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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“That’ll do for the night.”
Juho rested his eyes for a little while and looked out the window. Feeling hazy from translating for an extended period of time, he remembered a conversation he had had with Nam Kyung over the phone not too long ago. Bringing up the company website that had crashed yet again, he groaned, “Our website won’t last much longer at this rate. All thanks to you, Mr. Woo.”
There was joy in his voice. It was already widely known news that the infamous Kelley Coin had visited Korea in order to meet with Yun Woo to personally put the young author in charge of translating his book. Being the only two media between the young author and his readers, both the Zelkova and Dong Baek Publishing Companies had been dealing with inquiries flooding their offices.
“For now, I’ve told readers that Yun Woo is in the process of translating,” Nam Kyung said, listing some of the most extraordinary questions one by one.
“Some were asking if you’re from another country, while others were asking where you went to study abroad. The questions weren’t just limited to ‘Language of God,’ but a lot of people were curious about your language skills, and I had quite a few people asking how they could be like you. There was a broadcast producer looking for you too, and a lot of people were asking about your age. Oh, and what you talked about with Kelley Coin as well.”
Juho chuckled as he imagined the situation. thinking of the look on Nam Kyung’s face frantically answering a series of ridiculous questions and phone calls. He could only imagine how hard Nam Kyung was working.
“A lot of the questions were just downright ridiculous, but on the other hand, I can kind of see where these people are coming from. It makes sense that they’re so curious about Yun Woo and his identity, or whether if he even exists.”
Adding jokingly that it was a blessing to be in the minds of so many people, Nam Kyung cleared his throat and changed the subject.
“Anyway, how’s translating?”
“Hard to say. It’s my first time, so I can’t even grasp how good or bad of a job I’ve been doing.”
“Are you getting stuck anywhere?”
“There was one place, but I managed to get through.”
“How many pages have you been translating a day?”
Juho thought for a little while, and then asked, “Do translators usually work knowing how many pages they’re going to translate?”
“Well, that depends on the person. How they manage their schedule until the deadline is entirely up to them, but I figure most translators would know the minimum number of pages they have to translate in a day.”
“I have no idea.”
Even as a writer, Juho was never conscious of how many pages he wanted to write for that day, and he had been approaching translation in the same manner. Then, Nam Kyung asked in a slightly shaky voice, “… I think I’m starting to get concerned. Have you calculated how many days you have left? You have to translate the entire book within three months.”
Seeing Nam Kyung’s concern, Juho told him his progress, “I translated about twenty-four pages. Isn’t that enough?”
Nam Kyung grew silent, and then asked after a little while, “In one day? Twenty-four?”
The editor’s shaky voice sounded from the receiver once again. That time, he was shaky for a different reason.
“I think you can take it a little easier, Juho. It seems like you can afford to take about a week off. You haven’t been translating like that everyday, have you?”
Nam Kyung was taken aback by Juho’s answer. Even if Juho were to translate eight pages a day, he would have been able to finish the entire book in about a month. Despite being given three months, Juho was translating at a pace significantly faster than Nam Kyung had expected. Considering the nature of the book, it was truly astounding.
Hearing how Nam Kyung was taken aback by his progress, Juho decided not to tell him about the days when he had translated even more.
“I don’t have any routines that I follow. There are days when I don’t translate.”
“… You’re working on ‘Belongings,’ right?”
“That’s not an easy book to translate.”
There were all kinds of people in this world, and in the same way, there were all kinds of books. Therefore, it was only natural that some books took more or less time than others. The vocabulary in Kelley Coin’s books were not at all easy. In other words, readers would have to spend a significant amount of time on their dictionaries. On top of that, Coin frequently used modifiers in his sentences, making them easy to misunderstand.
“I’m curious about your process. Where do you find words?”
“In my head.”
As he sensed concern rising to the surface of his mind, Nam Kyung said, “You know that you have to take things like ‘readability’ into account, right? The translation has to be culturally relevant.”
“Of course. I’ve been paying close attention to that. I’m starting to get a better idea of what translation looks like.”
“You can’t be changing any of the sentences, all right?”
“Mr. Uhm taught me the importance of that, thoroughly.”
“Make sure to follow the author’s intent closely.”
“And understand the characters.”
At Juho’s confident answers, Nam Kyung added, “You gotta pace yourself. You’ve written novels, so you know how important your stamina is, right?”
“Of course. I might not follow a routine, but I have been conscious of my pace.”
The fact that he was able to translate a book written by Kelley Coin at such a pace was simply astounding. Then, their conversation came to an end as Nam Kyung warned Juho a few more times.
Looking away from the window, Juho contemplated for a little while and opened his email, which was filled with the messages he had been exchanging with Coin. Having written to Coin about his encounter with Bill most recently, Juho had been sharing what he felt as he read the book, as well as his interpretation of Susan. In the end, he tried poking at the author’s affection toward the character, Bill.
Mostly replying with hostility, Coin refused to answer any questions regarding interpretations, threatening to hunt Juho down in Korea if the young author were to ruin his book. It was just as Juho had expected, as he hadn’t expected a proper reply from the start.
After thinking for some time, Juho began to write a new email about ‘Belongings’ to the author. The clear boundaries between the three parts of the town became fuzzier toward the end. A cat that left its rich owner in hunt for a mouse. Bill, who met his demise in Utopia, and Susan, who watched him quietly. Other thieves stealing Bill’s belongings after his death. The book pitched an endless chain of questions without providing any answer, and Juho planned on putting off asking one of them, at least until he had finished translating.
“He’ll never give me a proper answer.”
