何为贤妻 To Be A Virtuous Wife Chapter One “I Am A Reasonable Person”

It’s finally here! Please click on the page link for the novel on the top of the webpage to see the introduction and other things. This wasn’t a novel that had been recommended on shushengbar but they have loads more recommendations there.

Cover of TBVW

Summary:
As a virtuous wife, does it include tolerating his cousin, enduring his concubines, bearing his mother?

If you will not let me live freely, why would I let you live in satisfaction?

Did fate let women time-travel so she could learn the three morals and four virtues? [1]

Rather than act like a coward and live, it would be better to live in satisfaction and die.

[1] 三从四德: Three morals: obey the father in childhood, obey the husband in marriage and obey the son in widowhood. Four virtues: be moral, be proper in speech, have physical charm and skill in needlework.

There’s a lot of term in this chapter so they are all put at the end. Clicking on the number should take you down. Use the glossary (which is in alphabetic order) if you find it easier to look up the definitions that way.

Chapter One I Am A Reasonable Person

The early morning at Duan Wang Fu[1]was not different from any other day. In the kitchen, the servants moved to and fro without any hint of hurry. Ma pozi,[2] after delivering the required pastries to the neiyuan,[3] came back to the kitchen with a group of yahuan[4] but her face wasn’t looking very well.

“Hey, old sister, what’s wrong? Why does your face looks terrible?” Another pozi, wearing a dark buttoned jia’ao[5], handed a cup of tea over to the other woman and exclaimed in shock: “Didn’t you just go to the zhengyuan[6] to deliver the cheese, how come … …”

“Don’t even mention it. Wang fei[7] just woke up this morning. Rough labor servants like us couldn’t even enter the yard. We only saw one of wang fei’s attendants, Yin Liu guniang,[8]” When she spoke to that point, Ma pozi took a long swallow of tea, looked around at the surroundings and lowered her voice to whipser, “I saw that the expressions of the people of zhengyuan weren’t right, so I hurried back.”

Hearing this, the pozi who wore the lined jacket sighed. With an attitude composed half being a spectator and half pitying, she said: “They hadn’t even finished taking down the red canopies[9] hanging in the fu yet.”

Wang fei had just married into the fu for less than two months. After the wedding night, wang ye[10] hadn’t stepped a foot into the zhengyuan. In the last few days of sickness, wang ye had only sat for a period before leaving. No wonder the people of zhengyuan weren’t looking very well. She once had the luck to see wang fei. She had been dignified and her appearance had also been beautiful. She didn’t know which of those aspects wang ye didn’t like.

“Don’t say nonsense, I just saw one of Feng ce fei’s[11] yahuan come over.” Both of them knew the words that Ma pozi didn’t say. They stopped talking and went back to their duties.

In the zhengyuan, a host of yahuan carefully waited upon the wang fei in her morning ablutions. A piece of first-rate silk brushed over fingertips that were as thin as green onions before being set to the side.

There wasn’t a hint of anger on the face of Qu Qing Ju, unlike the past few days as her black silk flowing freely. She lazily took off her wrist a green jade bracelet before casually throwing it into a carved mahagony box: “This color is too old-fashioned.”

Upon hearing this, Jin Zhan paused slightly before waving her hand at the female attendants behind her. Several other boxes were brought before Qu Qing Ju. Inside, there were pairs of different bracelets. Gold-wrought, pearl-encrusted, jade, of all colors and none of them were ordinary.

Her gaze swept across the rows of bracelets. In the end, her final choice was an exquisitely carved blood-red jade bracelet that, when contrasted against the pale wrist, was unspeakably beautiful.

Seeing the situation, Jin Zhan’s expression slightly changed . In the past, wang fei had resented the phoenix-blood jade bangle[12] as being too garish and never worn it. Today, she had picked this jade at first glance. Thinking about the days since marrying into the wang fu, she felt bitterness in her heart. Before marriage, wang fei’s personality had been warm and gentle. This would have been a virtue, but in a marriage into the Imperial family, that personality was a handicap.

Noticing Jin Zhan’s expression, Qu Qing Ju smiled faintly. She stood and spread her arms to let the maids dress her in her handpicked wide-sleeved silk dress.[13] It was made from the highest quality of white brocade embroidered with Shu-style[14] red plum blossoms. When the cloth swayed, it was as though there were real plum blossoms swaying in the wind.

At the waist, there were a spice bag embroidered with a two blossoming lotus flowers on a single stem and a jade-beaded laozi.[15] The long soft hair was coiled up into a fei xian ji.[16] A vibrant red peach blossom was drawn on the brow. Eyebrows like willow leaves. Lips as red as cherries. Just a glimpse was enough to be unspeakably bewitching.

