Fuse #8

Monday, January 08, 2007

Latin Harry

I don't suppose it ever really occurred to me, but if one was to translate Harry Potter into Latin, how would you deal with words that obviously have no Latin equivalent? Golf, for example. Or inventions of a more vehicular nature. The answer comes to us thanks to The British Times Online. A quick glance at the piece and it's clear that The Times has been popping more than a couple of whimsy pills as of late. Here we have an article praising the latest translation of a Harry Potter novel into Latin. Of Harrius Potter et Camera Secretorum they inform us,
"that the author of Harry’s books is Peter Needham, an emeritus Classics beak from Eton College ... Peter Needham writes in the clear style of Cicero, not the difficult text-message abbrevs of Publius Cornelius Tacitus. His subject is rich in excitement, frightening with alarms, teasing with puzzles, playful with guffaws. Even School is a marvellous and magical place. For, of course, the truly original wizards were Greek and Roman. Consider the ancient origin of Abracadabra and Hocus Pocus: Hocus Pocus, Toutous Talontus, vade celerita jubes [which are meaningless Latin gibberish]. So you will confuse silly Muggles. This Needham is without doubt a genius. His original version of Harry Potter is a far better read in Latin than in its English translation. Lucky J. K. Rowling to have discovered such an original source of childhood magic to translate."
Pause for just a moment and imagine a Yankee paper writing a piece praising a dead language as highly as this. It simply does not occur. Would that it did.

Thanks to The Leaky Cauldron for the link.


At 10:35 PM , Blogger Jackie Parker said...

Would have loved to have these when I was studying Latin in College. Would have been far more interesting than Samson, though less than that great drinking song Carmina Burana.


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