Recently a two-year-old website, Wuxiaworld.com, surprised many Chinese people by its great popularity in the US.
The website is a platform for sharing English versions of Chinese kung fuï¼ä¸å½åå¤«Â zhÅngguÃ³ gÅngfuï¼ and fantasy online novelsï¼ç½ç»å°è¯´ wÇngluÃ² xiÇoshuÅÂ ï¼ translated by Chinese martial arts lovers.
According to data from Alexa, the website ranked 1,525 in the world and 986 in the US, with more than 3 million daily page views, 241,211 daily unique visitors, and 2,475,861 monthly unique visitors (in the light of IFABC Global Web Standards, a unique user is “an IP address plus a further identifier.)
With a black Chinese dragonï¼ä¸å½é¾ zhÅngguÃ³ lÃ³ngï¼ blazing across the top of its homepage, Wuxiaworld.com now has seven completed translations of Chinese fantasy and martial arts web fiction.
Kung fu Novel
Thirty-year-old Lai Jingping, whose online usernames is RWX, the original founder of the website, is a faithful readerï¼è¯»è dÃºzhÄï¼ of Chinese martial arts novels.
As he immigrated with his parents to the US from Chengdu in Sichuan province when he was three, RWX only speaks a little Chinese at home and knew little of Chinese characters. The Chinese he first learned is Sichuan dialectï¼åå·æ¹è¨ sÃ¬chuÄn fÄngyÃ¡nï¼ that sounds a bit different from Mandarinï¼æ®éè¯ pÇtÅnghuÃ Â ï¼.
The 1995 TV series, Return of the Condor Heroes ï¼ç¥éä¾ ä¾£Â shÃ©n diÄo xiÃ¡ lÇÂ ï¼, based on Louis Cha’s novel, aroused RWX’s curiosity about Chinese. And in 2004, he began to study Chinese at the University of California, Berkeley.
RWX first tried to translate Louis Cha’s works by himself, for English versions of Chinese kung fu novels were rare and very expensive in the US.
In 2014, one of his friends from Vietnam introduced him to Chinese fantasy and martial arts web fiction.
“It was difficult to buy Chinese contemporary novels in America. And traditional Chinese cultureï¼ä¸å½ä¼ ç»æå zhÅngguÃ³ chuÃ¡ntÇng wÃ©nhuÃ Â ï¼ is too complex for American people to understand. However online fantasy web novels about Chinese kung fu are easier to understand,” RWX said.
The first Chinese online fantasy novel he read was Stellar Transformations, and he translated the another of the author’s work, Coiling Dragonï¼çé¾ pÃ¡nlÃ³ngï¼.
“Our website is more like a translation platform. Now we have had 20 to 30 projects and each project is charged by a team of seven to eight translators. Some teams only have one translator, such as the one for the novel, I Shall Seal the Heavens,” RWX said.
RWX said that Western readers are more interested in Chinese online novels about historyï¼åå² lÃ¬shÇï¼, fantasyï¼å¹»æ³ huÃ nxiÇngï¼, kung fu and time-travelï¼ç©¿è¶ chuÄnyuÃ¨ï¼ rather than romances.
At first, their team would get authorization from online writers before translating a work, and later found literature websitesï¼æå¦ç½ç« wÃ©nxuÃ© wÇngzhÃ nï¼ owned the authorization rather the creators.
Wuxiaworld.com recently launched a cooperative agreementï¼åä½åè®® hÃ©zuÃ² xiÃ©yÃ¬Â ï¼ with Qidian.com, the first Chinese internet literature website.
Now there are about 20 active Chinese-to-English translation groups consisting of ethnic Chinese and Chinese learners from around the world.
Kevin Cazad, a software programmer, resorted to drugs to alleviate his pain after breaking up with his girlfriend. Severe drug addiction caused him physical and mental pain, even threatening his life at times. But things changed in 2014, when Cazad first came across online Chinese literature.
In 2015, Kevin Cazad posted messages on wuxiaworld.com about his own story.
I’ll try to be brief, in 2014 I had a breakup with a woman I was with for 2 years. After that I had a bit of a…problem, I got into drugs, I got addicted to Coke.
In February of this year I had did my last line and all of a sudden my heart started beating uncontrollably and I felt a deep pressure appear on the left side of my body all the way down. I thought I was having a heart attack. From that day on I felt that pressure every day, sometimes the pressure would build up and as it did I would actually have a hard time thinking clearly and get lightheaded.
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And one day I was introduced to Coiling Dragon, immediately I fell in love. Once I got caught up with that I moved on to MGA, ATG and ISSTH etc… Basically Wuxiaworld took up all my time and I was able to forget about wanting any drugs…
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About a month ago I noticed the pressure started to dissipate, and as it did my vision and thoughts have also started to clear up and also sometimes I can hear a sound in my head like water being slowly drained through a straw…
What would have happened if I never found wuxiaworld and been able to stave off my addiction? I really want to say I feel your novels have probably saved my life so thank you… really.
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“In the past, whenever I went home, all my attention was on drugs. But when I go home now, the only thing that occupies my mind is Chinese web novels. Like drugs, they can also become an addiction, but the difference is that they can’t harm your health,” Cazad told the Southern Weekly during an interview, adding that he used to finish five volumes of a popular Chinese web novel named “Coiling Dragon” in a single day.
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Cazad’s story shocked “I eat tomatoes”, the author of the book, who told the Southern Weekly that he never expected so much enthusiasm from a foreign reader.
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âMany readers have written letters to me, saying that my web novel reshaped their understanding of life. Some even attribute their achievements to inspiration they got from my books. It was like, are you guys kidding me?â
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