Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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The Names of Gadgets and Objects in Harry Potter
Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese Translation

 

Sneak-o-scope

 

Chinese (Mainland) 窥镜
Kuī-jìng
kuī = 'to peep, to spy'.
jìng = 'mirror, scope'.
Peep-o-scope
Chinese (Taiwan) 測奸器
Cèjiān-qì
= 'measure'.
jiān = 'traitor'.
= 'instrument, device'.
Detect traitor device
Japanese

かくれん防止器
Kakurenbōshi-ki

かくれん防止器スニーコスコープ
Kakurenbōshi-ki / Suniikosukōpu

携帯かくれん防止器スニーコスコープ
Keitai kakurenbōshi-ki / Suniikosukōpu

スニーコスコープ
Suniikosukōpu

スニーコスコープ suniikosukōpu = 'sneakoscope'.
かくれん防止 kakurenbōshi (a clever pun on かくれんぼう kakurenbō 'hide-and-go-seek', from かくれる ='to hide').
防止 bōshi = 'prevention'.
ki = 'instrument, implement'.

携帯 keitai = 'portable'.
Sneakoscope / Hide-and-seek prevention instrument

Also 'Portable hide-and-seek prevention instrument'
Vietnamese Ống kính Mách lẻo

Kiếng Mách Lẻo
Ống = 'tube'.
kính () = 'mirror, scope'.
mách lẻo = 'to divulge, give away, tell tales'.

Kiếng = kính () = 'mirror, scope'.
Mách Lẻo = 'to divulge, give away, tell tales'.
Tell-tales-scope
(Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.)

A Sneak-o-scope is designed to detect 'sneaks', traitors, or spies. It looks like a glass spinning top and lights up, spins, and whistles when someone untrustworthy is around. Harry was given a Pocket Sneak-o-scope by Ron (picked up in Egypt) in Book 3 and Mad-Eye Moody had a Sneak-o-scope in Book 4. Some broken Sneak-o-scopes were found in (the real) Moody's trunk at Chapter 35 of Book 4. A Sneak-o-scope was also found in the Room of Requirement at Chapter 18 of Book 5 (Dumbledore's Army). Along with the Foe-Glass and the Secrecy Sensor, the Sneak-o-scope is one of the 'Dark detectors'.

How has 'Sneak-o-scope' been translated?

The Mainland translator completely misses the point. The Mainland translation, 窥镜 kuī-jìng ('peep-scope'), suggests an instrument for peeping or spying on people.

The Taiwanese translator, on the other hand, has grasped the meaning perfectly and rendered it as 測奸器 cèjiān-qì, an instrument for detecting traitors.

The Japanese translator comes up with a very clever pun, crossing the game of かくれんぼう kakurenbō 'hide-and-go-seek' with the word 防止 bōshi 'prevention'. This made-up word playfully suggests an instrument that prevents people from 'hiding'.

Rubi above the text make it clear that this word かくれんぼう防止器 kakurenbōshi-ki is meant to be read スニーコスコープ suniikosukōpu.

The treatment of these terms is flexible and changing, as can be seen from the following table. In Book 3, the preference is to start with かくれんぼう防止器 kakurenbōshi-ki and switch over to スニーコスコープ suniikosukōpu. In Books 4 and 5, the preference shifts to plain かくれんぼう防止器 kakurenbōshi-ki, with rubi for スニーコスコープ suniikosukōpu in Book 4 but not in Book 5.

  Book 3 Book 4 Book 5
Owl Post
The Dementor
The First Task
Veritaserum
Dumbledore's Army
1
携帯の「かくれん防止器」でスニーコスコープっていうんだ
keitai no 'kakurenbōshi-ki' de suniikosukōpu-tte yūn'da
携帯かくれん防止器スニーコスコープ
keitai kakurenbōshi-ki
かくれん防止器スニーコスコープ
kakurenbōshi-ki
かくれん防止器スニーコスコープ
kakurenbōshi-ki
かくれん防止器
kakurenbōshi-ki
2
スニーコスコープ
suniikosukōpu
スニーコスコープ
suniikosukōpu
かくれん防止器
kakurenbōshi-ki
3
スニーコスコープ
suniikosukōpu
4
スニーコスコープ
suniikosukōpu

The Vietnamese translator uses ống kính mách le, except in Book 5, where it becomes Kiếng mách lẻo. The meaning is 'tell-tales scope', which puts a slightly different meaning on the word 'sneak' -- the meaning found in the chapter title 'The Centaur and the Sneak'.

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