I should check the french version of Watchmen, some day.
There have been two translations into French, the original version over which Moore and Gibbons had no control, and a second one published by Zenda.
The original translation is apparently pretty bad: in his book Watching the Watchmen
, Dave Gibbons notes that in a nuclear “first strike” situation, “strike” was translated as “industrial action” – presumably “greve” – which made “nonsense of the whole scene”.
The second has translation by Jean-Patrick Manchette, whom Gibbons describes as “a well respected translator and crime novelist”, and the father of Doug Headline, who with Jacques Collin published the Zenda version. As this French version was very much a labour of love, and prepared with the full cooperation of Moore and Gibbons, it is probably as authoritive as it can get.
I did have a copy of the six-part Zenda adaptation somewhere at one time, but goodness knows where it went, so I can't check if this is the one with “Le Comedien”, but if it is then I’d guess that it was much discussed, and may reflect yet another layer of Moore’s multiple meanings - perhaps he liked the fact that The Comedian only plays the part of his name, and never actually “owns” the rôle - a subtlty you wouldn’t get in the original? Gibbons is also apparently a bit of a linguist (he makes an interesting story out of a serendipitous discovery of a Latin name, which he recognized at once while flicking through a reference book), so I don’t think much happened by accident. But I digress, and shouldn’t run off topic, so apologies.
Only in terms of cover price, surely? I don't think any good publisher or children's author would think that "sophisticated" vocabulary was only to be reserved for child readers of a certain class or education
Well, fair point, and a valid one; however in a time when the working classes were going off to work at fourteen and there probably wasn’t the wherewithall to buy many books, it probably came to about the same thing anyway?
Thanks for the clarification of “foundered”, though - that was a nuance I didn’t know, and if pressed I might have thought it meant to run aground or something, so both equally wrong and inappropriate!
I also love the first name, Tryphon, that brings me images of typhoons (there's something passionate in that guy)
Typhoons, like blunderbusses, seem more like Haddock than Calculus; I would have thought the Greek scholar would have possibly been what Hergé was evoking – the father of the study of grammar and indeed of classifying defining what words mean, although the perhaps more direct route is to St. Tryphon, the patron saint of gardeners, given the penchant for flowers he later displays in Emerald
Unlike the Valiant, for instance, whose original translation of Asterix was 'Little Fred, The Ancient Brit with Bags of Grit.'
Fascinating - I didn’t know about this at all! It should be compared to the Beric the Briton version, discussed here.