The first ‘Harry Potter’ book is now available in Yiddish


(JTA) — As of today, the first book in the Harry Potter series is available in Yiddish.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” — or “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” as it is known in the United States — was released in Yiddish by the Swedish publisher Olniansky Tekst Farlag on Friday. (Yiddish is an official language in Sweden.)

It was translated by Arun Viswanath, 29, the son of an Indian-American father and Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, author of the “Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary.” Her father was a professor of Yiddish at Columbia University.

Yair Rosenberg chronicles the story behind the translation in Tablet — from how Viswanath renamed Quidditch as the equivalent of “shoot-broom” to how he felt about the book’s goblins, which some have called anti-Semitic.

CORRECTION: The names of the translator and his mother were originally misspelled in this article. It has been corrected.

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