Pushing a luan bird[17] and cloud buyao[18] into her hair by herself, Qu Qing Ju slowly stood and enigmatically smiled as she looked out the winder, “This time should be the time to pay respects.”[19]

A few steps away from Jin Zhan was Mu Jin who, upon hearing this, forced a smile and said: “Wang fei, since you were ill the last few days, wang ye told the houyuan[20] so the qieshi[21] wouldn’t disturb your rest. “

“Oh,” Gently caressing the red-stranded jade earrings on her earlobes, Qu Qing Ju leisurely sat down and adjusted into a somewhat comfier position. She accepted the warm water that Yin Liu handed over to rinse her throat. Ptting the lid back on the cup before wiping the corner of her mouth, she said: “Since that is the case, send somebody to each yard to deliver the news that ben wang fei[22] has just recovered and has terribly missed all the ce fei and the shiqie.[23]

The four da yahuan,[24]upon hearing this, exchanged glances between themselves. Even if they didn’t know the reason why wang fei’s personality upon waking had changed so much, they still obeyed and left.

Coming out of the main building, a slightly worried Jin Zhan  said: “Wang fei doesn’t seem normal today since waking up, I don’t know why.”

“In this wang fu, everybody shows wang fei respect on the surface but in their private time, they all go currying favour with that ce fei in Xi Yuan.[25] Wang fei has been married for two months. Other than the first three days where wang ye stayed in zhengyuan, he’s spend all his time with other concubines. It’s humiliating for our wang fei.” Yin Liu said with creased brows and a quiet voice, “That Feng ce fei has such an attitude. She really thinks that she’s worth something. She’s just a qie[26].”

Yu Zan, hearing what Yin Liu was saying, looked around surreptitiously and after not finding anyone in the surroundings, came closer and said: “Don’t say too much. Even if wang ye favors[27] Feng ce fei, he still gives wang fei the respect she’s accorded. Don’t make trouble for wang fei.

“This is called respect,” Yin Liu snorted. Thinking about her mistress’ warm and soft personality, she sighed in helplessness, “Whatever, Jin Zhan and I will go over to Feng and Jiang ce fei. The second-rank yahuans can go to the other shiqie.”

Mu Jin, who hadn’t spoken, nodded: “That’s very good. Bai Luo and Pu Er are enough to invite Luo shi[28] and Han shi.”

Among the yahuan in wang fei’s entourage, the first-ranked were named using flowers, the second using tea, the third and the heavy-labor yahuan had no guidelines. Mu Jin and the other three had followed wang fei from Chang De Gong Fu[29] so they naturally followed wang fei. But the wang fu was much more complicated. Before marriage, wang fei had been neglected by her stepmother and hadn’t learned how to manage a household. Consequently, it didn’t even take two months after entering this place that she had gotten ill.

Mu Jin had always been worried for wang fei but seeing that wang fei today had the desire to establish herself in the wang fu, she took a sigh of relief. She didn’t worry that wang fei would fight, she would only worry if wang fei still had the personality of mud.

Seeing that all the yahuan had retreated out, Qu Qing Ju stood and walked in front of a very large copper mirror. The craftsmanship was excellent. Even if it wasn’t as clear as the silvered-glass mirrors from before, it was still enough to distinguish a person’s appearance.

The girl in the mirror was only about sixteen or seventeen. Her appearance was very beautiful. If she had lived in the era she did before, she would have been just a beautiful and proud high school student. Combing through the memories in her head, Qu Qing Ju sighed. Her father didn’t care, her stepmother wasn’t compassionate, her husband didn’t have love and there was a crowd of troublesome qie. The original had had a soft personality. In this complicated wang fu, she had mysteriously gotten seriously ill and mysteriously became occupied by her, this woman who didn’t know what warmth was. It could be said that she had gotten no justice even in her death.

Wang fei, the kitchen has delivered breakfast.” From the outside came a slightly thin male voice. It was probably one of the taijian[30] that had been assigned according to the Imperial protocols. In Qu Qing Ju’s memory, the original were not very close to these taijian, but was full of courtesy as they were appointed before wang ye had been titled and during the time he had been in charge of the Department of Household Affairs, dianzhongsheng.[31]

“Start service.” Playing with the strands dangling from the gold buyao, Qu Qing Ju turned to exit. Rui Xiang and Shu Kui, who had been waiting in the neighboring room, quickly opened the curtains, one person holding them aside while another came over to support her to welcome Qu Qing Ju out.

Both Rui Xiang and Shu Kui were originally from the wang fu. They understood that even though wang fei treated them with courtesy, but compared to Yin Liu, Mu Jin, Jin Zhan and Yu Zan, there was a difference in the amount of trust. The events that happened in the previous days would have magnified the difference. It was their luck that wang fei was weak, if she was just a bit stronger, they would have been thrown out. Who else would let them stay as first-rank yahuan?

Sitting down at a round pear-wood table carved with safflower, Qu Qing Ju’s eyes swept across the table. A goblet of wine-stewed pork shoulder, a bowl of swallow’s next porridge with strands of black chicken accompanied by a multitude of similar fatty sides. The only dish that looked light was a small dish of sautéed lettuce stems.

Waving away Shu Kui who had moved forward to serve her, Qu Qing Ju looked at the people bowing at the entrance with a smile on her face: “You are the ones that deliver food from the kitchen?”

Wang fei, nucai[32] holds duties in the kitchen.” Those people didn’t why wang fei would ask such a question but they replied without any fear on their faces.

“Such a good wang fu’s kitchen,” Qu Qing Ju nonchalantly leaned back on her seat. Under the confused gazes of the others, her face darkened and then her hand swept the goblet of wine-stewed pig shoulder to the floor. Very quickly, the room became saturated with the smell of meat, “Take them away and beat them.”

Nobody managed to respond. They didn’t know why wang fei, who had a personality as soft as mud, would suddenly act up and so nobody moved for a time.

“What is it? This I, a wang fei, cannot command you now?” Qui Qing Ju’s large eyes narrowed. She stood and looked at the people in the room, “Or is it that you all feel that it is natural and proper for the kitchen to slight me?”

After being swept over by wang fei’s gaze, everybody shook and managed to respond. A few of the taijian and the stronger mamas[33] rushed to the forefront and acted as they were going to drag the kitchen servants away.

The servants that were dragged away didn’t dare struggle and only begged for mercy. One servant even yelled slander, proclaiming that what they had served wang fei was the best food from the kitchen.

Flashing a look at the servant shouting slander, Qu Qing Ju’s brow rose and she said quietyly: “What are you standing around for? Drag them down, administer the punishment here. I want to see you carry it out.”

Upon hearing this, a quick-witted taijian took out a handkerchief and stuffed it in that servant’s mouth. He immediately started to drag the person towards the yard, the strength in his not-so-considerable body wasn’t small.

Seeing the situation, the others followed and dragged the others down. A few clever servants set up a table and chair before spreading out refreshments while waiting for wang fei to come see the punishment.

“What is that taijan called? I see that he has some strength,” Qu Qing Ju asked Shu Kui who was supporting her as she stepped out.

“Answering wang fei, that little taijian is called Xiao Gao Zi,[34] he sweeps the yard.” Shu Kui’s voice held reverence that she wasn’t even aware of and even her movements were more subservient than in the past.

“It doesn’t look like he is very tall. Why don’t we change his name to Huang Yang, to be an interior taijian.” Qu Qing Ju smiled gently. When she walked out into the yard, the servants were already tied to the long benches and were under the long planks.

Sitting down on the prepared chair, Qu Qing Ju mentally counted to twenty. Then she slowly and calmly said: “Other than the one that talked back, stop on the other three.”

Looking at the three who endured their pain as they knelt and thanked her, Qu Qing Ju raised her cup and took a sip, “A lot of people here are likely very confused as to why I punished you.”

The heavy sound of flesh under blunt force rang in the ears of the three kneeling. They didn’t dare wipe the sweat on their foreheads as they kowtowed and said they didn’t dare.

“I’m a reasonable person, but it is just that you, as part of the kitchen, has become intolerable. I cannot do anything other than punish you.” Setting down the cup in her hand, Qu Qing Ju’s voice seemed slightly helpless.

Even if wang fei didn’t hold the favor of wang ye, she was still the wang fei that the Emperor had personally decreed marriage on. Did a kitchen dare act intolerably to her? Even though everyone present felt something wrong, nobody dared argue. Didn’t they see the person who had just been yelling slander was still getting a beating?

“Who in this wang fu doesn’t know that I’m ill, the taiyi[35] had previously ordered what I shouldn’t be eating. But look at what you have served every day?” Qu Qing Ju gave a small sigh, her face full of sadness, almost as though she was a bullied stalk of little cabbage.[36] “I know you are cannot be bothered to treat an ill wang fei. I felt the same too, death was an end. But since I’ve recovered, I want to have a good life. You purposefully deliver oily foods, is it in hopes that I would get ill and die earlier?” After finishing, she sighed in woe. If it wasn’t that somebody was still enduring a beating, her look would have made others feel pity.

The three servants started to kowtowing again, wanting to explain but didn’t dare to. They were afraid wang fei would say “disobedience against their zhuzi” and continue their beating.

Seeing that the kowtowing had gone on long enough, Qu Qing Ju waved her hand weakly as though she had been severely wounded emotionally, “That’s fine, you can stop now and all leave.” Finishing, she turned to Rui Xiang who was right behind her, “Give some ointment to them. These people must be essential in this fu, we can’t let them not attend to their vital duties.”

