Harry Potter in Chinese – How to Talk About Your Favourite Wizard
For many of us born in the 80s, 90s, or even 00s Harry Potter was essential childhood reading. The books have since been translated into more than 74 languages. That’s including Harry Potter in Chinese, in both simplified and traditional characters.
So we thought, why not learn how to talk about Harry Potter in Chinese? It’ll spice up your Chinese studies, give you a head start if you’re thinking about reading any of the Harry Potter books in Chinese, and mean that you can talk about your favourite books, characters and spells in detail with your Chinese friends.
And there is a lot of fun, new, magical vocabulary to be learned …
Harry Potter Chinese Name
Harry Potter’s name in Chinese is a literal translation of the name’s sounds:
Harry Potter Chinese Name – Characters:
Usually the name ‘Harry’ is written as 哈理 in Chinese. In Harry Potter’s case the ‘li’ sound is made using this character ‘利’ instead.
Harry Potter Chinese Name – Pinyin:
Harry Potter Characters in Chinese
Here are some of our other favourite characters from the Harry Potter series translated into Chinese. The majority of the names are also translated into Chinese based on the sounds of their names. So you can talk to your friends all about the story of Harry Potter in Chinese:
Ron Weasley in Chinese: 罗恩･韦斯莱 Luōēn wéisīlái
Hermione Granger in Chinese: 赫敏･格兰杰 Hèmǐn gélánjié
Neville Longbottom in Chinese: 纳威･隆巴顿 Nàwēi lóngbādùn
Draco Malfoy in Chinese: 德拉科･马尔福 Délākē mǎ’ěrfú
Professor McGonnagal in Chinese: 麦格教授 Màigé jiàoshòu
Dumbledore in Chinese: 邓布利多 Dèngbùlìduō
Snape in Chinese: 斯内普 Sīnèipǔ
Sirius Black in Chinese: 小天狼星･布莱克 Xiǎotiānlángxīng Bùláikè
The translation for Sirius is a little different to the other translations. Instead of translating the whole name based on the sounds, ‘Sirius’ is translated as 小天狼星 (Xiǎotiānlángxīng). This literally means ‘small heaven wolf star’, after the star Sirius or ‘the dog star’, the brightest in the night sky.
It’s very fitting for the character, as Sirius Black’s patronus in the Harry Potter books is a big black dog.
Harry Potter Spells in Chinese
Whoever was tasked with the job of translating the spells from Harry Potter probably had a really great time. Some of the spells are again literally translated just to make the spell sounds, but some of them also carry the meaning or function of the spell in the translation too.
The general word for spell in Chinese is: 咒 Zhòu, or 咒语 Zhòuyǔ is more like ‘spell words’ or incantation.
You can say cast a spell: 施咒 Shīzhòu (literally ‘implement/ carry out spell’)
Or you can also chant an incantation: 念咒 Niànzhòu (‘read spell’)
Now to some of the more specific Harry Potter Spells in Chinese…
Alohomora – 阿拉霍洞开！ (Ālāhuò dòngkāi!) – This is the spell used to open and unlock locked doors and windows etc. The first half of the Chinese translation is based on sound; 阿拉霍 (Ālāhuò) sounds like Aloho. And the second half is based on the purpose of the spell; 洞开 dòngkāi means to be wide open.
Expecto Patronum – 呼神护卫！(Hūshén hùwèi!) – Cast this spell to conjure your patronus (a silver, animal-shaped guardian). The Chinese for this incantation literally means call (呼 Hū) a god or spirit (神shén) as a bodyguard or for protection (护卫 hùwèi).
Wingardium Leviosa – 羽加迪姆 勒维奥萨！ (Yǔjiādímǔ lēiwéiàosà!) This is the incantation for the Levitation Spell. Here the Chinese is simply meant to sound as close to the original as possible.
Expelliarmus – 除你武器！(Chú nǐ wǔqì!) The disarmament spell! The Chinese here literally means remove or eliminate (除 Chú) your (你 nǐ) weapon (武器 -wǔqì).
Lumos – 荧光闪烁！(Yíngguāngshǎnshuò!) This is a very useful spell, it turns the end of your wand into a flashlight, who needs a smart phone? In Chinese 荧光 (Yíngguāng) means fluorescence, and 闪烁 (shǎnshuò) is flickering or twinkling.
Petrificus Totalus – 统统石化！(Tǒngtǒng shíhuà!) The Full Body Bind Curse paralyses your opponent. 统统(Tǒngtǒng) means entirely/completely, and 石化 (shíhuà) is a technical term in Chinese for petrification (the process by which organic material becomes a fossil). If we break the word down more literally it means ‘turn to (化) stone (石)’.
Accio – ….飞来！(… Fēi lái!) This is the Summoning Charm. Literally 飞来 (Fēi lái) means to fly over.
Silencio – 无声无息！(Wúshēng wúxī!) This one, you can probably guess, is the Silencing Charm. 无声无息 is a 4 character Chinese idiom meaning silent or noiseless: without (无) sound (声) without (无) breath (息).
More Essential Harry Potter Vocab in Chinese
Of course there is so much more vocabulary from the Harry Potter series. So we’ve put a list together of some of the things we think are essential:
Harry Potter Pets in Chinese:
Hedwig – 海德薇 Hǎidéwēi
Fluffy – 路威 Lùwēi
Crookshanks – 克鲁克山 Kèlǔkèshān
Scabbers – 斑斑 Bānbān
Hogwarts and Houses in Chinese:
Hogwarts – 霍戈罗茨 Huògéwòcí
Gryffindor – 格兰芬多 Gélánfēnduō
Slytherin – 斯莱特林 Sīláitèlín
Ravenclaw – 拉文克劳 Lāwénkèláo
Hufflepuff – 赫奇帕奇 Hèqípàqí
More Magical Things in Chinese:
Broomstick – 扫帚 Sàozhǒu
Marauders’ Map – 活点地图 Huódiǎn dìtú
Invisibility Cloak – 隐形衣 Yǐnxíngyī
If there’s anything that we’ve missed off that you think we should really add to the list, and that you’d like to know the Chinese for, leave us a comment below!
Liked learning about Harry Potter in Chinese? Maybe the next thing you’d like to tackle is Game of Thrones, ready for the final season!
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