Fun With Translations (part 7) – Translating the Untranslatable

When to translate?  When not to translate?  What to translate as?  Sometimes, the most basic of terms are also the most headachy of terms, especially when their is no direct comparison or word in the output language.  I’ll give you an example below the jump.  As always, the previous six parts of this quasi-regular series have been included.

Part 1 – Fun With Languages and Names
Part 2 – Fantasy Terms
Part 3 – Translating Techniques
Part 4 – Translation Time Breakdown
Part 5 – Between Laughter and Tears of ‘Fun With Translations’
Part 6 – Grammer Slam!

As I begin, let me draw a parallel.  In Asian fiction, there is a type of person known as a 忍者.  These guys are kinda like thieves/assassins/martial artists, and they have their own techniques known as 忍術.  Many of you already know what this is, but just play along.  Let’s pretend I’m the first person to translate this.  How to translate it?

From a translator’s viewpoint,  忍 literally means ‘endure’, while ‘者’ refers to a person, and is used like the English suffix ‘er’; ie ‘kill’ to ‘killer’, ‘break’ to ‘breaker’, etc.  So 忍者 literally means ‘endurer’ or ‘one who endures’.  As for their badass techniques, it literally translates as ‘enduring techniques’.  But this is a weird translation, and ‘endurer’ and ‘enduring techniques’ sounds…corny.

Now, one way that we translators can ‘bypass’ this sort of whacky translation is of course to transliterate the sound and just go with ‘renzhe‘ and ‘renshu‘, which is how it is transliterated, but that’s always seemed like the cop-out to me, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

A second way to bypass the problem is to translate based on what a 忍者 is/does, rather than what the words themselves mean; a 忍者 is a sneaky type, sort of like an assassin (which has its own word, 刺客, literally ‘guest who stabs’), or a thief, or a spy.  To be perfectly honest, to me, the closest English equivalent is the D&D class ‘rogue’, and if I were the first person to translate 忍者, that’s probably what I would’ve translated it as – Rogue.  Assassin would have been a very close second as well, even though there’s already a specialized term for it.  Rogues can spy, can thief, can kill….can do all sorts of things, and are the closest thing to a 忍者 that exists in the English language. 忍術, I probably would’ve gone with ‘rogue arts’ or ‘rogue techniques’.

Luckily enough for you guys, the original translator went for the ‘cop-out’ and just transliterated the sound.  忍者 is ‘ninja‘, which is basically how ‘renzhe‘ is pronounced in Japanese (the exact same two characters are used in Chinese and Japanese, and each character has the same meaning).  忍術 is what we commonly call ‘ninjitsu‘.  These words have now become popular, well-known parts in the English lexicon.

As I translate Chinese novels and discuss them with other translators, I often think of the above.

This happens all the darn time in these novels, and is one of the reasons why fiction can be such a pain to translate (well).  In some ways, it isn’t quite as bad for Coiling Dragon, as Coiling Dragon doesn’t have as many Chinese concepts, since it belongs to a subset of Chinese fantasy that isn’t true Xianxia (more on that in a later post) and thus has fewer distinctly Chinese terms and concepts, but for many of the other novels, this isn’t the case.

Now, I still remain a firm believer in translating whatever can be easily translated/there is a direct parallel for.  But at the same time, many of the basic concepts, there really is no direct parallel for, so what should we do?  This is why deathblade agonized over terms like yuanying in this article (he eventually went with ‘nascent soul’), and the two of us have had more than one conversation about how to translate the term 修士 (‘xiushi‘) which is currently translated as Cultivator in ISSTH; the word literally translates as friar/monk in the real world, but obviously that carries a lot of baggage that isn’t applicable to 修士.  If we break up the term into its components of 修 and 士, 修 means to train/cultivate (the same character is used to describe Linley’s training in CD, 修炼), while 士 is an honorific for a person; thus, 修士 literally means ‘one who cultivates’, which is why in the end, deathblade went with Cultivator, which I suggested.  I’m going to be honest; I still don’t like it, even though I helped suggest it!  But what’s a better option?  I’m not sure.

