“Harry Potter” in Translation: Finnish
by Eleanor Harrison-Dengate · Published · Updated
Over 450 million Harry Potter books have been sold all over the world, but there is rarely any coverage of Harry Potter outside the Anglosphere. This is the first installment of “Harry Potter in Translation,” where we delve into how our favorite books have been translated – a more exciting world than you might expect…
Jaana Kapari-Jatta translated Harry Potter into Finnish – despite Finnish having an alphabet like English, the language is from a completely different family, making it quite a challenge to translate.
Spells, for example, can’t be easily translated since Finnish doesn’t have Latin roots. For us (English speakers,) the Latin spells have a sense of familiarity coupled with a sense of otherness because of how heavily Latin has influenced English literature, culture, history, and language. I had assumed that when translating into other languages with the same alphabet, using Latin for the spells would be easy and obvious. It turns out that no, Latin is completely foreign to Finnish speakers and would not have anywhere near the same effect as it has on English speakers when they read Harry Potter.
Kapari-Jatta decided to solve this problem by creating a language that she calls tekovalelatinaksi; in English this means “fake-Latin.” For example, the meaning of the spell “Quietus!” is clear to English readers because “quiet” means silence. In Finnish translations, the same spell is Hiljutus!, which comes from the Finnish word “hiljaa,” which has the same meaning as the English “quiet.” The fake-Latin endeavours to give Finnish readers an experience similar to how English readers read the spells.
One of the hardest parts of Harry Potter to translate is the anagram of Voldemort’s name. In the first book, Kapari-Jatta left the Dark Lord’s name as it was in the translated versions because it sounded scary and evil enough for Finnish readers as it was. The hard part came during the translation of Chamber of Secrets; the word “riddle” in Finnish is arvoitus, which could have been a plausible last name. Marvollo means “miracle,” which as a name was flexible. Tom is a highly ordinary name in Finnish and was left as it was.
But the challenge wasn’t just about sounding good in Finnish; it also had to work as an anagram. After much trial and error, the translator ended up changing Marvollo to Lomen and Riddle to Valedro, and the end result was Tom Lomen Valedro, which forms an anagram: “Ma olen Voldemort.” The idea was that the beginning of the last name, Vale-, (which means “lie”) was supposed to act as a possible hint. The letter D was hard to add up with the name, and the letter Ä had to go because it would have been too obvious for a Finnish reader to spot.
EDIT: If you’re wondering about the cover art, Mika Launis, the artist, believes witches have very big noses and that’s why he drew them like that.
If you are interested in Harry Potter in translation, you can also check out this episode of MuggleNet Academia, or comment below on which translation you would like to read about next.
This article was based on the work of two generous people who wish to remain anonymous. They offered a summary of Jaana Kapari-Jatta’s book Pollomuhku and Posityyhtynen in English, which gives us some idea of how Finnish readers encountered Harry Potter. If you’d like to read their full explanation, it is under the toggle below.
How Jaana Kapari-Jatta translated Harry Potter into Finnish
Summary of Jaana Kapari-Jatta’s book “Pollomuhku and Posityyhtynen”
Just a quick word on the editions (not part of the summary)
Finnish Harry Potter books are slightly longer than the original ones. For example the longest book, the Order of the Phoenix is 766 pages long in English whereas the Finnish version is 1050 pages long. The reasons for the longer books are partly language-based (e.g. Finnish uses suffixes instead of prepositions, has longer words, etc.) but also has to do with how the books a printed and their layout.
On the names of the books
When translating the seven Potters’ Kapari-Jatta used the original UK versions of the books but had also heard of the American editions and how, for example, the name of the first book was different in the American version. She wrote that she had been at first puzzled over the title ‘Philosopher’s’ stone. How to translate it into Finnish? Literally it would have been ‘filosofin kivi’ (kivi =stone) which would have implied the idea of philosophy (=filosofia) as a profession which wasn’t the point. At one point she also thought of ‘Elämän kivi’ (engl. Stone of Life) as the title but in the end she came up with the name ‘Viisasten kivi’ (viisas = wise/wisdom) which held the original idea of the Philosopher’s stone.
