The One Thousand Faces of Harry Potter

Dear Caspers, this post is the English translation of this other post. I decided to translate it as I am doing a comparisons among the Spanish and English editions of the adventures of Harry Potter, trying to uncover their differences. Are you ready?

The English version of Harry Potter is brought by Bloomsbury and Little Brown, meanwhile the Spanish one is charge of Editorial Salamandra of Riverside Agency.

Are they different? Yes, a lot.


First, there are things in the translation from English to Spanish that get lost through the pages of the saga; for example, Ron Weasley’s sailor mouth that, as most fans know, is part of Harry Potter’s readhead friend —in the translation the Spanish speakers don’t get his tipical swearing words as ‘Bloody Hell!’, or ‘Blimey!’, in this version Ron only whispers them and Harry never hears him or he recalls that Ron kisses his mother with that mouth—, and the same thing happens with some spells —let me tell you that Stupefy in Spanish is Desmaius. I would like to point out the importance that the Spanish Editorials should give to their translations, that is because as sometimes we see some content being dismissed, there are other times that the name changes completely —as it happened with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, that translated in Spanish was Harry Potter and the Mystery of the Prince—, and this is bad, very bad. It’s a huge mistake not be careful with the translations, not seeking for them to be 100% accurate to its original content. Sometimes I happened to be reading a female character speaking and, suddenly, the translation changes her gender to masculine, and that is… T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E! It’s inadmissible to let this happen, mostly because this details disturb the reader making he/she reread the same text many times in order to understand the mistake. So, people from Salamandra or any other Editorial with translations, please take care of the manuscripts, in the future send them to editors who have knowledge of what you are translating.


The page quality is also different. Salamandra has a rough paper, that with time it turns into a yellowish color, while Bloomsbury’s has thin sheets —sometimes quite sharp—, they maintain themselves as if it was the first day you bought the book, that if you don’t spill something accidentally on them.

The covers are beautiful in both editions, the originals will always have a special place in everybody’s heart, it never will matter the face renewals that they would give Harry now or ever; as it is, with all the different editions around the world, he already receives the name of ‘The boy with a thousand faces‘.


But, which of the two versions do I prefer the most? Without doubts I prefer Bloomsbury’s. Not only because it is the edition with the original language in which Harry Potter was written, but also for the details that the Editorial added to them. Salamandra only gives us Hogwarts’ coat of arms at the beginning of each book, meanwhile Bloomsbury not only gives you the coat of arms, but each chapter is illustrated at the beginning by a very small picture, with unique fonts, and something that I love: when there are letters or a newspaper clipping, the font and the alignment changes, so it’s easier to identify them from the rest of the text, and they even added the characters a special handwritten font for their signatures, each one is different and unique —in the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore’s signature is very much important to the plot, because the ‘A‘ at its beginning has the Deathly Hallows sign, and even when the Spanish version only describes it, you can already imagine that this is not quite the same.


What I totally approve of the Spanish version though, is the material that they use for the paperback covers. Even when this version is known by its fragility, and how quickly you can rip them, it takes a lot of rereading to tear them completely. This doesn’t happen with the paperback editions of Bloomsbury, they broke quite quickly.

Anyway, if like my sister, you don’t know English —or Spanish in this case—, it doesn’t matter the language in which you read it, the story is the same, the characters are the same, the places are the same, maybe there would be different wording for some spells, but they still cause the same effects. But, if sometime you want to read the saga in other language, don’t doubt it at all! Begin by the easiest one: the Philosopher’s Stone. And here I am talking from experience, because when the Half-Blood Prince was released, Salamandra was still working in its translation —they usually take months to do so—, and as a good potterhead I was desperate wanting to read the book. My father surprised me when he came back from a trip from Chicago, with the book… in English —Caspers, you would never imagine the happiness that it produced me to know that I was indeed the owner of that beautiful Hadback Book and its tote bag. Was it difficult to read? Absolutely, but not impossible. I remember that I had to rely in my English Teachers for help, mostly with the slang that made it difficult to understand some phrases. But, no matter what, it helped me to improve my language skill. It was the very first book that I read in English, and it also made me fall even more in love with the language.

And you? Which edition do you prefer? Do you agree with me?

Read you on next post!






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