[Translation Analysis] "Taihua Instance" - "Dark/Negative/Malignant Qi" - "Stranger's Sword"

  • While there are MANY aspects of the English translation that need to be re-visited or, at times, entirely overhauled, there are a few key terms/names I feel the need to address in detail. Starting with the most straightforward of the 3:

    1) Taihua “Instance”

    The use of the word “instance” in the story translation has been incredibly confusing to me and many others. “Instance” (in this case) is a gaming term, which describes an often temporary, isolated copy of a zone that exists separately from the rest of the server (which functions in real time).
    There is no question that the word “instance” by itself is an inappropriate word choice for the story, contextually. The definition, however, may be a bit closer to what is being described.

    In the original Chinese dialogue, “Taihua Instance” is referred to as: 太华秘境 (Tàihuá Mìjìng).
    The term 秘境 (which was translated into “instance”) can be broken down into 2 parts:

    秘 (Mì) = “Secret”
    境 (Jìng) = “Boundary” or “Territory”

    Deconstructing the original term gives us a better understanding of what is actually being described in the story. Now in order to determine a more suitable English translation, we need more context:
    kTUTO7W.jpg

    xojoSG5.jpg

    From what is being described here, “Taihua Instance” is a guarded and enforced boundary/territory within Taihua mountain, where the evil dragon “Huangyu” is sealed away.

    Conclusion: I can now better understand why “Instance” was the chosen term, but a more suitable/appropriate term is still needed to replace it. Currently though, “Taihua Boundary” is the only alternative I can think of. Any further ideas would be appreciated.


    2) “Dark Qi” vs “Negative Qi” vs “Malignant Qi”


    These three terms are thrown around A LOT throughout the story, and sometimes multiple are used within the same quest or dialogue. At first I thought they were all inconsistent translations describing the same thing, but after carefully listening to the Chinese dialogue and referencing the original Chinese text, I realized they are in fact 3 different terms:

    > “Dark Qi” is translated from 浊气 (Zhuó Qì) in the original Chinese dialogue.

    浊 (Zhuó) = “Turbid” or “Muddied”

    Basically, 浊气 (Zhuó Qì) can be thought of as “Impure Qi” or “Contaminated Qi”.
    When something is considered “muddied”, it could imply something negative (such as “muddying the waters”).
    Therefore, “Dark Qi” is acceptable in this case.


    > “Negative Qi” is translated from 邪气 (Xié Qì) in the original Chinese dialogue.

    邪 (Xié) = “Evil” or “Demonic”

    Considering the literal translations of 浊气 (Zhuó Qì) and 邪气 (Xié Qì), they seem like very different extremes. However, the story dialogue clearly states that these two terms can be used interchangeably.
    Therefore, “Negative Qi” is acceptable for the sake of understanding (though not perfect).


    > “Malignant Qi” is translated from 阴气 (Yīn Qì) in the original Chinese dialogue.

    ---This is where I have an issue---

    阴 (Yīn) is the same “Yin” from “Yin and Yang”. It is the Dark/Feminine/Earthly Energy/Essence/Force/Principle within Nature/The Universe/The Dao (as opposed to “Yang”, which is the Light/Masculine/Heavenly Energy/Essence/Force/Principle within Nature/The Universe/The Dao).

    Like 气 (Qì) , 阴 (Yīn) is a widely understood Daoist concept/philosophy that does NOT have an English equivalent. It cannot, and should not be translated. Period.

    Now, (aside from the fact that “malignant” does NOT equate with “Yin”) the word “malignant” doesn’t even make sense within the context of the dialogue.
    “Malignant” is defined as something harmful in relation to an infectious disease or sinister intent. Yet whenever it is used in the dialogue, it is referred to in relation to medicine or healing.
    Yea - totally opposite to the definition of “malignant”.

    Here is an example:
    TWMytlp.jpg

    Another example, referring to the “Yinhua Spring”:
    qbks2WW.jpg

    See how this doesn’t make any sense?

    Conclusion: Please revert any reference to “Malignant Qi” back into the original Chinese pinyin as “Yin Qi”.
    “Malignant Qi” is a WILDLY inaccurate translation.



