New Reading Material: 紫诏天音

I found something new at the library! Yes, it looks girly, but it’s actually supposed to be quite bloody..


So I didn’t get around to translating that bit from Flyng Fox of Snowy Mountain yet, but…

Yesterday at the library, the second book of this series fell into my hands (I work at the check-in/check-out desk). It had a different cover, more like the one in this Baike article about the series (which also has pictures of the characters, ooh). A cover that said “wuxia” rather than “romance,” heh. So I hunted down book one of the series, and, well, the cover is pretty girly. On the other hand, the first sentence of the synopsis on the back includes the phrase “raining blood and evil wind” (血雨腥风) which is an expression meaning “carnage.” So, I guess this is wuxia after all.

So far I’ve just read the first page, and I might translate that here on the blog, cause it’s rather descriptive.

I’ve been trying to come up with a translation of the title, but I can’t quite figure out what it means. I could tell you what each of the characters means by itself, but not all together – it’s quite possibly something poetic that I’m not getting. Maybe I’ll have a better idea after I read more of the book.

For now, for the curious non-reader of Chinese, the pinyin for the title is “Zi Zhao Tian Yin” and the author’s name is Bufeiyan. (I do believe that’s supposed to be all one word because it’s a pen name, something literary.) Bufeiyan is an award-winning wuxia writer who started out as an internet sensation. As I was poking around, I stumbled on this article about Chinese internet authors and realized I actually started reading another one of her books (解忧刀 / Jie You Dao, pictured in the article) several years ago. I don’t remember much about it; I don’t think I got far. Maybe I’ll have to track it down and take another stab at it.

But first, Zi Zhao Tian Yin. And hopefully at some point that translation from Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain. Stay tuned for updates or translations!


For a while now it’s been my dream to translate Chinese martial arts fiction (wuxia xiaoshuo). I’ve been a professional translator for about four years, but let’s just say professional opportunities to translate wuxia are few and far between – more accurately, basically non-existent. So I finally decided that instead of waiting around, I would just start doing it myself, for fun. And I don’t have a whole novel in mind that I want to translate – much less the time to invest in that, since on top of paid translation work, I also write fiction in English on my own time. Epic fantasy novel stuff on the order of hundreds of thousands of words.

So I decided instead to translate bits and pieces of wuxia, and hey, why don’t I post them on a blog so other people can see them, and then if this evolves into something, like fan-translating a whole novel or getting actual paid work translating wuxia fiction, all the better. If not, well, I’m still living the dream a little bit at a time, and maybe other people will enjoy my translations as well.

I already have something in my mind for my first translation. It comes from one of the classics of Chinese martial arts fiction, Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain by Jin Yong, mainly because that’s the wuxia novel I’m in the middle of reading right now. And not too long ago, I read this cool scene where a woman fights off what are essentially hecklers bothering her and her husband, all the while holding her baby. So check back soon…