Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation




Simplified Chinese (China) 望月镜
望远镜 wàngyuèjìng = 'view-moon-mirror'. Lunascope
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)

Yuèliang guāncèyí

月亮 yuèliang = 'moon'.
觀測 guāncè = 'observe and survey'.
= 'instrument, apparatus'.
Moon observation-and-survey apparatus
Japanese 望月鏡
望月鏡 bōgetsukyō = 'view moon mirror'.
Vietnamese nguyệt kính nguyệt () = 'moon'.
kính () = 'mirror, scope'.
(Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.)

A Lunascope is mentioned only briefly in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3 (The Leaky Cauldron). At the start of his 3rd year, Harry spent some time at the Leaky Cauldron exploring the shops in Diagon Alley and eating under brightly coloured umbrellas outside cafes, where diners were showing each other their purchases. One diner boasted that he had bought a lunascope, which, it was claimed, removed the need to mess around with moon charts.

Presumably the lunascope was a kind of telescope or instrument that allowed one to look at moon, or possibly check out the moon's phases. (The function of a 'moon chart' is not made totally clear.)

As a word, 'lunascope' is related to 'telescope'. Where a 'telescope' is something that allows you to look at distanct objects, a 'lunascope' allows you to look at the moon.

Telescopes in CJV

The English word 'telescope' is derived from 'tele-' (far) plus 'scope' (view). In the CJV languages, this becomes:

Language Chinese Japanese Vietnamese
Term 望遠鏡 (simplified: 望远镜)
kính viễn vọng
(= 鏡遠望)
Meaning View-distance-mirror View-distance-mirror Mirror-distance-view (Vietnamese order of elements is the opposite of Chinese).

'mirror' is used in words for optical devices like 'microscope' and 'telescope' and is thus equivalent to English '-scope'.

Vietnamese is somewhat unusual in that 望遠鏡 has been 'naturalised' by reversing the word order. The general practice is to retain the Chinese word order but cases like this also occur.

The word invented for 'lunascope' is:

Language Chinese (simplified) Chinese (traditional) Japanese Vietnamese
Term Used 望月镜
yuèliang guāncèyí
nguyệt kính
Literally View-moon-mirror Moon observation-and-survey apparatus View-moon-mirror Moon-mirror
Meaning Lunascope Lunar observation/survey apparatus Lunascope Lunascope

The Mainland Chinese and Japanese translators both come up with the same version, 望月鏡 'view moon scope', based on the Chinese/Japanese word for 'telescope'.

The Taiwanese (Chinese) translator interprets the lunascope as an instrument for observing and surveying the moon. The word 月亮觀測儀 yuèliang guāncèyí is thus not based on the Chinese word for 'telescope'.

The Vietnamese translator makes up the word nguyệt kính meaning 'moon scope'. The word is modelled on Chinese word-building. This can be seen from the order of elements (note how kính is in final place here, unlike in the word kính viễn vọng 'telescope' above, which follows Vietnamese order). Nguyệt 'moon' is borrowed from Chinese , and is used rather than the native Vietnamese word for 'moon', which is mặt trăng or trăng.

See also Omnioculars.

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