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In Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, "I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater" is tranlsated as "soy el auténtico duque de Aguasclaras"

Why? The translation seems to be equivalent to “I am the authentic Duke of Clearwater.” Why not Puenteagua or Aguapuente or something along those lines?

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    You should include which version of the translation you are reading, in Nicolás Schuff's version Duke Bridgewater is not translated but keeps the same name.
    – Danielillo
    Dec 22, 2021 at 1:07
  • May be better to ask it in Literature
    – fedorqui
    Dec 22, 2021 at 9:05
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    I assume that Aguasclaras is a place that the translator was familiar with ("Puenteagua" sounds extremely odd--no place would be called that in Spanish); though, if it is a real place, it probably shouldn't be translated anyway, unless there is some convention (e.g. London = Londres).
    – nopaltepec
    Dec 22, 2021 at 12:16
  • You keep asking about stuff in literature that is not answerable. Literary translation is very special. Literary translators have to make complex choices and you would have to ask the translator.
    – Lambie
    Dec 22, 2021 at 17:31
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    aerobiomat answered the question well.
    – nopaltepec
    Dec 22, 2021 at 17:38

1 Answer 1

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A translator may decide to leave the original names or to translate them. In the second case, translating Bridgewater to anything that contains "puente" and "agua" produces something unnatural, laughable or, at least, never heard of. Saying that you are the rightful duke of a doubtful place is a big oxymoron (that would be Cervantes' style).

That contradiction doesn't appear in the original version. Bridgewater is common in English and, for those who know more, there's a real Duke of Bridgewater.

So the translator needs avoid a reader's reaction that wasn't intended by the author. "Aguasclaras" sounds natural and, for those who know more, there's a real Marqués de Aguas Claras.

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