inheritance of property and the
inheritance and carrying on of the work, merits, and achievements of an earlier person. It thus resembles the Chinese and Japanese translations in capturing the broader sense of
- The Korean translation uses 후계자 hugye-ja, 後繼者 in Chinese characters, meaning the successor to a position or a political heir. This implies that Tom Riddle sees himself as having inherited Slytherin's role and ideals. Korean also has the term 계승자 gye-seung-ja (written 繼承者), which is
used in the more legal sense of inheriting a throne or wealth.
- The Vietnamese translation interprets the concept of 'heir' more narrowly in legal terms, using người kế vị, a person (người) who is in line of succession to the throne. Kế vị, corresponding to the Chinese characters 繼位, relates to succession to a position (vị 位). While Slytherin was not a king in a formal sense, there is no doubt that Riddle (who later called himself Lord Voldemort) considered Slytherin the leader of the aristocratic, righteous anti-Muggle forces. This translation thus presents Riddle's perception of his own superiority and his pursuit of power.
How is 'Slytherin' transliterated?
Slytherin is rendered phonetically or written in alphabetic letters. In English the name suggests 'slither' (like a snake), but the spelling also suggests 'sly' (cunning). The usual pronunciation appears to be 'slitherin''.
- The Chinese translator from Taiwan uses 史萊哲林 Shǐláizhélín. The consonant cluster 'sl' is missing
in Chinese and has to be split apart. According to the standard northern Mandarin pronunciation of 史萊哲林, this is a very poor transliteration.
The first letter is 史 shǐ (rather than 's'), and voiced 'th' is rendered as a muddy
哲 zhé rather than zé or dé. In addition,
萊 lái suggests that the translator interpreted the name as being pronounced like 'sly'. The 'r' has been transformed into an 'l'. However, the name is
much closer to English if pronounced in the local pronunciation of Mandarin, which is Sǐláizélín.
The characters chosen to write 'Slytherin' mean 'history + pigweed + philosophy + forest'. These may have been chosen for their meaning but do not appear to have any deep significance.
- The Mainland version imitates the Taiwanese version but changes the pronunciation of the problematic consonants. 斯莱特林
Sīláitèlín fixes the first syllable to be read as 'sly' while the muddy zhé is modified to tè.
The four characters of the name are conventionally used for their phonetic value; their meaning is irrelevant.
- Japanese スリザリン Surizarin follows the English pronunciation correctly ('slither', not 'sly') but is also forced
to split 'sl' into two syllables. Voiced 'th' is reproduced as 'z'. Both the 'l' and the 'r' are rendered with the intermediate sound リ ri in Japanese.
- Vietnamese uses the English spelling Slytherin. At a footnote in the original instalments (but not the later books) the pronunciation is given as Xờ-li-thơ-rin, again splitting 'sl' into two syllables.
- Mongolian spells Slytherin as Слизерин Slizerin, using the Cyrillic alphabet borrowed from Russian. The pronunciation follows the English. While Mongolian does have the combination 'sl', it is only found in the middle of words. Сл sl in initial position is found only in foreign words and is likely to be pronounced сэл sel by Mongolian speakers. The consonant 'z' is used in place of English voiced 'th'. The letter 'e' is rendered Russian-style as the Cyrillic letter е. In Russian Slytherin is also Слизерин slizerin.
(Korean appears thanks to "Hiro".)
(Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)
|⇚ Chapter 16|