Chinese kung fu and fantasy web fiction becomes hot in US!

2017年03月28日

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Wuxia World

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 fu(中国功夫 zhōngguó gōngfu) and fantasy online novels(网络小说 wǎngluò xiǎoshuō ) translated by Chinese martial arts lovers.

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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.)

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With a black Chinese dragon(中国龙 zhōngguó lóng) blazing across the top of its homepage, Wuxiaworld.com now has seven completed translations of Chinese fantasy and martial arts web fiction.

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Kung fu Novel

Thirty-year-old Lai Jingping, whose online usernames is RWX, the original founder of the website, is a faithful reader(读者 dúzhě) 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 dialect(四川方言 sìchuān fāngyán) that sounds a bit different from Mandarin(普通话 pǔtōnghuà ).

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The 1995 TV series, Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣 shén diāo xiá lǚ ), 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.

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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 culture(中国传统文化 zhōngguó chuántǒng wénhuà ) is too complex for American people to understand. However online fantasy web novels about Chinese kung fu are easier to understand,” RWX said.

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Fantasy Novel

The first Chinese online fantasy novel he read was Stellar Transformations, and he translated the another of the author’s work, Coiling Dragon(盘龙 pánlóng).
“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.

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RWX said that Western readers are more interested in Chinese online novels about history(历史 lìshǐ), fantasy(幻想 huànxiǎng), kung fu and time-travel(穿越 chuānyuè) rather than romances.

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Literature Website

At first, their team would get authorization from online writers before translating a work, and later found literature websites(文学网站 wénxué wǎngzhàn) owned the authorization rather the creators.
Wuxiaworld.com recently launched a cooperative agreement(合作协议 hézuò xiéyì ) with Qidian.com, the first Chinese internet literature website.

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Now there are about 20 active Chinese-to-English translation groups consisting of ethnic Chinese and Chinese learners from around the world.

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Reader Feedback

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.

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In 2015, Kevin Cazad posted messages on wuxiaworld.com about his own story.

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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.
长话短说,我2014年和处了2年的女友分手,然后我就出了点问题,我开始吸毒了,染上了可卡因的瘾。
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.
2015年2月我吸完最后一道白粉,突然心脏开始不受控制地狂跳,左半边身体感受到一种强大的压迫。我以为我心脏病发作了。从那天起,我每天都能感到这种压力,有时候压力陡增,使我无法清醒思考、头昏眼花。
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…
然后有一天,有人介绍我看《盘龙》,我立刻爱上这部小说。我追完那部又接着去看了《修罗武神》、《逆天邪神》、《我欲封天》……基本上“武侠世界”占据了我所有的时间,我甚至忘记了对毒品的欲望……
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…
大约一个月前,我发现那种压力开始消退了,视力和头脑也变得清晰了,有时,我还能听见脑袋里有一种水被吸管吸走的声音……
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.
如果我从未发现“武侠世界”、戒除毒瘾,后果又将会怎样?我真的想说,你们的小说救了我一命。所以真心感谢。
“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.
卡扎德接受《南方周末》采访时说:“过去,我一回到家就将全部的心思放在毒品上。但是现在我回家后脑袋里一心只想着中国网络小说。和毒品一样,这些小说也会让人上瘾,不过区别是它们对健康无害。”卡扎德还表示,他曾在一天内一连读了五章《盘龙》。这是一部中国人气网络小说。
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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.
卡扎德的故事让《盘龙》的作者“我吃西红柿”非常吃惊,他告诉《南方周末》,自己从未想过一个外国读者会有如此的热情。

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“Many 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?”
“也有好些读者说,看了小说对生活有了新的认知,还有努力奋斗成就一番事业的,我觉得是不是在忽悠我啊。”

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