The Corridor


Although Atef’s literal translation is ‘the passageway’ we settled on ‘the corridor’ because it’s a space indoors and ‘a passageway’ can also mean ‘an alleyway’ or an outside passage. Similarly, we went with ‘operating theatre’ and ‘recovery room’ because those are the equivalent terms in english, and were Fouad to be a surgeon in the UK, those would be the terms he and his colleagues would use. It was for the same reason that we chose ‘antiseptics’ rather than ‘using alcohols’ in Atef’s literal; (as Wikipedia says, ‘alcohols, usually ethanol or isopropanol, are sometimes used as a disinfectant, but more often as an antiseptic (the distinction being that alcohol tends to be used on living tissue rather than nonliving surfaces.’).

We shifted the negative of passers-by not passing by into the positive of ‘passers-by only passing-by’ because it sounds less awkward.

We’ve not translated a poem that uses medical terms before and it was very helpful having Fouad’s friend, and fellow doctor, Norbert Hirschhorn, with us. For example, Bert pointed out that ‘the patch of fat on the bed’ was a sign of patients being neglected.

Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator