Q/kakashi: I hear that the response from Chinese fans to the launch of the Wang Kai International website (http://www.wangkaiinternational.com/) has been phenomenal, with Weibo literally exploding! Congrats to all of you!! How do you explain this response?
Eleanor: I think part of it is surprise that he has international fans and maybe also surprise that we are just as much in love with him as his Chinese fans.
moonlil: We were expecting some response, but not really this much. I think it is also because the official Chinese fan club iwangkai lent us a hand and forwarded the weibo for us, which is how many fans became aware of us. We’re very very grateful for their help, also in forwarding the last interview. Also I guess it was because of the timing. I saw many fans in China couldn’t sleep well because of the “battles” going on, so knowing there is more support out there may have contributed to a rise in spirits.
Joyce: A big part of it is definitely delighted surprise. Kaikai has been having such a great breakout year that this is like a another piece of evidence to the case of Kaikai being wonderful. Chinese entertainment industry has always been kinda isolated from the rest of the world, of which a lack of translations and a giant cultural divide is just some of the problems. Being able to see such positive response from overseas shows a coming of age perhaps for the industry in general and certainly brings a lot of pride to the people.
Q: Do you guys get any sleep between running the website, squeeing over Kai Kai and responding to thousands of comments on social media?
I’m probably better off with sleep than Eleanor, but my eyes might need some break, haha. I’m not quite used to seeing so many comments and likes popping up almost every second. It was quite a powerful experience! Also, just like Eleanor, RL is feeling a little neglected. But then again, it should only be the initial excitement, and things are starting to calm down.
Haha Eleanore does a lot of the work. I’m responsible for fangirling sedately (pah, oxymoron!)
Q: What were some of the most noteworthy responses you got? Which ones are your personal favorites?My personal favourites have been the comments that moonlil translated for me. Here are a couple: "that's MY husband, not for sale" and "love rival, so good to see u". It has also been lovely to chat with his Chinese fans. I even chatted with someone about loving K-pop! They have messaged me and welcomed me. One person said: “Welcome to our lovely family~” and I have really felt that. Welcomed and loved. It’s actually made me tear up sometimes. It gives me hope that the world really can get along. That all we need is love. I know that sounds completely sappy, but really, it has been amazing to see how much love there is. Love for Kai Kai and love for his fans.
I took a little more freedom on that translation with the “husband for sale”, haha, I was focusing on getting the feelings right on that one, so the translation might not be too true to the original, but I liked that one too. My absolute favorite is this one though: “one husband one dream”. Other noteworthy responses other than suggestions for our fanclub...the ones teasing Kaikai’s English skills maybe? Or the ones where we were told that we “inspired” other people to study English. Those were all very cute. :D
I’ve not been active too much on Weibo but the responses I like best all have to do with solidarity. We all know the unpleasant circumstances which pushed forth the site’s launch date and it’s great to know that there are more people with a sense of justice and love out there than not. “We are all family” and “Don’t worry, we’ll keep watch when you’re asleep” really gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I look forward to the day when the sun does not set over Kaikai fans or perhaps we’re already there?
Q: I also hear you have many people lining up to help you with translations and stuff. How are you going to coordinate all this?Erm. I am working on getting together an admin board meeting Google doc while still trying to juggle RL, SNSing, squeeing, etc. I haven’t really had much time to watch drama. So I feel a little crazy. I think that sometimes people don’t realize how much is happening behind the scenes - conversations between website members etc. So trying to field all of it is a little overwhelming. We do have a solid group, but it will take a little while for everything to get organized. We are working on things, so everyone please wait for us!
The fans on Weibo
I’ll agree with anything you guys end up planning.
Q: Have you heard from the man himself yet? He must notice at some point!I wish! haha. Actually I’m really nervous that he’ll read the interview. I think moonlil told me that iwangkai were reposting it etc. in hopes that he would read it. So who knows. I have had several people tell me and moonlil also let me know, that fans are saying that his English isn’t so good, so his company needs to pay for him to get English lessons so he can read our website (which sadly is blocked in China as is your blog T__T - though some people have been able to get around it). Maybe I should let them know I’m a professional English teacher. Hahahahahaha. I’ll gladly tutor him!
