• Fri. Sep 30th, 2022
harry-potter

Harry Potter in Yiddish is a huge success. Usually no more than approx. 1,000 copies of books in Chassidic communities in a full year, writes Jerusalem Post.

According to the Swedish publisher Olniansky Tekst Farlag, pre-ordering a print run of 1,000 copies of the Yiddish translation Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was sold out after 48 hours.

The book was translated by Arun Schaechter Viswanath. Viswanath comes from the well-known Yiddish-savvy Schaechter family. The book is published by the Swedish publisher Nikolaj Olniansky. Olniansky is also behind a Yiddish heavy metal band, The Dibbukim. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the latest in the Harry Potter series in Yiddish.

-It’s completely wild and hard to believe. We did not think we could sell more than 1,000 copies of a non-Chassidic book, Olniansky told The Forward.

According to The Forward, the book has been ordered in the United States, Morocco, China, Israel, Poland, Sweden and Australia.

Never before has a book in Yiddish been so commercially successful. As a rule, the author himself publishes his books in Yiddish or at a Yiddish publishing house in Israel. Usually only 80 to 200 copies are printed. The market for books published in Yiddish has declined markedly in recent years. Yiddish has become a marginal language and authors and publishers are often forced to market their books through the word of mouth method. The publications are rarely financially viable. Olniansky usually publishes only 500 copies of his books, although his publishers receive financial support from the Swedish state. The financial support is given because Swedish law supports the translation and publication of books in approved minority languages.

The success of the Yiddish publication of Harry Potter is due to the popularity of the Harry Potter series. The books are some of the most popular and read in human history and have set in motion one of the entertainment industry’s most successful franchises ever. The Harry Potter books have been translated into more than 80 languages ​​- including Faroese and Latin. In fact, the Harry Potter books are used as a means of learning new languages ​​through translation. Many of the copies sold have been ordered by former or current Yiddish students.

Viswanath, who translated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone , hopes that the great success of the translation can lead to a renewed interest in Yiddish.

-I think it’s great. I think the enthusiasm that the book arouses says something about the deep relationship that many Ashkenazi Jews have to Yiddish, even though they do not speak the language. I hope that the book will encourage people to learn Yiddish – not only to read the book but also to discover all the treasures that are in Yiddish literature, folk music and theater. And for those who already speak Yiddish, I hope they find a new way to experience Harry Potter or maybe even read the book for the first time, Viswanath told the Jerusalem Post.

Olinanisky states that edition no. two are on the way and can be pre-ordered for $ 28.

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