Similarly, I had almost the exact same conversation with IEatWatermelons, who is working on Desolate Era, regarding the term 修仙者 (xiuxianzhe).  修, as you may recall from just earlier, means ‘train’ or ‘cultivate’; 仙 means ‘Immortal’, and 者, like in ninja, is a suffix that makes it a person.  Thus, 修仙者 is ‘one who cultivates to be an Immortal’.  I think in the end, IEW shortened it to be an ‘Immortal practitioner’, which is certainly one way (albeit a bit weird), and I honestly am not sure of a better way to put it.  Much like how ninja have their ninjitsu (忍術), Immortal practitioners have their 修仙術, ‘cultivating Immortal techniques’…which would be what, ‘Immortal practitioner techniques’, I think IEW uses?  Quite a mouthful.  Still don’t like it.  We’ve had numerous discussions about the ranks ‘Houtian’, ‘Xiantian’, ‘Zifu Xiushi’, ‘Wanxiang Zhenren’, and I don’t think we’re any closer to an agreement on them (in fact, I’m not even sure I know where I stand!).

And even here at WW, we have divergences.  In Coiling Dragon, there is a term battle-qi, which is how I chose to translate 斗气, which to me was an easy translation.  The exact same term in Battle Through the Heavens, however, is kept as ‘Dou Qi’ (sometimes also called Dou Zhi Li, but it’s the same meaning).  For BTTH, my friends and colleagues at Gravity keep the terms ‘Dou Zhe’, ‘Dou Shi’, ‘Da Dou Shi’, ‘Dou Ling’, ‘Dou Wang’, ‘Dou Huang’, ‘Dou Zong’, etc., whereas I would have used ‘Fighter’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Grand Warrior’, ‘Spirit Warrior’, ‘King Warrior’, ‘Emperor Warrior’, ‘Grandmaster Warrior’, etc.  Which one is better?  Personally, I would’ve gone with my ‘warrior’ series…but then again, I’m the same guy who just told you I would’ve translated ninja as ‘rogue’.  😛 😛 😛

Honestly, this question keeps me up at night, and when I’m on a walk, I can literally spend hours and hours just thinking about this.  This is the type of most fundamental stuff, which will make the biggest difference.  When to leave a word which does not have a direct parallel in English untranslated?  When to try and ‘piece’ it together?  When to try and let it enter the popular lexicon and become a ‘loanword’?

Xiushi‘ or Cultivator?’

Ninja‘, or ‘Endurer’ (or ‘Rogue’)?

Yuanying‘ or ‘nascent soul’?

Dou Qi/Dou Zhi Li‘ or ‘battle-qi’?

Bushido‘ or ‘the way of the warrior’?

Xianxia and Wuxia, or ‘Immortal Heroes’ and ‘Martial Heroes’?

Xiuxianzhe‘ or ‘Immortal practitioner’?

Believe it or not, this sort of stuff sometimes keeps me up at night.  囧囧囧  It gets even funkier with family relations, certain personal pronouns, titles, etc…but that’s for another day!

Note – This short article is not meant in any way, shape, or form as criticism or an evaluation of any translator or translation whatsoever.  It’s just meant, as always, as a look into the minds of translators as we ponder what to do, as well as the separate decisions we end up taking!  🙂


58 thoughts on “Fun With Translations (part 7) – Translating the Untranslatable” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. ohh, speaking of which, I’m translating xiulian修炼 as cultivation, and xiuwei修为 as training; these words seem to not have an ‘accurate equivalent’ (at least as a contextualized translation) in english, so it took me a long time to interpret them. Does it look like a correct interpretation?

    1. I see xiuwei修为 as ‘level of achievement in cultivation’. In real life it may be used for instance describing a buddhist monk’s level of enlightenment/attainment. But it’s quite a mouthful and doesn’t necessarily flow as well in English… I hope this helps though, toto 😀

      And i reaaaally appreciate all the work you have done, everyone!!! Thanks for bringing all these awesome novels to us!! I love you guys!! :))))

  2. thanks, great stuff as always. I have even more respect for you guys then I did before.

