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Das Harry Potter Lexikon (2)

An English-German Harry Potter Glossary

Harry Potter Glossary - Teil 1 (Vocabulary)
Harry Potter Glossary - Teil 2 - Translation Mistakes/Alterations
Harry Potter Chapter-Specific Glossaries

LEXIKON > Lexikon 1 | Lexikon 2 | Lexikon 3
ARTICLE > 1 | 2 | Books | Links

English-German Harry Potter Glossary:
(Teil 2)

This section of our annotated glossary lists English-German translation comparisons from the Harry Potter books by Joanne K. Rowling. Each entry compares actual lines from the English and German versions respectively and lists the volume/chapter (Band/Kapitel) from the hardcover versions of the American and German editions. See the key for details.

This glossary/lexicon is intended only as an aid for German-learners. It has no connection with any of the Harry Potter publishers, J.K. Rowling or the translators. No infringement of the rights of any of the copyright holders is implied or intended.

Harry Potter: Übersetzungsfehler/-änderungen
Translation Mistakes/Alterations

Note 1: Not all of the items below represent actual mistakes. In some cases changes were made intentionally for stylistic, cultural, literary or other reasons. However, in some cases the reason for the change is a mystery.

Note 2: The inspiration for this part of our Harry Potter Lexikon came from the Gurkensalat Web site by Cornelia Rémis and others. (Gurken are translation errors in the German editions of the Harry Potter books.) The Gurkensalat site (at Harry Potter Xperts) is the most comprehensive look at Harry Potter German-English translation issues on the Web.

E = English
D = Deutsch (German)
C: Anmerkung (Comment)

HP Books

Names/Namen (All books/chapters)
Most of the names for people - first and last - in the German Harry Potter books have been left in their original English form. However, for some reason “Aunt Marge” becomes “Tante Magda” or “Maggie” - even though Marge is a form of Margaret, and Magda is short for Magdalene. There seems to be serious confusion about Marge's name in the different books and chapters of the German editions. In the first book, her name is “Marge” in German (p. 28), but in book three, the chapter titled “Aunt Marge's Big Mistake” becomes “Tante Magdas großer Fehler” in German. This would seem to be more like translator “Klaus Fritz's Big Mistake.” (To be fair, the German editors probably bear most of the blame here.)

Any other name changes are usually minor: “Hermione” becomes “Hermine” in German. But the character named “Wormtail” is called “Wurmschwanz” in German - a logical and literal translation, but why is that one of the few name translations? Even Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort and Severus Snape (see book on right) keep their original names in German.

Street names are translated fairly directly. “Privet Drive” becomes Ligusterweg in German (Liguster = privet, a bush, genus Ligustrum, used for hedges). But the mythical “Diagon Alley” becomes Winkelgasse (“angle lane”) and the play on words of the original is lost. I'm not sure I see the logic of rendering street or place names in German, while leaving the English names of the characters intact.

Band 1/Kapitel 10
E: There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.
D: Es gibt Dinge, die man nicht gemeinsam erleben kann, ohne dass man Freundschaft schließt, und einen fast vier Meter großen Bergtroll zu erlegen gehört gewiss dazu.
C: Freundschaft schließen is not the same as “ending up liking each other.”

Also see: Harry Potter Chapter-Specific Glossaries

Band 2/Kapitel 1
E: The Worst Birthday (Chapter title)
D: Ein grässlicher Geburtstag (Kapiteltitel)
C: grässlich = horrible, awful

Band 2 /Kapitel 1
E: I want more bacon.
D: Mehr Schinken.
C: der Schinken = ham, der Schinkenspeck = bacon

Band 3/Kapitel 2
E: ...and sure enough, when they broke apart, Dudley had a crisp twenty-pound note clutched in his fat fist.
D: Beim Abschied würde er eine knisternde Zwanzig-Pfund-Note in seiner fetten Faust finden.
C: Not the same meaning in several ways.

Band 3 /Kapitel 2
E: Aunt Petunia hated animals.
D: Tante Petunia konnte Tiere nicht ausstehen.
C: hassen = to hate

Band 4/Kapitel 7
E: Mr. Perkins and his lumbago
D: Mrs. Perkins mit Hexenschuss
C: der Hexenschuss = lumbago

Also see: Harry Potter Chapter-Specific Glossaries

WEB > See the Gurkensalat site for much more about the translation problems in the German editions. It's part of the Harry Potter Xperts site (in German).

A similar UK site, The Snitch.co.uk, is also worth a look.

Harry Potter: Artwork
National Designs - UK | US | Germany | France

Although it has nothing to do with the translations, it's interesting to note that the artwork and book designs are different in each language, including the British, American, German, and French versions. The cover art and illustrations for all of the American editions are by Mary GrandPré (who lives in Florida). There have been several different illustrators for the Harry Potter books in the U.K. (plus Australia and Canada). The Half-Blood Prince artwork for the U.K. was done by Jason Cockcroft. Book 1 in the U.K. was illlustrated by Thomas Taylor, while books 2 and 3 have artwork by Cliff Wright. Book 4's illustrator was Giles Greenfield. The German versions have cover art by Sabine Wilharm. However, the German versions have no chapter illustrations like those found in the American editions. Does anyone know why? What about the British books? The French Harry Potter books are illustrated by Jean-Claude Gotting.

The movie productions put a spotlight on the issue of artwork, since the Warner Brothers studio and Time Warner art for the film versions is seen all over the world.

Another bit of Harry Potter trivia (gathered from Veritaserum.com): For the Half-Blood Prince (July 2005) the U.K. edition runs 608 pages, while the U.S. book has 672 pages. Is this due to the chapter illustrations that appear in the U.S. edition, but not the others? The German translation is scheduled to appear on October 1, 2005. In Germany the English version of Harry Potter VI sells for just under 16 euros (about $19.00).

N E X T >
Part 3: Harry Potter Chapter-Specific Glossaries
German-English Harry Potter vocabulary for specific chapters.

'Harry Potter' in German
The first article by your Guide.

Harry Potter Revisited
The second Harry Potter article by your Guide.

HP LEXIKON > Lexikon 1 | Lexikon 2 | Lexikon 3
HP ARTICLE > 1 | 2 | Books | Links

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