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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“This part here.”
Pushing the side dishes taking up space on the table to the side, Juho placed the manuscript on the table. Then, Nam Kyung and Sanders scanned through the sentence Juho was pointing to, the descriptive sentence intended to give the fire a frightening image.
“It’s actually quite convincing,” Juho said. Despite being in English, the fire was just as frightening according to the description, making it clear just how merciless it was. Where there was fire, humans also existed.
“And this part,” he said, pointing to another place on the manuscript. It was a description of God. Where there was fire, there were bound to be people who worshipped it. Deities of fire were commonly seen in both Eastern and Western mythology, including the Greek, Roman and Northern European myths. However, the description in ‘Sublimation’ had a stronger Eastern influence.
“There’s a slight liberal translation here, but I don’t think it’s an issue. You used concrete language here, right? I mean, that’s what people are used to in the US, so it probably makes it easier to read, if anything,” Juho said, quickly flipping through the pages to the end, with what Sanders had wrestled to no avail. It was where the writing style changed, when the characters doubt each other, all the while claiming their own innocence. After losing track of the preexisting boundaries, the characters wandered aimlessly, and in the end, all became one in nothingness. The tool that Juho had used to portray the scene effectively was another writing style.
“This here, though, leaves me wanting a little more.”
The stark contrast between the two writing styles was no longer there, united by the translator’s interpretation. In place of the precarious nature, there was only balance and stability. The suspense, the alienation, all gone. The balance Juho had managed to strike after trial and error was no longer there.
It was inevitable, but it wasn’t fair to treat Sanders as an incompetent translator. Then, the translator explained in a calm tone of voice. “I wrestled with that scene even at the cost of pushing the deadlines back, but to no avail.”
Looking at his translation with a serious look on his face, the mustache covering his mouth made him look like he was smiling, Sanders said, “And something tells me that you’ll never tell me how you wrote this, am I right?”
“No, unfortunately. That would take the fun out of it. If Easter Island didn’t have its mystery, the Moai, who would bother visiting it?”
“It’s a beautiful place, regardless. I’d love to go back.”
“I’m sorry, but it’ll have to stay a secret.”
“Well, that’s a bummer,” Sanders said, smacking his lips with lingering attachment. Then, he asked shortly after, “How can I make people accuse me of having another person translating on my behalf?”
Juho was well-acquainted with a remark like that, especially since bringing the new writing style to light.
“Let me tell you as a person with firsthand experience. It’s not going to be pleasant.”
“I’ll just have to face it then, I suppose. Personally, I’m one of those translators who believes that the distance between the original and the translation is actually beneficial to the original. Also, I prefer my interpretations to be part of my translations. But with ‘Sublimation,’ I made an exception and thought that I had to stay true to the original in its entirety. Although, I’m afraid I’m coming to the painful realization that it’s not possible,” Sanders said. In the ending of the book, at least, he wanted to keep the spirit of the original intact as much as possible. Being a translator with a career that spanned three decades, his words had weight. Then, after brief contemplation, Juho brought up the thought that came to him by impulse.
“Well, you can actually have another person translate on your behalf.”
Sanders remained silent, but his eyes were still smiling.
“You know, I did think about that, but you did it all by yourself…”
Then, Sanders paused for a little while as he immersed himself in thought.
“Does that mean you will translate?”
“I’m sorry, me?” As the author of the novel, translating it wasn’t the desirable of tasks for him. “I’m not sure about that.”
“And why is that, Mr. Woo?”
Then, like someone who had spotted an opportunity, Nam Kyung’s eyes widened.
“When the news gets out that you took part in the translation, it’ll be massive.”
“But there are plenty of other translators who are just as capable…”
“Yes, I’m sure, but nobody’s going to be able to measure up to you.”
As Juho looked away from Sanders’ persuasive argument, he felt the translator’s piercing gaze, coming at him like an arrow. Then, the translator looked at Juho with a look of surprise on his face.