The second book ‘the Chamber of Secrets’ is ‘Salaisuuksien kammio’ and the third one ‘the Prisoner of Azkaban’ is ‘Azkabanin vanki’. With these it was clear how they were to be translated. Kapari-Jatta decided not to translate Azkaban because it sounded menacing enough in Finnish too. She thought it had the same ugly sound as the notorious island prison Alcatraz. The fourth book ‘the Goblet of Fire’ became ‘Liekehtivä Pikari’ and here again the headline needed to be short and smart. The translation of ‘the Order of the Phoenix’ needed some more thought than the previous three. Phoenix was a familiar fictional bird to Finns (feeniks). The translation of the word order was more complex, though. In Finnish it could mean several things, depending on the context (a command, peace, brotherhood or even fitness). An old brotherhood-like group was the most obvious choice but finding a Finnish word for it took a little more research. In the end she came up with a historical Finnish word ”kilta” which had roughly the same meaning as the original English word.
The translator’s work wasn’t any easier with the last two books. ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ is ‘Puoliverinen Prinssi’. The word half-blood (=puoliverinen) was translated in the books earlier, so it give a base for the translation. With the word ”prince” (=prinssi), however, Kapari-Jatta had her doubts: should it be simply ”Prinssi” because the idea of a wizard prince that nobody had ever heard before sounded odd to her – as it did for Harry and the readers at the time. But as we know there was indeed a prince in both in the book and in the Finnish headline! And as Kapari-Jatta herself said about the sixth book: ”Rowling managed to surprise again!” The name of the final book ‘The Deathly Hallows’ became ‘Kuoleman varjelukset’; it was a very straight-forward translation which came to Kapari-Jatta’s mind while reading the book for first time and it was kept unchanged in the final translation.
On the differences between Finnish and English
The differences between the Finnish and the English alphabet gave its own unique touch to the Finnish translations. The use of the letters ä and ö is normal to us Finns but relatively unfamiliar in the English-speaking countries. It’s the same for us with some of the letters used in English (e.g. c, z, q, w & f). They are common in English and native speakers don’t usually have any trouble pronunciating them, even if a word has more than one of those letters. But for Finns it’s a nightmare! Another difference is the length of the words. In Finnish we use a lot of compound nouns, i.e. words that are formed from two or more different words (e.g. umbrella =sateen_varjo) and words in general tend to be long which somewhat lengthens the texts. In English the words are usually shorter and have only one syllable (e.g. car = auto). Kapari-Jatta stated that ‘A translator cannot translate an English word that has one syllable into a single-syllable Finnish word. It just doesn’t work. I have to find an equally effective Finnish word that fits into our language the same way as the English one fits theirs.’
Of the differences between English and Finnish grammar, the translator mentions that for an example in English they use nouns in order to tell something, while in Finnish we prefer verbs.
In addition to the language differences, Finland has different cultural habits compared to the English-speaking world, and those differences explain why the translations sometimes differ quite drastically from the original text. Despite these differences, however, Kapari-Jatta says that the translator and the writer do find the same note and if the note isn’t the same for some reason, the translator always listens the writer, understands, accepts and find ways to tell their thoughts in the target language. That is the mission.
Kapari-Jatta gives a simple example of how translating one single word is much more complex than one might think at first. The word table should be simple enough to translate into Finnish, right? Wrong. It could in fact be several words, such as pöytä (dining-room table/desk) taulukko (table of figures/chart) or luettelo (list) and it gets even more complicated if the word is part of a phrase. What she means with the example is that the meaning of the word ALWAYS depends on the context. There can be several equivalents or just one depending on the word. It’s a valid matter on the translation both from English to Finnish and vice versa. This is why Kapari-Jatta emphasizes that “translators don’t translate words, they translate thoughts. The goal is to say things how they would be said in Finnish without being too Finnish about it, since the Potter’s aren’t set in Finland. It is a delicate balance.”
The tune, feeling and rhythm of the text were the key elements in the translation process for Kapari-Jatta. One example of the challenges that Rowling’s writing style gave her were the number of alliterations used in the books. Alliterations happen to be far are more common in English than in Finnish. She used ton-tongue-toffee as an example. If translated word-to-word it would have been tonnikielitoffee which is essentially correct (it swells the tongue huge) but the rhythm of the word doesn’t hit the mark. It also lacks the mischievous tune that Rowling had. So Kapari-Jatta decided to start look for answers from the original word and how it’d been built. She quickly noticed that word contains clear alliterations. So the tongue (=kieli) must be the key element that has to come across in Finnish too.
