Chinese 同桌凶猛

Discussion in 'Novel Pickup Request' started by kkgoh, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Name: 同桌凶猛 (no idea what an appropriate translation would be ... "My Sassy Deskmate"?)
    Raw Link: https://www.uukanshu.com/b/82935/
    NU Link: N/A
    Why It Should Get Picked Up:
    It's finally happened. We've been inundated for decades with all kinds of Cinderella-type kdrama/cdrama. You know the one where a plucky female protagonist gets spurned by her lover and eventually claws her way back up to the top with her own resolve, usually with some help from a much better love interest.

    This novel is basically the gender-reversed version, where the protagonist is a guy and the one in power is the woman. The author is a young male Chinese. And it's trending on Qidian as top recommended new novel.
    Just pause for a moment and take that in.

    Yea I know the odds of translating something currently on Qidian is pretty low. Just figured I'd put it out there.


    Description:
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    An earnest but down-and-out young man Chen Shu life starts to crumble when his long-time girlfriend leaves him for a richer man (ok I'll acknowledge this is probably a satire of "mercenary" Chinese women). He starts life anew and along the way, encounters his former classmate who's now a successful film star (non-adult), only he doesn't recognize her since she used to be an ugly duckling.
    That's all I got. I'm only at Chapter 10, there's 188 chapters so far. But it's been 10 chapters of gold.

    The writing is detailed with a lot of quips and witty banter from all characters. No excessive exposition, plot moves along quickly and it's linked with the entertainment industry. Reminds me A LOT of Top Management.
    MC is an earnest, likable guy with a great sense of humor. But when push-comes-to-shove he can hold his own despite the odds stacked against him. It makes the interaction with his love interest pretty entertaining when he spoofs the damsel-in-distress role.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  2. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to cancel my own novel request.
    I'd just barely give it 4/5 stars, which just isn't enough for translators to waste time on.

    Read all the way up to Chapter 180, which is almost at the end of the novel?
    The novel has REALLY witty writing and some brilliant moments. The characters are all very unique and very fascinating.
    If this type of writing skill was blended with Top Management, then you'd have the best modern-day novel about the asian entertainment industry ever written.

    But the narrative structure and story planning is ABSOLUTELY dismal. There basically aren't any arcs, it's slice-of-life all the way which is problematic when the plot is supposed to be about a talented but downtrodden man who works his way up the corporate ladder.

    You could read genuinely amusing banter, but you can't read it for 10-20 chapters straight.
    Tons of plot devices and side characters introduced and then completely forgotten, such as:
    - MC writes a successful script early on but it's forgotten for tons of chapters,
    - the drama they based the script on hasn't come to fruition even after 100 chapters which is more than half the novel,
    - the MC has two close buddies who have their own mini-arcs on and off, which could have been interesting but poorly/never developed,
    - potential love rivals/interests appear and almost immediately disappear,
    - very little tension between MC and female lead, they just progress naturally to like each other, which is actually normal by societal standards, but this is a novel so isn't it supposed to dialed up to 11?
    - MC and female lead were childhood friends, it's hinted their shared history is supposed to be really important, basically a MacGuffin, but then it eventually doesn't matter. It's a completely pointless red-herring, in which case it should have never be introduced.
    So you have a MacGuffin that became a red-herring. Which is incredibly stupid writing.

    Feels like this novel was just a poorly made-for-tv script by the author, who got turned down by the studios, and so he hacked it into regular intervals to make the word count and post online as a webnovel.
     
  3. judairu

    judairu Well-Known Member

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    Looked really interesting and then I read your follow up :blobfearful:
     
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  4. kkgoh

    kkgoh Well-Known Member

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    Yea, author is really skilled at writing witty dialogues so I got hoodwinked, kinda like The Legendary Mechanic.
    Tried to convince myself that it had to get better if I read further in, but some issues for translators to take note of ...

    - The title is completely misleading. Definitely NOT a kmovie "sassy girl" type situation, although the female lead is definitely competent and successful.
    - The first 20 chapters are great. Then it's completely boring till maybe chapter 60-70+ onwards. This repeats itself ... dozens of chapters of absolute nothing, then a few good chapters, then crap again.
    - It was under Qidian's top 3 recommendations. If you search for it, it seems to be listed under the "Men's" section, although I'm guessing this kind of novel appeals to a female audience too. Maybe that's why it got upvoted so much.
    - A lot of the best jokes are Chinese homonyms, which makes it even harder to translate.
    - Chapter lengths are LONG, average 3100-3500 characters per chapter, with quite a few 4000 character chapters appearing.

    Overall I'm think there's little justification for a translator to spend that much time on this project. Doubt it'll be profitable/worth the time.
    But if you're a translator, don't take my word for it. Maybe check out the first 30-40 chapters before deciding.