A small notice regarding Yuwu/Stains of Filth update pace

This is mostly a compilation/edit of a tweet thread I had made earlier this week, but now on a single blog update so that it can be read more easily.

To all our Yuwu Readers:

Just a note that I (seal) will be slowing down my translation pace for Yuwu, to around the pacing I’ve been translating at lately. I’ve thought about it long and hard, and it’s extremely disheartening for me to see here and there that there is a growing group of people reading the novel because of a release of an edited mtl (machine translation), and that they are perpetuating the notion that it is “good enough”.

I’ve never had issues with mtls until now, and I know many people who have followed me on Twitter for a long time have known this as well, but with the distribution of an edited mtl, all I’ve come to see is suddenly people care about this novel that I previously had to BEG people to read. It made me feel like our effort was basically worth nothing in in the grand scheme of things when compared to an almost complete edited mtl, and that just, really sucks. Maybe I should have just done an edited mtl from the start, since it was “pretty good” after all. It would have taken me less time, energy, effort and sleepless nights, less discussion between me and liyou on what the best way to translate something, less crying about how some sentences just can’t be translated, the list goes on.

I won’t be dropping the translation, as I hold this novel very close to my heart and I would like to see it to completion, but it’s very unlikely that at least on my chapters, I will ever pick up the pace back to how I used to be (maybe in time, when the hurt is less fresh). I’m also extremely busy with irl work as well, and there are better things I could spend my time on instead (such as reading new novels, or picking up a new project) since the Meatbun fandom seems to think that reading mtl text is “good enough”.

For those who have read our translations then decided to finish off the novel via the edited mtl, all I ask is that you maintain a respectful and comfortable fandom space for those who aren’t following – please refrain from posting major plot spoilers in the fandom hashtags on social media and spoiling the enjoyment for those who choose not to do so. If people who have previously been reading raws or their own mtl can do so, you can too.

For those who have been following the translation, I’m so sorry, you guys haven’t done anything wrong, but I have to prioritise what makes me feel good first and foremost since it’s meant to be a hobby for me, and lately, it hasn’t been fun.

I hope that you all will be able to wait patiently for new chapters nevertheless, and that you continue to enjoy the novel!

P.S. This may have absolutely no effect on the chapters that my partner, liyou, is in charge of, since I know they haven’t taken as bad of an emotional beating as I have, so I’m only speaking for myself and my part of the translation work.



  1. Thank you seal for providing a base of a novel …which is extremely important…for any reader

    Truly saying your translation is on another level
    ..love you …and always take care of yourself.

  2. I absolutely devoured your Yuwu translation, and while I’m sad that I only got to read through chapter 34, I have to thank you for all the hard work you put in — especially all the footnotes! I thoroughly enjoyed reading them nearly as much as the actual text. 🙂 Thanks for piquing my interest in Yuwu- now that it’s licensed by 7s, I’ll picking it up there and hopefully getting to enjoy the rest of the story! <3

  3. Thank you so much for this amazing translation, I really enjoyed it and it hurts to see that I will be stuck on chapter 34 until you post again… anyways I do appreciate all the hard work you’ve put in this beautiful project and hope that someday you’ll find inspiration to get back on it. Much love and appreciation from a fan c:

  4. Oh my gosh I just read the note. So that’s why it’s been so long since the last chapter? I can’t read mtl coz it’s really draining. I like danmei wuxia because of it’s artistic and poetic storytelling that’s why I always look for translations which gives me *that* feeling. I really like this story. I hope you finish it in your own pace. Thank you.

  5. I really loved your translation! Thank you so much for the work you all have put in.

    This is my personal opinion, but I think the translation versus edited MTL ordeal for most fans is a “holy shit!! Two cakes!!” situation. I’ve followed multiple danmei series over the years and I personally love reading multiple translations (plus now finally getting to buy official English language products of some of those series)- so I hate to see translators fight or think that they exist in competition with each other or with MTL.

    The benefit of MTL is that when you’re already a fan of a series and you’re hooked on getting your fix, on finding out what happens in the plot as soon as possible, you’ll suffer through a crude translation because MTL is just faster to produce. But it doesn’t mean that more heartfelt translations that better capture nuance aren’t appreciated or don’t MASSIVELY improve the reading experience. For every series I’ve cared about, I’ve always gone back and reread chapters once they were properly translated- sometimes multiple times. Translation is inherently a transformative act and every translator makes choices that bring out a new side to the text or shine a light on the characters in a way we haven’t seen before. So I just hope you know that even if many people read the MTL- there’s no way the massive amount of effort you all have put in could ever go unappreciated!

