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UNESCO to Celebrate Literacy with International Translators of Harry Potter Novels

Posted by: sue
September 07, 2009, 07:46 PM

Tomorrow, September 8th, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will celebrate International Literacy Day with a special gathering of translators of the beloved Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. According to the official release, "translators responsible for some 20 different language versions of the hugely successful Harry Potter book series, which has fired enthusiasm for reading in countless children around the world, will gather at a conference in Paris." TLC reader Max sent us this additional article on the conference that says:

"The conference was initiated by Yuko Matsuoka Harris, Japanese translator and publisher of the Harry Potter series, and convened by the Organizing Committee composed of her and two other Harry Potter translators, Gili Bar-Hillel of Israel and Torstein Bugge-Høverstad of Norway. Harry Potter translators of more than 20 different languages will participate in this conference together with experts on the socio-cultural, linguistic and educational aspects of this phenomenon. These translators will share their personal and professional experiences, which have never been discussed before.

The series of 7 Harry Potter’s books has achieved a historic record of more than 400 million copies sold world-wide and it has kindled enthusiasm and joy of reading in the mind of children as well as of adults. But what is often ignored is the contribution of translators. By virtue of creative translation into many mother tongues, this wonderful story charmed children as well as adults and introduced them into the magical world of Harry Potter. Through the truly creative work of translators and their understanding of cultural and linguistic intricacies, the story of Harry Potter has been spread and appreciated by readers, especially young adults, all over the world."

The piece also says that there will be an exhibition of Harry Potter books jackets in the various languages, all signed by the translators and/or their illustrators, with some 30 different language versions of the series represented. Be sure to check out our extensive collection of book jackets from the various translations of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling here in our galleries.

Wonderful! Thanks so much Diana and Max!

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1046 Points

that is so cool!

Posted by bec majec *roar* on September 08, 2009, 07:08 AM report to moderator
216 Points

It’s great to look at the different covers before the books come out because you get different pieces of the story, like the American DH cover as opposed to the British one, with the Gringotts scene. And props to the translators! Whenever I read a book with really good language and vocabulary that wasn’t originally in English, I wonder, and almost get suspicious, if the writer was that good or if some things were lost in translation, but it’s nice to hear that these translators know what they’re doing because every little word in HP could be important.

Posted by Scarlet~Phoenix on September 08, 2009, 09:41 AM report to moderator
594 Points

The Finnish translator Jaana Kapari-Jatta has been praised up to high heavens for her translations of the seven HP books, as have the translations themselves. I have only read the books in English and, because my Wizarding World is and has always been in English, I’m not sure if I will ever be able to read the translated versions. However, as someone with a Master’s Degree in English Translating, I have an idea of the amount of work she has done and can appreciate her efforts accordingly — although I don’t necessarily agree with all her decisions, such as the fact that she has translated some of the names and all the spells into something more understandable for young Finnish readers (like, apparently, the Norwegian translator). But that’s just me being a bit of a snob with English, really. :)

Posted by MischiefManaged on September 08, 2009, 10:08 AM report to moderator
4056 Points

When I was in Poland I watched the Polish translation of HBP and they said Hogwarts like “Hogvart”! It always makes me laugh.

Posted by fifi ~::~ ıɟıɟ {WBM!} {ITC!} on September 08, 2009, 11:31 AM report to moderator
80450 Points

Nicely done!

Posted by Won_Two on September 08, 2009, 12:06 PM report to moderator
272 Points

Cool the covers are ace. Everyones saying how its amazing one series of books can be read world over and bring fans together. How bizarre must it all be for JK Rowling! haha.
Well done the translators, must be some long hard hours put into their work.

Posted by TheGriff [ROAR!] on September 08, 2009, 01:03 PM report to moderator
446 Points

very cool so happy llove the covers

Posted by thundermountain7*Roar* on September 08, 2009, 04:14 PM report to moderator
654 Points

its incredible what JKR has done. I like the covers

Posted by mjkalldaway (ROAR) on September 08, 2009, 05:07 PM report to moderator
3271 Points

How cool is that?! It is awesome! :)

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on September 08, 2009, 05:47 PM report to moderator
2525 Points

that is soo cool!!

Posted by The Nerd on September 08, 2009, 05:48 PM report to moderator
1365 Points

Very awesome!

Posted by  HeartbreakDX  on September 09, 2009, 11:22 AM report to moderator
27 Points

Apparently, Japanese TV even broadcast a report about that conference yesterday:

Posted by ViolaOwlfeather on September 09, 2009, 03:19 PM report to moderator
4208 Points

It is really amazing that so many translators from all over the world are willing to promote literacy. It makes me feel great, and proud that JKR’s writings are found in so many languages and countries.

Posted by Fresca ROAR on September 09, 2009, 03:58 PM report to moderator
187 Points

I really like the Dutch translation. And the cover too, it’s quite different from most of the covers.

Posted by evannaa on September 09, 2009, 04:01 PM report to moderator
534 Points

I really, really hope that the bl00dy b*tch that translated the Spanish versions won’t be there. She really doesn’t deserve it.

Posted by Bell Dema [FTC!!!] on September 09, 2009, 10:50 PM report to moderator
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