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In The Grapes of Wrath/Las Uvas de la Ira the English text mentions a gopher hole; the Spanish translation says, "la madriguera de una ardilla."

But isn't an ardilla a squirrel? Why no specific word for gopher? Are gophers unknown in Spain (I'm assuming the translator was from Spain, but if not: are there no gophers in Latin America? gives gopher as ardilla de la tierra. So a gopher is a squirrel of the earth? Actually, there already is a ground (as opposed to tree) squirrel. And a gopher ain't it.

So what's up?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The animal called in english as "gopher" is called in spanish

tuzas, taltuzas o ratas de abazones.

You can check Wikipedia and read this:

Gophers are endemic to North and Central America.

So no, there are no gophers in Spain, nor in most of latin America. This is why the translator chose a better known animal, the well known squirrel we all (besides Donald) love.

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Probably a better translation would been "topo" or "topillo"? – Bardo Jul 17 '14 at 13:02
@Bardo Probably :) – Envite Jul 17 '14 at 23:17
doesn't "topo" mean "mole"? – Walter Mitty Oct 19 '14 at 8:57
@WalterMitty Yes, "topo" means "mole" but "topillo" is quite a different animal, actually like a hamster. – Envite Oct 23 '14 at 12:26
Better yet, go to the Wikipedia article on "Gopher" (by clicking on the link above), and then select "Español" from the language menu on the left. You'll get the corresponding Wikipedia article in Spanish. Lots of detail. – Walter Mitty Oct 23 '14 at 14:26

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