The task, Lonsdale-Cooper explained, was to make the translations equivalent but not necessarily identical. The location of black gold countryfor example, first published in French in 1950, moved from British-mandated Palestine to the imaginary Khemed.
The couple disagreed on what to call Tintin’s cynical fox terrier sidekick, Snowy, but ultimately settled on Snowy. Professor Tryphon Tournesol (“Professor Sunflower”, the brilliant but profoundly deaf boffin) became Professor Cuthbert Calculus, and the inept bowler-hatted detectives Dupont and Dupond became Thomson and Thompson, their French contrepèteries translated into suitably nonsensical English.
Obscure Belgian patois and words considered blasphemous or rude were also changed. Captain Haddock’s colorful expletives have been sanitized into memorable expressions such as “blistering barnacles!” and “slubberdegullions!” Tintin only had the right to say “my God”, never “My God”.
They went to great lengths for accuracy, consulting astronomer Patrick Moore for rocket details for Destination Moonand the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, for the authenticity of The Unicorn’s Secret and Red Rackham’s Treasure. “Captain Haddock’s ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, is pictured fighting a battle in the 17th century,” Lonsdale-Cooper recalled, “so we had to get all the command words correct and all the names of the pieces of ‘a 17th century ship.’
Their cooperation on more than 24 books will last almost half a century, and their translations will be used by American publishers, spreading the Tintin fan club in the English-speaking world.
“The fact that they have been going in English for almost 50 years, and globally for 75 years, shows how [the Tintin stories] are,” Lonsdale-Cooper told an interviewer in 2004. “I think they’re just really good tales, with that constant element of ‘what next? In history.”
Lonsdale-Cooper was born on January 17, 1924, and named after her father, a Royal Navy lieutenant commander who had served in the Battle of Jutland and won a DSC, but had died days before her daughter was born. daughter, 32 years old. She arrived the same day as her funeral.
Leslie was educated at the Royal Naval College, Twickenham, which recovered in Fernhurst, near Haslemere, Surrey, after being bombed in 1941.
On leaving school, she took a secretarial course, then worked for General John CH Lee, an American general appointed to London to supervise the reinforcement of American troops and supplies for the Normandy landings. She was transferred to the US Department of Justice as Personal Assistant to the Chief of US Military Justice (Europe) and in 1945 traveled to Paris, where evidence was being collected prior to the Nuremberg trials.
Back in London, she became private secretary to Lord Rothschild and spent two years cataloging his library. After a period where Sir Misha Black helped her at the Festival of Britain, she took a job as secretary from Raleigh Trevelyan at William Collins, where she became an editor after taking evening classes to learn the basics of editing .
In 1956, she moved to Methuen as editor-in-chief, then became their rights director. In 1970, she joined the Open University as its first and only publishing director. She finally retired in 1986.
Leslie met Hergé on several occasions, and he and his wife visited him at his cottage in Wicken, Northamptonshire. In 2011, Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, made a documentary about Tintin, a childhood hero, and interviewed Lonsdale-Cooper, who showed him a Tintin book with an inscription by Hergé that read: “To Leslie, who has done so much for my grandson.”
The Telegraph, London