I first read this novel in March 2020 at the suggestion of another ExR translator. The book was so hilarious and sweet that after binging it over a single weekend, I decided to take up its translation.
Twelve months and 142,000 words later (as well as a few close calls to giving up altogether), the translation for the novel is finally finished! I hope I have done it justice. (In case anyone’s wondering, I have actually been working on this translation for 8 months before the first chapter was released on ExR – we know our readers like to binge too.)
The last thing I wanted to see in a rom-com are jokes that aren’t funny, smut that aren’t steamy and characters that readers can’t connect with. So I scrutinised over every idiom, joke, smexy scene and action sequence to ensure they flowed and sounded natural in English (I don’t do MTL). A thesaurus became my best friend.
During the course of the translation process, despite naively believing that I was done after reading the original Chinese chapters 2-3 times and my translated chapters 3-5 times, I usually ended up re-reading each of the Chinese chapters 10-15 times, then editing each of my translated chapters 15-20 times. Sometimes I even made a few sneaky updates after a chapter was published because a word or phrase really bugged me. I can say that I have never read a book this many times nor in this much detail in my entire life – fortunately this book was neither deep nor difficult.
The most difficult and time-consuming parts to translate were probably the florid descriptions of all the nature and landscapes, which really pushed me to brush up on my creative writing skills (after wallowing in despair with my head in my hands, now I look forward to the challenge). Whoever said translation doesn’t take nearly as much effort as writing the original novel (at least for chn-eng) probably wasn’t doing it right.1
Yet Addis still managed to find on average ~50 things wrong with every chapter (mostly punctuation – my weakness). I am improving though, I remember she found 100+ things in the first couple of chapters and I think it’s come down to ~10-20 in the later ones.
Yet, after all this, the book still brings me joy every time I read it, and I hope it has brought joy to you too.
Thank you Addis, for being patient with me, especially during our heated debates over US English vs UK English and the correct placement of commas (tbh, the heat was usually one-sided, since Addis was always very calm). And through the release of the translated chapters, I see how much energy and dedication you put into running ExR.
Thank you other ExR novel translators and editors, for helping me bounce off ideas and offering alternative translations for phrases that don’t translate well into English.
Thank you original author, for writing such an entertaining book.
And lastly, thank you ExR readers, I have enjoyed reading through the comments section and sharing your favourite moments from the book, which really motivated me to finish translating the final chapters. If anyone’s wondering, my favourite moment was from ‘Chapter 32 Where’s my tail?’, where we learn that YX threw himself at SXL two years ago after getting drunk at an office party; followed closely by the assassin’s confession in Chapter 23 that he couldn’t understand jokes; then YX’s hilarious taxi ride to the office after leaving the Mary Sue world in Chapter 44… I could go on, but really, thank you for reading.
Finally, if you have enjoyed the translation of this novel and would like to show your support, here are a few ways you can help:
- Provide a review of the book on NovelUpdates.com, so more readers can enjoy the book too.
- Buy me a hot beverage on ko-fi.com, so I can continue to be motivated to translate.
- Support ExR on Patreon, so they can continue to run the website.
- Support the original author on the Chinese webnovel platform JJWXC, so she can continue to write awesome books.
Link to raws on JJWXC: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=2676720
Link to how to use JJWXC: https://shokotranslates.wordpress.com/jjwxc/
PS. If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at some of the translation techniques I applied while translating Mary Sue, please find my blog article below (where I reference Mary Sue extensively):
Congrats to J for finishing her first novel! I hope everyone liked the novel and appreciated how great of a translator J is! She’s dedicated to her art of trying to bring the best translation possible to the readers and it shows in how long it took for each chapter. This may have taken a year, but I’d say it was worth it. So congrats once again to J and please remember to leave her comments on here or on Novel Updates. 😀
- As a reference, professional Chinese webnovel writers will write at least 6000 characters a day in order to make a living from their writing (exc. time spent planning the storyline), while a professional Chinese-English translator can translate at most 3000-4000 characters a day (exc. editing time). Of course it’s possible for translators to have short bursts of increased productivity, and amateur translators using MTL can reach much higher output, but these are the common industry norms. And 3000 Chinese characters generally translate into approx. 2000 English words.