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Total number of meaning has little to do with the 4 tones and all to do with the written character:

天 tiān 1 the sky; the heavens

添 tiān 1 add; increase

田 tián 1 field; farmland; cropland

甜 tián 1 sweet; honeyed

I could go on with almost a dozen more, but OP I agree that sweet is probably the best assumption! Good catch!

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Oh cool! I'm curious as to how you guys translated e names into Chinese.

Do you guys use transliteration? Or some kind of other method. Sanderson has a lot of terms he coined that probably would be a little weird in other languages. 

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@Doctor12 Well it's a little complicated... Chinese does not function as alphabet system things. Our words, known as Characters, are not formed from 26 alphabets as English does. Each Character sometimes has several meanings.

So it would turn out to be that, we have limited pronunciations, but unlimited characters as long as it was invented. One pronunciation could be linked to several Characters.

And as your question, I should take a example:

For instance, Tien in SA Taiwan Edition, is translated 提恩, which is made up of two Characters, 提(ti) and 恩(en or un)

提 means lifting something up

恩 could sometimes mean grace or gratitude

But the translation Tien does not contain the meaning of lifting or gratitude. It's just because the pronunciations are familiar to the original word Tien.

And we readers know it's a foreign name, so we wouldn't interpret it as "lifting grace" something. It's just a name.

But if the term has specific meaning, not just a name, we will translate it by its meaning. Like Stormfather, we called 颶父(G fu), as 颶 means hurricane, 父 means father.

And because the traditional(Taiwan) and simplified(Mainland China) editions are separated, translations in these two might be different.

There's more information about Chinese in Wikipedia, so you could learn much more if interested in it. All in all, Chinese works very different from alphabet systems, hope you like my explanations XD

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@Sam Script

Yeah I know it's dian4, it just sounded close enough haha. Im actually Asian too, so i actually do speak Chinese, read and write it in as well, though I prefer English.

And that's really cool. So for place names like urithiru or alethkar, you use the direct sounds, but for names with meaning like shadesmar or terms like investiture, you try to get the meaning?

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Just guess XD

Well these are just names so I'm not going to explain each character unless necessary.

I'll list both Traditional/Simplified versions. (If I know the Simplified name


Raoden 瑞歐汀/雷奧登

Sarene 紗芮奈/?

Hrathen 拉森/?

Shai 珊/阿思


Vin 紋

Kelsier 凱西爾

The Lord Ruler 統御主/御主大帝

Sazed 沙賽德/薩奇德

Wax 瓦

Wayne 偉恩

===WARBREAKER (Mainland China hasn't published yet)

Vasher 法榭

Vivenna 維溫娜

Siri 希麗

Lightsong 萊聲(Taiwan's interpretations of Returneds are pretty interesting, they're usually translated by both the pronunciations and meanings, eg: 聲 means Sound, corresponded to "song")

===STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES(Taiwan has TWoK and WoR, China has TWoK so far)

Kaladin 卡拉丁

Shallan Davar 紗藍 達伐/沙蘭 達瓦

Dalinar Kholin 達利納 科林/達力拿 寇林

Szeth 賽司/澤斯

Eshonai 伊尚尼/伊舒娜

Syl 西兒

Pattern 圖樣(meaning interpretation)

Jasnah 加絲娜/迦熙娜


And the most important


Taiwan: 霍德(sound interpretation)

China: 須空(meaning interpretation, something similar to emptiness? @Botanica XD)

To see more Chines sites of Cosmere, you can visit

https://site.douban.com/122894/room/3248288/ This is BotanicaXu's Simplified Chinese Website


http://samscript12.pixnet.neblog This is my Traditional Chinese Blog

(Is it illegal in Forums to do this kind of promotion? If so then sorry and I'll delete these)

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Hey Sam! Thanks for mentioning me =) This is really an interesting topic. Honestly, when I first saw Tien as a name, I didn't even notice the association XD

And yes, I'm from Chinese mainland, so apart from what Sam said (While he uses traditional Chinese, I'm with simplified Chinese.), I can also add something more here.

(BTW Tien is translated into 提安 in mainland version, also a pure transliteration.)


Last year, I happened to have answered several questions regarding the translation of Cosmere books via Tumblr (Since I'm the translator of Stormlight and Elantris in mainland.). I figure maybe you will have interest in this? Bellow is my personal experience:

Translating the Cosmere

[Original post]

Here, in order to make fantasy/sci-fi readers understand better, we tend to paraphrase the terms (aka semantic translation), not just transliterate them (or combine both methods). The translator of WoK (who quitted the job out of some conflicts with the publisher, which is a pity) did this, and did quite well, so I must continue that way. 


Here’s a comparison:


Cosmere - 三界宙 (sān jiè zhòu)
It means “a universe with/consists of three realms”.
三 - three · 界 - realm/world · 宙 - universe/infinite time

Adonalsium - 阿多拿西 (ā duō ná xī) [transliterated]

Shard - 碎瑛 (suì yīng) / 神瑛 (shén yīng)
The former means just the power, while the latter means the person who holds the power and then becomes god.
瑛 - jade-like stone · 碎 - shattered/broken · 神 - god/spirit/magic/divine/talented
Most people’s canon image of a “Shard” is something like a piece of crystal, so we chose a beautiful local word, whose meaning is similar to this.

