Harry Potter storms Vietnam

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has landed in Vietnam, in an authorized translation by the Tre Publishing House, and it’s quite interesting to learn that this, according to Publisher’s Weekly and the Associated Press, marks the first time a communist country has put out an authorized translation. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese News Agency VNS reports that Ly Lan, a popular Vietnamese author, also translated the previous four Harry Potter books into Vietnamese. So, um, where’s the international copyright protection guaranteed by WIPO?

Perhaps just as interesting is that to make the book accessible to Vietnamese children, Tre Publishing is releasing Order of the Phoenix in fifteen parts, each to be priced at an estimated 4,500 dong (about $0.30 US, for a total price of $4.50 US). They will also pick up new illustrations for this edition from artist Tri Duc, who says he’s trying to portray a “lifelike” Harry Potter through his illustrations. “I know I don�t have the right to disappoint all the Potter fans across the country,” Duc said. So will Harry be Vietnamese?

Given how wire services transmit news so efficiently, it should be no surprise that you can read about Harry Potter and Vietnam in the Turkish Daily News, Borneo Bulletin, Utusan Malaysia Online, The Star, Africa, and South Africa’s News24, but it’s still cool.

It’s a smaller world we live in, and my kudos to J.K.Rowling for helping us all remember that the wonder of a children’s story can help make us even closer…

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