Translated Selections from Harry Potter Novels Released Online


Nov 29, 2011

Posted by EdwardTLC

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.

23 Responses to Translated Selections from Harry Potter Novels Released Online

Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Thats quite cool!Avatar Imagegaminette says: Now I'm curious as to how the Ukrainian Orphanage Scenario explains away the Weasley and Malfoy parental units. Veddy interesting...Avatar Imagegaminette says: Now I'm curious as to how the Ukrainian Orphanage Scenario explains away the Weasley and Malfoy parental units. Veddy interesting...Avatar ImageLunaLuver says: Very cool indeed. :DAvatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: @gaminette, if they are really changing the plot to that extent, it's not a translation, but a re-imagining of the work.Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: The site is a wonderful resource, anyway.Avatar Imagelovelle says: That's really something! I mean, it would be awesome if they translate it in our language! LOL!Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: That is pretty fascinating! It's pretty horrible some people grow up with Harry Potter thinking he lives in an orphanage, etc.Avatar Imagejillians642 says: 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?Avatar ImageEllorgast says: 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.Avatar ImageThe Hufflepuff Giraffe says: 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.Avatar ImageSaskiaFlorizoone says: 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...:-)Avatar ImageSaskiaFlorizoone says: 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.Avatar Imagelillyrose says: Great idea, but the Serbian audio is a bit dull...Avatar ImageFleur-de- Lily says: Great idea,Avatar ImageFleur-de- Lily says: Great idea!Avatar Imagedarkveela says: :) In Romanian they translated "Avada Kedavra" in "Abracadabra". So Lame. Also Charlie in Romania is taking care of dragons AND vampires, because, you know, Romania. It has vampires. But otherwise they did a great job. Avatar Imagemencia says: hmm Ukrainian translation is interesting, if it's and orphanage it means all hogwarts learners are orphans, so how did they explain the families ties of the learners outside hogwarts because the whole point of an orphanage is to foster for orpahned children that don't have anyone taking care of them.... I'd like a translated copy of the Ukrainian version of HP lolAvatar Imagemencia says: am I glad I got the english version so that i got to read the story as was intended and not a different version, interesting though but i still prefer english, I read a few german versions which i loved because they don't change the names, just maybe the pronounciationsAvatar ImageSquibby_ says: Jillians642, who says there is no H in Russian? There is. I'm not sure why they haven't change the name of the book, because it sure does sound like she is reading in russian, but the rest sounds quite rightAvatar Imagewandmastercalum says: Glad people are doing this/ :)Avatar ImageHBPFan says: I had been looking fwd to listening to the ancient greek audio, but now I have, I am quite disappointed. It sounded awful and definitely needs to be redone. The fact that the person chosen to do the narration is an english-speaking person, is awful. He is just reading out the words with absolutely no meaning and in an english accent! Sounds like he's speaking in another language - nothing like ancient greek. When spoken properly, the ancient greek language can be very interesting to listen to. I studied it as a subject at school, and was always quite fascinated by it. But unfortunately here, it's being delivered in a disappointing manner. I couldn't make out anything, so unfortunately I cannot comment on the translation..:( But as I see from other comments, other translations weren't without problems and mistakes, so why would the ancient greek version be any good? Oh well.. The modern greek version was ok, the translation was accurate, and the narration was good.Avatar ImageAlec wick says: that's really interesting... i wonder how the translations effect the story and how people perceive it.... wish i could read them

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