    I’m grateful for all the time and hard work you all have lovingly poured into this series, and when I introduce new people to the work, it will undoubtedly be through your translation.

  6. Hey, just discovered your translation this week, and I have really enjoyed it! You’ve done a wonderful job, and I’m sorry that you feel dispirited about the mtl. I honestly don’t understand the appeal of the mtl- it’s very hard to read and none of the idioms come through, particularly not with the elegance you bestow on the work. It was a joy to read your translation and I want to thank you for all your hard work and effort!

  7. Hey Seal!

    It’s disheartening to find out that you feel taken for granted for your hard work invested in translating Yuwu, but be rest assured, your work will not be in vain, even if there’s an MTL version out there.

    As someone who has taken on side jobs translating and proofreading documents, I can assure you that machine translation is still far from catching up with chinese-to-english translation, esp bcs Chinese has lots of idioms that require context to understand. While there are a lot of new fans who seem to enjoy the mtl version, I am pretty sure these new fans will also appreciate your translation bcs it gives added value above the mtl version.

    Furthermore, during this whole quarantine, people tend to prefer something that they can binge-read or binge-watch at once, I guess that kinda explains the surge of interest for the mtl version. I am pretty sure once your translation is completed, no one will bat an eye on the mtl version. With that said, don’t rush yourself to finish the translation, take your time since you are not paid for this anyway.

    However, don’t blame yourself for somehow ‘failing’ in enticing people to give your translation a read, whether the audience want a completed translation or a human-proofed translation is something beyond your control, so you do you and adjust your pace to what suits you. Take your time and come back (if you wish) when the time is right, and do this work because you enjoy it.

    Last but not least, your work per se is already impressive, regardless of what meatbun’s fans think. I bet most intl fans are not well-versed in Chinese, so dont mind their standard of ‘good enough’. Take care!

    Much love.

  8. Hi. Just started reading Yuwu and I very much enjoy reading your translation! Just love how your site is friendly to the eye (reading in mobile btw) and how the footnotes are accessible. Also love those trivia tidbits that makes me invest in the story more!

    While it’s all fun though, I do respect your decision to take a step back. It’s okay to prioritise your well-being when you’re basically doing this for free and have all that effort be underappreciated. I just hope this incident won’t dampen your passion to translate.

    With all that said, I just wanna say thank you so much for translating Yuwu! This reader truly appreciate it. 💕

  9. I hope that you can cherish yourself a bit more. Continue to Enjoy what you do – if you enjoy the translation work of this masterpiece then keep going at the pace that is most suitable and comfortable for you. Your translation work is awesome. You’ll always have a fan base that supports you because of your kindness in sharing this with us. All the best. Thank you 🙏

  10. Despite starting this novel just yesterday, you’re literally doing this FOR FREE so what have we to complain? Honestly, the whole mtl thing idk if you’d compare it to the 2HA situation since I’m waiting for Rynn & staff to finish translating the 300+ chapters (which I can tell is REALLY hard to do, and sometimes will take the effort to give us 2 chapters per 2 weeks or 1-2 per week. I swore to myself that I would NOT read any MTL until translation is done, because it doesn’t carry the same feel and the footnotes are skewed: I cannot bare to have my eyes bleed & have my head ache trying to work my way around the meaning of certain words! For the fandom that relies on these kinds of translations to actual obtain the content, did i mention It’s FREE?! Well, of course, nothing in this world comes for free because you cry and struggle to get these out to use and you are forever appreciated by the Community. Take your time, and like xie lian, i’m will to wait even 800 years for this to finish like any other translation because it is what my enthusiasm thrives on 🥳🥳 Take care of yourselves!!

  11. Mtls are not comparable at all to translations… Parts of them are entirely nonsensical, and a lot of context is lost. I appreciate your work so much, and just know that it means a lot to readers. Take your time, but know that for international fans, your translation work is very important.

  12. Your translation has been a bliss to read esp since it’s has been My escape during remote teaching. I’m a teacher. Thank you for your hard work. I’m so sorry for how you are feeling. It’s totally understandable. However this is top quality stuff so I’ll be looking forward to your chapters. I don’t think I could go to mtl translations. That’s like enjoying crappy candy corn after enjoying Belgium Chocolate.

