Cultivation Terms and Glossary

Terms

Assorted Terms

大哥( da ge): eldest brother

哥 (ge): brother, could be used as a suffix onto a person’s name. Or as “Hey, bro!”

人妖 (renyao): Hong Kong slang for Thailand transvestites. It was then adopted as internet slang for males that used female avatars in MMORPGs. It’s also used to describe “girliness” in boys. The literal meaning is human-spirit. In this case here, Pu is really a yao, and he does look androgynous.

爷 (ye): means grandfather. At the same time, it can be a way of referring to oneself in third person, usually in an egotistical manner.

Relationship Appellations

Used for females:

Shijie: refers to female disciples older / higher ranked than speaker

Shimei: refers to female disciples younger / lower ranked than speaker

Used for males:

Shixong: refers to male disciples older / higher ranked than speaker

Shidi: refers to male disciples younger / lower ranked than speaker

Older Generation

Shibo: refers to disciple of previous generation older / higher ranked than speaker’s elder

Shishu: refers to disciple of previous generation younger / lower ranked than speaker’s elder

Cultivation Terms

丹(dan): pill, pellet. Common used as “pills of immortality” by Chinese emperors in search of eternal life. A gaming equivalent would be potions.

法诀 (fa jue): spells are a general term.

界(jie): scope, kingdom.

境(jing): means border, place, boundary, territory. In this novel, jing is a collection of jie which are under the jurisdiction of one power.

离(li): One of the Eight Trigrams, li represents fire

灵(ling): meaning spirit.

晶石(jingshi): crystal rock. A kind of currency.

禁制(jinzhi): restriction. An energy construct in this world.

散人(sanren): title for a roaming xiu.

仙人(xianren): it usually means Daoist immortal in common usage. Used here as title of respect and power similar to “General” or “Governor.”

修者(xiuzhe): those who cultivate. 修 (xiu): shortened form for xiuzhe

妖魔(yaomo): yao and mo are two different things. Yao could be considered equivalent to spirits, and mo to demons. They are put together as yaomo because they are both enemies of xiuzhe but they aren’t one entity.

阳(yang): masculine, positive

阴(yin): feminine, negative, shady

真人 (zhenren): spiritual master in Daoist usage.

 

Measurement

(Taken from the wikipedia page on Chinese Units of Measurement)

Length units

Pinyin Character Metric value Imperial value Notes
cùn 市寸 3 ⅓ cm ~1.312 in Chinese inch
chǐ 市尺 33⅓ cm ~1.094 ft Chinese foot
zhàng 市丈 3 ⅓ m ~3.645 yd
yǐn 33⅓ m ~36.45 yd
市里 500 m ~546.8 yd This li is not the small li above,
which has a different character and tone

 

Mass units

Pinyin Character Metric value Imperial value Notes
liǎng 37.301 g tael or Chinese ounce
jīn 596.816 g catty or Chinese pound

 

Area Units

Pinyin Character Metric value Imperial value Notes
畝 (T) or 亩 (S) 666 23 ~797.3 sq yds, or ~0.1647 acre 60 zhang²

 

Cultivation Rankings

(Edit: Some of the translated terms are based on the definitions and some from other translators and commenters at Wuxiaworld.)

Xiuzhe

Stage Title Expected Lifetime
1 Lianqi (Forging Energy) Normal
2 Zhuji (Establishing Foundation) Normal
3 Ningmai (Congealing Channels) Normal
4 Jindan (Gold Core) Three hundred years
5 Yuanying (Nascent Soul) Five hundred years
6 Fanxu (Return to Nothingness) Seven hundred years
7 Dasheng (Great Vehicle) One thousand years

Mo (I used the US military ranking as the starting point.)

Stage Title
1 Soldier/Private (bing)
2 Captain (wei)
3 Colonel (jiao)
4 Brigadier (tongling)
5 General (jiang)
6 Marshal (shuai)
7 King (wang)

Yao 

Stage Title
1 Xinghuo (starfire)
2 Huawu (transformation)
3 Zhonghun (Plant spirit)
4 Yinshen (Yin Spirit)
5 Yaofu (Yao Mansion)
6 Liulun (Six Rotations)
7 Tianmai (Sky Channels)

 

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36 thoughts on “Cultivation Terms and Glossary

  1. Pingback: 修真世界 World of Cultivation Chapter Three “The Little Yard” | Dreams of Jianghu

  2. can you add the term that you left in chinese too? It’s hard to remember every single one of them. And search for it in the previous chapters is almost impossible.

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  3. I’m a little curious. Ningmai has not been mentioned in any novel I’ve previously read, so I’m kind of curious as to where it is in terms of level. Foundation Establishment (Zhuji) is often talked about…but Ningmai…nope. And usually Jiedan comes straight after Zhuji so…yeah.

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    • Really? That’s very interesting. I usually just read the Chinese so I’m not sure what levels have been translated in English. It’s after zhuji but before jindan in this world.

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      • Cool! I wonder what happens during that period…Because Zhuji should be when they are establishing the 9/10 Dao Pillars, while Jiedan/Jindan is when there’s Core Formation. 😀

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      • There is usually a stage between Foundation and Jindan in other novels – but it differs a bit in each novel – typically because the MC has some super technique that is better than the usual one.

        Basically it’s the stage where the cultivator starts forming their golden dan. The Jiedan stage is after this process is completed. It’s often translated as Core Formation stage or something similar.

        I’m guessing that in this series that the Congealing Channels is a reference to preparing the cultivators Meridians before forming their golden dan. In most novels this happens during the Lianqi stage when the cultivator refines their body but in this story body cultivation isn’t the norm and energy manipulation (whether sword or spell) is the normal method of practice unless you are from the country that actually practices body cultivation or are Mo.