The four kneeling felt despair rise. Since wang fei said they were important and held vital duties, then tomorrow, even if they had to crawl, they had to be doing their jobs, unless they wanted to be thrown out of the fu. But they were servants that had signed a death contract, what good outcome would await them if they were thrown out?

Finished ordering everything, Qu Qing Ju slowly stood and turned to look at the ce fei and shiqie that had arrived at some unknown time. Her face made a surprised expression, “When did you all arrive? Since you are here now, then come in.”

Done speaking, she didn’t care to what their faces showed, she took Shu Kui’s hand and walked into her rooms.

[1]端王府: 端王 is Duan Wang. Duan (端) means straight, upright; proper if it is used as an adjective. As a noun, it primarily means the beginning, end, or the limit. 王 can mean both a prince or a king. However, the highest power belongs to the emperor, not a 王. 府 is a compound, house or mansion. Fu (府) can only be labelled and called as such if it is bestowed as part of a position or inherited in the aristocracy. Families can be referred to using their actual surname or the name of their fu so it becomes the House of —–, similar to Western royalty. 端王府 is therefore the household and the mansion that was bestowed to Prince Duan when he received his title.

[2]婆子: literally old woman. There are three primary meanings: baggage – a despicable/pitiful woman, a wife, or an old female servant. Only the last meaning is relevant in this case. Po zi are usually lower ranked servants, used for common-labor or other tasks.

[3]内院: The “inner courtyard” where the women reside. It also refers to the interactions and social spaces of women. See more in the glossary on the fu.

[4] 丫鬟: servant girl, can also be called yatou (丫头). Equivalent to maids.

[5] 夹袄: lined jacket. Wide sleeves and a length to the waist. This style was common during the Ming and especially the Qing dynasties.

[6] 正院: The main building or the primary building. The residence of the wife. See more in the glossary on the fu.

[7] 王妃: the wife of a 王or prince. 妃, on its own, is one of the highest ranks of imperial concubine under the Empress.

[8] 姑娘: young lady, or young girl.

[9] 红帐子: the red canopy refers to both the decorations for the wedding, and also the bedroom canopy that covers the bed.

[10] 王爷: the pronoun to refer to a wang in normal conversation.

[11] 侧妃: ce(侧) means side. Ce fei refers to a “secondary wife”.

[12] 鸡血玉镯: the literal translation would be chicken blood (鸡血) jade bracelet/bangle(玉镯)but phoenix blood is another name for the type of stone.

[13] 罗裙: luo qun, silk dress.

[14] 蜀绣: the style of embroidery originated from Sichuan so it is also called chuan-style. It is one of the four primary styles of embroidery in China.

[15] 络子: laozi, it’s an ornament that’s usually made through knotting, such as the classic Chinese knot, to create various shapes.

[16] 飞仙髻: flying(飞)immortal(仙) knot/braid(髻)

[17]鸾鸟:mythical bird related to the phoenix

[18] 步摇:dangling hair ornament or literally step shake

[19] 请安: literally ask/request (请) safety/comfort(安). It is performed in the morning by all females of the family in the household to the eldest female, the mother of the highest ranking male member of the family, or in the absence of that, his wife. This includes daughters, concubines, sisters and if the family has not separated and the brothers live together, their wives would also go.

[20] 后院: back(后) courtyard(院). Another way of referring to the neiyuan, the main difference is that houyuan is more commonly used to refer specifically to the women who were concubines of assorted rank and social status.

[21] 妾侍 (qieshi): general term referring to all concubines

[22] 本王妃: this(本) wangfei(王妃). Ben (本) is used by a speaker to refer to themselves in the third person (illeism). This form of speaking is used for more formal occasions, usually when the speaker is part of a conversation among equals or as the highest ranking person in the room.

[23] 侍妾: shiqie. Lower in rank than ce fei but not the lowest in terms of rank among concubines.

[24] 大丫鬟: da for big(大) or first-rank. These are the highest ranked yahuan who have the most experience and spent the most time with the female they serve. According, they receive better treatment than other yahuan.

[25] 西园: literally the Western Park. It would be a set of rooms on the western side of the compound.

[26] 妾: qie.Shortened and very general name for concubine

[27] 宠爱: chong(宠) is to pamper/spoil/love. Ai(爱) is love. Chongai is a very different concept than love. It usually refers to the amount often a man has sexual congress with one of his concubines. The more nights they have, the more chong the concubines is said to have. Favor and affection are terms that are very similar to the concept of chongai.

[28]氏: shi means clan name. Women, upon marriage, are identified by their surname and it is very rare that their personal name is recorded. This is the case even for princesses. They would then be referred to as ––shi, to identify the family they came from.

[29] 昌德公府: Chang De(昌德) is the name associated with the title, meaning flourishing/prosperous (昌) virtue(德). Gong(公) means that it is a dukedom. 公府 is therefore the ducal compound.

[30] 太监: eunuchs, who were men that were castrated, are not the same as taijian as taijian refers to specific positions in the Imperial palace and government which were occupied by men that were castrated.

[31] 殿中省: department under the Chancellery, responsible for all aspects of the Emperor’s life.

[32] 奴才: literally meaning slave. It’s the illeism used by servants to refer to themselves when talking to those in rank above them.

[33] 嬷嬷: while it is pronounced mama, it refers to old female servants, and is used similarly to pozi.

[34] 小高子: xiao(小) is small, gaozi(高子) means tall.

[35] 太医 (taiyi): imperial physician. It is an official position.

[36] 小白菜: it means little cabbage. There is a song lyric where it is “little cabbage, from childhood, there was no dad or mom”. It is also the nickname of a woman in one of the major murder cases in 1872, nicknamed so as she wore a white shirt and green pants. She was childhood friends with a man who grew up to participate in the government exams and became a government official. However, she was a childhood bride and therefore had to marry into another family. When the two grew up, the man was accused of adultery with Little Cabbage and murdering her husband due to machinations of another official in revenge. After various ordeals and torture, the truth was revealed. However, the man’s body was ruined by the torture and couldn’t return to his position. He quickly died after and Little Cabbage became a nun.

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “何为贤妻 To Be A Virtuous Wife Chapter One “I Am A Reasonable Person”

    • You do have to learn some of the vocab but it makes for easier reading in the future. Also, some words are not easily translated. E.g. wang fei. While the equivalent is princess, it’s not really a corresponding title. English makes no difference between princess as in daughter of monarch and princess as woman married to a prince. So there is wang fei and princess in the novel. But then there are royal princes and non-imperial princes and the different ranks. It’s like the difference between a square and a rectangle. They all have four sides (quadrilateral) but they have different properties.

      Additionally, concubine titles are in fact character background. Ce fei (side/major concubines) mean that they have good backgrounds and/or they are liked very much by the man. Tong fang (literally pass the room) are usually servants who cannot even be promoted further due to their lower birth.

      For most of the terms, unless it’s a special case, I only keep them in the pinyin because they would appear more than five times in the text in the exact same context.

      So I hope you could understand. And you’ll see all those terms again and again in the chapters.

      Liked by 5 people

      • While I get that some connotation is lost, I think a number of the terms that you put footnotes for are quite minor and puts too much of the burden on the reader. It breaks the flow of the story if the reader has to refer to the footnotes to understand what’s going on (~20-25 times in this chapter). It might be possible to remember if someone’s reading it in one go, but it’s hard for a non-Chinese speaker to remember the terms (sometimes even the character names are hard to remember) if they take breaks between chapters.

        In my opinion, there were words that you could have just translated that would have not lost any meaning (for example, “taiyi” -> “imperial physician”, “xi yuan” -> “western wing/room”).

        Then there were some I felt could have been localized a bit, like
        “nucai” -> “this lowly one”
        “fu” -> “Manor”
        “zhengyuan” -> “primary residence”
        If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the above as is, you could put in the English translation and then put in the side note as usual. All this of course assumes the reader actually cares about the nuance behind the translation. (Some don’t.)

        I think the footnotes should be used as an optional supplement to the story rather than function as a dictionary. But at the end of the day, you’re the one putting in the time and effort to translate this story, not me, so of course you have your own way of doing things. I’m just trying to give you a more reasoned out explanation of what the experience is like on the other end (not that I speak for all your readers). Regardless, thanks.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Thanks for the advice. I have to admit that chapter one was outrageous but too much of the vocab is used over and over again in this story .

        I tried using “this one” when I first started translating but “nucai” translates as slave/servant. So it would be this servant. But it’s also based on frequency. “Nu cai” shows up in almost every chapter.
        “This lowly one” is a term I’ve used in another situation later on where a lower-ranked officials is talking to his superior. The nature of the relationship is different which is another reason I kept “nucai”. “Nu cai” means the relationship between the two as akin to slave and master. This “lowly one” was used by a subordinate speaking to his direct superior. It indicates humbleness but at the same time, you know from the speech he isn’t a servant.

        Zheng Yuan means “rightful yard” as it relates to the rightful right of the wife and her position among the other women. In all the compounds, the zheng yuan would be set on the center line. Additionally, the man maintains his own residence. He doesn’t have to live in zhengyuan. In that case, Primary Residence isn’t a good description. The “wang fu” is the primary residence for the couple. They have other manors and properties. In the beginning, I thought to translate “wang yu” as palace but it would mean a mixup between the Imperial Palace and the palaces in the Imperial Palace. The Western Wing is a good idea as that is what Xi Yuan means. However, to keep consistency with other residences such as Yun Qing’s and Zheng Yuan, it was kept as Xi Yuan. If it was a normal three entry compound, I definitely would have translated it but a “wang fu” is much more complicated.