The use of the word kieli led to problems with the translations for the words ton and toffee. The word toffee is a name of a sweet both in Finnish and English, but while in English there are several words for toffee in Finnish there’s just the one. By the time the ton-tongue-toffee was introduced in the books Kapari-Jatta had already used Toffee in the last name for Cornelious Fudge (= Cornelius Toffee) so she couldn’t really use that again. She decided to use the word karamelli (=candy/sweets) instead of toffee. After that she thought what goes well with both kieli and karamelli. By that time the word tonni (=ton) didn’t fit the picture anymore. She thought of a similar word that implies that the sweet makes a persons’ tongue to grow big, not heavy. So she decided to use the word kilo (as in kilogram) instead which keeps the original idea of a big tongue. Finally she shortened karamelli into melli in order to make the alliterations sound better. And so the final word became kilokielimelli.
If the translation of words was sometimes a challenge, headlines could be that too. During the translation of the first book Kapari-Jatta’s first challenge was the headline of the first chapter: The Boy Who Lived. Rowling had used the past tense which made translating it tricky. If translated word-to-word it would have sounded like Harry was dead which obviously wasn’t the case. So the translator had to try several different Finnish sentences in different tenses. At first she thought of a sentence which in English would be the boy who survived (=poika joka jäi henkiin). It didn’t fit the mysterious idea that Rowling had in mind. It also didn’t sound as catchy as the original did. Especially the Finnish pronoun joka (=that/which) caused problems: it lenghted the sencence but at the same time it was something that couldn’t have been left out because in Finnish pronouns are important so that the sentences sound good. In the end it all came to one question: what is key message that Rowling wanted to get across? Living. So in the Finnish version the sencence was written in present tense: Poika joka elää (= the boy who lives).
Translation of the different names
When it came to the translation of the different names in the books, Kapari-Jatta quickly decided to consider every name individually. The reason for this was that all the names in Potter books are very unique; some hold a story or special meaning behind them. Some are completely fictious, some built from different parts and some are just funny to read. Every name goes through the process of translation whether it’s changed or not. Kapari-Jatta tells that her favourite Potter characters were Minerva McGonagall and Hermione Granger. Ron, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Dobby, Sirius and Ginny, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Molly and Arthur were also close to her heart. She also praised Rowling for writing the characters of Snape and Voldemort particularly well.
Of the decicion when to translate names when not. Kapari-Jatta had a mantra: “Some are kept the same, some are changed, some are twisted and turned in order to find the translation that works the best with the theme of the books.” For example she decided to translate Sirius Black into Sirius Musta (black=musta). For some reason (the translator doesn’t go into detail) Kapari-Jatta decided to translate Sirius’ last name already in the first book and it turned out to be the right choice, since Sirius grew to be an important character in the future books. The translated name gives the Finnish readers more of the emotional feeling than the original one and fits better into Finnish language.
With Snape Kapari-Jatta didn’t know what Rowling had in store for his character when she first saw it in the Philosopher’s Stone. She thought logically that the name comes from the English word snake which is fitting as he’s also the head of Slytherin house. It was clear that a word-to-word translation into Käärme (=snake) didn’t fit the theme of the books and it would have struck on the eye of a reader too. So she started to think about different species of snakes. She came across the rattlesnake which in Finnish is kalkkarokäärme. That particular snake became the base for the Finnish Severus Kalkaros. It was similarly something snake-like as Severus Snape is, without being too obvious.
With the character Igor Karkaroff, the translator decided to use a different approach. By the time Karkaroff was introduced in book four, Snape was well known to Finnish readers. The names Kalkaros and Karkaroff were too similar to one another and the translator feared that the readers might mix the two by accident or the names could leak out unwanted hints. Something had to be done so Kapari-Jatta decided to change Karkaroff’s last name into Irkoroff.
