19 Surprising Facts About The French Translation Of Harry Potter


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Hagrid would not have an accent within the French guide or movies.

Within the authentic English-language books, Hagrid has a powerful accent, nevertheless it disappears within the French translation. In response to tradition critic Isabelle Smadja, co-author of Harry Potter: Angel or Demon?, this alternative could have been made to keep away from offending individuals who could acknowledge their accent in a belittling context. The accent additionally disappears within the French dubbing of the movies.


Harry Potter and The BFG have not less than one factor in widespread…

The French author who translated J.Ok. Rowling’s beloved collection is Jean-François Ménard, who was additionally Roald Dahl’s favourite translator, as revealed on this interview with the French publishing home Gallimard (hyperlink in French). Ménard translated The BFG into French, the place it is known as The BGG or, “Le Bon Gros Géant,” which suggests “The Good Fats Large.”

Apparently, Ménard’s humorousness, curiosity in magic, and an curiosity for the historical past of phrases and etymology made him the perfect alternative for J.Ok. Rowling.


“Muggle” translated into “Moldu” for French readers.

To translate the phrase “Muggle,” Ménard stated within the publishing home interview that he invented the time period “Moldu,” as a reference to the French expression “mou du bulbe,” (hyperlink in French) which suggests “gentle within the head.” He wished to specific the truth that Muggles have been outlined by the truth that they lacked one thing — i.e., magical skills.


He even translated the unit of foreign money that Harry Potter’s world makes use of.

To translate “sickle” to “mornille,” Ménard discovered inspiration from the 19th century phrase mornifle, which meant “cash.”


And Ron Weasley’s owl, Pigwidgeon, is renamed for a French legendary creature.

Ron’s owl is called “Coquecigrue” within the French model of the books, which comes from the identify of a legendary creature born from a rooster and a crane.


Dumbledore’s identify stays the identical.

In English, “dumbledore” is a regional expression which means “bumblebee.”

In French, “bumblebee is “bourdon,” however Ménard did not assume “Professor Bourdon” had the identical sense of gravity to it. In consequence, he determined to maintain the headmaster’s identify the way in which it was.


So does Hagrid’s.

As J.Ok. Rowling defined in an interview in 1999, “Hagrid can also be one other Previous English phrase, which means — when you have been hagrid — it is a dialect phrase, you’d had a nasty evening. Hagrid is an enormous drinker. He has numerous unhealthy nights.” Ménard thus selected to maintain the identify, to protect the etymology.


“Hufflepuff” interprets, delightfully so, to “Poufsouffle.”

In English, “Hufflepuff” refers back to the expression “huff and puff,” most notably used to explain the wolf blowing on the homes of the Three Little Pigs. For the French translation, Ménard wished to maintain the which means by translating the Home identify to “Poufsouffle” to specific the breathlessness and wrestle that characterizes the scholars of that home.


And Snape is actually “Rogue.”

To translate “Snape” (Previous English which means “reprimand” or “snub”), the translator selected “Rogue,” a uncommon French phrase taken from the Previous Norwegian “hrôkr” and which means “boastful” or “disagreeable.” Nonetheless becoming, no?


J.Ok. Rowling’s translator pulled 126-hour weeks to complete on time.

Ménard stated that, due to the cramped deadlines, particularly for the final books within the collection, he would work on daily basis of the week from 6 a.m. to midnight (hyperlink in French) to have the ability to end the translations on time.


Whilst a translator, Ménard did not get to seek out out about plot particulars upfront.

In consequence, his largest worry was that his translation of correct nouns could be contradicted later within the collection. For instance, if the identify Tom Elvis Jedusor (Tom Marvolo Riddle) and the anagram “Je suis Voldemort” (“I’m Lord Voldemort”) had been revealed in separate books, the connection may not have labored out.


Ménard additionally discovered inspiration from typos.

He bought the thought for the identify “Ombrage” for “Umbridge” by seeing a typo (hyperlink in French) in a Newsweek article, the place the identify of the professor was misspelled as “Umbradge.”


The Ravenclaw home is definitely “Eagleclaw” in French.

English-language readers are generally disconcerted by the truth that, within the books, Ravenclaw mascot is an eagle. Ménard solved for this by translating the identify of the home to “Serdaigle” (actually, “Eagleclaw”) versus “Serdecorbeau” (“Ravenclaw”), most likely as a result of it sounded higher, too.


And “Hogwarts” turns into Poudlard, which suggests “bacon lice.”

Ménard famous that many readers, originally of the collection, truly thought “Poudlard” was the unique identify of the varsity — which made him proud as a result of he particularly wished to discover a identify that saved the unique which means and “seemed” like an English phrase.


In reality, Ménard tried to maintain numerous the character names as “English” sounding as potential.

For instance, Mad-Eye Moody turns into Maugrey Fol Œil, a reference to the verb “maugréer” (which suggests to mumble). Borgin and Burkes turns into Barjow et Beurk (in reference to the French phrase “barjot” (which suggests “nutcase”).


And although just a few puns bought misplaced in translation, Ménard additionally invented just a few of his personal.

The French model loses just a few of the jokes behind names like “Diagon Alley” and the “Knight Bus,” however Ménard did invent phrases like “ratconfortant” to face in for “rat tonic” or “Choixpeau” because the official identify of the Sorting Hat.

This submit was translated from French.

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