#90 | Wingardium LeviÓSéaghdha – Translating Harry Potter into Irish

Darach, Peadar and Gearóidín look at translating Harry Potter agus an Órchloch as translated by Máire Nic Mhaoláin on this Motherfoclóir. We consider the many challenges and opportunities that a translator tackling such a well-kown text has to take on board.

Gearóidín is a Gryffindor. Peadar is a Hufflepuff. Darach, however, is a muggle who has not read the books, only seen a few of the films and has not yet tuned into the audiobook (famously read by Ros na Rún guest star Stephen Fry). However, so pervasive is the influence of JK Rowling’s books that even he knows more about them than texts he has had to study for exams. Translating Harry Potter novels have been completed into over seventy languages… including Irish, and that’s where the Motherfoclóir train stops today.



In this week’s episode, we look at Harry Potter agus an Órchloch as translated by Máire Nic Mhaoláin. We consider the many challenges and opportunities that a translator tackling such a well-kown text has to take on board. How do you replicate accents? What about acronyms and anagrams? What about the parallel translation of a screenplay? And how about those words which might scurry in the long shadow of copyright laws?

The gang also consider the impact that the series has had on pop culture in general, its role in Blair-era “Cool Britannia” soft power and the dangers of legacy management in the internet age.

Special thanks to Laura McGloughlin for advice on this episode.

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