Please note that the following examples are singular instances of inspiration for translating a certain way that either enhanced understanding/relevance/enjoyment to an English audience. I do follow the text rather closely most of the time.
Please excuse any typos you find! I was more focused on getting the essence of the source material on my first passthrough.
The following are examples shared or question responses in Discord.
Going for the essence of the words instead of following character by character.
Judicious use of English sayings can give an insta-shot of cultural relevance and humor.
Don’t be afraid to personify something to give it more character and write in active voice.
Cross referencing Chinese apparel and accoutrements to English equivalents. It’s tedious, but necessary!
And here’s something I’m rather proud of…
Compared to the outer room, the old dowager’s quarters were as warm as spring.
Sunlight streamed in through windows gridded with Goryeo paper, gracing the exquisite, carved sandalwood decorations inside with a soft layer of light. Pale-green brocade cushions scattered with flowers sat on chairs, and more flowers blossomed on soft, brocade carpets from Persia. Fine, glittering charcoal glowed in a brazier in the middle of the room.
Two young married ladies attired in fine jewels were in the middle of shifting stools over to the brazier for warmth, and five other charming young girls were either standing or sitting next to the luohan bed that was placed by the window. The bed, made from fine grain sandalwood, was adorned with carvings of well wishes and good luck.
Sitting cross-legged on the luohan bed, the old dowager was wearing a dark gold jacket with a row of buttons down the front, topped with a high, round collar. A brocade headband of the same color, embedded with jade, wrapped itself around her head. A golden hairpin tipped with a jade flower had also been slid in diagonally into her hair. A pale-green cylindrical seat cushion adorned with inky-green flowers supported her back.
As Qin-mama walked in, she was tugging on a young, delicate girl next to her who was wearing a light blue beizi. The old dowager’s expression was quite benevolent and loving, no different from what it was normally.
Nevertheless, Qin-mama was inwardly at solemn attention. The fourth miss was the most favored one alright! Her status in the old dowager’s heart still hadn’t decreased in the slightest even after such an event!
A cultivation/fight scene:
“Treasured blade, I barely caught a glimpse of the passing beauty that was your splendor that night. The spirit energy that flitted as a white pony’s shadow across a crevice, the aura that once pierced the stars, the secret that palpitated hearts… will you awaken at this moment?”
Jiang Chen had thrown all random thoughts to the back of his mind in this moment of life and death.
Whether he lived or died would be decided in this pivotal moment.
The true qi within his body surging up like the tidewaters, he circulated to the utmost the currents of the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans”.
Coalescing nine meridians true qi as one.
Surge to the treasured blade in hand!
“Second form of Vast Ocean Current Splitter – Wave Breaker!”
In that moment, that simple and unadorned nameless saber suddenly awoke — an ancient deity reviving from its slumber. It clawed free of the shackles of heaven and earth, trampling the rivers and mountains of the world as it did so.
The dusky splendor of stars. A dim sun and moon.
The vast waves true qi around the nameless blade coalesced into the vague shape of a deity from time immemorial, holding up the skies and earth.
The aura of this stroke seemed to carry the representation of the ancient deity — as if it held the terrifying power to destroy the heavens and earth.
A crisp crack sounded out twice.
The blades had connected. Under the edge of the nameless saber, the golden runes on Long Yinye’s broadsword flickered out like a snuffed candle. The shadow of the grimacing, five-clawed dragon scattered in the wind.