Rowlingisms Analysis

The purpose of the large chart of Rowlingisms was so we could have all translations listed side by side and then from there be able to go through all the different translations to gauge how many translations ended up being literal and then how many translations differed on a morphological, phonological or semantic level.

If a translation is said to differ on a morphological level, this means that the Rowlingism translation was created by adding small units of meaning (morphemes) together to create the concept of that Rowlingism in its respective language, as a result the translation is not entirely literal and was translated in this fashion.

If a translation is said to differ on a phonological level, this means that that respective language may not naturally have a certain sound in the language and thus the Rowlingism is translated as closely as possible, with a translation adhering to the phonological rules of the language. An example here is Harry Potter being translated as ‘Garry Potter.’ This occurs because of a popular shift in Russian phonetics in which the ‘h’ sound (which is harsher in Russian) is alternated with a simpler ‘g’ sound.

Lastly, if a translation is said to differ on a semantic level, this means that the Rowlingism concept could not be adequately grasped in the respective language on a literal level and instead the Rowlingism was translated in a fashion in which the translation’s meaning was more apparent to native and fluent speakers of the respective languages. For example, in Swedish, they do have literal translations for anything dealing with magic(based off of English), however more commonly anything having to do with magic has the root of ‘troll.’ This is because Swedish and Scandinavian folklore is based heavily on stories of trolls and anything from seemingly possessed children to ugly babies is said to be the result of trolls and their magic. Thus the translations for History of Magic, Potions and Charms are ‘trollkonsthistoria’ literally meaning the history of trolls’ art, ‘trolldryckskonst’ literally meaning something along the lines of troll mixology (as the root is trolls it’s assumed this is magical), and ‘trollformler’ literally meaning troll formulas.

After consulting with professors and native speakers of each language, here are the results of our analysis of our Rowlingism chart which contains 68 individual Rowlingisms:

Swedish had the most literal translations, with 88.2% of translations being literal. 2 Swedish Rowlingisms varied on a morphological level, 2 on a phonological level and 4 on a semantic level, respectively.

French had the second highest amount of literal translations, with 75% of translations being literal. 1 French Rowlingism varied on a morphological level, 6 on a phonological level and 10 on a semantic level, respectively.

Russian had the least amount of literal translations, with 66.2% of translations being literal. 2 Russian Rowlingisms varied on a morphological level, 16 on a phonological level and 5 on a semantic level, respectively.


The language with the most literal Rowlingism translations, Swedish, is also a part of the same language family (Germanic) as the original Harry Potter language, English. Thus, according to Professor Eva Albertsson (Swedish Language Professor at the University of Pittsburgh), it is not surprising that exact Rowlingisms are for the most part left unchanged and if they are changed it is most likely to be on a semantic level having to do with magic its roots with trolls in Scandinavian culture. French, although a Romance language, also has roots in Western Europe like English and Swedish and also does not exhibit a significant amount of change in Rowlingism translations. From the analysis of translation differences it is clear that most variations in French occur on a semantic level, in instances in which the original Rowlingism concept in English could not be adequately and literally translated into French. Lastly, Russian, being a Slavic language with roots in Eastern Europe, unsurprisingly showed the most variation. The greatest amount of variation occurred on a phonological level because there are sounds in English (mostly vowels) that do not occur in the Russian phonetic environment. Overall, it can be said the translation gap is smallest in languages of the same family as the original Harry Potter (English) and in languages that originated near English. The translation gap widens in languages that are more distanced from English as it becomes more difficult to translate the created concepts embedded in each Rowlingism.

Click on one of the headers below to see our Rowlingism analysis charts.

