…Cairo stories – Mona

Mona I The Translator

In Egypt there is a saying about how you have to train your husband and your son. For example, how to train them to use a hanger to hang up their clothes, so they’re not always lying around. Or, maybe … it’s a hanger to put their problems on …

I am born in Paris and have lived in Egypt fora long time. I work as a translator for movies, mostly comedies, so l’m always looking for the Egyptian meaning of things, the double, triple entendre and to get it through the censors, too.

For example, you can’t translate into Arabic, “He slipped on a banana peel.” lt would not be funny. What is funny is, “He slipped on an eggplant.” Because of the word play. But, it’s not funny at all in English, of course.

So the saying goes:

“Your son becomes what you bring him up to be. Your husband becomes what you get him used to doing.” As a wife you have to train your husband and your son, both will do what you train them to do.

I don’t know what they say about daughters. My daughter, she says that I made her my confidant at a too early age, that she doesn’t have a mother, even though I am her best friend.

I guess l’m not a very good translator for my son either. He lives with me at home, but he is just like his father. He doesn’t speak to me.