Harry Potter and the translator's nightmare

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, October 18, 2016
  • Accio Harry Potter translations!

    Translating the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling, in over 60 languages around the world, was not for the faint of heart or vocabulary.

    Translators didn't have advanced copies of the books to get a headstart and these books could take months to adapt from English. They also had to be clever in their solutions because the books are filled with wordplays, invented words, puns, British culture references, riddles, and more.

    The longest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, at 870 pages was published June 21, 2003. The first translation of it was ready July 21, 2003. Translators had to work day and night to have them ready for eager readers. Even then, fans still banded together to create illegal translations of the series.

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  • Source: https://youtu.be/UdbOhvjIJxI


  • Natasha Adelina

    Natasha Adelina

     22 hours ago

    Would like to take time to thank Listiana Srisanti who, despite struggling with cancer that eventually took her away (after translating the last Harry Potter book!), had been very clever in keeping the names as they are as well as the British elements of the Harry Potter books instead of trying to fit those into Indonesian culture because, well, they are British after all. She does translate some names into Indonesian (Moaning Myrtle to Myrtle Merana (Miserable)) but only when they are clever and clear enough that it doesn't affect the story--enriching it instead. So, again, thank you Listiana Srisanti, for a wonderful wonderful childhood for us Indonesian readers!

  • lord duchealot

    lord duchealot

     2 days ago

    there was a real effort in all of the language pronouncements and the vocal actor aught to get a raise :)

  • Monkey4274 Gaming

    Monkey4274 Gaming

     4 days ago

    Nice book.

  • Monkey4274 Gaming

    Monkey4274 Gaming

     4 days ago

    Nice book.

  • lunah lulah

    lunah lulah

     14 days ago

    5:15 Yorkshire in the south of England?

  • Dana Marie

    Dana Marie

     21 days ago

    For those complaining about there being an "Americanized version", when the books first came out many kids didn't have an easy access to the internet, not at home at least. I also grew up in the backwoods hill billy territory where most of my teachers didn't even know what a "crisp" was. I know this because when I was 12 I went to England and came back to talk to my teachers about some of the things I saw and terms I learned and only one teacher knew what a crisp was. Five of my teachers had never even left our home town and none of the ones I spoke to had even left the country. Having these "Americanisms" helped kids like my peers who don't come from "cultured" backgrounds or areas understand the story and magic of Harry Potter.

  • Phanmyharuki /

    Phanmyharuki /

     21 days ago +1

    In Italy Dumbledore is called Albus Silente!😂

  • solchrystal


     21 days ago

    I practically learned English as a kid to be able to read these books on their original language. 😂 As a kid I wanted to read them as soon as they were out so I bought them on Amazon as soon as they were released (or even preordered the last ones) and even though at the beginning my English was okayish, by the time the last book was published I was fluent.



     21 days ago


  • Aqil Aminuddin

    Aqil Aminuddin

     21 days ago

    That is exactly the problem with bible

  • samara_w


     28 days ago

    how come british books get changed to american in the us but american books dont get changed to britissh

  • Yang Zhiyuan

    Yang Zhiyuan

     28 days ago

    Thanks god chinese version they chose the best translators they are sisters who translated into the most accurate Chinese which can be super challenging, chinese can be very hard if they don’t know how to manipulate the words,I’m so glad these two sisters translated it so well that got all the readers interest

  • Khoa Nguyen

    Khoa Nguyen

     a months ago

    The very first few Vietnamese Translations were pure nightmares. We Vietnamese couldn’t even make sense of them back then. I remember the error that still makes me giggle till this days were when the translator tried to write Hermione in Vietnamese. It literally read hah-mee-one.

  • winterarcher


     a months ago

    Dundee is in the northern part of the UK, NOT ENGLAND. Dundee is in Scotland - there's a big difference.

  • Amanda Coraline

    Amanda Coraline

     a months ago

    Norwegian Harry Potter is kind of sad;(



     a months ago

    Harri Potteri ja Viisasten Pillu
    Harri Potteri ja Salaisuuksien Mälli
    Harri Potteri ja Azkabanin Narttu
    Harri Potteri ja Liekehtivä Kulli
    Harri Potteri ja Feeniksin Nänni
    Harri Potteri ja Puoliverinen Huora
    Harri Potteri ja Kuoleman Persereikä

    Those are the Finnish translations of the books :)

  • Natalie Johnston

    Natalie Johnston

     a months ago

    I find it hilarious that Scholastic (US publisher) changed it to Sorcerer, but Raincoast (Canadian publisher) kept it philosopher. I'm Canadian and was baffled the first time I saw it as Sorcerers Stone

  • Diana Vargas

    Diana Vargas

     a months ago

    I was the only one in my old school who read the philosopher stone and have never read the sorserous stone

  • Emma E

    Emma E

     a months ago

    3:19 I’m Swedish and I can’t understand what she’s writing or saying. If it’s what i think it is its totally wrong😂 ”futt” is not even a word

  • 熊Beary


     a months ago

    Here in Brazil, they translated Hufflepuff to "lufa-lufa" lol