TNT: Additional Chinese Terminology

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.


This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering some more terms that will help you with Chinese novels. It’s Additonal Chinese Terminology!

Heavenly Tribulation: Cultivation in Chinese fantasy is often something that goes against the natural order of the world and provokes a natural response from the world. This is sometimes called a Heavenly Tribulation, and it often involves a trial where someone is forced to survive a huge natural disaster. It often takes the form of a bolt of lightning or series of bolts of lightning where the character will be forced to survive ever increasing powerful lightning. If someone antagonistic has it in their mind to interfere it can lead to disaster for the person facing the tribulation and may lead to their death.

Face: This may be obvious for those more politically minded than most of humanity, but the term face is a metaphor for respect. If you give someone “face” it’s letting them leave an argument or conversation with respect. If you don’t it’s often considered an incredible insult and you better be prepared to get your ass kicked thoroughly, if you are lucky you’ll live without being crippled. Sometimes giving face requires you to prostrate yourself or give up a valuable item in order to appease them.

Dantian: A term for a spot in the body a few horizontal finger lengths below the belly button. This is often tied to a persons Cultivation and having someone stab you in the Dantian will cripple you for life preventing you from ever cultivating again. It’s a very cruel way of dealing with someone without actually killing them.

I, Your Father/Grandfather: This is an incredibly arrogant way of speaking, and is a great way to piss someone off.

Kowtow: This is a form of paying respect to someone so far above your social status that if they chose to kill you on a whim it’d be perfectly alright with society. It involves you kneeling and resting your forehead on the ground. Dogeza is the Japanese term for this. It’s super subservient and pretty much means you accept that the person you are doing this for can treat you however they want.

2 thoughts on “TNT: Additional Chinese Terminology”

  1. I didn’t realise kowtow is Chinese, it’s been fully absorbed into English. A bit like zeitgeist or bungalow. Interesting thanks.

    1. Honestly it’s just used so often in the various Chinese works translated out there that I included it as a general word to know for those who were unaware, like I did with “face”. It’s not necessarily a word with Chinese origins, but knowing what it means would make understanding the stories easier. As for whether kowtow actually is from China, I believe so, as there are so many different ways to Kowtow, like the traditional three kowtows to one’s teacher. One done at the beginning of your studies with them, one when one goes out into the world, and one to acknowledge their teaching when you are done learning from them.

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