19 Harry Potter Things That Got Lost In Translation

Translating the books to other languages wasn't easy...

1. In the Japanese version of the book, “charms” were translated as “Fairy Magic”.

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2. And in Turkish, “charms” became “talismans”.

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3. Japanese Hagrid speaks with a Tōhoku dialect instead of the West Country accent.

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4. And the legend has it that the word they used for wand in the Japanese version was very close to “walking stick”. Many Japanese children were really surprised when the films came out and the characters were actually carrying tiny sticks in their hands.

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5. The anagram for “I am Lord Voldemort” in French is… "Tom Elvis Jedusor". French Voldemort’s middle name is Elvis. Let that sink in.

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6. The Pensieve is a great example of how J.K. Rowling skilfully used wordplay in her books. Unfortunately, wordplay is every translator’s biggest nightmare. That’s why in German, The Pensive is called a "think aquarium", in Swedish it’s "memory sieve", and in Norwegian - "thought tank".

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7. Same thing happens with Hogwarts and its houses. For example, Czech translation changes Hogwarts to Bradavice and Gryffindor becomes Nevelvír. 

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8. Interestingly enough, the Polish translation left most of the original names intact - adding a little translation section at the end of each book for those curious what the names mean in their native language.

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9. The Italians got a little bit too enthusiastic while translating the books and took Dumbledore’s name completely seriously - by calling him Prof. Silente.

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10. The first edition of the German version of The Philosopher’s Stone translated Sirius Black’s name to Sirius Schwartz - which obviously means “black” in German. But by the third book, the publishing company realised they made a mistake and started calling Harry’s godfather Sirius Black, just like the rest of us in the English-speaking world. Apparently thousands of German children were extremely confused by this sudden change.

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11. Fun fact: the Romanian translation of Harry Potter was initially done by a 16-year-old girl.

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12. She also translated “Quidditch” as “Whoosh-Catch”.

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13. In Latvian, S.P.E.W.s were translated to V.E.M.T. which literally means “to vomit”.

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14. What’s more, the Latvian version of Hermione Granger became Hermiona Įkyrėlė (literally “Annoying”) and Draco Malfoy became Draco Smirdžius (“Stinky”).

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15. The early German versions of the fourth book translated "800 barrels of mulled mead" to "800 barrels of mulled meat”. Don’t ask us why.

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16. “Vault 713” also magically became “vault 719” for them, because why not?

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17. And "exploding snap" was translated to "Snape explodiert", meaning "exploding Snape”. Did they even try at this point?

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18. You’ll never guess what the Russians translated “professor Quirrel” to. Ready? “Professor Squirrel”.

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19. Not to mention that the translation of the fourth book was very rushed, with several people translating different chapters, so some of the names change from chapter to chapter. Why, just please tell us, WHY?

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So there you have it - reading Harry Potter in another language could be a completely different experience!

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