I hear the first one was translated into Chinese :) Your chances to get noticed just skyrocketed!! But he definitely needs those English lessons. From you, Eleanor, of course.
On that translation, I was quite positively surprised. Because we’re all a little busy currently and also a little overwhelmed by the effect on Weibo, we didn’t actually have time to translate it anytime soon. But some of the fans on Weibo volunteered to do the work, and by the end of the day, there it was! It was by more than one person too! Thank you so much guys!! You’re awesome!
It would be icing on the cake if Kaikai could say hi! He doesn’t even need to worry about lack of English since there’s tons of people lined up to teach him already. I haven’t actually read the translation yet, yet another thing added to my todo list.
Q: I, personally, am a total newbie to C-Drama - for year and years, I’ve just watched Korean shows. The quality of the Chinese shows I’ve seen this year (Nirvana in Fire, The Disguiser, part of Good Time and part of Love Me If You Dare) is absolutely amazing! In fact, they’re all so much better than the average Korean show! Has this always been the case and I just missed out on this completely or do you guys actually see a change happening in terms of quality / production values? If yes, what do you think are the reasons?I don’t know. I’m also a total noob when it comes to C-drama.
I haven’t watched much of Korean dramas, except for two last year, so I can’t really say. I used to watch a lot of C-drama, but also not in recent years. There definitely were overall improvements, both in quality and in the genres, especially due to the rise in online novels. But from what I saw off and on in recent years, I’m afraid to say that with a few exceptions, didn’t miss out on much in those years. Hairstyle and costumes in period dramas look a bit too creative, the characters rather superficial. Modern dramas for young people are just Cinderella stories, in which faces and names might be the only difference. Contents of novels that get filmed get less respected, and so on. Even war dramas look more superficial and bland. Many of the dramas I watched in 2008 are much better than some C-dramas I watched last year. I could go on ranting. The industry seem to be out on fast cash. As long as they reap returns asap, they don’t really care what they produce, because all you need are pretty faces, some gossips, bright costumes and they can already have a banquet on those people’s fans, then shove all of the blame on competitors, on state policies, on society and they get away with it. But with this year’s development, refreshing trends are being set in C-dramas, C-movies, even C-cartoons, I’m a bit more optimistic. I’m hoping this will bar the future Chinese film industry from continuing on this off-track they are on now and get back to the core of filming. From media reception and certain online going-ons, the message has gotten across to them it seems.
Well you got me here Kakashi, I’m probably a rare breed of people who’ve actually not watched any Korean drama. Mostly because of the way I choose what dramas to watch (throw things at the wall and see what sticks) and personal preferences. I can’t do a good comparison but in my mind Korean drama consists of a lot of romance/relationship focused storylines which unfortunately is not what I enjoy in dramas. Relationships I feel are like the spice of life and I cannot take them in large proportions - especially if they’re of the childish kind.
Chinese drama often is able to make a good mix of romantic/other relationships in their stories which I really appreciate. Production of Chinese drama has definitely improved in terms of screenplay and making sleeker finishes. There is still a lot of tripe out there but overall I think the advantage is that there is no lack in terms of variety of genre, topic of focus, quality of script and actors who can act. There’s definately oldie goldies which I feel should have gotten more attention.
Also the practise of not filming as the series is broadcasted also helps in terms of creating a coherent story line. A lot of problem arises when you alter the story in order to chase ratings. You end up just churning out commercially viable copies instead of a drama that has it’s own personality and value.
There are actually some really awesome Korean dramas that aren’t about romance (Cruel City being my absolute favourite). Of course the trendy dramas often are, but there are some good ones out there :)
Q: We are so dang grateful for you guys who sub these dramas for us! I am not sure if it’s true, but I have a feeling that the Korean to English-subbing community is bigger than the Chinese to English-community. Is that the case in your experience?Yes! Thank you subbers!
