Check out my interview with Jonathan Mayberry for IAMTW!

Firefly Encyclopedia | Monica Valentinelli | Titan Books

Heya, I am happy (and ashamed) to report I was interviewed by Jonathan Mayberry for the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers I’m a member of! The interview is from November, and in Jonathan’s wisdom it went live when my new Firefly Encyclopedia from Titan Books debuted.

You can read my IAMTW.org interview on the site, and check out tons of great interviews with other members. I’ll be cursing my In Box for burying my notifications for at least ten minutes…right before freezing my proverbial bum off. It’s cold out there so stay warm!

[New Release] Firefly TV Show Encyclopedia + Bonus Interview with Tony Lee!

Firefly Encyclopedia | Based on the TV Show by Joss Whedon

Today is the official U.S. release date for the Firefly Encyclopedia which is available wherever books are sold–including Target! This book is also a strange milestone for me, because this release marks the fifth year I’ve worked with this property. Thus far, I’ve also developed a line of tabletop roleplaying games and wrote The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse, too, which features an analysis of the language as well as an interview and Mandarin Chinese translations with the incomparable Jenny Lynn.

The brand new Firefly Encyclopedia presents a narrative retelling of the story thus far, new interviews, an essay about the scientific plausibility of the ‘verse, an homage to Ron Glass, and much, much more.

To celebrate the Firefly Encyclopedia‘s release, I’ve sat down with Mandarin Chinese translator Tony Lee, who lent his talents to provide additional translations. Please enjoy this bonus interview with expert translator Tony Lee! If you’re interested in hiring Tony, I’m happy to forward your information to him so he can follow up. Just use my Contact Monica page and make sure it’s clear I need to pass your message along. Thanks for understanding! He’s not on social media and I don’t want to put his email address on blast.

Interview with Mandarin Chinese Translator Tony Lee

Tony Lee hailed from Taipei, Taiwan but lacked the common sense to go into any profitable fields (like computer or medical), and chose the tabletop gaming industry instead. Over the course of 15+ years, he’s freelanced for Wizards of the Coast/TSR, Pinnacle Entertainment, Margaret Weis Productions, Z-Man Games, and several companies for TTRPG lines ranging from Dungeons & Dragons to the Firefly RPG. Tony’s latest contribution is to the Firefly Encyclopedia. He now works as a Mandarin-to-English translator of mostly—what else?—MMO and cell phone games.

You’ve been a Mandarin Chinese translator working in games for years. What was your first (or favorite) project?

My first in tabletop gaming was the titles for Z-Man Games’ Shadowfist CCG expansions. In mobile/computer, it was an MMO that I had no idea what was called; it was a rush job and to be honest, I didn’t do well because I wasn’t familiar with the terminology at the time.

What was the strangest phrase you had to translate into Mandarin Chinese?

Not so much strange as… paradoxical. I have already translated a considerable block of dialogue when the main character suddenly busted out some English, whereupon the other person replied: “I don’t speak English!” Now, the problem is, of course, they have been conversing in English this whole time in my translation, so that wasn’t going to make sense if I translated the source exactly as it was! Took me a while to figure out a solution: I changed the English line into Japanese, spelling it out phonetically (thankfully that was something my very miniscule Japanese could handle, with some help from Google), then translated the reply as “I don’t speak Japanese!” (It worked extra well since the main character had Japanese heritage.)

You’ve translated English-to-Mandarin and back again. Which process is easier? Why?

I’d say Mandarin-to-English is easier for me now. Even though Mandarin is technically my first and native language, I’m much more accustomed to English now and actually have better command compared to Mandarin. I can read Mandarin, no problem, but I don’t always come up with the best and proper word or phrase going from English to Mandarin. Often enough that it’s on the tip of my tongue but just can’t grasp it quite enough to put down on paper.

What are some important things to consider when hiring a translator?

Anybody can transliterate; you can just use Google for that. You want someone who translate by meaning, not by individual words, otherwise you get a funny, nonsensical appliance instruction manual. What you look for is how well a translator “localizes”, using all conventions of the target language that you can’t tell it was a translation. This involves attention to details as well. For instance, in China they put the dollar sign behind the amount (“10$”) but it’s the other way around here in America (“$10”), so it’s simple to spot a “translator” vs. a “localizer” with little things like that.

What’s the one thing Browncoats may not know about the Chinese in Firefly?

It’s been mentioned that nobody speaks Chinese like that in real life (or something to that effect), but I think Firefly Chinese would be easier to learn since, ironically, it’s somewhat heavy on transliteration and very simple in sentence structure (which is why no one talks that way). I can see the language changing to fit the new Sino-American society of the universe.

I’d like to thank Tony Lee for his contributions to the Firefly Encyclopedia, and am happy his work has the ability to shine. Yay! For additional information about the language used in Firefly, you can also find a wonderful interview with Jenny Lynn in the The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse. Shiny!

