With this update, I’m going to address a warranted but unvoiced concern about translation accuracy. The main thing I was made to address right now is units of measure.
As some of you Chinese readers who might know, there are units like ‘jin’ and ‘mu’ in the story. I translated them into ‘kilos’ and ‘acres’, even though they’re not of the right context. We know too much localization liberties can basically turn a translation into a disaster, so why did I go for that?
The reason is because of the premise itself, and also in large part due to China’s history with units of measure. Whenever a Chinese author says ‘jin’ or ‘mu’, both of them mean the Chinese Pound and the Chinese Acre. However, Chinese jin is exactly half a metric kilo (currently 500 grams) while an acre is an imperial unit of measure. They just don’t add up to each other.
I assumed (probably with great accuracy) that the author is leading us to believe that both China and Ark Continent use the same units of Chinese measurement. Assuming that is really the case, it’s a pitfall of worldbuilding. A western fantasy world using Chinese measurements? How does it add up, right? But I’m not about to slam this aspect of the story, because if I am allowed to assume again that weight measurement tools in Ark Continent are the same as how Chinese tools started out, then it can probably be tolerated.
This is where China’s history with units of measurement comes into play. During the post-abdication times (the infamous Qing Dynasty collapse), and all the way to Republic times, China was undergoing a decades long process of adapting the metric units. Kilo, being a staple of metric measure, is naturally the unit to use when referring to weight. With how the farm and rural areas had been spared from forced ‘metrication’, the Chinese measurements had managed to survive until this day.
I just think that it’s stupid to translate every ‘jin’ and ‘mu’ to Chinese Kilo, Chinese Acre, Jin, Mu, and whatever. It breaks the immersion that Ark Continent is a very western world (even though there are different ethnicities later on), and it’s simply too cumbersome to refer to the real kilo as Metric Kilograms each and every single time. So please keep in mind that every kilo in the story is basically 500 grams due to being Chinese kilo, and every acre is a Chinese acre (about 614 square metres).
It’s not hard to imagine that, in a working world with similar measure units as old China, the basic names of units can be used in a general manner without getting too specific and convoluted. In our everyday lives, there are only a few units we actually roll out with our tongues, and this is evident in the source writing of this story and many others.
With all of the above clarified, I hope you enjoy these chapters, and as always…..