Arabic in Land of Black Gold

By far the most changed Tintin Story, Land of Black Gold went through two complete reworkings. For the final version, the one we see in the American editions, Hérgé substituted real Arabic for the merely Arabic-looking lettering of the original. (See Tintin The Complete Companion, by Michael Farr, p130)

The translations here come courtesy of Ruth McDonough, who, in 2006, was a student in the Arabic for Text program at Swarthmore College.



Land of Black Gold, an early cover with faux Arabic.


LOBG p20f8

“God cursed you...
You son of a dog, he curses your father, by thunder!”

“Such language! Don’t listen to him, Tintin... even in Arabic!”

Page 20, frame 8

“Stop you damned coward!
I’ll break your head open!”

Page 24, frame 10

“There is a man who wants to meet you.”

Page 36, frame 12

 “To Mohammed bin Khaleel,

If you resolve to see your son alive (returned) to you, then make the deal with the Sackwell Company

Baab Al ‘aSeer”

Page 39, frame 14

Hérgé’s sketch for Page 39, frame 14.

“Morning of goodness.”
(a common Arabic greeting with a set response: “Morning of light.”)

Senhor Oliveira da Figueira: “Make yourself at home.”

Page 42, frame 13

Senhor Oliveira da Figueira:
“Help yourself sir. I have all you want, and at cheap prices!”

Page 43, frame 1

Senhor Oliveira da Figueira:
“I am at your command.”

“With peace” (idiom for goodbye)

Page 43, frame 3

“I am leaving!”

Page 51, frame 15


The translator at work: