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Tintin in Hindi travels to India

2010-11-30 18:01

NEW DELHI, Nov 30, 2010 (AFP) -The globe-trotting adventures of intrepid boy reporter Tintin have been opened up to hundreds of millions of Hindi speakers in India after translations by a local enthusiast.

The first eight of the original books by late Belgian author and illustrator Herge have gone on sale in the most widely spoken of India's many vernacular languages.

The books, created 80 years ago originally in French, have already been translated into 58 languages and have sold 80 million copies worldwide, according to the local Indian publisher Om Books.

Translator Ajay Mago said finding Hindi terms for phrases and jokes used routinely by Tintin and friends throughout their travels was a difficult task. Each book took about two months to finish.

"The hardest to translate was 'billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles'," Mago told AFP, a phrase familiar to fans of the grizzled and heavy-drinking seadog character Captain Haddock.

"You're talking about something that is in the sea and there is no direct parallel of it in Hindi."

Tintin is already available in India in English and Bengali, a language spoken in the eastern state of West Bengal.

"There is this whole population in India who cannot read English and now it is available to them," Mago said at the books' launch at the Belgium embassy in New Delhi on Monday.

Herge, accused by critics of representing European colonial-era views, sends Tintin to India in three of his 24 titles: the Blue Lotus; Cigars of the Pharaoh; and Tintin in Tibet, during which he does some sight-seeing in Delhi.

"I don't think he (Herge) ever treated the non-white races with contempt," said Mago, who said the depictions of India and Indians in the books were fair.

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