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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 20:29 GMT
Potter to become Welsh wizard
Harry Potter with Hogwarts Express
Wizard Harry is set for the magical journey to Wales
Welsh versions of the Harry Potter books could be hitting the shelves soon thanks to a deal with JK Rowling.

BBC Wales has learned the author has sold the Welsh-language rights to Bloomsbury, which has published the English editions.

The company is expected to confirm a translator for the titles, of which there have been four, in the next few weeks.

Amazon.co.uk warehouse
The latest book has flown off shelves
A movie version of the popular series hit cinema screens on 16 November and is already breaking box office records on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Welsh Books Council will help Bloomsbury with financial and translation aid.

The council's editorial head Dewi Morris Jones said an announcement was imminent, but he foresaw difficulties with adaptation of words like "muggle".

"There will be problems because there are several terms and names that will be quite tough to translate into Welsh," he said.

"It will be quite a challenge to the translate or adaptor who takes it on.

"But something like 'muggle' could remain in Welsh, spelt differently.

"The important thing is that the Welsh text reads naturally and as an original piece of Welsh."

International magician

The Harry Potter series, in which the youngster - destined to become a master magician - is whisked away to learn his craft, has already been translated into French, Spanish and German.

Three UK publishers are said to have turned down former Chepstow schoolgirl Rowling before Bloomsbury stumped up 10,000 for 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,' published in 1997.

J.K. Rowling
Chepstow-educated J.K. Rowling wrote the first book on a train
The fourth in the series was given a 1.5m first print run in the UK, but booksellers were rushed off their feet after holding special events to mark the occasion in July 2000.

Mr Jones added: "It's good news. It's nice that an English publisher has taken the initiative to publish Welsh editions itself.

"Obviously, they think there is a very good markets because Harry Potter is very popular at the moment.

"I should think sales would be very good in Welsh as well."

He said Bloomsbury had received information on several experienced Welsh authors primed to magic up the Welsh version.

The publisher is expected to liaise with the Welsh Books Council on the integrity of the stories.

The translation follows the reversioning of the BBC Teletubbies show into Welsh for S4C.

However, the Superted and Miracle Maker animations, for example, have made successful conversions from Welsh to English.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | Wales
Sali set to succeed Superted
04 Oct 99 | Wales
Teletubbies' adventure in Welsh
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