Translations

Paul Andinach pandinac at tartarus.uwa.edu.au
Sun Jan 9 09:39:24 EST 2000


On Wed, 5 Jan 2000 Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk wrote:

[Jacob]

> > There's a comic book that does an incredible job translating puns.
> > It's the Astrix comics.  The originals are done in French, but the
> > puns come through very well in both the English and German
> > versions.  I hear from my Welsh teacher that they even do a good
> > job of it in the Welsh version.  Obviously some liberty is taken
> > to build the puns correctly, but there is no disconnect with the
> > story to make it so.
>
> I must admit I used to love reading Asterix books.  A friend of mine
> at uni, studying modern languages, claimed that they were very good
> examples - because where they couldn't translate the humour, they
> outdid it.  The only exception is apparently "Asterix in Britain"
> ("Astérix chez les Bretons") which is full of anti-English jokes
> that don't translate at all (and most of which I don't get when I
> read it in French either)...

On the other hand, "Asterix in Britain" has the Rather Old Fruit joke
in it, which the original author is reputed to have wished he'd
thought of.

The book I've heard is much better in the original is "Asterix in
Corsica", which is apparently full of local jokes that would make no
sense to people who are neither French nor Corsican.

(Or there's the service station attendant joke in "Asterix in
Switzerland". The English translators gave it a nice try, but it
doesn't quite come off.)


I'm terribly suspicious about the puns in the original French
sometimes. Did they know how much Asterix's name tells us about him?
And what about Ideefix, eh?

Paul,
apologising for the wild rambling and for the lack of appropriate
accents

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