Harry Potter is a name recognized throughout the world. From the original books translated into at least 67 languages to the blockbuster movie franchise which ranks among the highest earning franchises in history, the boy who lived has become a global phenomenon.
Today we’re taking a look at a few of the folks behind the scenes who have helped make the films in particular such a success around the world – the professionals responsible for the voiceovers used in foreign-language versions.
Sure, everyone knows Daniel Radcliffe, but have you heard of Ami Trivedi? Probably not.
As is often the case with films and television shows marketed with younger audiences in mind, most of the Harry Potter movies in addition to featuring subtitles were also dubbed. This makes the viewing experience more accessible to young viewers whose reading skills might not allow them to keep up with quickly-changing subtitles.
And just like the books themselves, the Harry Potter movies have been dubbed into an array of languages, from Hindi to German. A look at the voiceovers in Harry Potter films distributed around the world shows just how important professional voice actors are to bringing the English-language movie to audiences in other countries.
Harry Potter in Hindi
For the films’ releases in India, Harry Potter’s adventures were dubbed into Hindi. You might be surprised to learn that Ami Trivedi, the voice of Harry Potter himself in the first Hindi translated film, is actually a woman.
After the first film, however, Trivedi’s brother, Karan Trivedi, took over the job, keeping it all in the family! From “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” onward, Karan Trivedi has continued to lend his vocal talents to Harry’s character. He often performs voiceovers for children’s cartoons in Hindi film and television, although Harry Potter is arguably his best-known role to date.
Harry Potter in French
In the French version of the Harry Potter series, the villain — Lord Voldemort — is initially voiced by Philippe Peythieu. Funnily enough, Peythieu also provides the French voice of Homer Simpson — not such a terrifying character.
For the Dark Lord’s appearances in the fourth through the final film, though, his French voiceover has been provided by Patrick Laplace, whose other voice credits include the also decidedly non-threatening Luke Danes from TV’s “Gilmore Girls.”
Voldemort is not the only character to be represented repeatedly by the same voice actor in French. Manon Azem has voiced Hermione Granger since the first film, just as Olivier Martret has provided the voice of Ron Weasley from the beginning. Rounding out the series’ starring trio, French actor Kelyan Blanc has played the voice of Radcliffe’s boy wizard hero in each of the films — and in the meantime, voiced villains Boba Fett and Lex Luthor!
Harry Potter in German
In Germany, it’s not uncommon for a voice actor or actress to consistently serve as the voice for a certain character or Hollywood star over years and years. Professional voiceover artists are even recognized for their skill and hard behind-the-scenes work with the German dubbing awards!
It’s therefore no big surprise that the German language Harry Potter voiceovers largely use the same actors to voice the same characters throughout the series of films.
Max Felder has always played the voice of Rupert Grint’s character, Ron Weasley, and also provides the voice of Jacob Black in the German versions of the “Twilight” films. Likewise, Emma Watson’s character Hermione Granger has been voiced by Gabrielle Pietermann, who also moonlights as “Twilight” character Jessica Stanley.
Finally, Harry Potter himself has been voiced, since the third film, by Nico Sablik — when he’s not busy voicing other leading men, including James T. Kirk of the latest “Star Trek” movie.
Consistency Is Key
Using the same voice actors consistently is important, especially to maintain a sense of continuity for young audiences.
Have you seen a Harry Potter film in another language? If so, tell us about it in the comments! Did you watch a Harry Potter film that used voiceovers, or were subtitles available? Which would you prefer?