The question of how Hogwarts students address professors in the books was an interesting question to think for the translator. In Finland students address those that teach them as teacher (=opettaja). Professor (=Professori) is mainly used in universities as an official degree; it’s not that commonly used in everyday conversations or during lectures. However at Hogwarts Kapari-Jatta wanted to spare the English bording-school feeling. So in the Finnish books the students use the term professori.
With the names of the professors Albus Dumbledore was left original because it sounded good in Finnish as well. With Minerva McGonagall the problem was that the name didn’t sound as strong or fiesty as it did in English. It was also difficult for Finns to pronounce. So Kapari-Jatta decided to leave the Scottish Mc-prefix because it was somewhat familiar for the Finnish readers. After she gave it some thought she remembered a nice Finnish word karmiva (=creepy/scary). She changed it a bit in order to make less obvious and that’s how the last name McGarmiwa was born.
Rubeus Hagrid was kept original, also Professor Binns. Sprout was translated literally to Verso. Flitwick is Lipetit simply because it had the same tune and feeling as the original. Quirrell was translated as a wordplay. The English word squirrel is orava in Finnish and it was fine-tuned into Orave. With Sibill Trelawney the translator throught that first name should be kept original since it hints at Trelawney’s gift. The last name was directly translated from the word Trelawney: ”tree” and ”lawn” à ”puu” and ”nurmi” à ”Punurmio”. Madam Hooch (=Matami Huiski) comes from the American slang word hooch which means homemade whisky so the word ”Huiski” is basically a Finnish way of prounouncing whiskey. From all the professors in Hogwarts Kapari-Jatta’s favourite translated name was Hagrid’s substitute Professor Grubbly-Plank. It translated into ”Matoisa-Lankku” which gives the same image as the original name and sounds funnily enough like a real name!
The Black house-elf Kreacher is translated into Oljo. The decision whether or not to keep the original name in the Finnish version was something that Kapari-Jatta had to give some thought. Kreacher is rather tricky to pronounce for Finnish speakers. In order to help the readers understand the nature of the character, Kapari-Jatta decided to translate the name. Kreacher comes from the word creature (=olio/otus). The translator thought that because Kreacher is the house-elf of the notorous pureblood family who has been treated badly for years and probably refered to just a ”creature”. With time it could have changed into ”kreacher” and nobody bothered to correct it anymore. This same idea comes through with the Finnish ”Oljo”. It’s a misspelled version of ”Olio”.
With the Marauders and the Marauder’s Map the word “map” is word-to-word translated into ”kartta”. On the other hand the word ”marauder” means in Finnish ”ryöstelijä” which could be understood as robber which didn’t fit together with the idea of what the marauders were. They were mischievious and up-to-no-good but not tricksy or nasty as the Finnish equivalent implies. So Kapari-Jatta had to find a better fitting Finnish synynym for a ”marauder”. She thought what Finnish words would be similar with the English alliteration ”ma-ma”(Marauder’s Map). She decided on the ”ka-ka” and Finnish word ”kelmi” goes well with the word ”kartta” even though the alliteration isn’t exactly the same. It sounds equally mischivious as the orignal name does. So that’s how the name ”Kelmien Kartta” was created.
The names of the four Marauders: ”Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs” were also hard to translate, since the meaning of the original names didn’t open up to Finnish readers. Wormtail = ”Matohäntä” was the easiest to translate. ”Worm” is ”mato” and ”tail” is ”häntä”. Padfoot = ”Anturajalka” was rather simple also. The trick was just to get the rhythm right. The translator decided to shorten ”polkuantura” (pad) into simple ”antura” and add ”jalka” (engl: foot) into it. With Moony = ”Kuutamo” Kapari-Jatta was pondering whether to use the word ”Kuutamoinen” or ”Kuutamo” for a Finnish Moony. In the end she chose ”Kuutamo” which means in English ”moonlight” because it was shorter and the name ”Kuutamoinen” would have sounded a bit too romantic for our favourite werewolf’s nickname! Prongs = ”Sarvihaara” comes from the original word ”prong” = ”haara”. Kapari-Jatta had to find a word that fits with ”haara” because she couldn’t’ use plular in that context she decided to use word ”sarvi” (=horn/antler) which refers James’ animagus form and gives enough information for Finnish reader as Rowling did in the English version.
