The Green Man vs L’homme en vert




Last year, I was delighted when a writer, Nick Foulger, contacted me to get a quote for the translation of his first comic book aimed at 8-12 year-old readers.

I had always wanted to focus more on literary translation but I have found it extremely hard openingthe right doors and find an exciting project (more on that in a future paper). So this was my opportunity. Moreover, this project was right up my alley since I have always been passionate about children’s literature, having written a book for 6-10 years old, stories for under 6s, and having two young children myself.

So, yes, I was over the moon, especially when Nick accepted my quote and gave me the job.

As Miranda’s mum would say: “such fun!”

And I was even more enthusiastic when I got to read the comic book: “The Green Man” is the first in a series of comic book adventures for Professor Thomas Swift. It is unique in being made up entirely of photographs rather than being drawn. With the magic of digital editing and by creating a photo-realistic model world, Nick Foulger brought the popular children’s toy Playmobil® to life. The creative process was original and fascinating. I really admire Nick’s patience, commitment and skills in putting this project together (each picture can take up to a day’s photo editing and it took more than 320 days to create the book!). If this is not passion, I do not know what is!

The storyline was also very original and gripping: “Thomas Swift, a professor at the University of Devon, receives a letter from a friend concerned about the strange goings on surrounding a medical student – Anika Price. Thomas sets off to investigate and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, finding himself fighting Vikings in medieval England, chasing kidnappers, and climaxing in a confrontation with the Dark Lord in his 9th Century fortress, as he solves the mystery.”

You can sample for the first four pages of the downloadable version at the bottom of the page (courtesy of Ave! Comics)

“Such fun!”

The translating process was both interesting and sometimes challenging as the text had to fit into bubbles. The French language tends to be wordier, so I had to be concise and avoid long words while remaining true to the English version. This is, in a way, the same process as translating texts for video games, which I was already used to. Also, Nick wanted the translation to be natural and flowing and to be appropriate to the characters. This implies understanding each character and its personality to adapt the language and register accordingly.

I certainly enjoyed the experience and working with Nick was a pleasure. A translator always appreciates having a good relationship and being able to communicate with their client. Thank you Nick for the opportunity and I look forward to working with you on the sequel!

The book is currently available in English, German and French.

Published by Estelle Demontrond-Box

Language Teacher, CIoL-certified Translator, Published Writer, I am from Besançon, France and now live in Sydney, Australia. Enseignante de langues (CAPES d'anglais), Traductrice certifiée (CIoL) et Auteure publiée, originaire de Besançon, je vis désormais à Sydney, Australie.

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