    P.S. I think cultivator is pretty good, and I agree that translating things like ranks is better then leaving it untranslated. For myself as an english speaker when I have to try and remember 20-30 unique ranks, or power levels for every novel I end up just getting confused. Xian Ni is a good example of a translation that has a million untranslated terms and it has become hard to keep them all straight.

  3. Thanks, this is quite cool!

    My opinion, though I’m not a translator (yet), is that it is better to spend a little extra time to try to find an equivalent in the target language. When I’m reading something with a large amount of untranslated titles/ranks, if I know what the terms correspond to in english, for whatever reason, I always take a second to translate it in my head after reading them on the page. Otherwise I would get way too confused.

    As for the very little I know about the words used to describe family relations in Chinese (from a Ted talk no less), I’d say that would be an exception. English just doesn’t have enough nuances to say “father’s younger widowed brother” without being a mouthful. (I think that was the example used in the talk I saw)

    1. If I find a TL note that tells me what the term means it will cease to exist forever in my pdf files. Steller Transformation is one that I have had to do extensive editing on, and even then I’m not happy. I like as much as possible to be translated.

  4. Thanks for your work guys and also I agree with Phusro about the rank, that by far is the hardest for me to keep track of. While uniform vocabulary for these terms are great, in the end it is kind of a utopian ideal. Although it may be sometimes confusing I think that there are some differences between translators as that adds to the translators’ voices.

    I think for me as a reader I’d prefer for the translators to try to find parallels or already established terms first, like bushido, ninjitsu, etc. And then try to transliterated for the truly foreign concepts that may of may not exist in our western culture. Also, adding new words to the English lexicon is in no way a bad thing. That’s the beauty of language, it should adapt to the way we use it 🙂

    P. S. as long as it’s listed in a glossary at the end of the chapter the first few times it’s used- not in the middle of the chapter.. Nothing is more jarring than seeing (T/N…) in the middle of reading about someone’s head exploding and such.

    1. I personally LOOOOOVE TRANSLATION NOTES, I mean when I finally get around to having enough ability to do so I want to put dozens in every chapter.

      1. Please, don’t. I really hate when TN are too apparent and are in middle of chapter… It’s fine to give hot-link url to a word you want to be easy to check, but yeah, if reader does not know something, he will just google it. No need to break flow of the story with TN…. I really, really, really hate when transaltors use them in middle of chapters -.-

  5. chinese is really not as simple as other languages, like european…..
    thank you all translators for bringing us these awesome novels from such complicated original languages…
    we always appreciate your hard works…

  6. I can see why this can be a problem :0

    Personally, I feel that finding an English equivalent is a good idea in most cases, however, when it concerns a word that is frequently used in many xianxia I feel that it might not be a bad idea to use the transliteration. If it’s a rare word we aren’t likely to see much of, I think finding a good equivalent in English is a better bet because a native English speaker sure as heck isn’t gonna learn all these complicated Chinese words or understand what they mean 😛

    For instance, things like Houtian and Xiantian pop up so much that many readers have a pretty good feel for the words already. But Xiuxianzhe? Well, first off it’s a bit too long. I think this word is used in Stellar Transformations, but I end up forgetting about it because it’s just a little too complicated…
    Maybe I’m not using the best examples.
    Well, don’t agonize over the translations too much! 😀

    1. Wow, my exact thoughts. Absolutely agree with transliterating frequent words. For example I prefer watching foreign movies with subtitles of names with honorifics, RWX-san. But this may not be everyone’s preference (initially).

      Respect for the translators who dig deep for quality works.

  7. I was about to ask something about this and glad it was somewhat answered before i even asked. I have always been curious if “cultivation” “training” and “meditation” means the same thing? Out of context with the translated novels thay seem to be a way to strengthen one’s internal energy and is used one or the other in different translation. As a martial artist i was just curious since we use meditation as part of training. Thanks by the way! Paragon level with regards to the divine laws of translating.

