I’ve mentioned scattered information here and there but I think this is the first time completely going over everything about my translation history. It all started when I first got into Asian novels through the Korean novels, Legendary Moonlight’s Sculptor and Ark.
How I Got into Asian Translated Novels
As someone new to this scene, they were such breaths of fresh air compared to the Western books I was used to reading. I was instantly hooked and explored some of the other translated novels at that time, but there were very few. It was a time with few translated novels and no Noveldupates to organize everything in one easy spot to find. I followed along with the translations until Japtem, the translators of Ark stopped releasing as regularly.
Eventually, months went by without a new chapter update and I decided to do what I could to try and finish reading Ark. This was how I got started in translating.
How I Started Translating
My initial thoughts were, ‘Am I really going to try and do this? I have some knowledge of Korean from when I studied it for several years in university but it has been several years since I graduated and I forgot a lot.’ Eventually, I decided to do a mixture of machine translating and relying on my previous knowledge. Then what was the best way to do it? I googled around and eventually stumbled upon a CAT tool i.e. Computer Assisted Translation tool (I will be doing a few write-up about what CAT tools are and how they can assist with translations).
It was only once I found the appropriate CAT tool that I really got stuck into trying. I quietly translated some chapters for a month or two just to see if it was possible. Then after seeing how many chapters I had done, I decided to share it with the other readers of Ark who were waiting. I created a free wordpress blog called arkmachinetranslations, released my first chapter in December 2014 and voila! That was the start of my translating journey.
Rise in Translations and Growth of the Community
Around the same time, Ren of Wuxiaworld started releasing his translations of Coiling Dragon. It became hugely popular and there was the rise in other Chinese translated novels, leading to a large growth in new translations and the start of the novel translation community. I was following along with some novels but I was still off in my own corner with Ark. I used translating to refresh my Korean knowledge and started studying again, leading to less and eventually none (apart from dictionaries) using of machine translations. Ark grew in popularity and due to some translation problems with Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, I picked up translating it as well. This led to a huge surge in popularity for my website and made my name as a translator more well-known. This led to me getting an invitation to join a huge translation website at the time, Gravity Tales. Gravity Tales mainly specialized in Chinese novels but were expanding into Korean at the time. I was flattered and did join but with new novels. Ark and Legendary Moonlight Sculptor were still kept on my wordpress site.
Joining Gravity Tales, Wuxiaworld and Webnovels
During my time at Gravity, I translated the novels Dungeon Hunter and Dimensional Sovereign. It was also during that time that all the turmoil with licensing and Qidian/Webnovels started happening. I won’t go into the drama because it is way too long. However, a combination of things led to me eventually moving from novels to Wuxiaworld, arguably one of the largest translating websites.
I translated a fair few novels on Wuxiaworld, although some have been removed due to licensing agreements not being reached. I am still translating novels on Wuxiaworld and this time they are officially licensed novels. The one I am probably most famous for is Overgeared, which is consistently first on Wuxiaworld’s weekly popular list.
During this time, I also translated Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, a novel I’m sure many of you will know. It shifted between quite a few sites as there were attempts to get the licensing from multiple different people. Eventually, Webnovels ended up with the license and I ended up translating it on their site for a bit. I eventually quit due to various reasons and a new translator took it over.
My BL Translating Journey
Now, what I’m sure a lot of you are more interested in. How did I get into machine translating danmei i.e. Chinese BL novels. I had always read BL but it was mainly fanfiction and Western M/M novels. The Korean BL novels I had come across didn’t interest me at all when I tried them. Then to my surprise, someone recommended that I try the Legendary Master’s Wife, one of the earliest translated danmei. It isn’t the best looking back now, but at that time, I was addicted. I followed along with every chapter release and eventually fell down the rabbit hole of danmei recommendations/spoilers on Novelupdates forums.
So the novel that really raised my interest in attempting to machine translate danmei? Superstar Aspirations by Mo Chen Huan. I read all the spoilers and eventually, machine translated the novel itself. I loved it after I completely finished it. Unfortunately, by that time, the novel had been picked up by an excellent translator and I put the idea of translating on the backburner. I looked for new novels to read and found Winter’s Reading List. The one I was instantly attracted to was I’m Not Shouldering this Blame and the idea of translating once again rose. As you can see, I did pick it up and did a few chapters as a test before deciding it wasn’t right for me as a starter novel to translate.
After that, I fell into the pit of reading all of Mo Chen Huan’s novels and also fell in love with Rebirth of a Supermodel. Our powerful, take-no-nonsense MC caught my heart and I couldn’t resist. This was at the start of 2018 and everything progressed from there.
Once I fell into the pit of danmei, I couldn’t stop. I translated several novels such as Game Loading and the Earth is Online. At the same time, I was finding all sorts of new genres from danmei that I never imagined before. Unlimited flow? Quick transmigration? I had never imagined such a thing before based on what I had previously read.
As the novel translation community was expanding, more readers and translators were becoming interested in danmei with novels like quickly Wear the Face of the Devil causing a large surge in interest. Of course, this also led to the growth of danmei translating websites like Chrysanthemum Garden. I watched as CG grew from a small site to one of the largest websites of translated/original BL content. I joined their discord and interacted with the community there.
Eventually, I became tired of the limitations of my free wordpress website which required me to manually do the previous/next chapter buttons and the table of contents and requested if I could join CG. You can all see the result now. I am still translating several novels on CG.
So What Now?
Things have come full circle and I am back to releasing chapters on my website. I am trying to put more effort into it. It is no longer a free wordpress and I have found a lot of plugins to make my life easier. In addition, I am still translating licensed Korean novels on Wuxiaworld and danmei on CG. Life is busy with work and translating but I love it! I never want to stop.
What is your story? How did you get into reading translated novels? Be sure to let me know in the comments.
List of all the Novels I Have Translated
If you click on the link above, you can find a list of all the novels I have translated, whether they are Korean or Chinese, dropped or completed. They will all be there as long as I have translated even one chapter of them.