        I’m not sure where I wrote this in the footnotes or in the historical information page but “fu” has two meanings. A “gong fu” is a ducal compound, but it also can refer to the family as in the family of Chang De Gong Fu. A “fu” can represent the family, the title, the people residing. It’s like English nobility. May times, people are called by their titles (Buckingham, Northumberland). It’s the same situation here. I could use compound or house but then I would have to differ between ducal compounds, prince manors and such.

        I read Chinese novels constantly (but I actually am terrible at literacy). A lot of the time, I have to keep google open to search for meanings and then decipher them so I get what you mean about the experience.

        The next few chapters don’t have many footnotes so see how you feel then?

        Like

  1. Pingback: 何为贤妻 To Be A Virtuous Wife -月下蝶影 Yue Xia Die Ying

  2. Thank you…reading this chapter on the computer while using the handphone to scroll the on the notes at the bottom…hehe…like the female lead spunkiness…

    Like

  3. Thanks for the chapter it looks like a really interesting read! Can’t wait to see the male leads reaction to the change hahaha

    Like

  4. Thank you! Another good novel to follow……I am not Chinese so your glossary and footnotes are very helpful. I look forward to more chapter translations…..jiayou!

    Like

  5. I love how your translation are so detailed and most importantly, keep the essence of the story through detailed explanation 🙂 Just wondering, what’s the original term for ‘The original’ in chinese? Is it 原本 or? Once again, thanks a lot for the translation! I’m enjoying this already 😀

    Like

  6. Thank you so much for the translation, the story looks interesting 🙂 Love how you retain certain words in pinyin with explanations in footnotes and in the glossary list rather than using some english equivalents which might not really represent those words quite as well. It helps me understand the intricacies of some chinese words better and learn some chinese too which might be helpful in watching ancient chinese dramas haha. Will be stalking your blog often :p

    Like

  7. While I think time-travel is a lazy explanation for female leads to be smarter and stronger when the plot calls for it, I /am/ a sucker for characters who can stand up for herself and is not afraid to be cruel to establish some much-needed authority. I love how efficient she is, killing two birds with one stone, frightening both the staff and other concubines in a single move.

    Thanks for the footnote (though the length is pretty tedious) because it helps me understand ancient terms better. Now that I’m doing translations myself, it helps a lot if I ever feel qualified for doing historical ones haha.

    Thank you for the chapter!

    Like

    • One of the reasons time travel is used so much is to reach out to the reader. If it was a more “historical” character, the distance between the reader and the character might be further and the readers might not relate as well.

      Like

  8. interesting but to many chinese words
    hope the next chapters wont have more
    oh and a tipp nah more of a request(i know shameless but this would help and isnt that much)
    could you please add the words in the descriptions the cefei wangfei and the others so we wouldnt have to search the numbers or the lines were it was mentioned
    i would appreciate it very much and it would make it easier to read(just saying already like it, nice start!)
    this is going to be good

    Like

    • forget what i said about scrolling up and down didnt know that you could doubleclick them back(but still the word on the description would still help)

      Like

      • i mean the english word that you put a number to where the translated meaning is
        you only see the chinese writing with the meaning and number at the bottom
        if you put the english word it would be easier for some who forgot the words and wanted to know all of them again(on chapter 20 at the moment , love the story)

        Like

      • oh another question
        do you know similar translated stories?(doesnt matter even if its western or a male protagonist)

        Like

      • Hmm, Melanie on a previous chapter had Chaos of Beauty, but the male protagonist at this point is apparently not very bearable. Head to books.shushengbar.com. It’s where pretty much everyone goes for Chinese romance novels. There is also an English translation page on the site.

        Like

      • it would be like this
        [2]婆子[pozi]: literally old woman. There are three primary meanings: baggage – a despicable/pitiful woman, a wife, or an old female servant. Only the last meaning is relevant in this case. Po zi are usually lower ranked servants, used for common-labor or other tasks.

        Like

      • except the question please forget what i wrote
        after some chapters every meaning of the words is pretty much easy remembered
        you did a wonderfull translation and i definetly only wanted to give a tiny tipp to make it easier
        but it is easy enough after reading the definitions again ( hope you keep the translation going)

        Like

      • The glossary has all the really common terms ordered alphabetically which seem like what you want. I’m not sure about repeating the vocab every chapter. I know how to do cross referencing inside the same document but not with multiple documents. I know I can twist it using a table of authorities but I need to edit all the chapters. 😦 which is far in the future.