  8. Headaches with Translations…
    You’re trying to put a concept in a culture into another culture’s understanding and that’s not easy. From what I read here it seems like you’re not satisfied until you can completely find the equivalent of the concept but the problem was that the culture (English) doesn’t have something near that concept.
    You won’t find the perfect match. Making the concept understandable to another culture is enough and as you’ve put it your self, they’re “untranslatables”.
    This shows how much you translators tries your best to reveal the underlying concepts from which the story was written but as for me, as long as I get the general understanding of the concept, it was enough.

  9. Like the concept of ‘Face’. Can’t translate it and mean everything it means to them even if we have a slight understanding of it.

  10. “However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and translating what is untranslatable.”


    Resistance is futile.

  11. ‘Xiushi‘ or Cultivator?’ — Xiushi, for sure! Just as ‘ninja’ became a word every kid from EU or US knows, it would slowly fill in 🙂

    ‘Ninja‘, or ‘Endurer’ (or ‘Rogue’)? — Ninja~~

    ‘Yuanying‘ or ‘nascent soul’? — From ST i honestly believe that Yuanying fits better, because it’s ‘aka’ one word (not really), so it’s easier to imagine yuanying as a ball of ‘essence’ that you can grab after killing a person. Nascent Soul gives more of foggy, not material feeling. 🙂

    ‘Dou Qi/Dou Zhi Li‘ or ‘battle-qi’? — Chinese versions, though should be repeated often enough for readers to easily remember them, to avoid ‘Yeah, he is this rank… Which one was that again?’ xD

    ‘Bushido‘ or ‘the way of the warrior’? — Bushido.

    Xianxia and Wuxia, or ‘Immortal Heroes’ and ‘Martial Heroes’? — Xianxia and Wuxia.

    Xiuxianzhe‘ or ‘Immortal practitioner’? — Xiuxianzhe.

    Before going to sleep, i might as well say some words from my perspective. I live in Poland, but that’s not important. The important thing are proceses occuring in Poland for last twenty years or so. The same ones that were happening all over the world since the time human race created first, primitive languages.

    Mixing of cultures! Mixing the words! Creating new ‘not correct per grammar’ words and sentences, that in ‘normal’ circumstances would mean something not even close to new meaning.

    Proces of Globalization is speeding up as the flow of information becomes faster and easier, year by year.

    For example ~~

    In Poland, we use term ‘weekend’, but we never use ‘work week’ term. What’s funny, if you ask us for how we call the part of the week ‘from monday to friday’, most of us won’t really know how to answer that! We use term ‘work day’ (‘dzień pracy’), as for any day from monday to friday, but we don’t really say ‘work week’ – ‘tydzień pracy’ at all!

    Many words coming from english were ‘made into polish’, and are used on daily basis accorting to ‘rules’ of our grammar. Bah, i know english since young, but it took me a while (like 6 years or more, lol) to realize that many words i’ve been using since being few years old, were actually in english!

    The hard part with Asian culture is that their writing is so-damn-hard. It’s one of the reasons why they are kinda isolated, as far as culture goes, and words don’t flow easily from one country to another. I knew many words in ‘english’ before i started learning it. But i wouldn’t know any words from Asia without learning them specifically.

    That’s why i believe that transalting ‘per sound’ is the best way to go, at least in most of cases. Why? Because it ‘Creates’ a ‘new’ term, that brings us, readers, to their culture. Sure, it’s easier for your brain if you just read everything in pure english, and i am not saying it’s bad way to go around things. It’s just that for me, if i look from wide perspective, it’s like trying to lick an icecream through piece of cloth.

    What’s important to keep in mind, though, as a trasnaltor, is to not go overboard. If you load transaltion with many ‘new’ (for readers) terms from Chinese, or any other language, it will just make text and story too hard to understand and properly immerse into. Sure, the same thing might have been better with full Chinese transaltion with regards to terms, if we were, let’s say, 20 years in the future. But now? Not necessarily.

    All of you, current transaltors, are the ones who are showing us, the world, the image of Asia that we did not know about yet. Their fictions, related to their culture. They are different to ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Game of Thrones’, and it makes them so interesting. The choices you are making will heavily influence the way of transaltions for next decade, or maybe even longer.

    What’s the correct decision? It’s truly hard to say.

    There are moments where i enjoy terms trasnalted into english more, and there are those that hurt my eyes when they are in english… 😛 Is it possible to satisfy everyone? Hell no! That’s why you, transaltors, should just follow your own heart and gut feelings. After all, we are getting to know this culture through you all, at the same time learning things about each and every translator, hehe ~~

    It can be said that the process of trasnalting itself is one of internal processes that directs changes.

    Hell, even ‘Witcher 3’, when comparing English and Polish dubs, is worlds apart. Why? Because when transalting from polish to enlglish, people working on it took the ‘indirect’ route, of trying to convey the same message, but not neseccarily through the same words. As for someone fluent enough in both languages, i guarantee that it resulted in a bad sh*t, haha. Well, not like anyone will notice that if he does not know both Polish and English ~~ Just like in W2, sigh. They just don’t learn from their mistakes ~~

    Uuum?? What was i talking about again? Haaa, nevermind, i think i said everything i wanted to, already. ^.^

  12. Reading this made me think of the term used in ATG when Yun Che was buying the bed. “The tsundere answer made the corners of Yun Che’s mouth slightly draw back.”
    Anyone who’s even remotely interested in anything to do with Japanese Anime/Manga will know that tsundere generally refers to someone who is interested/warm/caring but hides it under a layer (or layers) of coldness and indifference.

    I’m curious as to what your translation of it be?

      1. I know, I was asking what they would attempt to translate it to. I figure it comes under the “untranslateable” category after all.
        I have no issues with you using terms like that at all, just a simple curiosity.

  13. i really like your english dubbing ren! please keep it up when u leave something in chinnse it makes it harder for the average english reader to keep up with the novel and the more english terms you use the easier and funner the novel is!

  14. Definitely Translation over transliteration… Especially for words that translate just fine. Those people who leave random words in for ‘flavor’ are the translators that bother me the most. I’ve stopped reading things because of those those. It just takes me way out of it. (e.g. Japanese translations using oppai and baka. I know what both of those mean. They are super translatable.)

    I don’t really mind ranks and levels being transliterated though.

    Oh, and I really though Wuxia was a full on loan word, but I was apparently wrong I went through saying it to pronouncing it with a nice solid english -ks for the x to just giving up and saying “Kung Fu Books”

    1. Not sure what -ks sound is, but the x is pronounced like a hissing sound (ie: sssss…) So its like wu “si-a” the xi makes a sound like the “si” in silver then just an “aah” sound for the a.

      Random chinese lesson. But i feel like if you are going to readwuxia novels being able to pronounce it is nice. Because kungfu =/= wuxia. Theyre actually really different.

  15. This is why translation is fun, everyone has their own style, No two translators will translate everything the same.

    I’m personally on the side of keeping very important words to the series in romaji/pinyin even if its a super normal word that just so happens to be important to that series, the fact that its not in english makes it easier to notice if you ask me, Plus most people who read translation probably have some desire to learn the language so its a tiny thing to make them feel good while they procrastinate and learn a new word without trying. I especially feel Unique Concepts should always be kept in the original language but I’m not gonna complain when others do different.

    And as Holy Weapon Caladbolg up there said, Part of experiencing a series is to learn and experience its culture, which if you ask me means we shouldnt try to force our culture on it. (which is why I never try to apply modern morals to Ancient Chinese Fantasy Worlds, it just doesnt work if you ask me.)

    1. Haha, i was called many names here, but ‘Holy Weapon’ is the first ~~ Yaaaay 😀

      PS: Kinda surprising, as my nick indicates just that, huh? ~~

  16. Yah I raised the non-translation of practitioner levels with GGP on reddit. It really is confusing. As an ignorant westerner it takes many chapters to get used to the terms, which simply takes away from the great story.

  17. To me, sometimes I feel that leaving it as Dou Qi instead of Battle Qi reinforces the fact that its a Chinese novel and gives the term a bit of a mysterious air.

    Things just sound nicer in the original language sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t.

  18. perhaps some terms should be left out in their original word (like yuanying, xianxia, etc) if not too sure on how to translate them ? but then again some people would be confused with the wording

  19. If you can´t find a term that makes you happy to translate there is always the cheating way out. Toss the meaning into different language. Sometimes other language have a better way to define a term. And sometimes it just “sounds better/cooler”. It is definatly a cheat but its not unheard of and better than you getting no sleep.

    I guess I would have translated the ninja as lurker. 😉

  20. I understand you guys have a hard time translating two languages with virtually nothing in common accurately (god knows I couldn’t) but I would rather a slightly less literal translation if the only other alternative is gibberish. I mean, when I look at the word ‘Xiuxianzhe’ I see nothing. I cannot visualize that word at all. When I see the words ‘Immortal practitioner’ I can get a visualization on that.. sure it’s not a phrase I’ve ever heard in real life, but since I know what the root words are and what they mean. I can know what the title describes just at a glance.

    I’m not trying to write a wall, but remembering any foreign term is going to be hard. Most people can remember a few when the words are like Tian/Ninja/Bushido which flow off the tongue well in English.. but regardless when it comes to a flood of words like Xiuxianzhe/Yuanying/Dou Zhe/Dou Shi/Da Dou Shi/Dou Ling/Dou Wang/Dou Iwannahangmyself it’s hard to want to keep caring about whatever they represent.

  21. Love these “Fun with translation” posts. I really appreciate the effort you put into finding a parallel word in English. Coming up with a word that is close enough to convey the gist of the meaning, and then explaining how it is not perfect, is SOOOOOOO much better than being lazy and leaving the Chinese like they do in BTTH with the “dou” crap. Using “dou” because you can’t decide between “battle” or “fight” just seems [email protected]$$ed to me. It might seem ok to the translator, who knows Chinese, but to the English readers it’s just meaningless gibberish. Randomly leaving Chinese words is annoying as hell. I really wish the GGP would take a leaf from RWX’s book, and translate it properly!

  22. English already has a vast collection of terms that are taken from or are variations on foreign words. I don’t see why translators can’t do the same aslong as they remain uniform with each other and highlight said terms to new readers so they atleast understand what they are reading.

    I’d assume that although certain chinese characters have similar literal meanings they might have subtle differences that change the way you would translate it.

    A intresting parallel could be made between current Chinese translations and early/current Japanese translations where certain Japanese terms have become commonly known amung fans of Anime, Manga and Light novels.

    No doubt this is alot more complex from the translators point of view though.

  23. Think the unthinkable, translate the untranslatable
    Row row, fight the powah!

    (the metrics isn’t that good, but I think you catched my drift :D)

    Thanks Ren for these posts!

  24. I personally prefer the chinese/japanese terms rather than the english ones. I actually like the sound of Dou Qi, Bushido etc. but of course there’s a need for a glossary of terms or something like that for those who don’t know what they are, or it’s actually ok if it’s explained in the novel.
    Had some similar problems when trying to translate some things from english to my main language in the past.
    Xiuxianzhe – for example would be okay if it’s explained what kind of creature it exactly is, though maybe there is a more direct translation like vampire/zombie/undead or something…

  25. hey ren how much chinese character do i need to read a chinese web novel like coiling dragon or martial go asura? in case i want to start learning chinese.

  26. I’m completely on your side with the warrior thing Ren. I think if it’s a rather common term such as “Bushido” then leaving it in such form is fine, however with terms such as “Dou Zhe” “Dou Shi” and the rest that aren’t commonly known and sound foreign in the English language translating them to corresponding terms such as your suggestions of “warrior” and “grand warrior” is probably the wiser option. But either way no matter how it’s translated I’m eternally grateful for all the translators works.

