There has been some controversy about alleged "dumbing down" of the American edition of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular Harry Potter books, because of the title change of the first one to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (thereby missing the major plot point), along with some changes to the vocabulary. This eventually led to the following spoof news article, posted to rec.arts.sf.written in June 2000 by The Futilist, about changes to the fourth book.
Once again, I give you all a Futilist News Flash!
---------------------------------------------- NEW HARRY POTTER BOOK GETS AMERICANIZED TITLE! By Fawn Neey Amalgamated Press News ----------------------------------------------
The long-awaited title of the fourth volume in the incredibly popular "Harry Potter" series of children's books has been released. The British Title Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been judged by the U.S. edition's publisher (Canada will retain the British title) as "too complicated" for Americans. When the eagerly awaited book is released next week, at least for fans in the U.S., the title will be Harry Potter and the Cup o' Hot Stuff. "We think this change will enhance the book-reading experience for the typical American reader" said Emma Nekaf, spokesperson for the US publisher. "The foreign edition uses really hard words and we don't think our audience should have to work to enjoy this delightful book."
Emma Nekaf went on to say "We all love Rowling's works here, but we have to occasionally use dictionaries and stuff to get the gist of what she's saying. We really wish Ms. Rowling would just write in English."
She continues "In one of the early printings of Harry Potter and the Magician's Rock (the re-renamed title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which was originally published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) we left in a reference to Harry eating "biscuits" with his tea! We had hundreds of readers writing in asking 'What's up with that?'." Ms. Nekaf said seriously "It turns out that the British people are misusing the word 'biscuits' to mean 'cookies'! That sort of think can really break the reader out from their reader's trance. The British also use the term 'rubbers' to mean 'rain-shoes' and 'bonnet' to mean 'the hood of a car'. We think 'Boot' means 'a car's trunk," she added. "We're not positive of that last one though. I mean, you wear boots on your feet. Why would they use that to mean 'car's trunk'? It's so strange" she mused.
Ms. Nekaf shook her head sadly "If it wasn't for our dedicated team of translators, I doubt Harry Potter's adventures would be as well known on our side of the Big Pond. Frankly, I think our translators have made the book far better and more accessable than they were in their original language."
Harry Potter and the Cup o' Hot Stuff will be available in U.S. bookstores on July 5, along with the other renamed books Harry Potter and the Magician's Rock, Harry Potter and the Closet of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Caged Guy in Some Foreign Place.