  13. Not sure if you’re still working on this novel, but after reading so far I feel I owe it to you to at least mention this: I truly appreciate having been able to read such a good translation of this work, even incomplete.

    I might or might not read the mtl in a few months, if no new chapters appear here and nobody else picks it up. And it will probably be ‘good enough’ smut on a boring day, although somewhat unsatisfying. And probably on par with any a dime a dozen things I could read.

    On the other hand, this has so far being one of the few times I’ve experienced a well written danmei novel, with an equally good translation ( tbf, I can’t actually judge if they’re equally good since I don’t know Chinese, it may well be that Meatbun’s original writing is actually surpassing Shakespeare and I’ll just never know :-P) . Whether this has more to do with my weird tastes in the kind of bl I look for, or the rarity of high quality danmei, or the rarity of high quality translations, I can’t say for sure. Translating is in any case hard work and keeping it up for a long time when it’s just a hobby can become tedious or unrewarding, so it’s no wonder that good amateur translation are hard to come by. But that just makes me all the more happy when I find something like this.

    I can’t in all honesty say that I’m not at all disappointed ( not that you owe anybody anything, if such a preposterous thing even needs to be said). But if I end up never finishing this novel, I’ll still be happy I picked it up and got to read these 34 chapters. So I hope you also remember to be happy about the great work you did here, and not worry yourself about it if now or at any later point you decide to drop it.

    Just meant to say thanks to the both of you.

  14. Your translation is truly wonderful. It is only the reason I started the novel. I couldn’t bring myself to read the mtl version. I will only read it from you. I hope you are doing well <3

  15. Hi Seal,
    Sorry to hear that you are feeling so disheartenned because of those who spoil this amazing book using mtl. I came accross and enjoy Yuwu thanks to your outstanding work. I usually wait until a novel is completely translated before reading it because I don’t like mtl translation. I find it insulting that someone would even compare mtl type of translation with a proper one, such as yours. So, I can understand where you come from. I’d like to to thank you for taking time to do this. Your work is one of the best I’ve seen and I absolutely love that you go out of your way to explain the idioms and little facts and cultural difference for the reader to have a better grasp of the situation. I absolutely love every footnote, comment and post about how you choose one phrasing over another, the conversation you have with your friends to make sure tha you express adequately the author’s original intention and all the links and references that you attach. I read all of them and delight in them. I’ve learnt so much through your little comments, posts and footnotes and I am very grateful for that. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels that way. Rest assure that most of your readers, if not all of them feel the same.
    Personally, I really appreciate your work, effort and ethic and will patiently wait for your updates.
    I am a huge fan of your work and hope that this little comment will help you understand that most of us do not take your work and efforts for granted.
    Lots of love!!

  16. This is my first time reading it. I found it from novelupdates. Nothing can beat proper translations in my opinion. All the nuances and details are lost in machine translations and that’s what makes a story. A story is different from news articles or bunch of facts. It’s subjective but that’s the beauty of it.
    Thank you and I hope you are going to translate it still ofc at your own pace.

  17. I don’t understand, I read the mtl too, but it was mostly out of desperation to see what happens next. There are a lot of nuances I missed that way, so obviously the translation is the best way to go. I will definitely continue to read the translations too, as the effect is completely different. I assumed most others who read mtl thought so too, guess I was wrong. Still, to say the edited mtls are ‘good enough’ is truly an insult to this novel (it’s sooo good!). A huge thank you for continuing to translate this novel, it must have been really disheartening to see your effort go unappreciated like this, and the amount of effort you put in the translations really shows 🙂

  18. i started reading yuwu cause i found your translation and its really amazing, youre doing gods work here!! it really cant be compared to mtl. i think people saying mtls are “good enough” meant that you can somehow understand the plot, cause they arent good translations of the novel for sure. theyre lacking and change the meanings a lot,, once i read one chapter ahead in 2ha cause i was curious and reading the same chapter properly translated later was a completeltly different experience. so i hope you will go back to translating yuwu someday 🙁 i really love the novel and mtl just isnt the same, it doesnt even come close. also your work wasnt in vain, im sure many people started the novel because of you and liyou, just like me. anyways, take your time and come back when you enjoy translating again. thank you for everything!!

  19. I started reading this novel by chance, but there is no comparison between its translation and MTL, you are amazing! It is worth waiting for the translation! I sincerely hope you will enjoy translating again! For sure, we, your fans will be delighted to read!!

