Writing for The New York Times last week about the tricky process of translating dialect from one language to another, literary translator Anthony Shugaar used the not-often-seen interlard when he wrote:
The great white whale of Italian postwar literature is “Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana,” by Carlo Emilio Gadda. It’s a big, ungainly philosophical treatise of a murder mystery, interlarded with rich seams of dialect of all kinds: Roman, Neapolitan and various minor subdialects of the areas between those two cities.
Shugaar is a translator. He makes a living tracking down the just-right word for the contextual situation he's working in. To do that properly, he must consider all the shades of meaning a word might suggest, the word's etymology, how rare or specific that word might be, and who would be likely to use it. When Shugaar selected interlarded, you can be sure he was picking it intentionally.
And indeed it is perfectly appropriate to the context in which he uses it. The word is a synonym for "to intersperse," and it applies only to speech or writing. A politician might interlard a campaign speech with promises for what they'll do when they're in office, or a nervous child might interlard their answers to a teacher's questions with frequent giggling.
But Shugaar's use of interlard goes one step further. The text he refers to isn't just "interlarded...with dialect." It's interlarded with "rich seams" of it, an image that elegantly invokes interlard's origin. Interlard came into English in the 15th century, a borrowing from the Middle French entrelarder, which, according to the Online Etymological Dictionary, meant "'to mix with alternate layers of fat' (before cooking)." (This meaning persists in French today.)
So when Shugaar refers to "seams," he's conjuring the striations of fat interspersed with meat that the French technique creates. Great job, Shugaar, or, since we're talking translation here: Bravo!