Wuxia translation – a preview

Demi-gods and Semi-devils

I have always wanted to do an adaptation of my favourite wuxia novels. Translations of these novels from Chinese to English are often too literal and do not bring out the full flavour of the story.

I started working on a translation of the first chapter of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils to practice writing about the culture and the setting of the wuxia world in English.

Although the translation does not flow as well as I would prefer if it were an adaptation, it was good practice. The translation was also satisfactory. I believe it is a more wholesome translation of the novel.

I have no intention to translate all fifty chapters of the novel as this project was to simply study how wuxia would be like in English. But if there are enough requests for it, I might actually commit to translating the whole book.

The problems I encountered were mainly with translation of wuxia terms. Some translators use “martial sibling”, “martial brother” or “martial sister” to translate terms like shixiong and shidi. While it fully explains the relationship, I find it too literal.

I prefer to use terms such as senior and junior to describe the relationship. In the end, I went with using the terms untranslated in the Hanyu Pinyin and annotated it to explain the terms.

The same goes for names of places. I used the Hanyu Pinyin mixed with English terms for the names of places.

At fourteen pages, it’s a little long and might be tedious to some since I chose to follow how Louis Cha wrote the scenes. Nevertheless, I hope you will enjoy the first chapter of Demi-Gods and Semi-devils.

Please contact me if you’re interested in reading more wuxia translations.

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  1. linux Avatar

    I just want to request a translation.
    It’s a famous wuxia novel by wen ruian called the four constables.
    I’ll put up the download link in case you’re interested….
    link :
    this is an epub, so go to http://www.zamzar.com to convert to pdf

    1. Jen Xi Avatar

      Hi Linux, thanks for the comment. I’m currently working on Demi-gods and Semi-devils. Perhaps when I’m done with it, I can move on to other works.

    2. Jen Xi Avatar

      Hi, I’m not able to download the file from the link.

      1. linux Avatar

        uhh….. you’lll have to use google chrome or mozillla firefox….. I just found out that IE or other browsers dont tend to work with ubuntu one…. sorry

    3. Pradeep Avatar

      can you provide the link for demi gods and semi devils english version

      1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

        I don’t think there is a fully translated version. There is a partially-translated one if you are interested.

      2. Jen Xi Avatar

        I don’t think there is a fully translated version. There is a partially-translated one if you are interested.

  2. linux Avatar

    But isn’t demi gods and semi devils already translated? I have all korean, english, mandarin, japanese, Italian versions of it.

    1. Jen Xi Avatar

      From what I understand, there isn’t an official English translation. The fan translation is currently about three quarters of the way through the book. Where did you get those translations? It would be very useful for others who want to read the full novel.

      Do you have another link to download the novel? I’m not able to get the file via the link you provided.

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