Rowlingisms Translation Chart

English French Russian Swedish
Vernon Dursley Vernon Dursley Вернон Дурсль Vernon Dursley
Harry Potter Harry Potter Гарри Поттер Harry Potter
Dudley Dursley Dudley Dursley Дадли Дурсль Dudley Dursley
Lily Potter Lily Potter Лили Поттер Lily Potter
Albus Dumbledore Albus Dumbledore Альбус Дамблдор Albus Dumbledore
Dedalus Diggle Dedalus Diggle Дедалуса Дингла Dedalus Diggle
Minerva McGonagall Minerva McGonagall Минерва МакГонагалл Minerva McGonagall
Voldemort Voldemort Волан-де-морт Voldemort
You-Know-Who Vous-Savez-Qui Вы-Знаете-Кто Ni-Vet-Vem
Madam Pomfrey Madame Pomfresh мадам Помфри Madam Pomfrey
James Potter James Potter Джеймс Поттер James Potter
Sirius Black Sirius Black Сириус Блэк Sirius Black
Hagrid Hagrid Хагрид Hagrid
Nearly Headless Nick Quasi-Sans-Tête Почти Безголовым Ником Nästan Huvudlöse Nick
Peeves the Poltergeist Peeves, l'esprit frappeur Пивз Poltergeisten Peeves
Argus Filch Argus Rusard Аргус Филч Argus Filch
Ron Weasley Ron Weasley Рон Уизли Ron Weasley
Professor Quirrell Professeur Quirrell профессор Квиррелл Professor Quirrell
Mrs. Norris Miss Teigne миссис Норрис Mrs. Norris
Weasley Twins jumeaux Weasley близнецы Уизли Weasleytvilling
Professor Sprout Professeur Chourave профессор Стебль Professor Sprout
Professor Binns Professeur Binns профессор Бинс Professor Binns
Emeric the Evil Emerie le Hargneux Эмерика Злого Emeric Den Elake
Uric the Oddball Ulric le Follingue Уриком Странным Ulric Den Underlige
Professor Flitwick Professeur Flitwick Профессор Флитвик Professor Flitwick
Hermione Granger Hermione Granger Гермионы Грэйнджер Hermione Granger
Professor Snape Professeur Rogue профессор Снегг Professor Snape
Hedwig Hedwige Букля Hedwig
(Vincent) Crabbe Crabbe Крэбб Crabbe
(Gregory) Goyle Goyle Гойл Goyle
Neville Longbottom Neville Londubat Невилл Долгопупс Neville Long-Bottom
Fang Crockdur Клык Fang
Charlie Weasley Charlie Чарли Charlie
Nicolas Flamel Nicolas Flamel Николас Фламель Nicolas Flamel
Pernelle Flamel Pernelle Пернеллы Perenelle
Fluffy Touffu Пушка Fluffy
Ginny Weasley Ginny Weasley Джинни Уизли Ginny Weasley
Mrs. (Molly) Weasley Mrs. Weasley Миссис Уизли Mrs. Weasley
Gryffindor Gryffondor Гриффиндор Gryffindor
Slytherin Serpentard Слизерин Slytherin
Ravenclaw Serdaigle Когтевран Ravenclaw
Hufflepuff Poufsouffle Пуффендуй Hufflepuff
Slytherins les Serpentards слизеринцами Slytherinarna
Gryffindors les Gryffondor Гриффиндоры Gryffindorarna
Dursleys les Dursley Дурсли familjen Dursley
Potters les Potter Поттеры familjen Potter
Defense Against the Dark Arts la défense contre les forces du Mal защите от Темных искусств försvar mot svartkonster
History of Magic d’histoire de la magie история магии trollkonsthistoria
Potions le cour de potions magiques зельям trolldryckskonst
Charms enchantements заклинания trollformler
Draught of Living Death la Goutte du Mort vivant напитком живой смерти levande dödens saft
Body-Bind Curse le maléfice du Saucisson - kroppslåsnings-besvärjelsen
unDursleyish ce qui faisait un Dursley - Dursley-aktiga
Muggle Moldu/Moldus маглы mugglare
Quidditch Quidditch квиддич Quidditch
Philosopher/Sorcerer's Stone la Pierre Философский камень de Vises Sten
Mirror of Erised miroir du Riséd зеркало Еиналеж Mörd-spegeln
Devils snare Filet du Diable дьявольские силки Djävulens Snar
Golden Snitch Vif D'or золотой снитч kvicken
Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans! les Dragées surprises de Bertie Crochue! Драже на любой вкус Берти Боттс! Bertie Botts bönor i alla smaker!
Put-Outer l'Éteignoir Гасилка släckaren
Hogwarts Express Poudlard Express Хогвартс-Экспресс Hogwartsexpressen
Privet Drive Privet Drive Тисовая улица Privet Drive
Grunnings Grunnings Граннингс Grunnings
Godric's Hollow Godric's Hollow Годриковой Впадине Godric's Hollow
Hogwarts Poudlard Хогвартс Hogwarts
Gringotts Gringotts Гринготтс Gringotts
Diagon Alley le Chemin de Traverse Косом переулке Diagongränden
The Leaky Cauldron Chaudron Baveur Дырявом котле Läckande Kitteln

Translational Differences Across Languages