A Blogalization translation of an interview with Lia Wyler, the Brazilian translator of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; she talks about the book and about translating generally.

I try to use words from all over Brazil, which at first may not seem to make sense, but if you look more closely, you’ll see that there’s a certain logic to it. For example, Hermione’s cat is called Bichento, a word that seems invented but which in fact is found in the dictionary. In Ceara, it’s a word signifying a person with crooked, bowed legs. In the original, the name of the cat is Crookshanks, which means, literally, “crooked legs.” Another reason I chose this name was that it has a sound similar to bichano, a term used to refer to cats here in Brazil. So for me, calling Hermione’s cat Bichento seemed like the perfect solution, but another translator might have arrived at a completely different, and no less valid, solution.

(Via Transblawg.)


  1. The names given to Astérix characters in translation are sometimes more apt than the originals, e.g. Cacofonix (English) replacing Assurancetourix = “tourist insurance”.

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