An Illuminating Look at the Syntax and Rowlingisms of Harry Potter Across Three Languages

The “translation gap” is a major issue that all translated texts across the world face at some point or another. Much like snowflakes, no two translations are ever alike. Translating a text deals with the grammar, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and morphology of both the language it is being translated from and the language it is being translated to. The actual translation is often left up to the individual translator, which explains why translations often differ.

This concept of translation studies is important to this project because in it we look at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone translated into French, Russian, and Swedish. We intended to look at the syntax differences across the three languages, as well as the way certain Harry Potter concepts were translated.

To do so, we created a concept called the “Rowlingism.” A Rowlingism is a creation of J. K. Rowling’s that is specific to the Harry Potter world, such as certain spells, classes, houses, families, characters, foods, and places. This project, in addition to looking at syntactical differences across three languages, delves into the differences in the way Rowlingisms are translated from English into French, Russian, and Swedish.


Creative Commons LicenseThe Lumos Project by Becca Berland, Allie Hosinski, and Taylor Diken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.