Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation


Detachable Cribbing Cuffs


Simplified Chinese (China) 拆卸式夹带袖口
Chāixiè-shì jiàdài xiùkǒu
拆卸 chāixiè = 'to detach, undo'.
-shì (suffix) = 'style'.
夹带 jiàdài = 'cheating, cribbing'.
袖口 xiùkǒu = 'sleeve mouth' = 'cuff'.
Detaching-style cribbing cuffs
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)

Fēnlí-shì chāoxí xiùtào

分離 fēnlí = 'to separate, take apart'.
-shì (suffix) = 'style'.
抄襲 chāoxí = 'copying, plagiarising'.
袖套 xiùtào = 'sleeve cover' = 'oversleeve'.
Separating-style copying oversleeves
Japanese 取り外しカンニング用カフス
Tori-hazushi kanningu-yō kafusu
取り外し tori-hazushi = 'detaching (noun)'.
カンニング kanningu = 'cheating' (from the English word 'cunning').
-yō (suffix) = 'use (noun)'.
カフス kafusu = 'cuffs' (from English).
Detaching cheating-use cuffs
Vietnamese Cổ̉ Tay Áo Quay Cóp Tháo Rời Được
cổ tay áo= 'wrist, cuff'.
quay có́p = 'to copy, cheat'.
tháo rời = 'to take apart, disassemble'. (tháo = )
được () = 'able to'.
Detachable cheating cuff
(Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.)

Like Auto-Answer Quills, this is a device used by students of Hogwarts to cheat during their exams (see OWLs).

A Detachable Cribbing Cuff is presumably the cuff of a shirt on which cribbing notes can be written and taken surreptiously into the exam room. The cuff is detachable to facilitate reference and copying.


The action of detaching means removing or separating a part from a larger unit. The adjective 'detachable' indicates that the part has been specifically designed to be easily detached and reattached as needed.

The Mainland Chinese translation uses the verb 拆卸 chāixiè, which refers to dismantling a machine etc. into parts. (Etymologically, 拆卸 chāixiè is made up of the transparent elements chāi and xiè. chāi has the broad meaning 'to split, break, rip open; take down, tear down, destroy, dismantle'. xiè means 'to unload; take off; unyoke; resign'. Put together as 拆卸 chāixiè, the two elements reinforce and refine each other to give the more precise meaning of 'dismantle', often in reference to large cargoes or machines.)

The Taiwanese translation uses the verb 分離 fēnlí, which means 'to separate'. (Etymologically, 分離 fēnlí can be separated into fēn and () . As a verb, fēn means 'to divide, part, distribute, distinguish'. () means 'to leave, depart, separate; be distant from; lack'. Together the meaning is still very broad: 'to separate, part, divide, disconnect, dissociate, detach, cut off, segregate'.)

Both translations use the suffix -shì, 'type' or 'style', implying a 'style' designed for detachment or separation.

The Japanese translation uses 取り外し tori-hazushi, a native Japanese compound verb meaning 'detaching/detachable'. 取り外し is composed of 取る toru, which as a prefix for compound verbs indicates 'handling things', and 外す hazusu, meaning 'to take off' or 'remove' an item. 外す hazusu can be used for items ranging from rings on fingers or spectacles to pieces of equipment attached to other items of equipment. The Japanese translator could have used -shiki 'style' or -yō 'use' in a similar way to the Chinese versions. She has not done so here, presumably because 取り外し is clear enough by itself. Adding or would only have made the construction clumsier, especially as -yō is used straight after in the word for 'cribbing'.

The Vietnamese translation uses tháo rời được, where tháo rời is a compound word consisting of tháo 'to untie, unbind; strip down, dismantle, disassemble', and rời 'to come unfastened, come undone, detach'. Together the meaning is 'to take apart, disassemble'. The verb được 'to be able to' is equivalent to '-able' in English.


'Cribbing' refers to the practice of illicitly or illegally copying written material from somewhere else. It can mean 'plagiarising', but here refers to the use of notes smuggled into the examination room. Reading Harry Potter gives us a rare chance to find out how this is expressed in the CJV languages -- it's not the kind of vocabulary you're normally likely to run across!

The Mainland translator uses 夹带 jiàdài. The word jià means 'to press together, pinch, clip, sandwich; place between; mix, mingle'. The key idea is one of something pressed between two things (or interspersed among things). The word dài means 'to bring, carry, contain, hold'. So what has this got to do with cribbing? Well, the original meaning of 夹带 jiàdài is 'to carry something placed or interspersed among other things' -- that is, 'to carry secretly or smuggle'. By extension, the word came to be applied to notes smuggled into the examination room.

The Taiwanese translator uses 抄襲 (抄袭) chāoxí meaning 'to copy, plagiarise'. This is made up of chāo, which means 'to copy, to transcribe' (not used for photocopies, although it can be used for carbon copies), and () which means 'to carry on without change; to copy'.

The Japanese word for 'cheating', カンニング kanningu, is from the English word 'cunning', having undergone a change in meaning in the process of borrowing. Notice how the Japanese actually says カンニング用 kanningu-yō 'for cheating use', implying that these cuffs have been specifically designed for cribbing (See also Broom Compass).

The Vietnamese translator uses the word quay cóp, used for copying, cheating, or cribbing in examinations. Cóp by itself refers to rewriting, copying, cribbing and cheating.


This refers to the stiffened section at the mouth of a shirt sleeve. In CJV countries, it should be remembered that cuffs are normally associated with Western-style clothing, which was imported in the 19th century and only came into common use in the 20th.

For the word 'cuff', the Mainland Chinese translator uses the transparent compound 袖口 xiùkǒu ('sleeve mouth').

The Taiwanese translator uses 袖套 xiùtào ('sleeve cover/case'), which means 'oversleeve'. This emphasises quite clearly the detachable and deceitful nature of the cribbing cuffs.

Japanese borrows from English (カフス kafusu) to express the same concept. Note that the Japanese is based on the plural 'cuffs' rather than the singular 'cuff'.

Vietnamese uses a term meaning 'the wrist (cô tay) of clothing/shirt/blouse (áo)'. Cô tay itself refers to the 'neck' (cổ) of the 'hand/arm' (tay)'.

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