A trio of new editions of classic comic book series Asterix the Gaul and The Adventures of Tintin have been translated into Scottish Gaelic and Scots for the first time.
New titles from the comic heroes will appear on bookshelves ahead of Christmas; three of them re-imagined for Gaelic readers and two translated into colloquial Scots.
Originally released in 1959, Asterix the Gaul was the brainchild of illustrator Albert Uderzo and scriptwriter Rene Goscinny. Goscinny died in 1977 and Uderzo took over the writing until his retirement in September 2011.
The task of converting the childhood favourites meant a busy few months working on the albums for Scots Gaelic translators Raghnaid Sandilands and Ruairidh MacIlleathain.
“Asterix is my favourite,” said Raghnaid, “my mum used to read me the stories when I was a child, and now my own kids can’t wait to see the adventures in Gaelic.”
Raghnaid has been working on Asterix in Gaelic since the series was first published in 2013, and with the world’s athletes preparing to line-up in Tokyo for next year’s summer Olympics, it’s Asterix who’s going for gold in Asterix aig na Geamannan Oilimpigeach (Asterix at the Olympic Games).
Joining Asterix are two new Gaelic Tintin adventures, Ciste Chastafiore (The Castafiore Emerald) and Slat-Rìoghail Rìgh Ottokar (King Ottokar's Sceptre).
Sharing its status alongside Asterix as one of the most popular and enduring European comic book series of all time, Tintin was created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the alias Herge. It first appeared on shelves in 1929 and has since gone on to be published in more than 70 languages with worldwide sales of more than 200 million and spawned a successful film adaptation in 2011, directed by Steven Spielberg and co-produced by Peter Jackson.
Raghnaid Sandilands and Ruairidh MacIlleathain both worked on developing the Gaelic version of the Tintin books. “It was great fun working with
one of the most famous book characters in the world,” said Ruairidh, “and meeting the challenge of writing engaging text to fit speech bubbles which were created for a different language.”
In addition to the Gaelic versions, Asterix and the Olympic Games (Asterix and the Olympic Gemmes) and King Ottokar's Sceptre (Auld King Ottokar's Sceptre) have also been changed into Scots.
The Asterix series is translated into Scots by author and government Scots advisor Matthew Fitt.
“Wi the warld aboot tae go Olympic daft nixt year in Tokyo, whit better time tae bring oot Asterix and the Olympic Gemmes in Scots,” said Matthew Fitt. “It’s ane o the best adventures in the haill Asterix series, and whit aboot Goscinny and Uderzo’s foresicht as weel as Olympian sense o humour wi the Gauls giein the Romans a reid face when they test positive for blue tongue? Anither hoot o a buik and pure joy tae translate intae Scots.”
The Tintin series is translated into Scots by lexicographer, Dr Susan Rennie, former Lecturer in Scots at the University of Glasgow and Editor of the Historical Thesaurus of Scots.
The new Scots translation of Auld King Ottokar’s Sceptre also includes some witty localisations of character and place names.
Translator Susan Rennie added, “The bespectacled professor in the story is called Hamish Brewster, in a homage to Scottish scientist, David Brewster — who invented the kaleidoscope among other things… and the photographer, Mr Octavius, is named after Scottish photographic pioneer, David Octavius Hill, whose work features in the current exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery”.
Scots translations of the Asterix and Tintin series first appeared in 2013. Adapted from the French and Franco-Belgian originals, the Scots versions of the books have now grown to 8 titles and 5 titles respectively.