  27. Speaking of the translator’s voice, and tying in with the previous post about “overused idioms” such as “not knowing whether to laugh or cry” – do you ever think about substituting similar words or phrases for certain translations to keep it from becoming repetitive? How much leeway do you give yourself?


    “Secretly sighed” -> “Sighed to himself/herself” (still literally the same)
    “Laughed coldly” -> “Laughed with a frigid air” (moderate liberties)

    Like, I feel like sometimes the “Don’t know whether to laugh or cry” phrase is used to indicate the irony of a situation, and not just the person’s embarassment/speechlessness/inability to express a reaction – so when it’s used so often, it feels that the phrase becomes a little out of place. For example,in Book 13 Ch 19, 2 different occurrences of the phrase appear right next to each other. In the first, Linley’s reaction is probably akin to an anime sweatdrop type since Bebe’s being silly, whereas Catherine and O’Brien are expressing more like shyness/embarassment/awkwardness.

    There’s also degrees of seriousness, sometimes IET uses the laugh or cry idiom in a situation where normally one wouldn’t react with either which kind of lends a sort of caricaturization to the situation; would you ever decide to use “didn’t know whether to smile or frown” in that place?

    Do you think that if you translated a certain word as one thing, that for the sake of consistency you should use the same word to always represent it in that situation, or do you feel that using synonyms would be “forcibly uplifting the writing” as one of you said one of the Chinese commenters said?

    1. For the first, actually, I do it all the time! For every ‘secret sigh’ you see, there’s another 4-5 that I reworded as ‘sighed to himself’, ‘sighed inwardly’, ‘sighed mentally’, etc.! You just don’t realize it xD

      It’s also a bit tough because the character for laugh, 笑, is often used interchangeably or as a shortened version of smile, 微笑 (small laugh). But yes, 哭笑不得 is a phrase that has a wide spectrum of meanings. It’s so hard to convey it though, that I usually just leave it as is and hope it will enter the popular lexicon (much like the originally Chinese phrase, “Long time no see” 好久不见).

  28. Hmm. I agree that translating what you can in English is best, except for thing like names. Also, i think certain terms are justbetter to keep in chinese rather then making something up in English to fit or using japanese terms. I mean i love manga and all, but using japanese terms for chinese is just kinda wrong feeling. Like, ninja is not english but is accepted for manga translations, why not leave the chinese equivalent too, being as this is a chinese translation. For example, not many people would know what the word nascent means (i had to google it) and nascent soul doesnt make much sense to me anyway.keeping yuanying would have been better i feel, since instead of learning a new english word, we get to learn a new chinese word/concept. Since this IS a chinese novel, part of the fun is learning about a different culture. If people can accept the term “ninja” why not keep renzhe and put a t/n that gives “renzhe =ninja”? Rouge doesnt really mean the name thing i feel, especially if we go by the dictionary term…going by the d&d term…i have never played d& that is a bit confusing really.

    However, i agree that for things like xiuxianzhe translating it to immortal practioner or douqi to battle qi and such is better.

    I dont really like the term bushido for here. Does it really convey the same concepts in wuxia/xianxia? I dont really feel like it does…

    Also, keeping xianxia/wuxia is definitely better especially. Since those are practically the terms that describe the entire genre, if english readers dont even want to learn those terms, then why are they even reading them.
    Sure translating everything into english terms might be easier for english readers, but i feel like it would just be skipping over the fact that this is another culture.

    Anyway, i really love that you translate these novels. Im chinese but my reading skills are so bad, so this way i get to read these types of stories that i love.

  29. Could you possibly pick up ‘sheng wang’ aka ‘sage’ from meng ru shen ji. I just read the first chapter of the manhua adaption and found it quite interesting ♥♥. Many thanks if that would actually happen 😀

    PS. I hope that bitch from the beginning gets what she deserves

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