Of all the names Potter one of the trickiest translations for Kapari-Jatta were Ron’s small owl ”Pigwidgeon” or simply ”Pig” and ”Mad-eye Moody”. Pig is in Finnish ”sika” or ”porsas” depending on whether are you talking about an adult or a young pig. Widgeon is ”haapana” which is a kind of duck. The translator wanted to use a Finnish word for a pig so she decided to use ”Possu” which is one from the multible variations for the word pig. ”Haapana” didn’t fit the style of the character so that part needed to be replaced with somethig other. After going back and forward with different versions Kapari-Jatta’s father happened to suggest using the word ”posi” which had a cute sound. “Posi” also could be understood for ”positive” which Pigwidgeon certainly is. So ”posi” became prefix and the ending started from word play of the original name: Widgeon à Pigeon à Pigwidgeon à Wigpigeon. ”Pigeon” is ”kyyhkynen” in Finnish but that wasn’t quite what Ron’s little owl was so Kapari-Jatta changed the first letter from ”k” to ”t” so the end result was ”Posityyhtynen” or ”Possu” for short.
Mad-Eye Moody’s translation was changed several times before Kapari-Jatta was happy with the name. ”Villisilmä Vauhkomieli” was created from the original name. ”Mad” means ”hullu, raivostunut” in Finnish, ”eye” is simply ”silmä”. The nickname for Alastor had to tone well with the last name because the ex-auror is often called by both nickname and lastname together. Soon the translator had to give up using the English rhythm of the name since Finnish words for ”eye” and ”mad” just aren’t one syllable words as in English. The name ”Villisilmä” (engl. Wild-eye) Vauhkomieli (engl. Wild-mind) sounds as intimidating and slightly ”mad” in Finnish as Mad-Eye Moody does for English.
With Voldemort aka Tom Riddle, Kapari-Jatta decided to leave the Dark Lord’s name as it is in translated versions because it sounded scary and evil for Finnish readers as it was. During the translation of the second book young Tom Riddle was introduced and inside the Chanber of Secrets readers see that Tom Marvollo RIddle is actually an anagram: ”I am Lord Voldemort”. Kapari-Jatta started to work on the letters on paper. The last name Riddle is in Finnish ”arvoitus” which could have been a plausible last name. ”Marvollo” means a miracle (=ihme) which as a name was flexible. Tom was a highly ordinary name which is why it was left in the Finnish version as it was. In this case it wasn’t just about what sounded good in Finnish, it had to work as an anagram also. So after several try’s and error’s the translator ended up changing ”Marvollo” to ”Lomen” and ”Riddle” into ”Valedro” and the end result was: Tom Lomen Valedro which forms an anagram ”ma olen Voldemort”. The idea was that the beginning of the last name ”Vale” (=lie) was supposed to act as a possible hint. Letter ”d” was hard to add up with the name and letter ”ä” had to go because it would have been too obvious for a Finnish reader to spot.
Other names translated word-to-word were for example:
Fat Lady = Lihava Leidi
The Monster Book Of Monsters = Hirviökirja Hirviöistä
Nearly Headless Nick = Melkein päätön Nick
Moaning Myrtle = Murjottava Myrtti (comes from Latin word Myrtus which means a plant since in finnish we don’t really use ”Myrtle” as a name. ”Murjottava” is just a Finnish version for English word ”moan” which is basically what Myrtle does in the girls’ bathroom)
Of Hogwarts and Quiddich and other new words
As for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Finnish it is ”Tylypahkan noitien ja velhojen koulu”. It sounds darker in Finnish because it’s full of odd consonants we don’t normally see together. In English it is a pretty standard looking name for a school. The word ”Hogwarts” is a compound from the words ”hog” and ”wart”. Hog is another word for a pig (=sika) but it also has many other meanings e.g certain kind of rudeness (=röyhkeä/töykeä/tyly). Wart of the other hand is some kind of lump or bump or callus (=pahka/syylä/känsä). So with all of these odd combination of meanings there were a lot of options for a Finnish Hogwarts like ”Sikasyylä” or ”Röyhkeäkänsä”. The problem was that it couldn’t have ben too funny or ridiculous in Finnish as it wasn’t in English. After thinking about different options Kapari-Jatta realized that if you change the place of the syllables ”hogwarts” you get ”warthog” which is in Finnish simply ”pahkasika”. She thought of flipping the words in Finnish upside down and get a ”sikapahka”. It still didn’t sound believable. Word ”pahka” sounded good but ”sika” didn’t. In the end she end up using the word ”tyly” which rememinded her somewhat what kind of animal warthog looks. ”Tylypahka” also had the same rhythm as ”Hogwarts did. With “the Witchcraft and Wizardry” -part she changed them to fit better into Finnish language so the Finnish words describe more who in school are studying; witches (= noidat) and wizards (=velhot).
