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These folks are collaboratively translating the Harry

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 06, 2003

These folks are collaboratively translating the Harry Potter books into German. and will, sadly, probably get sued for it at some point

Reader comments

MikeJul 06, 2003 at 10:43PM

Why is it sad that they will get sued for it? Unless, of course, they’re offering to give the publisher/author a fair royalty for the proceeds.

JensJul 07, 2003 at 6:25AM

They are trying to avoid getting sued. You only receive the translated pages after you got registered and translated about four to five pages yourself. This way they already translated the last HP. Apparently without any legal problems. On the other hand, the site just was featured by the big German news-site Spiegel Online. So maybe now they will encounter some problems.

jkottkeJul 07, 2003 at 7:49AM

It’s sad because if Potter is not available in German (I have no idea if this is the case), this is the only way for German readers to be able to read it. I don’t want people not to be able to read things because it’s not economically viable for a publisher to release a translation in a certain language.

jkottkeJul 07, 2003 at 7:51AM

Some Czech schoolboys have gotten in trouble for translating the latest Potter into Czech. They were about halfway through after two weeks. The official Czech version wasn’t due out until February.

rachelJul 08, 2003 at 12:53AM

The last book was translated into about 55 languages, and I expect this one will be available in even more. German translations, of course, have always been available. But the translated books won’t be out for a few months, so that’s probably what this is in response to. (A lot of the delay is due to the difficulty in translating books that rely heavily on wordplay.)

I agree that the author should be allowed to sue (and I don’t agree with most of these Harry Potter lawsuits!). If the translation isn’t sanctioned by the publisher, how does the author know that the translation is accurate, and won’t distort or misrepresent her words? It could be a potential libel issue if something was put into the translation by the unsanctioned translator that the author didn’t intend. The translation is ostensibly from the author’s own words, and she would not want to be associated with something that didn’t match up with her vision of the book.

Chris AldenJul 08, 2003 at 5:26AM

I want to know just what kind of life Czech schoolboys are leading these days. I suppose under any other circumstance their apparently subversive translation would seem normal enough, but the way Radio Prague phrased it I had a brief image flash before my mind of a dark boiler room, of young boys forcing extremely hot air into their lungs, squinting to conjugate a verb just to feel the intoxicating rush of youthful rebelliousness that entrances them. Either that or they like the series… I haven’t decided yet.

JensJul 08, 2003 at 10:09AM

The German publisher of HP has made a deal with the people translating the new HP into German. As long as they do not publish translations on their website and just keep posting their work in the private section of the site they can go on. Sounds like a pretty fair agreement to me.

Volkwijn Donita Jan 21, 2004 at 4:32AM

Study as though you will not reach, as if you may lose it.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.