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In comparing "The Grapes of Wrath" and its translation "Las Uvas de la Ira," I came across this interesting loose translation (talking about traveling through the desert):

"I'm going to take her at night."
"Me too. She'll cut the living Jesus outa you."


"Yo lo voy a pasar de noche."
"Yo tambien. Pasar durante el dia es una locura."

So why is "She'll cut the living Jesus outa you." translated as "Going through her during the day is an act of insanity." (or something similar)?

Was it considered blasphemous to speak of Jesus that way? Is that why the translator "softened up" the translation? Or just to make what was being said more understandable?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think it's not a matter of blasphemy, it's just that idiom is not direclty translatable to Spanish.

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Maybe, the translator really don't care about blasphemy, only that, in spanish a literal translation don´t make sense at all

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It doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense in English, either. – B. Clay Shannon Jul 24 '14 at 19:11
Whether it makes sense in English depends on the background of the reader. I'd say that the English used by the character in the novel is colloquial and maybe even slang. It's not part of my English, either, but I can intuit what the character is really saying. A Spanish reader, faced with a literal translation, would generally not be able to decipher the character's original intent. – Walter Mitty Jul 25 '14 at 10:43
Thanks, I'm a Spanish reader and I was thinking that my english skill wasn't enough to read it, I didn't get it anything – Luferquisa Jul 25 '14 at 20:33

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