    3) “Stranger’s Sword”

    Oh boy. This is a tricky one, and I understand why there was some confusion when it came to translating this name (Spoiler: it’s not meant to be translated literally).

    “Stranger’s Sword” was translated from 陌胜剑 (MòShèng Jiàn) in the original Chinese dialogue.
    In fact, there are multiple instances in the English translation where it is still referred to as “Mosheng Sword”. An example:
    sptXM5S.jpg

    Here’s where the confusion starts. Before referencing the original Chinese text, and considering the English translation, I thought that the original characters were: 陌生剑 (Mòshēng jiàn).
    陌生 (Mòshēng) = “Strange”
    剑 (Jiàn) = “Sword”

    Doesn’t seem far off, right? But in order to get a literal translation of “Stranger’s Sword” out of this, it would need the addition of the character for “person” + the possesive, resulting in:
    陌生人的劍 (Mòshēng rén de jiàn).


    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut then I checked the original Chinese text, and realized the issue. The second character “Sheng” is different. Instead of 生 (Shēng), it is 胜 (Shèng):
    jlE1soC.jpg

    陌生 (Mòshēng) is a word, meaning “Strange”.
    陌胜 (Mòshèng) is NOT a word. In fact, due to the similarities of the second character (Sheng), translation sites like WordHippo get confused, and even Google will try to autocorrect you to 陌生 (Mòshēng) in Google images:
    Ur55sCF.png

    So let’s break down the CORRECT “Mosheng”:
    陌 (Mò) = “Path” or “Road”
    胜 (Shèng) = “Victory” or “Win”

    One could imagine the intended meaning of the name might be something along the lines of “Victorious Path”. Sounds more relevant to a super powerful Demonsword, right?
    Even still, like any character name, I don’t think “Mòshèng” is really meant to be translated literally. Like, it might HAVE a meaning behind it, but that doesn’t mean we’re meant to refer to it as such.

    Conclusion: I recommend reverting all mentions of “Stranger’s Sword” back into the original Chinese pinyin as “Mosheng Sword”.
    “Stranger’s Sword” is an inaccurate translation of the name.

  • Oh wow, THANK YOU, especially for explaining the 'malignant' Qi-stuff. I got really confused there at some point. At first I even thought that dark and negative were used interchangebly.
    Have you played the game with english voices? I know, some of them are really bad, but the text of the voice acting often doesn't match the written text and is a lot easier to understand (and not so riddled with grammar mistakes and typos ;) ).
    Uhm, well, obviously you wouldn't need that if you understand chinese anyway, just a suggestion for the few people actually following the story that don't speak chinese...

    Edit: Btw, I don't think 'Instance' is a bad translation in that case. Did many players get confused by that? It's not like instance is a word that is exclusively used by gamers.

    Another Edit: I just thought of a question that you may be able to answer. So some enemies are referred to as 'Devestators' and the Awakeners seem to worship something that is called the 'Great Devestator'. Are those related? I haven't finished the story yet, so I don't know whether this gets explained at all...

  • Zhirelia

    Added the Label Localization
  • Oh wow, THANK YOU, especially for explaining the 'malignant' Qi-stuff. I got really confused there at some point. At first I even thought that dark and negative were used interchangebly.
    Have you played the game with english voices? I know, some of them are really bad, but the text of the voice acting often doesn't match the written text and is a lot easier to understand (and not so riddled with grammar mistakes and typos ;) ).
    Uhm, well, obviously you wouldn't need that if you understand chinese anyway, just a suggestion for the few people actually following the story that don't speak chinese...

    I'm glad I could clear some of this up! 8o

    I play with the Chinese VA, exclusively. It was Chinese VA or bust for me, so I'm SERIOUSLY thankful to Gameforge and the devs for giving us a toggle option. Like, Gameforge is now my favorite publisher just from that alone xD
    And I would certainly HOPE that the English dub is grammatically sound. Can you imagine saying some of those Google translate-level sentences out loud as a native English speaker? LOL

    Anyway, I always play Eastern games with the original voice acting whenever possible. I even had to run a script to get Blade & Soul back into Korean every time I launched the game (when I played years ago). It was a major pain in the ass, but worth it. I have serious negative opinions about English dubs for Eastern games - especially games like SOLO that a culturally rich. Let's just say.....I had to mute the game when they were testing English VA during beta to save my ears (and my sanity) *facepalm*

    Edit: Btw, I don't think 'Instance' is a bad translation in that case. Did many players get confused by that? It's not like instance is a word that is exclusively used by gamers.

