Hi guys, I'm CKtalon, translator of True Martial World (TMW) and Seeking the Flying Sword Path (SFSP). I was also previously involved in translating I'm Really a Superstar (IRAS) and Absolute Choice. I've been translating for a little more than two years now and enjoy the webnovel scene both in the domestic scene in China and the international scene.
Sometime in early December 2017, I was informed by Webnovel's Editor, Dana that I was invited to the China Literature Billboard Ceremony. What is that? It's an annual gala that China Literature holds to honor its authors for a year's work. Last year, I watched the gala's stream live and enjoyed putting a face to the various authors' works, so I was secretly hoping I'd be invited. Therefore, I was overjoyed when I received the invitation. I could meet my authors in person again!
China Literature (CL) offered an all-expenses-paid trip to Changsha, Hunan, China, where the gala was being held. Due to flight issues, I decided to extend the trip at my own expense to visit Shanghai, where China Literature is headquartered.
About 8 hours before I flew, I was told that I was participating in a live stream that interviewed authors. I was quite flabbergasted since I knew I would be nervous and wasn't confident about my spoken Mandarin. But since I needed to sleep early, I decided to leave it to future me.
Finally the day of the departure. It happens Library of Heaven's Path (LOHP)'s translator, StarveCleric is also Singaporean and we took the same flight. It was at 7 in the morning, so I had to wake up early. I met up with Starve (who is so much younger than me…) and entered security. Here's a pic while walking towards the plane!
It was an approximately five-hour flight before we reached Changsha, where I finished a chapter on the plane!
There was supposed to be someone picking us up at the airport but there was no one! Were we scammed, left stranded!? Thanks to the free airport WiFi, we contacted the Editors and were put in touch with a CL staff at the airport. The welcoming team was also responsible for picking up authors and the authors arrived in the domestic arrival hall, while we obviously came from the international arrival hall, so it resulted in our situation…haha. A short walk over and we met up with the welcoming team. After another male and female author arrived, we boarded a seven-seater and made our way to the hotel—Changsha InterContinental!
At the hotel, there was a nice sign-in booth, with CL staff handling the guests. I was told to choose my seats at the gala (basically seats at the TV station), so I naturally choose somewhere center and close to the stage.
After some basic logistics, we quickly received our room keys and went to our room.
It was very nice, it being a five-star hotel after all. There was a nice desk which I could use to translate! Woohoo…
Also, we could actually choose the kind of pillows we wanted, but we were too busy/lazy to do so.
As Starve was trying to boil some water, he tripped the circuit breakers… LOL. We soon met up with LOHP's author, Heng Sao Tian Ya. While Starve went to the bathroom to change into his suit since he needed to participate in rehearsals for the ceremony, I had a little chat with Heng Sao Tian Ya and a CL staff. It's quite interesting to see what troubles Qidian Editors face with aspiring authors and also the perspective of an author.
Soon, Starve was done and they left, leaving me all alone… I walked around the hotel, taking some pictures.
The Webnovel development team later arrived with Meh (Release that Witch's translator) and we hung around chatting. I wasn't really a chatty person…haha.
Starve joined us after he was done with his minor rehearsal. The sun was already setting since it was winter. As I had my live stream to go to, we had a quick free all-you-can-eat buffet at the hotel. Here are some pics.
I then proceeded to wait for the live stream to begin (approximately at 8pm). The authors of Cultivation Chat Group (CCG) and Release That Witch (RTW) seem to know each other. Here's a voyeur pic of them (with Once Upon A Time, There Was A Spirit Sword Mountain's author)…
We were later brought to the top floor where the live stream would happen. It was a quiet and quaint place, with the four great classics displayed. Quite a nice juxtaposition of old and new literature in my opinion.
The works of the other authors involved were Gourmet Food Supplier (GFS) by Cat Who Cooks and Once Upon A Time, There Was A Spirit Sword Mountain by His Majesty the King.
Voyeur pic of GFS's author with CCG's author in the background, and Er Mu (RTW) and a Qidian Editor in the foreground.
Here are the lovey-dovey Cocooned Cow (TMW, MW) and his beautiful wife, Dark Litchi (author of My MCV and Doomsday).
I also asked him if he was releasing any chapters that day, and he said he finished another 2 on the way here that he would post soon. (He posted a few hours after the live stream, Chapters 1324 and 1325 if you are interested )
The female host, Xiao Shi Mei (or Junior Sister, but the Shi, in this case, is the homophone for Wet…kinky), went around interviewing the author pairs and played some simple games with them. I was last and I think I was quite nervous. Apparently, the video could only be seen live, so there's no more video to show my embarrassment! HAHAHAHA! I took a picture with her after the live stream and she added me on WeChat. Hehe, she's cute.
I woke up early in the morning (like 6+am) to do the two TMW chapters…allowing TMW readers to read it within 24 hours of the release before having breakfast. Some food pics:
Next, I had to participate in taking a video for Webnovel with Cocooned Cow. You will see it in the near future!
Look at Dark Litchi looking at her awkward husband.
There is a Chinese meme that talks about scattering dog food to bachelor dogs (making others envious of a couple's affection). I felt it deeply! Haha. Here's a group pic of me with the couple.
After all of that was done, I went back to do another 2 chapters of SFSP! How hardworking am I? But I ended up missing lunch while working… Thankfully, dinner was early. I also met IET, author of Coiling Dragon, Stellar Transformation, Desolate Era, Lord Xue Ying, Seeking the Flying Sword Path, and introduced myself. He asked me some brief questions before we parted ways to eat. (Time was tight, the buses were going to bring us to the TV station soon) Dinner was really good. Yummy~
I boarded the bus and realized I forgot my ticket when I heard an author comment about it! The bus had to wait for me as I ran up to my hotel room. Sheesh...embarrassing. The venue had red carpets and all but we had to be seated early unlike the A-list celebrities.
Some pics of the recording set. It was huge and really grand. I heard Huawei and China Literature each forked out a few million yuan to make the event happen!
While waiting, I spotted Chang Yu, IRAS's author. He was with another guy but I mustered my courage and went up to him. Greeted him Teacher Chang Yu, and introduced myself. We briefly talked about IRAS's ban. Yes, it was banned because of Old Wu and SARFT (nothing to do with Disney or copyrights!). He said that he has finished editing the questionable parts SARFT had raised and submitted it for review (will take a few months). Don't worry IRAS fans! It will continue once SARFT unbans the book! Here's a pic of me and him.
The gala was quite fun. It might be English-subtitled in the future, so watch out for it. Was glad I went because I recently followed a Chinese livestreamer, Feng Timo, who is a great singer. And she attended too!
Returned to the hotel exhausted. There were no chapters to translate since all the authors were busy with the gala! Hahaha! I finally got to rest…
Next morning, we had a simple breakfast before we headed to the airport by taxi.
Starve went straight back to Singapore, while I headed for Shanghai. Met the Webnovel development leader, Meh, and the translation group, Nyoi-Bo Studio's team leader at the airport. Had a nice chat before they took a different flight to Shanghai.
I took a coach bus from Shanghai airport to my hotel and was all on my own. I got quite a nice hotel because of its location (also because it has a good desk!)
Across the street was a park, with people I assumed, were minorities dancing on the square. Quite interesting.
I'm not that into sight-seeing and prefer to see how the locals live. The McDonalds here is much better than Singapore's. They even have bubble tea!
The weather was a bit rainy, so I walked around my hotel which was a shopping district.
I even saw mini karaoke booths. I've only seen them in South Korea before and these booths were occupied!
I had a simple meal for dinner but it was spicy!!!
Roamed around, did some translations, and decided to catch a movie in China! It was quite cheap (50 yuan) for a 3D movie (Jumanji).
Next morning I went sight-seeing by train to the famous landmark, Oriental Pearl Tower. Walked around the place and took some pictures.
The roads were quite interesting and the roundabout also made it quite scenic.
There were all these high-end stores too!
Even in China, Apple stores also have a queue…
It was quite cold and somehow I lost 4G connection, so I returned to the hotel to fix it before heading out again. Along the way, I had bullfrogs' leg noodles. Delicious and spicy! All for 31 yuan!
I walked in the direction of the Bund (about a 2km walk)
On the way, I went to the Daoist temple, City God Temple of Shanghai. I cultivated there for a while as I gained insights on the Dao, meeting the various deities that usually appear in xianxia novels.
Finally, I reached the Bund! It was cloudy, windy, and cold, so I didn't really take very nice pictures of the Bund. And since I was out in the cold for about 2+ hours, I decided I had enough and took the metro train back to my hotel…only to do more translation! Working holiday they say!
Next day (a Monday), I went to China Literature's office—something that I've been looking forward to! It was quite convenient to get there by metro and I eventually found my way to the building. They are already all decked out for the Lunar New Year! Right at the entrance, the company showcases all the products/sites that are under China Literature!
Soon, the greatest and prettiest Webnovel Editor, Sunny (she didn't bribe me to say that) brought me around the company.
Here, on the 3rd floor is Webnovel's development team, working hard on fixing bugs and bringing new features to all of you users! They asked to have their faces censored, afraid to have their faces used as target boards
The 2nd floor is the Editors' level. The entrance has this plastered across the wall. Looks really cool, huh?
The Editors' level looks just like any ordinary office
A thing to note is that there are plants on almost at every desk. Even the desk I was temporarily sitting at has a tiny plant (with some delicious bubble tea Sunny treated me!).
My guest pass.
They also have a nice pantry where they can discuss stuff.
So what did I do there? Translate of course! At least they didn't lock me up in a dark room to translate so as to earn my meals...
Also, I got to see how busy the Editor team is. Sunny, Dana, Martina, and PengPeng are in charge of managing the 200+ translators and editors (we have tons of idiosyncrasies and issues we need fixed every day), the hiring and communication with prospective translators/editors, reading of new novels to decide what is to be added to the Webnovel library, dealing with the original author candidates from the recent contest, etc.
In addition, those books that do not seem to have any chapters or are released really slowly… Webnovel is getting new translators to take over the work, and to ensure continuity, it will take time for the new translators to get up to speed. So be patient!
The Webnovel team brought me out to lunch and it was nice getting to know them. We were all just communicating over WeChat but now, I had a face to all of them. Also, it allows me to know who to look for if something goes wrong
The kind Editors rushed to finish their work on Sunday so that they don't have to work overtime and can bring me out for dinner. One of them even had to stay up overnight until 4am to finish a task! We went to an up-scale restaurant near Oriental Pearl Tower and had an awesome dinner (although I was quickly satiated…)
We walked around to take in the misty scenery. It's really quite a nice place to come to.
Returned to the hotel only to translate more! And finally, I took the train to the airport and bade farewell to China.