Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
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The Translation of 'Owl' in Harry Potter

 

Brown Owl

 

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

 

There is such a species as the Brown Owl, but it's not found in the Far East.

BROWN OWL
 
English
China
Taiwan
Japan
Vietnam
OFFICIAL NAME Brown Owl
NOT FOUND IN CHINA
NOT FOUND IN TAIWAN
NOT FOUND IN JAPAN
セグロアオバズク
seguro aoba zuku
'black-backed green-leaf owl' (a type of hawk owl)
NOT FOUND IN VIETNAM
The Brown Owl as translated in the Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese versions of Harry Potter
Bk 1 Ch 5: 'Diagon Alley'
(Eeylops)
Brown 褐枭
hè-xiāo

'brown owl'
褐鴞
hè-xiāo
'brown owl'
茶ふくろう
cha-fukurō
'brown owl'
Brown
(pronunciation: Bờ-rao)
Bk 4 Ch 26: 'The Second Task' brown owl 棕褐色猫头鹰
zōng-hè-sè māotóuyīng
'brown-coloured owl'
褐鴞
hè-xiāo
'brown owl'
茶モリフクロウ
cha-mori-fukurō
'brown forest owl' ('brown' + official name for Tawny Owl)
con cú nâu
'brown owl'
Bk 4 Ch 27: 'Padfoot Returns' brown owl 棕褐色猫头鹰
zōng-hè-sè māotóuyīng
'brown-coloured owl'
褐鴞
hè-xiāo
'brown owl'
茶モリフクロウ
cha-mori-fukurō
'brown forest owl' ('brown' + official name for Tawny Owl)
con cú nâu
'brown owl'
Bk 4 Ch 28: 'The Madness of Mr Crouch' brown owl 棕褐色猫头鹰
zōng-hè-sè māotóuyīng
'brown-coloured owl'
褐鴞
hè-xiāo
'brown owl'
茶モリフクロウ
cha-mori-fukurō
'brown forest owl' ('brown' + official name for Tawny Owl)
con cú nâu
'brown owl'
Bk 5 Ch 14: 'Percy and Padfoot' brown owl 棕色猫头鹰
zōng-sè māotóuyīng
'brown-coloured owl'
黃褐色的大草鴞
huánghè-sè de dà-cǎo-xiāo
'yellowish-brown large barn owl'
茶モリフクロウ
cha-mori-fukurō
'brown forest owl' ('brown' + official name for Tawny Owl)
con cú nâu
'brown owl'
Bk 5 Ch 14: 'Percy and Padfoot' brown owl 褐色猫头鹰
hè-sè māotóuyīng
'brown-coloured owl'
貓頭鷹
māotóuyīng
'owl'
モリフクロウ
mori-fukurō
'brown forest owl' ('brown' + official name for Tawny Owl)
cú nâu
'brown owl'

In the Eeylops signboard, the Chinese and Taiwanese versions use an expression meaning 'brown owl'. Although sounding like an official scientific translation (they use the academic word or xiāo), these are not scientific names, just direct translations meaning 'brown-coloured owl'. When Brown Owls appear again in Book 4, the Taiwanese translator sticks to this official-sounding translation, only to abandon it in Book 5. On the other hand, the Mainland translator switches to more informal terms meaning 'brown-coloured owl' in Books 4 and 5.

In Japanese, the correct scientific name for the Brown Owl literally means 'black-backed hawk owl'. In the Eeylops signboard, however, the Japanese translator uses a term literally meaning 'brown owl'. Using the official scientific name would have made a very stiff, almost laughably academic impression for a book like Harry Potter and the translator is right in avoiding it, although 茶ふくろう
cha-fukurō is less than ideal.

In Books 4 and 5 (with one exception), the Japanese translator switches to 茶モリフクロウ cha-mori-fukurō. This is a curious made-up name consisting of the word cha meaning 'tea' or 'brown' and mori-fukurō, which is the official name of the Tawny Owl. It is not the name of any species of owl and is not a totally satisfactory solution.

The Vietnamese version uses the English word Brown at the Eeylops signboard, changing to a descriptive expression meaning 'brown-coloured owl' in Books 4 and 5.

 

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