“You don’t seem too enthusiastic about translating your own novel.”
“Yes, well. You see, I’m not fond of reading my own writing.”
To Juho, writing was a means of letting his emotions out. Anger, sorrow, depression, and cowardice. Taking the very emotions he had vomited out and putting them back into his mouth was undoubtedly repulsive. Looking at the young author frowning, Sanders swept his beard.
“I see. There are definitely authors out there who feel similarly.”
However, there also existed those who were heavily invested in the translation of Yun Woo’s books. Finding himself in a dilemma, Sanders moaned faintly.
“But if we’re to make this happen, your vision has to be in line with my translations, at least somewhat. We don’t want to mistranslate anything.”
“Right, and it’s definitely not that simple.”
Just as Sanders had said, Juho had to take Sanders’ translation into account as well. If the gap between the author’s vision and the translator’s interpretation was too wide, the overall quality would suffer, yielding undesirable results. On top of that, the change in writing style at the end of ‘Sublimation’ was not the only matter of concern. The content was also incredibly convoluted since everything that had built up to that point fell apart. In other words, there was a dire need for a translator who understood the novel better than anyone else, as well as how Sanders went about translating it. On top of that, he had to possess the skill to translate accordingly while leaving the content intact. Unfortunately, a translator like that was incredibly difficult to come by.
“It seems like Mr. Woo fits just that description,” Nam Kyung interjected.
‘Man, I should’ve been more careful with my words,’ Juho thought to himself with regret, and catching on to the young author’s hesitation, the editor kept on, “We’re talking about a very, very small amount of work. Is there no way, Mr. Woo?”
“I won’t ask you to do anything like this again, from now on. Do you think you can consider it, Mr. Woo? Just this time?”
While Juho was faced with a dilemma, Sanders opened his mouth and said, “Is it because you can’t write it again?”
At that, Juho set his thoughts aside and looked at him. The expression on his face made it clear that he wasn’t taunting him. If anything, Santa Claus always had a welcoming look about him.
“Is that what you think, Mr. Sanders?”
“Well, I don’t really know the truth, so I’m prone to think in whatever way makes sense.”
“Do you think we can make it seem like it was written by Yun Woo?”
“I don’t think there’s a single person on this planet who can do that better.”
Having trouble interpreting what the translator meant, Juho chuckled.
(TL’s Note: Remember, Yun Woo, is Woo Yun in Korea, meaning coincidence. Sanders is being ambiguous with his use of the word intentionally, and Juho isn’t sure if the translator is referring to his alias or coincidence.)
“All right, then,” he said. After all, it was his idea, and it wasn’t remotely as much work as translating an entire book. Although part of him was still reluctant, it occurred to him that he would be as good as dead if he didn’t voice his opinion, which made the situation all the more undesirable.
“What was that?”
“I’ll give it a shot.”
“Well then, I’ll be looking forward to it, Mr. Woo,” Sanders said, his eyes sparkling with anticipation. Meanwhile, Nam Kyung took his phone out and sent a text to someone in a hurry.
It dawned on Juho that there were quite a few things that he had to be involved in associated with ‘Sublimation.’ It was the nature of the novel, as well as Juho’s desire to make it entirely his. Humans who tried to conquer fire, those who reached for the unadulterated truth, they were all expressions of his identity, and considering how the novel was full of them, perhaps Juho’s desire simply made sense. After all, he was an author and the owner of the book.
Adam, the senior editor of Fernand, greeted the guest visiting his office, a journalist from one of the top magazines in the States. He was responsible for delivering news about Fernand to the rest of the world.
“Still as organized as ever,” the journalist said as he sat down, looking at the bookshelf against the wall, which was filled with books. They were organized by publishers, series, and the names of the authors, and looking at them brought Adam peace. Then, as he skillfully prepared for the interview, his secretary brought out a cup of tea for each of the two. With that, the interview began.
