In a recent question at Spanish Language it has been asked about the translation of "backhanded" into Spanish as "treacherous". I answered that that is an adaptation more than a translation because of a pun of words in the context of the original text to be translated, an excerpt of The adventures of Tom Sawyer, which goes like this:
“Why, that ain’t anything. I can’t fall; that ain’t the way it is in the book. The book says, ‘Then with one back-handed stroke he slew poor Guy of Guisborne.’ You’re to turn around and let me hit you in the back.”
The argumentation for my answer starts by assuming that the kid that says that is misunderstanding the word "backhanded", giving it the sense of "stabbing someone in the back" instead of "stabbing someone in the direction of the back [of the hand]".
I would like to know:
- Is my assumption correct?
- If so, is "backhanded" really a word that can be easily misunderstood by a young kid in the way the novel depicts it? Or at least by a kid that lived in the 19th century? Or is it just a somewhat forced pun by author Mark Twain?