Benedetto Ingombranteinfornata

Various articles (for example) have been written as to why the name Benedict Cumberbatch can survive being transformed into Bandersnatch Cummerbund, Bandycoot Cumbersnatch, Bendandsnap Candycrush and more.

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a link to a series of photos rendering famous actors’ names into (supposed) Italian, sometimes based on sound and sometimes on meaning (which I didn’t bookmark, so I can’t link to. Seek and you will find). Among them is Benedetto Ingombranteinfornata. Say what? Google Translate doesn’t recognise Ingombranteinfornata, instead suggesting Ingombrante infornata, which it translates as bulky goods. Ingombrante by itself is cumbersome and infornata is batch.

But the surname Cumberbatch is not made up of cumber + batch. According to the Guild of One-Name Studies, it derived from the village of Comberbach, in Cheshire, England. In old English, a co(o)mbe is a valley (compare Welsh cwm) and a bach(e) is a stream (compare German Bach) (JS Bach referred to his pupil Johan Ludwig Krebs as “the only crayfish in my stream” (I’ve also heard/read it as “the best” – I can’t find the German original now) and Beethoven said that Bach “Nicht Bach, sondern Meer sollte er heißen” (“should be called Ocean, not Stream”)).

So Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Italian” name should possibly be Benedetto Torrente di Valle.

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