A Note on “Egreso”

“Egress” was an awkward word to translate into Spanish, or so I’m told. Pepe mentioned this before our chat the other day. “Egreso” is very archaic, he said — and it is in English as well, unless you’ve served in the military. But it seems like Spanish might contain more of a multiplicity of senses than I first appreciated.

This might be utter rubbish, of course, but I’m currently enjoying how various platforms have attempted to translate it whenever I take a look how it is used in context — for instance, on Twitter or Instagram. (The enthusiasm from Spanish readers has been marvellous and palpable online, by the way — thank you.) Though in English it seems to straight-forwardly suggest an “exit”, in Spanish I’ve seen “egreso” translated both as “I’m back” and “addiction”…

These translation algorithms might just be confused, but this sense of a revenant compulsion is fitting, I think. What is intriguing about “egress”, at least in English, is its association with space and the ocean. It is not simply an exit into an Outside but a passing-through, a passing-over, and sort of perversion (a “turning-through”). The inside is a folding of the outside, as Mark wrote in The Weird and the Eerie, and so an egress as a return, a sort of non-Euclidean excursion outwards that takes you further in, is very evocative — like the atemporal exits of Arnie in the Terminator franchise (“I’ll be back.”)

That’d be fun, inaugurating Egress‘s egress from the English language, but it’s probably nothing at all… An utterly meaningless algorithmic transliteration.

Leave a Reply