Announcing the Firefly Encyclopedia and Pre-Order

Firefly Encyclopedia | Valentinelli

The Firefly Encyclopedia is a lavish guide to Joss Whedon’s much-loved creation. The book includes a detailed timeline of events, in-depth character studies from Badger to Zoe, a guide to the science of the show, and sections of script with accompanying notes from the author. Alongside all of this are countless images of the characters, ships, weapons, props and sets. This is a must-have item for all fans of the ‘verse.

Included in this mighty tome is a narrative re-telling of the events thus far, a new interview with Serenity novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido, an essay about the science of Firefly written by Mike Brotherton, new Mandarin Chinese-to-English translations provided by Tony Lee and a whole lot more!

The Firefly Encyclopedia will be available wherever fine books are sold, and is now available for pre-order. The book is at press, and will debut late 2018–just in time for the holidays. Shiny!

My Schedule for CONvergence 2017!

Hello!

I am happy to announce that my next convention will be CONvergence 2017 in sunny Minneapolis from July 6th through the 8th. This year, I have quite a few panels and am happy to announce my schedule today.

Thursday, July 6

3:30pm – 4:30pm DoubleTree Edina
Ready, Steady, Flash!
Four pro writers are given a phrase, around which they must each write a piece of flash fiction. Live, in front of the audience. They have 5 MINUTES in which to write it. At the end of each round the the audience votes on the best.
Panelists: Lee Harris, Paul Cornell, Joseph Scrimshaw, Monica Valentinelli, C. Robert Cargill

5:00pm – 6:00pm DoubleTree Atrium 4
It’s Been Written Before
Writing is hard. Many works fall back on the tropes and cliches that are common in the field. How do writers break out of those patterns, or at least freshen them up? Panelists: Emma Bull, John Seavey, Monica Valentinelli (mod), Jai Nitz, Lois McMaster Bujold

7:00pm – 8:00pm DoubleTree Plaza 1
Gaming as a Gateway Drug
How does gaming spur your interest in other topics? Did they get you into studying history, politics, technology or were you really going to pick up the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire for fun anyways?
Panelists: Kenneth Justiniano, Eric Zawadzki, Monica Valentinelli (mod)

Friday, July 7

2:00pm – 3:00pm DoubleTree Bloomington
Firefly At 15
Joss Whedon’s space western turns 15 this year. Is it shiny or would you toss it out an airlock? Come discuss the full canon: series, movie, and comics.
Panelists: Cetius d’Raven (mod), Mark Goldberg, Monica Valentinelli, Tex Thompson, Sean Berry

Saturday, July 8

2:00pm – 3:00pm DoubleTree Atrium 7
Why Dystopia is Not Dead
There is something about the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre that keeps readers, TV, and movie fans coming back for more. What is it about the end of the world fiction that keeps us coming back? Is there an end in sight?
Panelists: Anthony Eichenlaub, J. Boone Dryden, Monica Valentinelli, George Miller (mod), Seanan McGuire

5:00pm – 6:00pm DoubleTree Bloomington
The Great Beyond: Discussing Death in Popular Culture
Is death in pop culture becoming more prevalent? If so, what does it mean for modern TV and film? What does it say about our times? Is this Joss Whedon’s fault? When is death used to best effect? Will a Marvel character ever stay dead?
Panelists: Emma Bull, Monica Valentinelli (mod), Jonah Rees, Gabriela Santiago, Justine Mastin, Emilie Peck

[New Release] Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse

Gorramn Dictionary

Insult your enemies in magnificent style and learn brand new declarations of love! This comprehensive Firefly language guide and phrasebook takes in both the history of language in the ‘Verse and modern usage. Explore the cast’s challenges with Mandarin, get the inside scoop from the show’s language consultant, and learn everything from proverbs to put-downs! A must-have for all Browncoats.

You’ve heard me talking about this book before, but the big gorramn day is finally here. It’s the Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Language Guide and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse release day! Check out the reviews from ICV2.com and the San Francisco Book Review.

The book is a hardcover, fully-illustration reference guide that provides fans with an overview of the language. Words and their definitions relate to setting material found in the Firefly TV show. When I was selecting the words I paid careful attention to specific words and names, but I also chose common words and slang to paint a picture of the ‘Verse. The spelling variations I found during my analysis are also included as well. Members of the main cast, along with tips on how to speak like them, are each featured on their own page.

Additionally, we had the pleasure of featuring Jenny Lynn who was the show’s translator. You’ll get to read a fantastic interview, and dive into all of the English-to-Chinese translations from the show.

I hope you enjoy the latest addition to the Firefly universe. This project was a lot of fun for me, and I hope I get to do more of them. Shiny!

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