Dear Fellow Daoists,
I thought long and hard about what to say when we finally reached the end of I Shall Seal the Heavens. I think the obvious place to start is with you, the readers. Without you, none of this would have been possible. Although I didn’t create this story, it has been a huge honor to be able to translate it into English so that so many people outside China could enjoy it. I have to especially thank those of you who took the time to express your own thanks within the comments section of the chapters, and those of you who shared speculations, theories, and even criticisms. For me, seeing all those comments was a big motivating factor to keep cranking out the chapters. Of course, there are also many, many, many of you who supported me via the sponsored chapter system and also Patreon. That extra support proved invaluable, and was the main factor which played into my decision to start translating full time.
There are so many other people to thank it’s hard to start a list. At the very top would be Madam Deathblade, and of course RWX. I also had a great team who helped out in terms of editing, proofreading, translation checking, memes, etc., all of whom have been credited in the various chapter release posts over the years. Of course, there are silent heroes too. For one, the many fellow Wuxiaworld translators and staff members who have provided invaluable assistance, camaraderie, and support over the past two years. In addition, a sizeable group of readers consistently communicated with me via email or private message to report typos or mistakes that made it into the live chapters. There are also many readers who took the time to report mistakes in the thread in the Wuxiaworld forum. To them, I offer profound thanks. For those of you who plan to re-read the story on Wuxiaworld before the fully edited version is available in ebook format, please feel free to report any mistakes or inconsistencies you see.
For me, translating ISSTH has been a life-changing experience. Back when I started, a little over two years ago, Madam Deathblade and I had a relatively slow-paced life. I was teaching full time at a school, managing a staff of about 15-20 other teachers, and translating about 5 chapters per week in my spare time. Then, one thing led to another. I increased the number of chapters to 7 and then 10 and then 12, and at almost the same time, Baby Deathblade came along. It didn’t take long before we were taking care of a new baby, while at the same time, I was still working full time at my other job, and also translating about 14 chapters per week. Now that I look back, I find it hard to believe that I managed to do all of those things at the same time and not collapse from exhaustion. Gradually, I handed over my responsibilities at my old job and focused full time on translating.
People often ask how long it takes to translate a chapter. For me, the answer is a bit complicated. When you add in the time it takes to read the chapter ahead of time, do the actual translating, review proofreading changes, do a final edit, then actually upload and release the chapter, it could be anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours or more per chapter. In terms of raising and caring for Baby Deathblade, we don’t have any family in the city to help, so for the most part, Madam Deathblade and I do it all. With that in the equation, I can honestly say that I’ve worked harder in the past two years than ever before in my life. I’ve been completely immersed within the world of ISSTH, and within the process of translating; it’s hard to believe it’s finally over.
Every translator has their own theory, or maybe you could even say their own Dao of translation. When I had a chance to sit down and talk in person with the author, Er Gen, I was pleasantly surprised to find that his ideas about what is important in translation coincided perfectly with my own. To him, the feeling is what counts. He wants English readers to experience the same feelings that the Chinese readers do, whether it’s the humor, the profundity, or the “feels” that everyone talks about. The nuances of language are a tricky thing, and it can be easy for a translator to focus on speed and accuracy to the detriment of the emotions that can be evoked by the writing itself. I’ve worked hard throughout the translation to provide you readers with an experience as close as possible to that of someone reading it in Chinese, and I hope that effort has shone through.
As far as my thoughts about the story, how it ended, and such things, I’ll save that for another occasion. By the way, I wrote my own “Other Tale” regarding the fates of some of the other minor characters; maybe I’ll share that later on.
After two intense years of translating, and seven straight years of life in China, the time has finally come for me to make a trip back to the United States. When I return from vacation, I’ll be focusing on A Will Eternal as my translation project. That story is bound to be a fun and enjoyable ride. While I’m on break, I’ll still be working a bit. I’ll be reading ahead in the story of AWE, which will be of immense help once I focus on translating it full time. Another thing I will be working on is my original comic book Cultivation Blues.
Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter, and BDB on Instagram. I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con in a few weeks, if you’re interested in coming to a meetup, please let me know here. If enough people are in town around that time, I’ll try to coordinate something.
Contest winners will be posted in an announcement sometime in the next few days.
As of this moment, I’ve been up for almost 30 hours straight, so in a few minutes I will crash. I’ll try to respond to comments in this thread when I wake up, but the first leg of our trip to the U.S. starts tomorrow, and I’m already way behind on sleep.
I did my face reveal a few weeks back on the video with RWX and Er Gen, but there is one last person who you have never seen, and that is Madam Deathblade, so I’ll finish off with a picture of the two of us that you might find... interesting.
Thank you again for your support!
(clasps hands and bows deeply)