Then, after sending the finished email, Juho went to bed. The following day was slightly rowdier than the day before.
“The birth of a new blockbuster! ‘Trace of a Bird.'”
“‘Trace of a Bird’ ranks third most watched movie.”
“‘Trace of a Bird,’ first film adaptation of a Korean Novel to reach ten million viewers.”
“Yun Woo, the sensation of the century! His opinions on his success?”
“A flash interview with Myung Joo Mu, the biggest beneficiary of the recent success of ‘Trace of a Bird.’ Mentions of the author?”
“Sang Young Ju, the director on the rise, shares his success factors for the movie ‘Trace of a Bird.'”
“‘Trace of a Bird’ presents a new potential in Korean film!”
“The author of ‘Trace of a Bird’ remains silent. Publishing company states ‘translation in progress.'”
“‘Yun Woo fever’ hits the Korean peninsula! How did he get to where he is?”
“So, what do you wanna do?” Nam Kyung asked with a cup of Job’s Tears tea in front of him, and Juho contemplated on how to answer his question.
“I’m not sure.”
“About what?” a husky voice interjected all of a sudden, and the man looked briefly around the botanical garden until Juho came to view.
Nam Kyung and Sang Young. It had been a while since the three had met together. Despite having directed a movie that had reached ten million viewers, the director still insisted on wearing his old, dusty pair of blue jeans.
“You face it like Yun Woo. I can speak on your behalf if you write me a few things,” Sang Young said.
The three had come together to discuss a matter regarding ‘Trace of a Bird,’ the movie, which had reached ten million viewers. After discussing with the publishing company and the director, Juho had agreed to write out a review of the movie instead of being interviewed. It was a similar tactic to the one used at the award ceremony for the Dong Kyung Literary Award. Considering how well it was received back then, Juho had decided to take a similar action. Of course, there would be no progress without the author’s consent, and both Nam Kyung and Sang Young had come to the garden to convince Yun Woo.
“Would anybody bother to read my review?”
“You have no idea how hectic it is at my office right now. The entrance is flooding with reporters desperate to hear something from you. I even saw them interviewing some of our staff who had nothing to do with you.”
Neither Nam Kyung or Sang Young were at the garden for no apparent reason.
“I’m sure things will die down eventually.”
“I doubt it. If anything, it’ll get worse.”
“It’s not like I’m winning an award or anything. Isn’t this a little awkward?”
“What do you mean? It’s more awkward that you’re not saying anything. This is nothing different from the award ceremony. In fact, think of it as ‘thoughts on the movie reaching ten million viewers,'” Sang Young said, and let out a hearty laughter. He seemed like he was in a great mood and he had every reason to be.
“But I have a translation gig to worry about,” Juho said.
To which, Nam Kyung answered, “I know that you knock out at least twenty pages a day.”
“I’m just saying that I’d like to focus on it as much as possible.”
“It’ll barely take any time. You can write as little as five lines.”
“That’s just insincere though.”
“I guess you gotta write to your heart’s content then, Mr. Woo.”
At Nam Kyung’s words, everyone grew silent, and the two men waited for Juho’s decision patiently. While the young author took time to think, it wasn’t long before he reached a conclusion. It was something to be undoubtedly grateful for that a film adaptation of his movie had reached ten million viewers, and writing a review on it wasn’t a difficult task by any means. If it meant making his readers happy, Juho was more than willing to pick up his pen. Besides, the two men he was indebted to the most were sitting in front of him.
Amid the loud cheers, Juho took a pen and a notepad out of his pocket, and a puzzled look appeared on the two men’s faces.
“In fact, I’ll write one right now.”
“Yes, now,” Juho reiterated.
“You can write anywhere, right?”
… As long as there was pen and paper. Depending on the situation and the person, writing was more than possible even without them.
“It’s quiet here, so it should be OK.”
As long the two remained quiet, there would be plenty of silence in the secluded area within the botanical garden, separated from the outside world by an old door. Nam Kyung and Sang Young agreed willingly.
After taking some time to organize his thoughts, Juho opened his notepad and began to write out his review on it. The words in his head began to take shape as the black ink filled the white pages, and no one dared to make a sound.
“This is a bit awkward,” Juho said as the two kept their eyes fixated on his hands.
Despite the silence, Juho was uncomfortable with them gazing at him, and as he looked up, Sang Young said caressly, “Well, what does one do when watching Yun Woo writing before their eyes?”
“I’m OK with that to a degree. You guys are looking at my hands like you want to burn a hole through them.”
“Pff. Don’t be cute now. There are three pairs of eyes here at most. Two of them being yours.”
The director wasn’t about to let up anytime soon.
“Why don’t you text your wife or something?” Juho suggested.
“We don’t need anything like that to stay connected. Call it a telepathic bond.”
Then, Juho looked away from him and asked Nam Kyung, “Don’t you have any manuscripts that you need to be looking at? You have to work overtime if you fall behind, don’t you?”
“How can even I dare to bring my work with me when I’m meeting with you, Mr. Woo?”
While Sang Young declared openly that he insisted on watching, Nam Kyung quietly agreed from the side. Left with no choice, Juho moved his hands busily and wrote out his appreciation for his fans as he endured the two giving him piercing gazes. Though unintentional, it almost felt as if he were in middle of a training session of sorts, and as he came to accept the reality of the situation, Juho decided to get it done as quickly as possible.
“Man! He’s fast.”
“So, that’s how he writes.”
Though he heard murmurs from time to time, Juho kept on writing as he tried to ignore them to the best of his abilities.
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