Harry Potter et les?

So it’s going to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Of course, French fans are feverishly trying to work out a translation. Should it be
Harry Potter et les saints mortuaires
Harry Potter et les saints mortels
Harry Potter et les sanctuaires mortels
Harry Potter et les reliques mortelles
Harry Potter et les morts sanctifiés
Harry Potter et les saints cadavériques
Harry Potter et les saints défunts
Harry Potter et les mortels sanctifiés
(All found on various French-speaking forums et blogs)
Difficult to have an opinion without having read the book… especially as I suspect that this title is more about creating an atmosphere than giving away what the book will contain. Note how J.K. Rowling uses her favourite "h" sound again, which is meant to be mysterious, sinister, the sound of witchcraft (Harry, Hagrid, Hogwarts, Hermione…).

By | 2016-10-18T15:50:04+00:00 January 30th, 2007|Culture|5 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Ron February 1, 2007 at 2:03 am

    Ah, but this “hallow” is a noun, not a verb. According to my dictionary it means “hello” or “hallo”. So “les salutations mortelles” would make more sense. What do you think?

  2. Bela February 1, 2007 at 5:25 am

    Ah but ‘hallow’ *can* be a noun. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it thus:
    • noun archaic a saint or holy person
    I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books, nor do I want to, but language conundra interest me. 🙂

  3. céline February 1, 2007 at 9:44 am

    I think that at this stage and without having read the book, the title is too ambiguous to hazard a guess.

  4. Nienke March 20, 2007 at 1:05 am

    I love the Harry Potter books, but I think the French translations are and always will be translations, because names stay the same. The same problem occurs in the Spanish translation. The Dutch translation however, is no longer a translation, it is a Dutch version of the book, and I love it, the name of Dumbledore is changed so that it has the same connotations as the English name, and the same is done with “Hogwards”, “Quidditch”, etc etc. I hate reading a book that is an obvious translation, and even though the French translation is a good translation, it still has English qualities. Sorry, that doesn’t really link to the original topic… As for the French title, I don’t think any of those examples have the right ring to them, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

  5. céline March 20, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Nienke, I understand why you’re bothered by the way it has been translated in French, but then if you don’t keep names, cultural context etc., you create an adaptation rather than a translation. Ron alerts me to the fact that Harry Potter stamps have been issued in France.

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