Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation




Simplified Chinese (China) 移形幻影!
Yí xíng huàn yǐng!
移形 yí xíng = 'move shape' .
幻影 huàn yǐng = 'change shadow'.
Move shape change shadow!
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) 呼呼移!
Hū hū yí!
呼呼 hū hū = 'hu hu ' (literally 'call, call', but here represents a sound invoking the spell).
= 'to move'.
Hu hu move!
Japanese モビリアーブス!木よ動け!
Mobiriābusu! Ki yo ugoke!
モビリアーブス Mobiriābusu = 'Mobiliarbus (phonetic rendering).
木よ Ki yo = 'tree' + particle. The particle yo functions as a vocative, that is, it indicates that the tree is being spoken to.
動け ugoke = 'move!' (動け ugoke is the imperative form of 動く ugoku 'to move'.
Mobiliarbus! Tree, move!
Vietnamese Mobiliarbus! (with footnote explaining the meaning, see below)
Mobiliarbus = Mobiliarbus (English used without change).
Mobiliarbus !

Mobiliarbus is mentioned only once, at Book 3 Chapter 10, The Marauder's Map, where Hermione uses it to move a Christmas tree and hide them from the view of Fudge and several Hogwarts staff members, who had just entered the Three Broomsticks.

The meaning is fairly obvious, even if your Latin is only rudimentary : Mobili = 'move'; Arbus = 'tree'.

Mainland translation:

The Mainland translator uses the four-character term 移形幻影 yí xíng huàn yǐng, 'move shape change shadow', more often found in the form 移形换影 yí xíng huàn yǐng 'move shape change shadow'. This four-character compound, an example of the particular genius of the Chinese language, has a parallel structure, as follows:

'to move'.
'shape, form'.
'to change'.
'shadow, reflection'.

The first part says 'move shape', the second says 'change shadow'. While somewhat different in meaning, the second expression repeats and amplifies the first. In Chinese, 形影 xíng yǐng 'form and shadow' are said to be 'inseparable' (形影不离 xíng yǐng bù lí).

Note that there is no specific mention of the tree in this spell and it is, in fact, used also for Mobilicorpus.

Taiwanese translation:

The Taiwanese translator prefers a three-character expression for translating spells, and this is no exception. The first two characters represent a sound, hu hu, followed by the command itself, 'to shift, move'. Again there is no mention of the tree.

Japanese translation:

The Japanese follows a standard pattern used throughout the four books: the English is transliterated first, followed by a translation into normal Japanese. モビリアーブス mobiriābusu 'mobiliarbus' gives the English pronunciation. The final -bus is transliterated as though it were Latin, ブス -busu rather than English バス -basu.

The following 木よ Ki yo uses the vocative yo, which indicates that the tree is being spoken to, as if Hermione were saying 'Hey, tree!' The word 動け ugoke is the imperative form of 動く ugoku 'to move'. While it may be alright in ordering trees around, the imperative should be used carefully when speaking to people as it has considerable potential for offence.

Vietnamese translation

The Vietnamese translation uses the English word Mobiliarbus unchanged, but also glosses it in a footnote. The footnote runs:

    Mobili = di chuyển; arbus = arbustich = cây. Mobiliarbus có nghĩa la: Nhúc nhích, cây xích qua đây!
    'Mobili = move; arbus = arbustich = tree. Mobiliarbus means: Stir! Tree move over there!'

While the meaning of most of the footnote is clear enough, the 'arbustich' that is given as an equivalent to 'tree' is a mystery.

A slightly different footnote appeared in the individual instalments (Instalment 20):

    Mobili = di chuyển; arbus = arbustus = cây. Mobiliarbus có nghĩa la: Nhúc nhích, cây xích qua đây!
    'Mobili = move; arbus = arbustus = tree. Mobiliarbus means: Stir! Tree move over there!'

Instead of 'arbustich' the translator gave 'arbustus'. Arbustus is used in the names of certain tree species and also means 'planted with or trained on trees', but it is hard to see how either meaning fits in here.

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