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Translation and Intertextuality

Written by son of rambow on Sunday, November 29, 2009

Intertextuality, something which covers many areas of texts, including many that some people would refer to as 'context', is clearly important for translations. History, literature, science are important for interpretations and every translation is based on a (often unspoken/intuitive) interpretation, so they are just as important to a translation.

I do, however, often come across translators who, I feel, are overdoing it. They 'translate' the references, too, by exchanging the allusion for a domestic one. Say, a famous American actor for a famous German actor. I tend to recoil at that.

But on the other hand, the way a text exploits intertextuality is often closely attuned to culture and language. Does a reference to Tom Jones work in German the same way that it works in English?

My answer: footnotes, explaining the significance. But as far as I monitored discussions and actual translations so far, that issue is far from resolved.[follow this topic and discuss here

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