Page 3 Profile: Tintin, boy detective


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The Independent Online

A new adventure?

An old one, re-told. The Black Island, the Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s seventh Tintin volume set in Scotland, has been translated into Scots. The 1937 work has been retitled The Derk Isle, detectives Thomson and Thompson renamed Nisbet and Nesbit and Snowy the dog is now Tarrie. Even for those unfamiliar with the dialect, it should make for a great read, if only for the pleasure of Tintin sounding like Robert Burns: “I’ll bet ma breeks he’s up tae nae guid!”

Sounds a bit racist?

Don’t be so glaikit! (That’s ‘stupid’, by the way). This is a serious project, not a joke. Scots originated around 1,400 years ago and is still spoken in the lowlands and Northern Isles. The Scots Language Centre says its use was discouraged for years, but words such as bairn and bonnie remain in everyday speech.

Is it difficult to read?

It requires concentration, but is by no means impenetrable. Dr Susan Rennie of the University of Glasgow, had “tremendous fun” doing the translation.

And what’s the plot?

Here it is, in Scots: “Tintin an his faithfu dug, Tarrie, are on the trail o an international gang o conterfaiters. The trail leads them til the faur-awa north o Scotland, whaur legend tells o an unco craitur, the Hairy Etin, that bides i the ruins o Corbiecraig Castle.” See, not so hard, was it?