Fun With Languages & Names

Just a little something I was thinking of and thought I would share with everyone, since some people have been asking me about how I decided to translate certain names.  It gets really tricky with things that don’t even exist.  For example, in Coiling Dragon, there are a lot of ‘dinosaur’ type creatures, that are classified as ‘dragon’ type creatures, because in Chinese, the word for ‘dinosaur’ is 恐龙 – ‘terrifying dragon’.  So this can get tricky.  For example, 迅猛龙 is literally ‘Velociraptor’, but a Velociraptor is a small creature that definitely doesn’t breathe fire, and it’s hard to explain why it would be a dragon-type creature.  Hence, I decided to go with the invented term ‘Velocidragon’.

Similarly, a recently introduced creature was known as the 棘背铁甲龙; literally, the ‘Thorn Back Metal Armor Dragon’.

Now, this is a wholly made up creature, but it seems like the closest actual creature to this name was the 棘背龙, the ‘Spinosaurus’.  But leaving aside the ‘metal armor’ part of the name, a Spinosaurus doesn’t have a row of spiky thorns on its back like this creature, which to me rather sounded like a Stegosaurus…which in Chinese is called a 剑龙, ‘Sword Dragon’, totally different than this one.  So I ended up playing with several variations of the name, from ‘Iron Spinespike Dragon’ to ‘Steel Spikedragon’ to ‘Armored Stegowyrm’ and lots more.  In the end, I decided that this creature was a ‘composite’ creature, and thus I wouldn’t draw too much on the ‘Spine’ part from Spinosaurus, or from the ‘Stego’ part from Stegosaurus, and just went with something cool that was close to the original; ‘Armored Razorback Wyrm’.

Just something I thought a few of you who were interested in translations might find interesting.  Translation really isn’t a science, it’s an art…and this is one of the reasons why each 3500 word chapter does take quite a while!

11 thoughts on “Fun With Languages & Names” - NO SPOILERS

  1. I appreciate the translators note and thanks again for the update. I am quite excited for the battle chapters and seeing how he will escape the valley 🙂 !

  2. As always, I am impressed by your dedication to the translation community and translations in general. Thanks for this peak into the process you go through in your translations.

    PS. You have a great naming sense!

  3. These bonuses are really nice.
    I’m gaining a higher level of appreciation for how difficult it is to do these translations.
    How on earth are you able to speed through these in 4 hours?

    It’s seems like a lot of work putting things into English just grammatically and conveying a message similar to the original text.
    But now you have to go deep just to translate names, techniques, and even objects while making them sound awesome..
    I didn’t realize the literal translations for these names sometimes made no sense and you had to invent the translations.
    Amazing.

    That’s quite a profound level of effort and insight you have there master Ren

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