Translating text involves navigating through a large network of possible meanings that extend beyond what is written down and into the relationship between the text and others. Every translator then must take into account several possible operations of intertextual linkage. Intertextuality increases a text’s reality effect, functions as an interpretive key, establishes complicity with the reader, and can even create a playful dynamism. As it builds on both collective and individual memories, it presents an enigmatic problem in translation, exacerbated by sociolinguistic obstacles.
This article has two broad aims. The first is an exploration and definition of intertextuality, distinguishing extensive from restricted concepts. Intertextuality abounds throughout all levels of communication. This piece approaches intertextuality defined as follows: the actual presence of one text in another. This distinction permits the isolation of intertextual traces at the macrotextual level (hypertext, genre, or text type) and at the microtextual level (quotation, reference, or allusion). The second aim is to describe translation strategies of intertextuality in consideration of aesthetics and ideology. The translator can eliminate, preserve, substitute, comment, or disseminate intertextual elements. Depending on the approach taken, it may or may not be possible to preserve meaning, reproduce the same effect, and maintain the foreignness. In all cases, translation invariably reconfigures intertextual fields in communication.