I wouldn’t normally bother to note the translation of the first Harry Potter book into Greek, but the translator has written an interesting essay describing how he did it.

My intention was to recreate a version of the book which would make sense to a Greek from any era up to the 4th century AD who had managed by some magical process (such as would only be taught only to very advanced students at Hogwarts!) to reach the 21st century. Objects and ideas would be unfamiliar – but once he’d got used to his new surroundings, the book would make complete sense. So I thought it was very important to have this time-travelling Greek in mind at all times, and continually ask myself “would that have any meaning for him? what would he make of that?” In other words a cultural transposition is involved, not just finding the words.

Courtesy of Tom Phillips.


  1. The dreaded flashboy! Flay him! Ask him what he’s been up to!

  2. Fascinating piece, even with my utter lack of Greek. I heard Mr. Wilson with Scott Simon on “Weekend Edition” back in February and it’s quite an entertaining piece, still available here.

  3. And hey, languagehat, you’ve noted it before, normality notwithstanding.

  4. Do I forget myself? Very well, then I forget myself. I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the… something… of my trousers rolled.
    *shuffles off to look for ear trumpet, forgetting it’s already in his ear*

  5. Thanks, Mr. Hat! You know I love to collect these kinds of items! Interesting to note that pirate translations seem to have fallen off with this new release.

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