        So clearing the Meridian channels and acupuncture points right before forming the golden dan later in the process makes sense in the story. In the lianqi stage the xiuzhe learns basic energy manipulation. In the Zhuji stage, they improve on the amount of energy their body holds. In the ningmai stage they clear their energy channels to allow for faster and more powerful energy use while condensing the energy in their bodies. Then finally in the Jindan stage they finish condensing the energy from a gas into a solid ball of energy.

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  4. Pingback: 修真世界 World of Cultivation Chapter One to Five | Dreams of Jianghu

  5. Thank you for your hard work translating this. I think It would be great if the tranlation of each term was done in the chapter itself, in the sentence that it is included and not having to go visit the glossary each time. For me it just spoils all the fun and interrupts the flow of the story itself, but that’s just my opinion.

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  6. I just caught up to updates and can say that world of cultivation is very interesting story (top 2 xianxia), but minus, at least for me, quite a few untranslated terms.
    Yes there some that hard to translate without loosing the meaning and etc., but dan – pill(s),
    ling – spirit, jingshi – crystal rock(s)/stone(s), jinzhi – restriction(s), xiuzhe/xiu – cultivator(s), ge – brother even in glossary they have definite translation and all Shijie,Shimei,Shixong,Shidi – junior/senior sister(s)/brother(s). Cultivation stages can be translated too.
    Because if someone new to xianxia start reading they will be confused with all the terms.
    Of course this is just my opinion and you can ignore it.

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  7. I don’t understand why you don’t just fully translate them instead like other translators, who wants to sit with a glossary open to understand the terms being used :S

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What I don’t get is why would u leave some words in chinese when u are translating to english, it makes reading burdensome and slow, and it even makes me think about stoping reading it at all. There are time when there are so much words in chinesse in 1 sentece that i literally can’t understant sh1t, anyways thank you for your work

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    • because chinese words can have vastly different meanings depending on how they are used and there are many idioms and terms that are difficult to translate into english.

      the translator is correct in keeping many of the terms and changing some of them but i feel that jie should be changed to ‘world’ to give a better world building experience

      for example, the ‘boundary’ which everyone is pursuing now is also ‘jie’ and it should mean ‘world’. it is basically imposing one’s world on to reality so it becomes real but it creates confusion if jie/world is used on those not familiar.

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  9. This is the only reason why I dropped the series TWİCE. Thanks to the inside of translators’ head. What is there I wonder?

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    • I’m using a word-replacer for google chrome that replaces the un-translated words and it really helps with keeping the flow of the story going for me without having to re-check what one word means every 30 seconds.

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  10. well people whom are familiar with these terms dont understand the pains that numbnuts like you have to deal with reading about 3 or 4 terms that you dont understand

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  11. As an ABC, reading this is not only very painful, but almost unreadable. I think it is easier for people who don’t know Chinese to read this, as they don’t know the terms and can pick them up. However, as someone who knows Chinese and a lot of Chinese pinyin, this just really makes the flow of the writing worse. Imagine someone talking with you but casually subbing in some of the words in their sentence with another language. Although you can understand, it just makes it really hard to enjoy and be interested in the work. I don’t understand why the translator can’t edit in words like brother instead of ge, as literally nothing gets lost in translation. (Many other translated works use brother, and most people who had read some or any other Wuxia/Xianxia/Chinese novel would understand that brother pretty much means bro).

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  12. Can you put the Chinese characters for the sect titles in? Shixong, shibo, etc? Also, can you add the entries for sect master and elders? Sorry, I like trying to figure out the Chinese pronunciation, lol.

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    • Also, in opposition to those who don’t, I wholeheartedly approve of the way you are translating this. To me, at least, it gives me the experience of visiting another place that – someplace that doesn’t serve McFries with that. Thank you for creating a really enjoyable break from the mundane, with just a bit of the mystery and magic left in the world.

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  13. What is Shizhi? or Shiji? Something like that is in the first 50 chapters at least. Is it formations or what? Whenever he goes to the Cold Misty Valley where he has the garden, he has to go next to these things, in the beginning i thought it was a monster, but he never gets attacked, so i’m guessing it’s maybe something like formations? Or traps? So….. what is it?

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  14. Ok I have read several of these cultivation stories and the bases of the ranking system is usually the same or similiar. Now saying that I always wanted to know what does Fanxu and Dasheng stand for, and I don’t mean the translation.

    What I mean is that the other rankings kind of explain their purpose. Lianqi (Forging Energy), probably known as Qi Gathering/Practicing/ect, which is essentially getting energy. Zhuji (Establishing Foundation) is usually the stage where the Foundation is build for the next stage, which is usually Jindan. Ningmai (Congealing Channels) is a new one, though it essentially sounds like most body building/forging, which normally is the first rank. Jindan (Gold Core) is self explanatory, along with Yuanying (Nascent Soul); where they form a solid energy core and later a secondary soul respectively.

    But like I said Fanxu (Return to Nothingness) and Dasheng (Great Vehicle) I don’t exactly know what purpose they are to a cultivator; their names/translations dont make sense to me. Now if Fanxu was Body Fasting, meaning they didn’t need to eat, I could understand that. Or if translation of Dasheng meant that they could teleport, the ‘Great Vehicle’, I would get it. But the translations provide don’t help me with purpose they serve.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. can someone update the terms for yao as the ones used in the translation don’t match… I read Rahula yao in ch 557(although it is possible to understand what level it exactly is at due to it being mentioned with yuanying and general.. it might not be so in the chapters ahead) and I cannot find it here.. also pu mentions himself as sky yao and not as sky channels yao.. so can we have a separate column that mentions what is used in the novel translations rather than its exact meaning…

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