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Translated Selections from Harry Potter Novels Released Online

Posted by: Edward
November 29, 2011, 10:55 AM

Researchers at the University of Calgary have complied a one-of-a-kind collection of 70 translations of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" novels and have published selections from those translations online, reports the Vancouver Sun.  Geared to educators, students and Potter-fans alike, the resource "will feature images from international dust jackets and audio files with selections from each of the 70 translations, including Afrikaans, Hindi, ancient Greek and Latin."  Russian literature professor and the leader behind this project, Nicholas Zekulin, says:

"It's a work which presents real challenges for the translator," said Zekulin. "How do you translate 'quidditch'? Nobody can... The Ukrainian translation is interesting. They don't have (Hogwarts) school, they have an orphanage. And the reason is that in Ukrainian culture, the idea of a boarding school is completely unknown. The only thing they could conceive of as bringing children together was an orphanage."
The 70 translations can be found in the Language Research Centre on the University's website.

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80450 Points

Thats quite cool!

Posted by Won_Two on November 29, 2011, 01:10 PM report to moderator
3465 Points

Now I’m curious as to how the Ukrainian Orphanage Scenario explains away the Weasley and Malfoy parental units. Veddy interesting…

Posted by gaminette [GTFO!] on November 29, 2011, 01:57 PM report to moderator
3465 Points

Now I’m curious as to how the Ukrainian Orphanage Scenario explains away the Weasley and Malfoy parental units. Veddy interesting…

Posted by gaminette [GTFO!] on November 29, 2011, 01:57 PM report to moderator
20981 Points

Very cool indeed. :D

Posted by LunaLuver on November 29, 2011, 04:08 PM report to moderator
11771 Points

@gaminette, if they are really changing the plot to that extent, it’s not a translation, but a re-imagining of the work.

Posted by Valeria-Johanna on November 29, 2011, 04:20 PM report to moderator
11771 Points

The site is a wonderful resource, anyway.

Posted by Valeria-Johanna on November 29, 2011, 04:26 PM report to moderator
467 Points

That’s really something! I mean, it would be awesome if they translate it in our language! LOL!

Posted by lovelle on November 29, 2011, 07:29 PM report to moderator
10471 Points

That is pretty fascinating! It’s pretty horrible some people grow up with Harry Potter thinking he lives in an orphanage, etc.

Posted by . on November 29, 2011, 07:41 PM report to moderator

That’s terrible, terrible, terrible. They had a Russian do the Ukrainian reading. You can tell because she says “Garry Potter” which is what you have to do in Russian because there is no “h” sound in Russian. But there is an “H” in Ukrainian (if I recall correctly, the g is a late add-in, so you can say words like “golf”) and my Ukrainian books all clearly show an h-symbol and not a g-symbol.

Common, UofC, Edmonton [home to a very large Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian population] is only 2 hours away by car. Couldn’t you have imported a Ukrainian-Canadian for the job? Now I am questioning every other translation they did. How many other major cultural faux-pas did they commit?

Posted by jillians642 on November 29, 2011, 11:05 PM report to moderator
58 Points

Wow, Jillians, that is definitely an incredible oversight. I’m pretty sure that Ukrainians make up one of the largest immigrant populations in Alberta? Calgary isn’t so far from Vegreville, home of the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg.

Posted by Ellorgast on November 29, 2011, 11:59 PM report to moderator
622 Points

This is so cool!

I’ve kind of started trying to collect foreign editions of the HP books – just when I’m travelling and can actually buy them from their country of origin. I have a Thai copy, a Hindi copy, U.S. (I’m Canadian), and French (that one was just from the French section of a bookstore). But seeing as I can’t actually read Hindi or Thai, it’s super cool to be able to hear a snippet. It makes me want to learn languages. Like, all of them. Actually, though, it makes me so happy that English is my first language – it’s weird to think that subtle (or not-so-subtle) differences in translation could change the entire feel of the series. Really interesting to think about, though.

Posted by The Hufflepuff Giraffe on November 30, 2011, 01:21 AM report to moderator

I did my thesis on the Dutch and French translations of the nouns in philosopher’s stone and it is indeed a different feel in every language. You sort of get the impression all is narrated by fleur in the French version (though I guess most kids haven’t read the Enlish originals so wouldn’t really take notice) and so many names have been changed in Dutch…Dumbledore becomes ‘Perkamentus’ and Sirius Black became ‘Sirius Zwarts’, which must have been a stressful problem once ‘RAB’ showed up…:-)

Posted by SaskiaFlorizoone on November 30, 2011, 03:24 AM report to moderator

Oh yeah, forgot a major one…How about ‘Tom Elvis Jedusor’ in French—> je suis Voldemort.
Not a bad translation considering jedusor is close to ‘jeu du sort’ = game of destiny, but marvolo as elvis? LOL. Still, the translators had no way of knowing what was coming next (nor the succes it would all end up having) , so I can imagine it was a great challenge.

Posted by SaskiaFlorizoone on November 30, 2011, 03:30 AM report to moderator

Great idea, but the Serbian audio is a bit dull…

Posted by lillyrose on November 30, 2011, 03:45 AM report to moderator
5439 Points

Great idea!

Posted by Fleur-de- Lily on November 30, 2011, 04:26 AM report to moderator
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