This video, courtesy of Vox, recounts the struggles that translators faced when translating the Harry Potter series into their mother tongues. Not only did they have to preserve the source texts’ wit, but they also had to make some educated guesses about what J.K. Rowling wanted to convey in each text.
Many of the problems that arose when translating the Harry Potter series were due to wordplays in English, such as alliteration, made up words and loads of references to British culture. Not only that, but even the names of locations and characters’ names were problematic; for example, the connotation of the names ‘Severus Snape’, or of course, the evil ‘Voldemort’.
While each translator of Harry Potter chose a slightly different approach, it’s clear that they used a great deal of imagination and innovation. The result was a product that does homage to the original source text while also maximising enjoyment for the target audience. Here at GoLocalise we endeavour to do the same, so if you know any Muggles in need of localisation, you know who to call!