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Chaim Potter?

I think this might interest some folks:

From the World Jewish Digest, the article "When Harry Meets Hebrew" by Sarah Bronson, all about the issues involved in translating the Harry Potter books into Hebrew. The translator of the books, Gili Bar-Hillel, seems to have found it a challenging but rewarding task. For example, how would you translate the name Remus Lupin? Should a Hebrew-speaking Harry Potter eat bacon? And so on.


I'da never thunk it. :)
Why shouldn't he eat bacon, just because the book is in hebrew? Are they worried about setting a bad example for the children?
I would recommend reading the article. The "they" in this particular case is one child who wrote in to the translator.
He does eat bacon, but apparently some kids are bothered by that. Fascinating article!
From the article:

But in another instance, Bar-Hillel chose not to pander to Jewish sensibilities. A child recently wrote to her, she says, that he doesn’t like that Harry eats bacon and could she please say that he eats chicken instead? Bar-Hillel sent an answer to the boy, gently explaining that as Harry is not Jewish and lives in a different culture, eating bacon for breakfast is normal for him. “‘It’s what he actually eats,’” she wrote in her answer and left it at that.
I like that. Children do need to learn that different cultures do different things. I wonder how this little boy will react to the Christmas celebration?
Good answer. Yeah, it's good for the kid to learn that not everyone is like him.
I think part of the issue is that the kid wants to identify with Harry Potter, so when Harry eats bacon, it disrupts him from that level of reader identification. But the translator is correct; Harry is not Jewish, let alone observant of the laws of kashruth, and it would be wrong to deny Harry of his breakfast for the sake of the Jewish readers.
Ah, but think of the advantages.... Erev Pesach, accio chametz!
I can just see the confusion with lemon sherbet sweets!

Without them in your experience, there isn't much chance of describing them effectively in a book without spending half a chapter on it!

At least Marmite never came up :)
The Latin spell names, of course, should be translated into Aramaic.
Hee! That mightn't be a bad choice... :D

I think it's fascinating, the different choices she's made. The Hannukkah song was very inventive, and yeah, there's no good way to do Remus Lupin without doing too much or too little.

Now I'm gonna have to go get hebrew copies of the series...
Hebrew translation is fascinating. For example, in an early translation of Tolkein, elves were called "the sons of Lillith" (B'nai Lillit). Later translators were a bit less polarized.
Thanks for the pointer. It's a very interesting article. Many of the issues raised are the classic dilemmas of translation, but because this is a book whose readers tend to be a) children and b) passionate about it, they are stated extra clearly.

December 2016

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