Harry Potter and the Translator’s Nightmare (video)

9780747561965As anyone who has read the books can tell you, the Harry Potter series is written in British English, and is replete with cultural references which are difficult to translate across borders, much less languages. This problem is only compounded by the words which the author created to name the people, places and things in her books.

Linguists have been talking about the problem of translating Harry Potter for over a decade, and recently Vox published a video which detailed some of the more interesting examples of the substitutions and alterations made by translators as they grappled with cultural and language barriers.

It’s worth reading, and so are the half dozen links I found while I was distracted by this story.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Irish Imbas25 October, 2016

    They should try translating ‘Irish’ English. Now there’s a challenge!

  2. […] Pour voir l’article complet : c’est là ! […]

  3. Name (Required)26 October, 2016

    Try translating Discworld series.

    1. Nate Hoffelder27 October, 2016

      Did you know that the Discworld translation projects are the fifth biggest source of income for the psychiatry profession?


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