    Yea, I noticed a number of people pointing it out as confusing. The word "Instance" is not exclusive to gaming, but the gaming definition is the only relevant definition to its use here. And unless they are playing MMORPGs on computers in a Xianxia world, it really has no place here :D
    (A list of dictionary definitions of the word: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/instance )

    Unfortunately, even after determining and translating the original Chinese term, and even considering the context of "Taihua Instance", I still don't really understand what "Taihua Instance" IS. Either the English translation is missing key details, or we are missing some lore that is present in the previous RPGs from the franchise.
    Because so far, I don't recall ever seeing text that explicitly describes what "Taihua Instance" is and how it came to be. But again - idk how much of that is the fault of the English translation.

    Another Edit: I just thought of a question that you may be able to answer. So some enemies are referred to as 'Devestators' and the Awakeners seem to worship something that is called the 'Great Devestator'. Are those related? I haven't finished the story yet, so I don't know whether this gets explained at all...

    This took me a while to locate since the translated name "Devastator" has absolutely no relation to the original term/name (at least, not in a literal sense). I also don't recognize the Chinese term. So - to the dictionary! xD

    > "Devastator" is translated from 荒人 (Huāng rén) in the original Chinese dialogue.

    slhqZt3.pngYIG3M9M.png

    荒 (Huāng) = "Barren" or "Desolate"
    人 (Rén) = "Person" or "Human"

    So it's literally something along the lines of an empty shell of a human. Describing it like that, I HAVE run into a similar description within other Chinese literature.
    But, these "Devastators" look like your typical zombie - so the literal "Desolate Human" is fitting. It's moving, it's human(-ish), but there's nobody home, so-to-speak.

    > "Great Devastator" is translated from 荒神 (Huāng shén) in the original Chinese dialogue.

    dySCZIx.jpgvgcrWWL.png

    荒 (Huāng) = "Barren" or "Desolate
    "神 (Shén) = "God" or "Deity" or "Spirit"

    So the root of the name is the same (荒 / Huāng), and this could be something along the lines of "Desolate God". It's sounds weird.....this name by itself doesn't make much sense to me without more context. And as I explained in the previous post, sometimes things aren't meant to be translated or referred to in a literal way.
    I'd need to ask someone more knowledgeable in the language and/or the lore to flesh this out.


    As far as the English name "Devastator".......clearly it isn't directly accurate. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they chose the name due to the "devastation" these monsters cause.....I guess.... *shrug*

  • Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I really appreciate it! And again, simply knowing what the Devastators are originally called in the chinese version helps me understand this game a little bit better ;)

    Anyway, I always play Eastern games with the original voice acting whenever possible. I even had to run a script to get Blade & Soul back into Korean every time I launched the game (when I played years ago). It was a major pain in the ass, but worth it. I have serious negative opinions about English dubs for Eastern games - especially games like SOLO that a culturally rich. Let's just say.....I had to mute the game when they were testing English VA during beta to save my ears (and my sanity) *facepalm*

    Yes, I am usually the same and I am definitely going to change the VA to Chinese at some point. I'm just really bad at reading subtitles while playing action combat, so I wanted to try out English first. After I noticed how much the English VA helped me understand what was going on with the story I decided to keep it for now....
    But to be honest, some of the bad voice acting is just HILARIOUS, so I've kinda grown to like it.

  • I was just running through the earlier storyline on an alt, and was pleasantly surprised to see that all mentions of "Stranger's Sword" have indeed been reverted back to the original pinyin as "Mosheng Sword". This change is VERY much appreciated.
    (Still hoping that the "Malignant Qi" issue will be addressed as well (described in original post))

    Quite a number of previous translation errors have been fixed as well, and the Floral Palace story translation is overall very well done!
    So I'd like to say thank you to the localization team, and keep up the good work! <3