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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Please tell me a way to get a hold of Mr. Woo,” Nam Kyung read the email he had received out loud. It had been sent by a person by the name of Taylor Sanders, the translator who had translated the sensational ‘Language of God’ into English. “I’d like to meet with Yun Woo.” The reason the editor was taken aback was because that same translator had previously rejected the opportunity to meet with Yun Woo in person. It was a well-known anecdote in the publishing industry.
“So, even the almighty Sanders is struggling with ‘Sublimation,’ huh?”
Sanders was also the translator in charge of translating ‘Sublimation,’ which was scheduled to be published in the near future. Although having translated an entire epic novel series without even an ounce of help from the author, Sanders was struggling to make progress with ‘Sublimation.’
According to the translator’s own words, he was not confident in his work in translating ‘Sublimation,’ and Nam Kyung was able to relate to the situation Sanders had found himself in. They were both in the position of having to work with Yun Woo’s sentences directly. The young author’s sentences were like beams of light that inevitably cast shadows over those standing behind them.
“Well, better talk to Mr. Woo first before I write back to him.”
The editor rose from his seat and went out to the terrace. Decorated with man-made flowerpots, there were benches available on the terrace. Leaning against the silver rail, Nam Kyung dialed the number, chuckling as he was reminded of the sheer number of people who were desperate to know it.
“Mr. Woo! This is Nam Kyung.”
“Hello, what can I do for you?”
A dry voice contradictory to his dazzling fame sounded off from the receiver, and after clearing his throat, Nam Kyung got to the point. The young author had hardly changed from the time Nam Kyung had first met him.
“I’m sure you know who Taylor Sanders is, right?”
“Yes, he translated my novels, didn’t he?” the young author said with a crisp voice, and Nam Kyung fixed his eyes on the pointed tower of a church in the distance.
“Precisely. So, it turns out he wishes to have a word with you.”
“Yes, regarding his most recent project, ‘Sublimation.’ It appears that there’s something about the ending of the novel that’s bothering him.” Nam Kyung said, adding the latter half of the sentence while the young author remained silent.
“I hope you understand, Mr. Woo. The ending to that novel, in particular, is quite the punishment for those who have to work with those sentences directly.”
At that, instead of an answer, a dry chuckle came from the receiver of the editor’s phone. ‘I mean, if THE Taylor Sanders is struggling with it, that says it all,’ Nam Kyung thought to himself and asked the author for his decision.
“What would you like to do?”
“Mr. Sanders is in the US, right?”
“Yes, but he told me that he’s more than willing to fly to Korea as long as you’re willing to meet with him in person.”
Sanders had stated that he was willing to visit Korea at any given moment in his email to the editor.
“Well, if I can be of any help, then of course, I’ll meet with him,” the young author answered briefly. Nam Kyung thought of Sanders waiting anxiously for his reply. Those who knew nothing about Yun Woo would have no idea of how unfazed Yun Woo was at all times, distracted by the colorful images surrounding the author.
“Yes, hi. Then I’ll go ahead and arrange a meeting with him.”
With that, Nam Kyung wrote back to Sanders without a delay.
The day after the translator’s arrival, Nam Kyung was on his way to pick up Yun Woo. The weather couldn’t be any better.
“You put your seatbelt on?”
Noticing Yun Woo slowly looking around his car, Nam Kyung drove gently and headed to a famous Korean restaurant in Gangnam that provided private rooms for their guests. Closed-off space was a must when meeting someone with Yun Woo, and Nam Kyung said while driving, “From what I hear, Mr. Sanders has been getting a lot of attention.”
“Yes, I saw the articles.”
When an author won an award, a series of in-depth analysis of the results followed, and among them, were opinions on the translators. Having thoroughly translated Yun Woo’s writing into English, Sanders started growing in popularity in Korea after the young writer won the Nebula Award.
“It seems like he’s been getting overwhelmed with questions too, questions of whether he’s ever met you.”
“But we never have.”
“That’s not an answer a journalist would settle for, unfortunately. Well, I guess my position is not all that different from Sanders’.”
On top of the journalists, even people around Nam Kyung flooded him with questions since they knew he was Yun Woo’s editor:
“Show me a picture of him, will ya?”
“Can you let me talk to him on the phone, just this once?”
“What’s Yun Woo been up to these days?”
The list went on.
“So how do you go about handling that predicament?”
“I tell them that I’m not looking to get buried alive in the industry for leaking information about Yun Woo.”
“Buried alive, huh.”
“Oh, it’s far from being an overstatement. Trust me. Even the foreign press would start raving about it. ‘According to Nam Kyung Park, Yun Woo’s editor-in-charge, the winner of the Nebula Award is such and such.'”
Now that Yun Woo had won the award, any mention of him would spread to an international scale, and Nam Kyung was fully aware of that.
“That’s what I should’ve said while I could, anyway. When I didn’t have to worry about the aftermath as much.”
“The higher you go, the scarier the fall gets.”
The higher one climbed, the more terrifying the height became. Made curious by Juho’s calm and unfazed remark, he wondered, ‘Then, what does that mean for him? He’s already so high up when he hasn’t even graduated high school. Treated as a national author, the youngest, first Asian and Korean winner of a literary award with half a century of history, and now, aiming for the double crown. How terrifying of a height would that be? I can only imagine.’
“Yawn,” the young author yawned quietly.
“Did you not sleep well last night?”
“I was writing. I’ve been working on a piece to have exhibited at my school.”
Upon hearing Juho’s answer, Nam Kyung let out a chuckle.
“Man, I wonder how your friends will react once they find out who actually wrote that.”
“I’m sure it’ll draw more attention.”