  20. I started reading yuwu when i randomly saw a link to this site on twitter. This is translation is simply amazing and I really love the notes the explanation really helps a lot. Thank you very much for the effort ╰(⸝⸝⸝´꒳`⸝⸝⸝)╯I am really grateful that someone is actually translating this novel with the readers in mind. I really appreciate it. I will patiently anticipate for your updates.

  21. Yes, I admit that I read mtl. But even though I read it, I’m still following your translation because I like more translated version than mtl and I respect you and your translation. I read a lot and there is so many ongoing translations, so if I find readable mtl and the original translation updates aren’t regular, I will read the mtl. The reason why I read mtl is that I loooooooooveeee this novel + it’s harder to remember what happend in the previous chapter when there isn’t regular (like weekly) update. (My native language is not English, so for me, it’s harder to remember what happend when I can’t understand every single word.)
    I know how much effort you put into translating. I’ve translated novels too (just for myself) and it took many hours to translate one chapter.
    I just wanna tell that people who read mtl doesn’t mean that they don’t respect the translation and other fans who are following translation. Yes, maybe there is people who doesn’t respect but it doesn’t mean that we all are like that.
    We are all in the same fandom, so don’t look down or hate mtl readers (or any other fans) since we all like the same thing. There is no “the best” and “the worst” fans.

    Seal and liyou, keep translating! I will definitely follow this translation! <3

  22. First off I would like to express my gratitude for the chapters that you have translated so far, and the fact that you still plan on translating the novel. The short notes that you leave in the story to explain historical/cultural facts and jokes that got lost in translation make reading Yuwu such a thrill, I always look forward to your next update. I’m so sorry that the existence of the MTL and other people’s dismissal of your hard work has hurt you. Please know that many readers, myself included, appreciate the effort that you put into translating and crafting this story, even going out of your way to find extra content on Weibo.

  23. That’s sad. But ultimately you’re the one translating, so If you don’t feel comfortable anymore, then don’t force yourself. I read the first chapters last year in another blog that no longer exists and just recently discovered yours, and I was in a bliss. Reading a good translation is always worth the wait. Because to be able to understand and feel What the author wrote is more important than just know What happened. It’s a whole different experience.

    Thanks for the notice. Have a nice week. Hugs and love. 😘

  24. Im not really good with my words but I just wanted to say thank you so much for your amazing translation so far and thank you for your amazing translations in the future. Reading your translation has made me invested in this world and it’s people. I can’t wait to continue reading your translations!

  25. Hello, I don’t have the eloquence that the other comment has but I want to say thank you for tour hardwork it hasn’t gone unappreciated! I don’t read other translations and have waited patiently for yours and its been worthwhile each time because its translated so beautifully. I had mo knowledge of mtl’s and its disheartening that people haven’t appreciated the effort that has gone into what you have been doing. Thank you once again! Because of you I really fell in love with Yuwu and I’ll wait when you feel ready to post. No pressure at all. As you said it’s a hobby! Have a lovely day/night and I hope you don’t feel too discouraged. Everytime you’ve posted its made me smile 😊

  26. Hi Seal – so sorry that you are feeling hurt from readers of the mtl version. I am new to the translated danmei world, but I can tell in an instant between good and bad translations and can definitely tell if it’s an mtl. I was so excited to chance upon yours (and liyou’s) translated Yuwu and it was sooo easy to immediately fall in love with the story because of your beautiful translation work. It was apparent how much time and passion you put into each chapter.

    I get why some readers prefer mtl – they want their story to be translated quickly and are satisfied with a decent, coherent read (no judgement…ok maybe a little judgement lol) but there are also others who really appreciate the beauty of the original language being translated from and want to truly be able to feel the original author’s words and intent.

    I think what you guys do is so amazing. You’re introducing stories to a whole community of people who might not have ever known about them because of the language barrier. You’re connecting people from around the world with your translated work (I’m from the US!).

    I hope you continue to translate Yuwu but ONLY if it still makes you happy. You don’t owe readers anything. I just want you to know that you and liyou are appreciated! Keep doing what you love! 💕🌻

  27. I’ve started to read “Yuwu” only because of your translation. It’s simply amazing! and I don’t even know how people have guts to compare it to the edited MTL. I hope one day you won’t think about it and will continue to enjoy this translation. Thank you so much ☺️

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