(Last Updated: 11 April 2009)
The little group soon arrived back in the palace courtyard and mounted a couple of elephants to return to the bottom of the hill. Anne couldn’t repress a shudder as she saw the steep slope that she was to go down on the enormous animal’s back.
“I hope our elephant doesn’t slip,” she said as she sat down with George and her brothers.
“Don’t worry, old thing,” replied Dick reassuringly. “These animals take people up and down here all day long. I expect they could probably do it with their eyes shut!”
The procession set off. But Julian was almost as uneasy as Anne. He had noticed that the elephant’s mahout was not the same one that had taken them up earlier, and that instead of sitting on the animal’s neck, he was leading it along on foot.
“I wonder if …” began Julian, turning his head towards Dick, who was sitting back-to-back with him.
He didn’t have time to finish. A violent jolt nearly threw the four cousins to the ground. The elephant, which had bolted for some unknown reason, began to bound along the rocky path. The mahout beside it let out cries that only served to excite the animal even more.
Julian and Anne clung on desperately to their grab rails, as did Dick and George on the other side.
“Hold on tight!” yelled George. “If we let go, we’ll be smashed to pieces on the rocks below!”
Extract from The Famous Five and the Ruby of Akbar, Translation © Rowan Morrell 2007
This section deals primarily with my attempts to translate hitherto untranslated Enid Blyton continuation novels from French and German into English. The above extract is from one such novel: Les Cinq et le rubis d’Akbar, first published in France in 1980. In particular, I would like to translate Famous Five and Secret Seven continuation novels, and possibly the Tina & Tini ones as well. I’m less interested in the school stories, although there is a site where someone is attempting to translate the German Malory Towers books into English. I would love to get my translations published, or failing that, to publish them on this Web site. But sadly, I have been unable to obtain the foreign rights for any Enid Blyton continuation novels. I did try, however. In April 2007, I wrote to Chorion, the owners of all Enid Blyton copyrights and other rights nowadays, and asked about the possibility of acquiring the foreign rights to Famous Five and Secret Seven novels in particular. But I received the following most disheartening response:
That was, as we sometimes like to say in New Zealand, a real kick in the guts. In light of recent developments, their comment that they only want to make original Blyton stories “available in English-speaking territories” is also rather puzzling. They are now creating new continuation novels of their own, which hardly count as “original” Blyton stories, even if they have her name on the cover. But what their note also signifies is that the existing Famous Five and Secret Seven translations by Anthea Bell, long out of print, are unlikely to be reprinted any time soon. However, I have not given up all hope. In September 2006, I began translating Les Cinq et le rubis d’Akbar by Claude Voilier. And despite the most discouraging reply from Chorion, I have completed that and have now done two other translations!
Now, from my understanding of copyright and intellectual property laws, I don’t believe I can legally post the entire translations online. It might even be seen as piracy, even though I would make them available for free and would in no way try to pass them off as “official” translations. Actually, the Berne Convention, which governs international copyright laws, now allows translators to assert copyright over their own translations (on the basis that a translation constitutes an original work in the new language), but I would just rather not risk getting myself into legal hot water. So until such time as I can be confident of making my translations publicly available without bringing the wrath of Chorion down on me, I’m afraid that I will have to keep them off this site. Well, the translations in their entirety, at least.
However, it is OK to post an unauthorised translation in the private domain, such as a group whose contents are available to members only. Like, for instance, the Fans of Enid Blyton Yahoo group.
I have also decided that I can probably get away with posting the first chapters. You can now read these online, but you will have to join the Fans of Enid Blyton group to read the rest.
To date, I have now translated three continuation novels: Les Cinq et le rubis d’Akbar by Claude Voilier, Les Sept saluent Lucky Star by Evelyne Lallemand and Fünf Freunde und das geheimnisvolle Schneemensch, by Sarah Bosse. You can see the Table of Contents for each translation and read the first chapter only by clicking the links below.