Hogwarts houses Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slythering are in Finnish ”Rohkelikko”, ”Korpinkynsi”, ”Puuskupuh” and ”Luihuinen”. Kapari-Jatta was careful not to make the houses sound too similar. When translating them she thought of the charactaristics that each house was known. With Gryffindor bravery is clear trait. Brave is ”rohkea” in Finnish. Ravenclaw is word-to-word translated into ”Korpinkynsi”. Hufflepuff reminded the translator of the little red riding hood’s wolf who huffs and puffs the houses down. It also reminded her of the people in the house who plot away and are hard-working. Finnish word for ”plot” is ”puurtaa” so from the wolf’s ”puff” and students ”plot” became translated Finnish ”Puuskupuh”. Slytherin reminds the English word ”slither” a lot. In Finnish we use term ”luikerrella”. With changing the word a bit the translator ended up with ”Luihuinen”.
Comptely new Finnish words that Kapari-Jatta had to create were for Quiddich, Gringotts, Dementor, Hippogriff/Buckbeak and Apparation. Quiddich is ”Huispaus”. I needed to sound like a dangarous, fast-paced game that has been played for years. When she thought of the original word, breaking the word into pieces didn’t work ”quid” and ”ditch” didn’t have anything common with the game itself. So she started to look at the phrases. There was one that got her intrest: ”die in the last ditch”. It has the same idea what Quiddich has in that the game will be played until the seeker catches the snitch. The Finnish word started with the word ”huis” which means something quick. It also refers brooms with you can ”huiskia” (=sweep) at things. The end part ”paus” comes from the word ”sieppaus” which means to catch something and it refers the game itself.
Quaffle = Kaato
Bludger = Ryhmy
Snitch = Sieppi
Keeper = Pitäjä
Chaser = Jahtaaja
”Gringotts” is ”Irveta” it comes from old Finnish bank which was called ”Merita” and has the beginning of the word ”irvistys” (= grin). The money of the wizarding world: galleons, knuts and sickles are in Finnish ”Kaljuuna”, ”Sirppi” and ”Sulmu”.
”Apparate” and ”disapparate” were clever words from Rowling. In translations the base word was ”appear” (=ilmestyä) and ”disappear”(=kadota). With several try’s and error’s Kapari-Jatta ended up with ”Ilmiintyä” (=Apparate) and ”Kaikkoontua” (=Disapparate).
”Dementor” is in Finnish ”Ankeuttaja”. At first Kapari-Jatta consired English-like word ”Dementori” but soon she discarded the idea because it sounded rather robotic and loud which Rowlings Dementors certainly were not. Instead of ”dementori” Kapari-Jatta decided to use original word ”demented” (=tylsistynyt). A word ”Tylsistyttäjä” didn’t seem scary or dreary enough so she changed it to synonym ”Ankeuttaja”. A word ”Ankeuttaja” comes from a adjective ”ankea” which means e.g. gloomy, dismal, dreary, cheerles.
The most funny translations for Kapari-Jatta were the passwords like: Oddsbodikins = “Eriparinaskali” and Flibbertigibbet = “Suupaltti”
Of the spells
JKR uses on her spells a lot of Latin as a base. She has also chose the spells and Latin so that the meaning is clear for the English readers. This is all possible since many English words are based on Latin. In Finnish on the other hand Latin origins doesn’t fit since our language has very little words that are Latin based. In the end Kapari-Jatta decided to solve this problem by creating language that she calls ”tekovalelatinaksi” in English ”fake-Latin”. For example meaning of the spell ”Quietus!” is clear to English readers because ”quiet” means silence. In Finnish translations the same spell is ”Hiljutus!” which comes from Finnish word ”hiljaa” that has the same meaning as in English ”quiet”. The fake-Latin gives the Finnish readers enough to think about the names of the spells and what they mean and Rowling does in the original versions.
Some examples of the translated spells:
Expelliarmus = Karkotaseet!
Lumos = Valois
Nox = Pimi
Wingardium Lentiusa = Siipiirdium Leviosa
Aquamenti = Aquatulio
Reduccto = Poistujo
Riddikulus = Naurettavus
Rictusempra = Halkinaurus
Morsmordre = Kalmokalvaus
Avada Kedavra = Avada Kedavra
Waddiwasi = Tuppotukkelum
Levicorpus = Keholeijus
Imperio = Komennu
Expelliarmus = Karkotaseet
Protego = Varjelum
Petrificus Totatus: Kangistumis tyystilys
The Patronus which repels the Dementors is ”Suojelius”. It comes from the English verb ”patron” (=suojella) and substantive ”patronage” =(suojelius). Also the Latin word ”Patronus” means protector or defender. FInnish readers wouldn’t have understood the meaning of original Latin word the same way as English speaking people do since Latin hasn’t effeced much in Finnish language and we don’t have lot loanwords from Latin either. This is why Kapari-Jatta needed to create a Finnish word for ”Patronus”. ”Puolustaja” (=Defender) sounds too much of a football or ice hockey term and ”Suojelija” on the other hand refers too much into nature conservation. But the idea of a ”Suojelija” sounded good so all the translator needed to do is inflect the word into right form. ”Suojelius” is actually another example of the usage of fake-latin.
”Expecto Patronum” spell is ”Odotum Suojelius”. English speaking people understand that the word ”expecto” means the verb ”expecting” but Finns don’t. This is why Kapari-Jatta decided to use again fake-latin by adding the word ”Odotum” in front of “Suojelius”. It comes from the Finnish verb ”odota” (to wait) in which she added Latin sound ending ”-ius” and that’s how the Finnish Dementor repelling spell “Odotum Suojelius” was created.
Example of the translation of the songs
Here’s the Finnish and the English version from the HP and the Goblet of Fire ”The egg’s song”.
”Come and seek us where are voice sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching, ponder this:
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took
But past an hour -the prospect’s black
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.”
”Sä löydät meidät kun äänemme soi,
mut maalla me emme laulella voi,
Kun etsin meitä, mieleesi paina:
otimme sen, mitä kaipaat aina.
Tasan tunti sinulla aikaa ois,
voit hakea silloin omasi pois.
Mut tunnin jälkeen surua silkkaa,
onnea ei -vain kohtalon pilkkaa.”
In the end of her book Kapari-Jatta talks about how reaching the tone of JKR. She said that she always tries to learn to understand how the writer has thought while writing the book: ”As a translator the text is obviously important, but the text, the letters, the words and sentences are only a part of a story that guides the reader to the sea of thoughts. You could focus just on technical things but for me as a translator I want to understand what happens between the lines and in the background of the story. When I translate I want to find that thing that makes me feel different emotions and touches my soul. The only way to bring Finnish language alive between pages is to live it and that way a Finnish reader also gets a chance to immerse into the translated book. For example with Hermione I always thought why would she say the things she says or why left something unsaid. The same with Rowling herself: why would she put Hermione say something like that? To put it simply I order to translate have to understand the reasons behind the sentences without the message wouldn’t feel real in Finnish.”
About the author:
Jaana Kapari-Jatta is a Finnish translator who has translated several children’s books along with all the Harry Potter books and is right now translating the Cursed Child parts I and II. She’s been multiawarded from her translations. International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour List from her translation of the Harry Potter and the Phisopher’s stone 2000. International Federation of Translators’s (FIT) Astrid Lindgren prize in 2002 and other national prizes.
This summary has been made and translated from Jaana Kapari-Jatta’s book “Pollomuhku ja Posityyhtyminen”. 2008. Tammi. Helsinki. Quotes and names from the books are from UK Bloomsbury editions and Finnish Tammi editions.