        Discussion’s great. I forgot I actually had a table of authorities in a draft until you reminded me. Thanks for reading!

        Like

  9. Thank you for translated this novel.

    You can say I am a fan of this author and yessss, I immediately click follow!! LoL~~~

    Like

  10. I have just found this story and am really thankful that you are sharing your translations with us.
    I really liked it that you took your time and made footnotes to explain the different words. This made it easier to understand the story.

    Like

  11. thank you very much!
    now begins my commenting spree!
    for the chapter, from the summary, i coud tell that the heroine would be mentally very strong, which is really cool! nice, she’s exerting her influence and showing people that, first and foremost, one cannot try to take advantage of her! woo—-!

    Like

  12. Just a few suggestions…

    When she spoke to that point, Ma pozi took a long swallow of tea, looked around at the surroundings and lowered her voice to whipser, “I saw that the expressions of the people of zhengyuan weren’t right, so I hurried back.”
    When she spoke to that point, Ma pozi took a long swallow of tea, looked around at the surroundings and lowered her voice to whisper, “I saw that the expressions of the people of zhengyuan weren’t right, so I hurried back.”

    Hearing this, the pozi wearing the lined jacket sighed.
    Hearing this, the pozi who wore the lined-jacket sighed.

    She had been dignified and dignified, her appearance had also been beautiful.
    She had been dignified and her appearance had also been beautiful.

    A piece of first-rate silk brushed over fingertips thin as green onions before being set to the side.
    A piece of first-rate silk brushed over fingertips that were as thin as green onions before being set to the side.

    There wasn’t a hint of anger on the face of Qu Qing Ju, unlike the past few days as her black silk flowing freely.
    There wasn’t a hint of anger on the face of Qu Qing Ju, and unlike in the past few days, her silky black hair flowed freely. (???)

    Seeing the situation, Jin Zhan’s expression changed slightly.
    Seeing the situation, Jin Zhan’s expression slightly changed.

    In previous days, wang fei had resented the phoenix-blood jade bangle as being too garish and never worn it.
    In the previous days, wang fei had resented the phoenix-blood jade bangle as being too garish and had never worn it.

    Lips red as cherries.
    Lips as red as cherries.

    PUtting the lid back on the cup before wiping the corner of her mouth, she said:
    Putting the lid back on the cup before wiping the corner of her mouth, she said;

    The four da yahuan,upon hearing this, exchanged glances between themselves.
    Upon hearing this, the four da yahuan exchanged glances between themselves.

    Even if they didn’t know why wang fei’s personality upon waking had changed so much, they still obeyed and left.
    Even if they didn’t know the reason why wang fei’s personality changed so much after waking up, they still obeyed and left.

    Coming out of the main building, Jin Zhan was slightly worried and said: “Wang fei doesn’t seem normal today since waking up, I don’t know why.”
    While coming out of the main building, a slightly worried Jin Zhan said; “Wang fei doesn’t seem to be normal today since waking up, I don’t know why.”

    A goblet of wine-stewed pork should, a bowl of swallow’s next porridge with strands of black chicken accompanied by a multitude of similar fatty sides.
    A goblet of wine-stewed pork shoulder, a bowl of swallow’s nest porridge with strands of black chicken accompanied by a multitude of similar fatty sides.

    Those people didn’t why wang fei would ask such a question but they replied without any fear on their faces.
    Those people didn’t know why wang fei would ask such a question but they replied without any fear on their faces.

    Under the confused gazes of the others, her face darkened and her hand swept the goblet of wine-stewed pig should to the floor.
    Under the confused gazes of the others, her face darkened and then her hand swept the goblet of wine-stewed pork shoulder onto the floor.

    Very quickly, the room was saturated with the smell of meat,
    Very quickly, the room became saturated with the smell of meat,

    Flashing a look at the servant shouting slander, Qu Qing Ju’s brow rose and she said quietyly:
    Flashing a look at the servant shouting slander, Qu Qing Ju’s brow rose and she said quietly:

    A quick-witted taijian¸ upon hearing this, took out a handkerchief and stuffed it in that servant’s mouth.
    Upon hearing this, a quick-witted taijian took out a handkerchief and stuffed it in that servant’s mouth.

    Seeing the situation, the others followed and dragged the others down.
    Upon seeing the situation, the others followed and dragged the others down.

    Sitting down on the prepared chair, Qu Qing Ju counted to twenty on the inside.
    Sitting down on the prepared chair, Qu Qing Ju mentally counted until twenty.

    Did a kitchen dare act intolerably to her?
    Did the kitchen dare act intolerably to her?

    “Who in this wang fu doesn’t know that I’m ill, the taiyi[35] had previously ordered what I shouldn’t be eating.
    “Who in this wang fu doesn’t know that I’m ill, the taiyi[35] had previously ordered what I shouldn’t be eating oily and heavy food. (???)

