I was planning to write this post yesterday when we first released three new HJC chapters, but I didn't quite have all my thoughts in order. The simple version is, Heavenly Jewel Change is now relaunched with a new, paid, and dedicated full-time translator 'Stardu5t' and will proceed until completion. There will be no advance chapters or donations requested or accepted; once completed, the full HJC will remain free for everyone to read on Wuxiaworld for the foreseeable future.
This has been a very difficult post to write, and the history of the HJC translation on Wuxiaworld has been a turbulent one despite its popularity. This is doubly true given that HJC itself only has 80-100 chapter-parts left, ie just around 2 months worth at a 2/day pace. I understand that many readers have felt frustrated, and I wanted to give a full, final explanation of what's been going on with it in 2018.
The original translator 'Zen' had been translating HJC steadily for nearly two years. In mid-late 2017, unbeknownst to us, Zen went through some very serious personal events that I would go as far as to describe as traumatic. Without going into detail, these events caused him to go into a deep depression, which impacted every single part of his life, from family to work to translating as well. To a certain extent, he shut down. In October 2017, after repeated failed attempts to get in touch with him and not knowing any of the above information, we paused the HJC translation and began to hunt for another full-time translator.
In November of 2017, as we were just about to settle down on another translator, Zen returned and let us know what was happening with us in his life. He explained what had happened, and also explained that working on HJC (albeit slowly) had been therapeutic to him, helping him to anchor him in life when everything else seemed adrift. Taking everything into consideration, we brought him back on a full-time and well-compensated salaried position to finish off the HJC translation.
Things went fairly well for a few months; there were times when Zen didn't quite hit the targets we agreed on when we brought him back, but for the most part he was consistent and communicating. That was really what mattered, and later on several other translators even got together to work with him for a final push to finish the translation off. There were a few speed bumps, including a poacher website copying WW chapters and starting their own competing translation, but things were going fine.
Alas, things just... started to go wrong. The others eventually got busy with life and other things, leaving it to be mostly just me and Zen. I did dozens of chapters of HJC alongside Zen, and even staked my own reputation on promising that it would be completed at a good rate. Unfortunately, I ended up with some major personal issues of my own that I had to handle, leaving it to be just Zen again.
Zen did his best to continue by himself for a time, but things eventually started to slip. Release times started to slip, and the more they did the more negative the comments turned, especially given the added pressure from the poacher translation. From what I can tell, it turned into a vicious, negative feedback cycle, where he was trying to motivate himself to translate but with each chapter he posted, the number of negative comments only increased, further sapping his drive. Translation was supposed to help anchor him through depression, but now it was just furthering it. Finally, after posting chapter 271.2, Zen was done. He did a third of 271.3, then just couldn't find the motivation for it any more.
After realizing that Zen was really finished, I began working to find another translator. However, when you want to produce quality translations this can be tougher than you imagine. Translating is like raising a baby, while taking over someone else's translation is like raising a stepchild; you are locked into using previous terms, and many other things you might not like. There are many translators who are disinterested in taking on another person's translation, especially this close to the end. There were a few translators who were interested, but the quality wasn't where I wanted it to be. There were also some translators who were high-quality, but weren't willing or able to fully commit to the full-time pace (2/day) I felt the readers deserved, given the long hiatus.
It wasn't until a while ago that I managed to find Stardu5t, who fulfilled all the qualities we needed - speed, quality, and the kindness of spirit to help carry someone else's translation over the final finish line. We all owe her a great debt of thanks, and I will be working with Stardu5t to edit these chapters and also ensure continuity with Zen's terms, so if there are any issues please feel free to leave comments on the relevant chapters and we will do our best to address them.
In closing, I want to address a common comment and complaint - that Wuxiaworld didn't respond or make a post about HJC for so long because it "doesn't care". To the contrary, we care immensely. Part of the reason we didn't post for so long was because it involved Zen's privacy and because we didn't have a replacement yet, but it was also because of how frustrating and negative everything was.
I felt frustration with Zen for repeatedly dropping the ball after being given many chances, but I can't blame him because I understand how poisonous depression can be, as well as the added problems from poachers. I felt frustration with people for promising to help out but eventually dropping out, but I can't blame them because it wasn't their obligation and because they had other things to do in life as well, and in fact the only thing owed them is appreciation for having donated their valuable time to help. I felt frustration with the negative readers for leaving all of those harmful comments that contributed to the negative cycle that caused Zen to be unable to continue, but I can't fully blame them because I understand the frustration that comes from seeing a story you love begin to lurch and stagger so close to the end. Most of all, I feel frustration with myself and DO blame myself for not having the bandwidth during that period of time to give Zen the support he needed to bring the translation to a close.
Urgh. Told you this would be a difficult post to write. Anyhow, I promised long ago that all stories which were started on Wuxiaworld shall be completed on Wuxiaworld, and that at least is one promise that we will fulfill, even if it takes a few months longer than anticipated. Now that Stardu5t is working on finishing HJC with me, we'll be looking to wipe away all of that negativity over the course of the next two months or so. For those who have continued to wait, thanks so much... and thank you, both Zen and Stardu5t, for your contributions to this novel.