“First, I’d like to start off by asking a questions that’s been burning in my mind.”
“You know, I’ve always liked your style.”
Countless authors published their books through Fernand, including former presidents and spies. Most of the rookie authors who had published their books through the company had also been successful. The books chosen and edited by Adam tended to sell at an increasing rate, and he was well aware of which books the journalists would bring up, as well as which authors they wanted to bring up the most. As for the question, it was about an author who had experienced massive success recently.
“I’d like to ask about Yun Woo.”
“I’d love to answer that question, but I don’t know a whole lot about him unfortunately,” Adam said, bringing the tea mug up to his mouth.
“You don’t say?! Even you?!”
“That’s right. Yun Woo’s a mystery even to me.”
As the journalist’s eyes sparkled all the more with interest, Adam glanced over at the recording device on the side of the table.
“I haven’t started recording, yet.”
“Well, nothing? Even for the sake of my curiosity?”
“My curiosity is very much intact still.”
“You know, I’m not the only person who’s desperate for information on the youngest Nebula winner.”
“All right, why don’t we back up a little? As you said, he’s the youngest winner. He’s still a kid.”
“But his writing seems to say otherwise. It’s simply astonishing.”
Taking a sip of his tea, Adam placed his cup back down silently.
“Have you heard of his novel ‘Sublimation?'”
“Sure, it hasn’t been published in the States yet, but you’re working on it, as far as I’m aware.”
“Yes, you see, the translation was officially completed just yesterday.”
Then, Adam reached over and picked up the recording device. The cold, lifeless machine whirred in his hand.
“How’s the novel being received where Yun Woo’s from?” the editor asked
“It’s quite controversial, from what I heard, but a lot of people seem to think that it’s the best ending in literary history. At the same time, I also heard a rumor circulating that said he hired a ghostwriter. Oh, he took part in designing the book cover, apparently. The Black Book.”
“Yes, and Yun Woo also took part in translating the novel.”
“… Translation, huh.”
“His language skills need no explanation. I mean, he’s the Nebula winner.”
“My understanding is that translation takes more than fluency in the languages.”
“Right. Which is exactly where I’m getting at.”
“… Wait, what does that mean for Taylor Sanders, then?”
Adam had no intention of explaining every little detail to the journalist. The questions would be answered at once upon the release of the book. After all, Sanders would be able to offer some explanation in the “About the Translator” section.
“I read the translation of ‘Sublimation’ last night,’ Adam said, revisiting the question the journalist had asked earlier, and as the words stirred the journalist, the editor hit the record button on the device.
”Sublimation’ is Yun Woo’s first book since his Nebula Award, and I chose that book personally. The young, anonymous author. I mean, it doesn’t get any more charming than that. The adults who looked at him with doubt are moved to tears upon reading his book, and truth be told, I wouldn’t care even if the whole thing turned out to be a massive sham. It doesn’t matter who Yun Woo is. Whether he’s an old man on his deathbed or an alcoholic beyond recovery, nothing will change. His writing is, simply put, beautiful.”
Just as the title suggested, the phenomenon was nothing short of a sublimation. The novel had elevated the young author to a higher state, and Adam had never seen anything like it. He had never come across writing like that in his entire career as senior editor of Fernand. The heat and the sense of loss brought about fear, and upon reading it, the editor was made certain of its success in the States. Yun Woo wasn’t about to come crashing down any time soon.
“I can just see it. ‘Sublimation’ will be sensational and take Yun Woo to an even further place, and he’ll be even more mysterious, then.”
Because the journalist was yet to have read the book, he wasn’t able to sympathize with the editor’s words to their full potential.
“So, it’s pure literature by Yun Woo.”
At that, a smile closer to a sneer appeared on the senior editor’s face. What Yun Woo was about to show was much more intense. The readers would feel their identities disappear before their eyes. Yun Woo was anything but pure.
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