Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Chapter Titles in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese


Chapter 3: Will and Won't


(For the romanisation of Chinese and Japanese, see Transliteration. To understand the writing systems of CJV, see Writing Systems. For word order notes, see Word Order)

Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.


Chinese (Mainland) 要与不要
Yào yǔ bú yào
yào = 'want'.
= 'and' (written).
不要 bú yào = 'not want'.
Want to and don't want to
Chinese (Taiwan) 要和不要
Yào hé bú yào
yào = 'want'.
= 'and'.
不要 bú yào = 'not want'.
Want to and don't want to
Japanese 遺志と意思
Ishi to ishi
遺志 ishi = 'will (last will and testimony)'.
to = 'and'.
意思 ishi = 'intention, intent, purpose'.
Will and intent
Vietnamese Sẽ và không sẽ = 'will' (future tense).
= 'and'.
không = 'not'.
Will and won't

'Will' refers to the discovery of Sirius Black's will; 'won't' refers to the question of whether Kreacher will or won't obey Harry. Initially Kreacher is dragged in screaming 'Won't, won't, won't!' like a spoilt child but changes his tune after receiving a direct command from Harry.

What makes this title interesting is the fact that 'will' refers not only to a last will and testament; it is also a modal auxiliary with 'won't as its negative. In this sense, the title means (roughly) 'will do so and won't do so'.

Needless to say, the CJV languages are not able to reproduce this kind of pun. It would be a miracle if 'last will and testament' were pronounced the same as the modal auxiliary 'will', or rather, its equivalent expression in these languages.

The translators thus translate 'will and won't' in the sense of 'will do and won't do'. Kreacher cries 不要 bú yào in the Chinese translation and không in the Vietnamese, thus providing the 'won't of the title. 'Will' becomes yào, 'want to' in the Chinese versions and sẽ, an auxiliary verb used for the future tense (similar to English 'will' or 'shall') in the Vietnamese version.

Japanese is alone in trying a different way of tackling this play on words. Rather than playing with 'will' and 'won't', Matsuoka finds two homophonous Japanese words that mean 'will' (legal will or testimony) and 'will or intention'.

(A summary of this chapter can be found at Harry Potter Facts. Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

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