Harry Potter books have been translated from the original English into 67 other languages and in April 2011, worldwide sales were estimated to be at around 450 million copies.
The success of this story has been made possible largely because of the work of translators: the high profile nature of the product and its global demand dictated the need for a great deal of care in carrying out the task of translation. In Italy, for instance, the first book was revised by the publishers and issued in an updated edition in response to readers who complained about the quality of the first translation. In countries such as China and Portugal, the translation was conducted by a team of translators to save time. Would Harry Potter have been so successful if the books had been poorly translated?
The series presented many unique challenges to translators. There are rhymes, acronyms, dialects, riddles, jokes, invented words, and plot points that revolve around spelling or initials, as well as nuances of British culture which are unfamiliar to international readers.
Such things require careful and creative translating. In business, like in literature, it’s not only what you say but also how you say it that determines your success. If you don’t want your message to lose strength in foreign markets, make sure you go for a quality translation.