*Turns to Joyce* I joined quite late, and haven’t done any subbing before that, can’t coment on that. Credits goes to Joyce and others.
NiF was my first attempt a subbing and yes, I have the feeling that Chinese-English subbing community is very small - but it’s growing! When you look through the Chinese dramas on Viki, it’s almost always the same group of people and all are doing it part-time. Legend of Zhen Huan from 3 years ago took about 2 years to finish subbing on Viki - albeit a long a difficult drama but that kind of lead time is enough to tire out the most diehard of fans. The rate at which NiF and Disguiser was done is a significant improvement.
Q: I was thinking that the hardsubbed Mandarin subtitles may speed up the translation process overall (because you do not need to rely on what you hear only), is that true?I’d say it certainly does, because at times the characters don’t speak clearly or loudly enough. However it might be a little annoying when watching or checking the subs because they tend to overlay.
Yes it does, especially in term of clarifying the exact term that was used. I’m sure many people have experiences with Chinese where multiple words sound the same but have wildly different meanings. This becomes even more significant in period drama where things are often conveyed in sparingly little words or rare terms not used in modern Chinese.
Q: What is the hardest thing for you subbers when doing Chinese to English translations?Not much experience on my part, but I guess it’s the references and backgrounds. For Nirvana, it’d be the titles and courtesies, even poems and lyrics of songs, but also trying to maintain the speaking habits of people from that time. For Disguiser, it’s the historical and political background and some subtleties in the dialogues. Remember the looonng posts in your blog’s comments? Hahaha. You can’t stuff everything into the subtitles, and you can’t be too direct in your translations which would spoil the hints. It was both fun and difficult to work on those projects.
The hardest was how to convey the same tone and meaning. There are phrases in English and Chinese that just make sense in their native language but have no equivalent in the other. The challenge is how you get those underlying meanings through in period appropriate language. NiF’s provided more of a challenge in that sense since for a while I was toying with the making the English translations sound Victorian XD. Apart from that NiF also made use of more period speech and direct quotes from texts that are hard to condense down into English scripts.
Q: How does it feel to be a bridge-builder between “the West” and China? :DHonored and nervous? lol Sounds too politically correct, doesn’t it? :D It is quite exciting to know, that we can help to spread the love for C-drama and also to improve the understanding between different cultures and to connect them, some of whom might not even have been interested before. Nervous because, well I don’t want to do anything wrong, lol. Don’t want to create misunderstandings or scare people away I guess, because sometimes languages are sensitive, especially if you can’t find the exact translation for the word.
Good gracious, I really don’t think I’m good enough to be considered a bridge builder yet XD. That is an enterprise that will require a lifetime of work and dedication.
Q: Finally, if you had one wish related to Wang Kai or C-Drama in general from Santa, what would it be?I’m afraid to say it out loud. I would like for him to know we exist.
Awww, is that all? :D You are so pure-minded… (well I do have delusional fangirl wishes too)
Too many, can’t decide...Since Eleanor already said that one...I’d really love to see him in a stage play one day, and/or for him to produce and audio book, never mind if he’s reading out the periodic table, Grimm’s fairy tales or Higashino’s mysteries, he just needs to read one. :D Ok, that’s 2...Then maybe, for this year, I just wish for him to be truly happy, freed from all those noises and evil words, wish for those shadows around him to disappear and return peace to him. This is what I wish for him the most this year.
Can Kaikai please come to Down Under - even for a holiday? We don’t have silly temperatures like -20C and the weather is nice all year round. At least Wu Lei came to New Zealand - see me and Moonlil’s little spy/detective work on twitter to understand. I know there’s not that many people here and we’re kinda in the middle of nowhere but I’m here right? My wish for C-drama, please churn out less Republican and Resistance era dramas, I’m getting them all mixed up!
Thank you for the interview Kakashi!
Thank you for inviting me Kakashi :D