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Czech Life

Harry Potter and the Relikvie Smrti

“Four adult tickets please”.  This is what I said to the guy at the cinema on Saturday. Actually I muttered ”čtyři” hopefully and held up four fingers, but it had much the same effect.

We were queuing to see Harry Potter. It was then, whilst holding a beer at the same time as wishing that I had come in fancy dress (hubby wouldn’t let me), that I realised there’s something a bit weird about grown adults spending their Saturday night watching a film about child wizards, broomsticks and elves (poor Dobby).

I had wanted to see the final cinematic installment of JK Rowling’s epic in 3D, but the only i-max showings we could find were dubbed.  I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and actually get a little bit sad sometimes when I remember it’s not real and there is no Hogwarts.  A very large part of me would like a Gryffindor scarf to wear this winter (I realise that I am five years too late and 15 years too old for this).  However, even though I know the plot back-to-front, I drew the line at watching it in Czech. It might have done wonders for my language skills although I doubt the words for ‘broomstick’, ‘wizard’ and’ Expelliarmus’ are that helpful in day-to-day life.

So we saw it in old-school 2D in English with Czech subtitles.  Watching films with subtitles is quite helpful for basic linguistic development.  Czech sounds very much like it is written, and so if you know the spelling of a word, the chances are you can say it.  From our cinema viewing thus far I know the Czech words for ‘swan’, ‘you fight like a hamster’, ‘Duke of York ‘and ‘stutter’.   Which is almost as much as I have managed to glean from our language lessons.

Generally the names of people and places are not translated. Which is why I found the literal translation of the Relikvie Smrti (Deathly Hallows) quite so surprising. Hogwarts (which I always think of as a school somewhere near the Scottish border, on the same train line out of Kings Cross as Durham) is given a literal translation – Bradavice – which means warts. Dumbledore is called Brumbálrather than Dumbledore. This is as weird as the fact that as small part of me is still hankering after a Gryffindor scarf.  Diagon Alley is Pricna Ulice. Quidditch is famprfal. Gryffindor is Nebelvír!

Was JK consulted? Who is it on the translation committee that decides these things? And where can I apply?

And where can I get a Nebelvír scarf?


About CzechingIn

A blog about an English lady living in Prague.


2 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Relikvie Smrti

  1. I learnt a lot of intriguing but equally irrelevant vocab from the Twilight series – upir, vulk, celovek, krev, or something….

    Posted by knedlikova | July 26, 2011, 9:00 pm
  2. I love the creativity of the czech translator.

    Posted by sharka | July 28, 2011, 12:26 pm

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