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Harry Potter and the Translator's Nightmare

Hey guys! I found a really cool video while browsing Reddit yesterday. It talks about how when the Harry Potter books were translated into other languages, a lot of things got lost in translation because of so many double entendres and the like. It's a really interesting video, and I'd definitely recommend it. Here's the link:


April 23, 2017



What a great video. The thing that got me most interested was the 'Tom Marvolo Riddle' bit. Since Lord Voldemort appears in the first book before the anagram comes in to play, I wonder whether he went through a name change in some languages!


That's a really interesting aspect in fact. My native language is Polish and there it's simply written as in original with an annotation added what it means in polish. In spanish version which I also read, they changed his name to Tom Sorvolo Ryddle so it gives Soy Lord Voldemort which of course means I am Lord Voldemort


Tom Riddle became Tom Mervolo Dolder in Swedish and made the anagram to Ego sum Voldemort, by explaining that ego sum is Latin for I am.


Where does the u in sum come from? It's not in the name


Oh, I forgot.

Tom Gus Mervolo Dolder.


Thanks for posting this. It's a good video. There was earlier comment about this that you may enjoy reading. (FWIW, the Russian "award" I mention was probably from the 2002 Russian book fair, and there's no mention of a "golden pickle," so I probably simply remembered wrong. . . . Also, while trying to figure out where my reference could have come from, I found this really interesting blog posting on the same subj.)


I think the funniest convolution goes to the French who turned Tom Marvolo Riddle into Tom Elvis Jedusor in order to fit his revelation Je suis Voldemort.


This is a good video highlighting issues translators of all literature face. The butchered pronunciation of foreign words did make me cringe though, it can't be denied...

For anyone interested in the different names and words in all the various translations, this site is quite fun to peruse: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Harry_Potter_in_translation_series.


The different translation decisions provide endless amusement and/or examples for us at my uni. I've yet to take a translation course where Harry Potter wouldn't have been mentioned at all. :D


Thanks for the hint! a good video. I admit I loved Harry Potter on German first place to later enjoy the English original even more.


I love Harry Potter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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