    “I know you are cannot be bother to treat an ill wang fei.
    “I know you are cannot be bothered to treat an ill wang fei.

    The three servants starts kowtowing again, wanting to explain but didn’t dare to.
    The three servants started to kowtow again, wanting to explain but didn’t dare to.

    Done speaking, she didn’t care for what their faces showed, she took Shu Kui’s hand and walked into her rooms.
    Done speaking, she didn’t care to what their faces showed, she took Shu Kui’s hand and walked into her rooms.

    Like

  13. err… No correction in this one. Sorry.

    “Who in this wang fu doesn’t know that I’m ill, the taiyi had previously ordered what I shouldn’t be eating.
    “Who in this wang fu doesn’t know that I’m ill, the taiyi had previously ordered what I shouldn’t be eating.

    Like

  14. Wow, am I suppose to memorize the descriptions of some chinese words? Isn’t that’s the job the translator? After reading the first chapter, somehow, I got confused because of the chinese words. It hinders my understanding of the overall story. I think the translator should have at least translated it already, or put the definition at end paragraph as Translator’s note. It is tiring scrolling up and down just to know the meaning of those words.

    Like

  15. This is an interesting read so far. So the “real” Qu Qing Ju actually died during her illness & somehow the new soul occupied her body. Hmmm… My first time reading this type of plot. Thank you for translating this novel.

    Like

  16. Seeing that this project is completed up to the epilogues, I decided to come back and read it from the start again. I forgot what chapter I last read anyway.

    Thankies so much for your dedication on this project~

    I’m learning alot too with your glossary and explanations. You must’ve done alot of research as you translate.

    Like

  17. Do you think you could change the pinyin of the chinese words to just the english words? It’s very difficult to keep up with the storyline if I have to go back and forth with the glossary page…

    Like

  18. Just a error

    Ptting = Putting

    Those people didn’t why wang fei would ask such a question but they replied without any fear on their faces.

    Those people didn’t know why wang fei would ask such a question but they replied without any fear on their faces.

    Like

  19. HI!! this is my second time reading “TO BE A VIRTUOUS WIFE”, since i came around January. I’am just really just here to announce that this one of my favorite historical romance novel, And i can say that I can’t get enough of the drama of this one, and that i, reading this again is very pleased to say that wangfei should “knocked them up” more cruely…..>_<

    Like

  20. I did enjoy this, but I would have enjoyed it so much better without the Chinese words and titles interspersed in the chapter. Having to keep puasing to double check the glossary completely breaks up the flow of the story, making it frustrating. I doubt anyone would complain if those words were translated to their English version. Unless the word doesn’t have a close translation and is has a nubulous meaning, there’s no need for the Chinese word to be there. Why have wang fei, when princess is the English translation and can’t be misunderstood? And if you put a note in the footnote explaining how the wives and concubines of a prince were ranked, it would all make sense, and there wouldn’t be any disturbance to the flow of the chapter. Having to keep referring to the glossary nearly made me drop this series at just the first chapter. I know that you’ve translated over a hundred chapters and going back over all of them to edit them would be time consuming, but it would be something to think about for future chapters. Unless it’s something integral to the story, having Chinese words in the chapter is completely unnecessary.

    Like

    • Oh boy … … I have gotten a similar amount of complaints about using English terms for my new historical translated romance … … there are two camps and I cannot satisfy everyone.

      Like

  21. read the first chapter in a few hours wowwwww really time consuming chap……..hope the translation got better otherwise it really is a waste of time and it’s tiring the mind

    Like

  22. I am so disappointed. I wish there existed an edit of this translation somewhere with proper English words. This is just unreadable! Makes no sense to learn 100 Chinese words to understand this. Localization is also a part of translators work, you can’t just leave words untranslated and give definitions to them.

    Like

  23. I have already read on the later chapters.. im confused, why is it that there are sometimes computers, laptops, cell phones being mentioned? Isn’t the time here old?

    Like

  24. Wow this tl is garbage, as other people properly stated we can barely remember their names and yet here we are flooded with the original terms. It’s your project and you most likely did it for free at the time but it’s still unreadable and unfriendly af. I read 80% mtl but when I try to read something that is htl I don’t expect to use my head to break down terms or look at notes about their possible or actual meanings. So yes I can see where you’re coming from but the truth is that I want to close this tab. I bet you if I drop the raws on systranet I’m gonna be less troubled and preoccupied with glossary.

    Like

    • Then just close the tab 😒 No need to rant at the translator (who’s doing this for free, too) about how you can’t remember a few simple terms. The authenticity is lovely, and the reason why some terms are kept as such is explained in an earlier comment. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, moron.

      Like

Tell Me Something... ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s