why change the whole voyage just so that Shanghai is not mentioned as the final destination?
The answer to that just has to be, why ever not...? At the end of the day, it's a minor minor point in the scheme of things, it's what they did, and I'm more than happy to live with it... :-)
They could have easily have made it Hong Kong - which is included in the original French itinerary - and which British readers could have identified with, given its colonial status at the time.
I can sort of see your point –even if I don't agree with it!– for not making a change; this alternate change isn't any better than the one they made, as it appears to be completely arbitrary. I can't see why Hong Kong suddenly enters the fray, when the a circular cruise at least delivers Tintin home. That has a purpose to it.
the Maharaja tells him: "Good job, you dismantled an evil gang", Tintin, who actually looks uneasy, answers "Who knows? Only the future will tell."
I have to say I think that's subjective: it just shows that Tintin is, as ever, pragmatic.
Even more so than the opening page, this is a strong hint about a sequel which, you claim, the publishers had no intention of even translating at that stage.
No, it just says that every time Tintin has put paid to a criminal gang in the past, another one pops up else where; he knows that crime is never ending, and he's probably pretty resigned to the fact that he'll sniff out another conspiracy somewhere before too long. It doesn't have to be a sequel, it's just any of his adventures. I'm also not sure what you mean by "claim" - it's just a fact that that was the case.
Personally, I'm putting this down to poor salesmanship and the narrow-mindedness of publishers, who can't help thinking of their readers as idiots as opposed to intelligent people.
That's a rather high-handed attitude, if I may say so; taking the time out to think of a workable strategy to get your product out to the maximum audience possible is good, not poor, salesmanship.
The narrow-mindedness is surely yours - if they'd thought the readership were idiots, they would never have argued as hard against opposition to give us the books in English in the first place!
Just because you
treat the publishers
as if they were idiots, doesn't mean that the converse holds: having talked at some length on more than one occasion to the British translators, nothing
in what they said suggested that they would have wished on you any of the contempt that you have just shown them.
Given their undoubted expertise, and your total lack of experience, in publishing, I've got to give them the benefit of the doubt. Michael Turner (director of a major publishing concern) could give absolute and categorical reasoning for changing the titles to some of the books to drive sales, based on what bookshops liked to stock, people liked to buy, and how much time a title could get (not long) in prime positions on the shelf. It wasn't whimsical for a publishing professional like him - it was a serious business, to which he dedicated his best efforts.
the opening page of a French edition where Tintin describes the itinerary which will take them to Shanghai, but the map is that of the Mediterranean cruise. Sigh!
This is also how the page appeared when reprinted in 1976 in the Journal Tintin
; the frequency with which this map can be found begins to suggest that the map is right, and the dialogue is wrong... ;-)