In "The Grapes of Wrath"/"Las Uvas de la Ira", the name Joan Crawford appears in the original (English) text. In the Spanish translation, that has been rendered as "fulana."

My understanding is that:

Fulano = John Doe (some guy)
Fulana = Jane Doe (some woman)
Fulanito = some kid (boy)

Assuming my understanding is correct, why is Joan Crawford reduced to a "somebody" here? Is it out of sensitivity/respect (the passage discusses her "sleeping her way into the movies")?

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    Censorship, maybe? Although I don't think she was so controversial.
    – rodrigo
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 19:33
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    where the book was translated and by whom? Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 20:47
  • I don't know; I don't have it with me at the moment. Somebody said earlier it seemed like a "Spain Spanish" translation (as opposed to a "Mexican" or "Latin America" Spanish. It is the Centennial edition; you can see it here: amazon.com/Las-uvas-ira-Spanish-language/dp/0142002534 Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 21:06
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    You should provide us with both the original and the translated sentences. Otherwise, we can just make wild guesses.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


First, as you can see in the Real Academia Española's dictionary, "fulana" also means prostitute.

This novel was published at the end of Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and just a year after the 1938 Press Law, that was adopted mainly to control the republican press. With this law a period of heavy state censorship began, and this could be the cause of a woman with "loose morals" appearing as "fulana" in the books published during this period.

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    This is it. With the added guess that this peculiar translator probably thought "my target audience wouldn't know who Joan Crawford is (or even "I don't know who she is") so let's just write the bowdlerized word for whore here". From this and OP's previous questions, it doesn't look as a sterling translation to me...
    – angus
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 20:19
  • It doesn't seem to be a very good translation, agree... :P Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 9:20

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