Nov 102013

From 'Les marais du temps' test page (ill. Le Gall; (c) Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

A while ago, the Scanlation Sunday piece was a couple of test pages by Stanislas, proposals for Spirou one-shots that never happened. But what does a successful pitch look like? Here’s Frank Le Gall‘s test page for what became the one-shot Les marais du temps (“The Marshes of Time”).

Test page for 'Les marais du temps' (ill. Le Gall; (c) Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

This page was included in the Khani special edition of Les marais du temps, and in the German version of the album. I’ve scanned it from the German album and translated from the French text courtesy of InediSpirou (p. 62).

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    Musings of a scanlator:

    One thing I’ve noticed in translating Spirou is that it’s often difficult to do Count Champignac’s dialogue. There are his typical exclamations (“Sabre de bois !”, lit. “Wooden sword!”; and “Sapristi !” or “Saperlotte !”, mild old-fashioned curses), which I usually render as “Great Scott!” (or as here, “Deuce it!”), following Kim Thompson in Z is for Zorglub. In the unused Zorkon’s Alert intro, Vehlmann also adds in “Nom d’une pipe !” (lit. “In pipe’s name!”) and “Palsambleu !”

    They all mean more or less the same thing (i.e., very little), but the variety of exclamations helps liven up the script, and his characteristic way of speaking is one of the Count’s defining qualities, so I put a great deal of effort into getting it right. (I translated those last two as “Oh blast it!” and “Good Lord!”, but I might go back and modify the first one, since it turns out I got the rest of that speech bubble wrong.)

    What’s even more tricky is how he frequently uses expressions based on mushroom names. My sense is that names of specific mushrooms are not as well-known in English as in French or other languages (perhaps the English traditionally had less of a culture of mushroom-hunting?), and many varieties are just known by their Latin names, so it can be hard to find equivalents for the French wordplay that don’t sound too awkward. I quite like the sound of “Bloody Brittlegill!” (for the French “Nom d’un bolet satan !”; “In the name of the devil’s bolete!”), but rather doubt that too many people would recognize bloody brittlegill as a type of mushroom.

    Spip, on the other hand, is usually good fun to translate, since (in my mind at least) he “speaks” more casually. And then sometimes you get a chance to add a little twist on a joke, like “Local color my foot!” (I’m quite pleased with that one.)

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