Cyprus Mail
Life & Style

‘Harry Potter’ and the translator’s nightmare

Ever wondered how smash-hit books get translated? Let’s ask that question again… ever wondered how one of the biggest runaway printed young adult fantasy series hits got translated?

In this Vox video, we take a look at the wild challenge of translating the original Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling, into over 60 languages… definitely not for the faint of heart or limited of vocabulary!

To put the task into context: translators would not receive advanced copies of the books in order to get a head start, and the books could take months to adapt from English. They would also have to be clever in finding literary solutions… given that the original books are filled with Rowling’s wordplay, invented words, puns, British culture references, riddles, and more.

The longest book in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’, at 870 pages was published June 21, 2003. The first translation of it was ready by July 21, 2003… and translators had to work day and night to have them ready for eager readers. Even then, fans still banded together to create illegal translations of the series.

Now, if only there’d been a spell to have taken care of things more easily!

View the original video here.

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