Hi everyone, please see below the cut.
Firstly, to everyone who wrote words of support and encouragement and love after my last post, thank you, thank you, thank you. I genuinely appreciate every word and cried reading your messages. ❤
Let me think about how I should begin this. (LOL… doesn’t this sound a bit like one of MBFB’s afterwords?)
I’m sure that after last week’s post, most of you gathered what my decision was going to be. Yes, I have decided that it is time for me to bow out from the translation scene, and that is effective immediately. I will not even be finishing the translation for Unsung Friends, despite my great, great love for that novel. When I told Peanuts what my decision would be, she asked me, are you sure? I took another week, even after my post last week, to make sure that in my heart of hearts this is what I believe is right for me to do. Ultimately this decision is for me and about me; however, so many of you have shown care and support, and I really wanted to give you some insight into what led to this.
(The rest are my personal thoughts. If you only wanted to know the decision, please feel free to skip the remainder of this.)
This decision has been harder for me than anyone may realize. Prior to November, I never thought that I would be discontinuing translating now, much less stopping in the middle of a story. Coming this May, it would have been 7 years that I’ve been posting here on Fanatical, first beginning as a guest translator with posting my translation of Really, Really Miss You and ultimately becoming a permanent fixture with many other translations that followed. (Hehe, Peanuts didn’t know what she was getting into when she invited me.) I’ve placed much of myself and my heart into my translations, because I love the process of translating itself, I love many of the messages expressed within the novels, and I loved sharing and the discussion with readers that ensued after each post. I have many, many fond memories that are a direct result of translating and the readers here.
Translation itself is a genuine passion of mine. I enjoy the process of letting the original words roll through my mind and experiencing the feelings those words give, and then expressing the whole package—the words, the atmosphere, the feelings—in a completely different language. The joy I feel from figuring out the perfect phrasing after being stuck on one passage for days is something I cannot even express to you guys. (Geeky, huh? Yeah, I admit it.)
In November I found out that someone had copied every single one of my completed translations on this site and is selling them on Amazon. I experienced a myriad of negative emotions when I learned of this: anger, obviously, but also sadness, disappointment, betrayal, and anxiety. The incident affected me more deeply than I really wish to admit, and it made me reflect on why and how something like this could do so. And this led me to the awareness that perhaps I needed to ponder on whether I truly still belong on the translation scene.
These last couple of years I have actually been working on my stress and anxiety levels. I have actually manifested physical symptoms associated with anxiety. The translation process itself—sitting down with the novel, pondering upon word choices, analyzing characters and trying to find wording that is consistent with the traits the author bestowed upon them—is a form of relaxation to me; I love it. But I’ve realized that posting has actually become more of a stressor to me. I don’t want to admit it, because it makes me feel I’m hypersensitive, that I have a “glass heart” that shatters so easily, but in reality I do get affected by the negatives (for example, plagiarism, unauthorized copying, discouraging comments, etc.) associated with posting, and it exacerbates any anxiety in me. At times, it can affect me for days at a time. (Posting is not in itself the source of anxiety, but it can amplify what I am feeling.) Hence, for myself, I need to remove myself from the stressors and remove the stressors from me.
Also, inside myself I feel that that posting just is not the right thing for me to do anymore; I have poured much of myself into this blog, and it is time for me to withdraw. Too much of my identity has been built into the 2D world, and upon reflection, I realize I have neglected parts of my life in the 3D world. (RRMY readers will know what I mean by 2D and 3D world. 😉 ) I need to put myself back into real life, my family, and myself. I have told you guys before: when all else fades away, there are not many things more precious than your loved ones and health.
So ultimately, the decision is not directly related to the Amazon incident. That incident served as, perhaps, a straw that broke the camel’s back. Or, more accurately, the catalyst that made me realize that it is the end of a season. Seasons can last longer—and I’ve had a great season here—but all seasons eventually come to an end.
I’ve cried over this decision. I asked my husband why it was so hard to make this decision, because to other people, it just means shutting down an Internet ID, right? He told me, it’s because I value what I have here. Dear readers, please know that I value you, value your comments of encouragement, value the time we spent together. I will always carry with me the memories of us, the ardent bunch, having enthusiastic debates about the characters in Beautiful Bones. I will always remember introducing ancient-style songs here to you guys and marvelling together at how beautiful the lyrics are. I will always smile when I think about how we laughed together as we experienced the stories together. And how some of you told me how encouraged you were by The Healing Sunshine and Together Forever that you felt you could face the troubles that life was throwing at you and you could continue pressing onward. And how you told me you looked forward to reading my posts because they brought a slice of solace and comfort in an otherwise hectic life.
What a privilege I have had that, through this bit of translation work, I was able to impart a little bit of something in you. I think that will be the piece that I will remember the most, that through this little blog, I was given the honour of being a part of your life for a little while. Mo Bao Fei Bao once said, the link between a writer (and in my case, a translator) and a reader is actually very fragile; only one side needs to walk away, to either stop writing or stop reading, and that link is severed. However, I also believe that in the process of reading, some things will forever stay with you, the feelings you as readers experienced when you read the story and also the way you, the readers, made me feel with your comments of encouragement and gratitude.
I don’t think I’ll stop translating for myself in private, but I think it’s time to allow the internet ID “Hoju,” the translator, to gradually fade, and I will make myself fade out from this blog. (I will begin this by removing all Unsung Friends posts from here.) It’s time for me to let go of the old and look forward to new beginnings. I believe there are good things in store for me. Will you believe that with me?
I can’t say for sure whether this goodbye is permanent. ( Who knows, I may come back with a little comment about the drama adaptation of Beautiful Bones.) I had “retired” from translating once before I came out of retirement and started translating here on Fanatical. Perhaps one day I will be back. Or perhaps not.
Regardless, the last thing that Hoju wants to leave now with all of you is this: Thank you, everyone, for all your support and more than 6 years of memories. I will miss you. Know that you are loved and valued and important. I pray that as you go through your journey of life, may you have peace and joy and may health be with you. Press on! I believe there are good things in store for each of you, too. God bless!
The journey of life is shadowy and hard to tread, but press on and be honed with each step down its path.
— Mo Bao Fei Bao, from The Road Home
Even if there were but one centimetre of sunshine, it would still have its own searing heat.
— Mo Bao Fei Bao
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson