SPOILER: This could be a little long and boring if you are not interested in knowing my background 🙂
I have always been a fan of XianXia, Wuxia, Sci-Fi, Games, VR etc related stories (mangas/manhwas, novels, films/movies) since I was a kid. And just lately I came across some translations of Chinese modern web/light novels, and have been hooked on since.
But to wait for the release of the next chapters can sometimes be quite frustrating, especially if there was a cliffhanger (I’m sure you all know what it feels like). So I tried to read the next chapters with the help of machine translators. If you have been doing the same thing, then you would know how painfully it can be.
I can only read very little Chinese, same for Pin Yin too (I know how to read them but never learn the intonations symbols). Since I myself am a third generation born Chinese, I can speak Chinese (Mandarin).
After doing it for a while, a thought crossed my mind. Instead of just waiting or read the bad translated text from the machine translator, why don’t I try to translate it by myself? So that was the beginning of this path taken by me.
The novels that I was reading at that time was Coiling Dragon, Zhan Long, BTTH (Battle Through The Heaven) and Alchemist God. The first two novels was translated at a quite fast pace and BTTH somehow had just made a so so impression on me. But Alchemist God is interesting, and was translated at quite a slow pace. So I decided to translate Alchemist God.
But it turns out that translating is a tedious job, although I’m enjoying it. To translate quite accurately, I literally have to prepare the raw text, and use some online translation tools so I can read the PinYin, have the tools to read it out to me, and also often I need to use Chinese dictionaries for the words that I don’t understand. And that is just the part of understanding the Chinese text.
My English used to be good (I’m not a native English speaker), but having not used it for years has made my English skill a bit dull. Even though I have the translated scene in my head, but writing it down with nice words turned out to be quite a problem.
So at the moment, my translation speed was at about 250-300 characters/hour. To translate a chapter (depending on the length) would take me 7 to 12 hours. Plus I’m using an old notebook with limited resources, which often really runs very slow. I also have a daily job, so the time I can spend on translating would only be about 2 hours daily.
(Updates 02.09.15 – currently my translation speed has improved to about 500 chars/hour, so for translating a chapter, I will need about 4 – 6 hours, including the proofing.)
It turned out that even the pace of the Alchemist God was slow, but every time I almost finished translating a chapter, they would have released the translation already. So I finally put a hold on Alchemist God translations.
But having experienced the translation process, I wanted to improve my skills and continue on translating. So I made a list of some popular novels, being already translated or not, and came to decide to do the current project: Virtual World: The Legendary Thief (as of the time of writing this), the first part of the Virtual World trilogy.
So people, I hope all of you would enjoy my translation. Your support will be my motivation to go on!