Nam Kyung glanced over in Juho’s direction at his nonchalant remark. He was well aware that the young author knew what he was saying, yet his response was as indifferent as ever.
“When you slap the name Yun Woo on to a piece of stool, people suddenly see it as a gold nugget.”
“It won’t mask the smell though. Readers aren’t that stupid, and they won’t fall for a trick like that just from the name they’re seeing.”
Despite his accomplishments, Juho was still a student in uniform, active in a Literature Club at his school, who came with a piece of writing every now and then. However, if that had been the extent of his talent, there wouldn’t have been a need for a sense of responsibility like the one he was showing. At that moment, the car shook slightly.
“Are you looking forward to meeting Mr. Sanders?”
“Yes. I’m curious of what he has to say.”
Then, glancing over in Juho’s direction once again and seeing the peaceful look about him, Nam Kyung looked straight ahead. The editor genuinely hoped that the young author would stay up in the sky for much longer and without any burdens, writing as he soared up even higher, learning and experiencing even more things.
“You can get some shut-eye until we get there.”
“Oh, it’s not that bad.”
At that, Nam Kyung pressed harder on the gas pedal.
“Sir, your party has arrived.”
Not too long after their arrival, a voice said to the editor and made him flinch. The seat next to him was empty. Yun Woo had gone to the restroom, so Nam Kyung rose from his seat in order to greet the guest.
Then, as a male manager capable of interacting with foreign customers opened the door, the significantly older translator greeted Nam Nam Kyung in English, sounding slightly rigid.
“Pleasure to have you, Mr. Sanders. I appreciate you coming all the way here from so far.”
Then, Sanders smiled brightly and said, “Oh, no. It’s always a pleasure to visit a country I’m not familiar with. Even if it’s for work.”
The two sat down after exchanging a handshake, with Sanders sitting across from Nam Kyung. Because there was space carved out for the feet, the translator didn’t have to sit in a way that was awkward and uncomfortable for him.
“Is Mr. Woo here, yet?” Sanders asked, and Nam Kyung waved his hand in denial and said “Oh, no. He’ll be here any minute now. We came together.”
“Ah, I see.”
From his eyes, Nam Kyung was made certain of how curious the translator was. Yet, he was the same translator who had refused to meet with Yun Woo while translating ‘Language of God.’
“So, Mr. Woo is…”
As Sanders said after taking a sip of water, the door opened, and the translator looked toward it by reflex. There was a young person standing at the door. Then, recognizing that shift in the expression on Sanders’ face, Nam Kyung greeted the young author in a hurry.
“Ah, speak of the devil!”
“Sorry, I had some trouble remembering how to get back.”
As the translator spoke to the young author in English, the young author answered also in English, impressing the translator.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Woo.”
That time, the words that came out of the translator’s mouth were in Korean.
Taking his hands off of the automatic water faucet, Juho walked out of the restroom while shaking the moisture from his hand. Then, as he made his way back to the room, he realized that he had trouble remembering how to get back. Because all the doors looked identical, there was no way to know which one was the one he was looking for. In the end, after contemplating peeking into a room at random, Juho was able to return to the right room after asking an employee passing by. Upon opening the door, Juho saw a foreigner who he had never met sitting in the room.
It had to be Sanders. At the sight of the man’s chubby figure and bushy beard, a thought came to Juho that Santa Claus would have looked just like that when he was younger. Needless to say, he had never met Santa Claus in person, let alone a young Santa Claus, but something told him that that was how the Santa Claus in illustrations or advertisements would have looked before aging and leaving his hair and beard white. Sanders looked just like he had in the picture Juho had seen.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Woo.”
Hearing Santa Claus speaking in Korea made for a rather odd experience. Then, as the man introduced himself as Taylor Sanders, Juho bowed in response.
“Yun Woo. My real name is Juho Woo, but please feel free to call me whatever name you wish to call me by.”
As Juho introduced himself with clear enunciation, Sanders reiterated the young author’s name, his beard moving up and down with his mouth.
“It’s probably best to call you by your real name when we’re outside.”
“Speaking of which, congratulations on winning the Nebula Award! I wanted to tell you that when I met you.”
As assortments of side dishes and scrumptious-looking food made their way to the table, Sanders tasted each and every one of them, expressing interest. Then, bringing up the things that had taken place since his arrival and the places he had visited up to that point, the translator continued the conversation. The subjects of the conversations that were taking place during the meal effectively kept the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable. Unfortunately, looking away from Santa Claus, who was skilled in using a pair of chopsticks, was proving to be quite the challenge.
“I studied Chinese characters in college, and I’ve been translating compositions from all over Asia. Learning and translating Hangul was actually a relatively recent development. I gotta say, the language is quite charming. I fell in love with it and started looking into it before I even realized.”
The fluency with which he was speaking only proved his point further.
“So, have you read the translated version of ‘Language of God?'”
“Yes. I thought it was beautifully done. I was very grateful.”
Juho had read it. At the same time, he had been able to read it. Sanders’ translation contained an interpretation of his own. Despite having followed the original, strictly speaking, it was more accurate to consider it as a separate piece of writing. Nevertheless, that didn’t make it a bad thing. It was only natural. After all, what he had done was translate the book, not copy or transcribe it.
“‘Language of God’ was delightful. As a person obsessed with language, I’ve read it over and over. Repeatedly.”
“Were there any difficulties when translating that book?” Nam Kyung asked, and Sanders chuckled, looking and sounding even more like Santa Claus.
“Of course! It was a lot of work translating a world with such an elaborate structure. To be frank, Mr. Woo, your writing is on the trickier side for translators.”
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