A propos my previous post and the other stuff I tend to write about in this blog, the Times of India has a very interesting article about the fellow who translates the Harry Potter series into Hindi, Sudhir Dixit. As a student Sudhir Dixit was a fierce nationalist who refused to learn English. Later he relented and went on to become a professor and scholar of literature in both English and Hindi.
The most interesting portions of the article relate to decisions Prof. Dixit's had to make in rendering the books into Hindi. J.K. Rowling's coinages presented a unique problem - she names spells using roots from Latin and Greek; Prof. Dixit, who clearly knows his stuff, went to Sanksrit - "the language of spells and curses," he said - to create analogous terms. He also had to make decisions about forms of address, since Hindi has multiple levels of formality not just in the second person but also in the third person:
For instance, in Hindi, unlike in English, expression of respect is unambiguous. So, Dixit had to decide if the character of Snape had to be addressed with respect or with disdain. Dixit would take a long time to decide between 'kar raha tha' [familiar and extremely disrespectful way to refer to an authority figure] and 'kar rahe the' [formal and respectful]. He eventually decided to treat Snape with respect, "because, he is after all a professor".
But I wonder if the characters show the same respect for Prof. Snape that Prof. Dixit does - whether Harry would exclaim "Snape aata hai!" or "Snape aate hain!" when he's about to be caught doing some mischief or other. I'll have to get the books and see.