Pottering Around: Harry Potter in Translation

Lynn Penrod

Abstract


By May of 2008 worldwide sales of Harry Potter books hovered around the 400 million mark, making these texts the most widely-read works of children’s literature in history. To date the books have been translated into 67 languages. Given the particular translation issues involved in the translation of these highly imaginary English texts (culture, rhymes, anagrams, acronyms, invented words, proper nouns and names, among many others) combined with the series’s incredibly lucrative sales success, it is not surprising that the international translation process has become highly competitive as well as highly problematic. Unauthorized or pirate translations, fake translations, Americanization as translation—all of these lead us to a basic questioning of the role of the translator and just how much of an impersonator s/he is required to be by the task of translation.

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ISSN 1920-0323