Investiture - 神能 (shén néng) / 授能术 (shòu néng shù)
The former means just the energy that infuses the Cosmere, while the latter means its manifestations.
能 - energy · 授 - invest · 术 - skill/art/method/technique

We often use 术 to describe a magic system.


Allomancy - 镕金术 (róng jīn shù) · Feruchemy - 藏金术 (cáng jīn shù) · Hemalurgy - 血金术 (xuè jīn shù)
The first means “Using this magic (术), the Allomancers burn (镕) metals (金).”.
The second means “Using this magic, the Feruchemists store (藏) things in metal.”.
The third means “This magic focuses on metals and is connected to blood (血).” I think it can also be translated as “盗金术 (dào jīn shù )”, which means “With this magic, a type of metal can steal (盗) things.”.

Hoid - 须空 (xū kōng)

I once mentioned that Hoid has (at least) five names here (须空, 霍德, 霍依德, 霍伊得 and 哈德), which is a huge embarrassment for us translators and those publishers, due to the lack of interaction and Cosmere continuity control. But thankfully the publisher who does SA has already bought the copyright to all of Brandon’s Cosmere and non-Cosmere books, so I’m helping the editors with the continuity work now.

Okay, back to the main topic. For “Hoid”, most of us (I mean the majority of mainland Sanderfans) accept “须空”, which appears in WoK. It’s NOT a simple transliteration. The translator explained his reasons once. Hoid (须空) looks like Void (虚空), so he took 虚空 out, replacing 虚 (empty) with 须 (must). Note that these two characters have the same pronunciation (xū).

His alias Wit is translated as “知策 (zhī cè)”. With this name, he would sound like an imperial advisor in ancient China =P
知 - knowledge/wisdom · 策 - plan/plot/scheme/tactic

Translating The Stormlight Archive

[Original post]



The Stormlight Archive - 飓光志 (jù guāng zhì)
飓 - storm/hurrican · 光 - light · 志 - archive/record

Roshar - 柔刹 (róu shā/chà) [transliterated]
It is transliterated, but if we look at the word carefully, we will find something interesting, also brilliant.
柔: It means soft. There are 矛 and 木 in 柔, and 矛 means spear, symbolizing Kaladin.
刹: When it reads shā, it means “stop/brake”. When it reads chà, it comes from Sanskrit, referring to an instant, Buddhist temple or land/world. There are 杀 (shā) (killing) and 刂 (dāo) (knife/sword) in 刹, symbolizing killing/war/struggle/conflict and Shardblades.

Urithiru - 乌有斯麓 (wū yǒu sī lù) [transliterated]
It is transliterated, but I think the word choice is just awesome as hell, because it also has a meaning!
“乌有斯麓” means “乌有 (There’s no) 斯 (such) 麓 (mountain).” (Actually 麓 means the foot of a mountain, but we can just assume it means a mountain here. Mountains are high, so is Urithiru tower.) This translation fits the fact that its exact location is (currently) unknown.

The Way of Kings - 王者之路 (wáng zhě zhī lù)
It means “The Kings’ Way”.
王者 (or just 王) - king · 之 - represents third person objective case · 路 - way/road

Words of Radiance - 光辉真言 (guāng huī zhēn yán)
It means “Radiant True Words”.
光辉 - radiance · 真 - truth · 言 - word
The Chinese title should correspond to the translation of “Knights Radiant” (光辉骑士团) and “Immortal Words” (不朽真言) sworn by them.

Series Title and Book Titles | Character and Place Names | History | Weather and Environment | Lifeforms | Culture | Magic | Curses

1. Series Title and Book Titles

See former post.
For book three, if the final title is Oathbringer, it should be translated as 渡誓 (dù shì).
渡 - bring/lead/ferry sb. through · 誓 - oath/promise

Additional: Other Cosmere Series/Stories
Elantris - 伊岚翠 [transliterated]
伊 - that/he or she, often appears in ancient prose · 岚 - mountain haze · 翠 - emerald green
Mistborn - 迷雾之子 (Children of Mist/Fog)
This is the same as the German title Kinder des Nebels.
Warbreaker - 破战者
War(战)break(破)er(者) - The One Who Breaks the War

2. Character and Place Names

Most are transliterated. The translator should have an inkling of how Semitic languages work. Next year I might teach myself some basic Hebrew and Arabic (or even Polynesian languages). Usually audiobook helps A LOT. (You know, Thaylen words and Unkalaki words are quite challenging.) When translating, I listen to it and try hard to catch the exact pronunciation of each new name or term. It’s super tiring, but still interesting.


Kaladin Stormblessed - 飓风恩护者卡拉丁 (jù fēng ēn hù zhě kǎ lā dīng)
Meaning: Storm(飓风)blessed(恩护者)(The One Who is Blessed by Storms) Kaladin(卡拉丁) (Stormfather! Kaladin sounds just like a pinyin to us!)
Szeth-Son-Son-Vallano - 瓦拉诺之孙泽斯 (wǎ lā nuò zhī sūn zé sī)
Meaning: Vallano’s Grandson(瓦拉诺之孙) Szeth(泽斯)
Taravangian - 塔拉梵吉安 (tǎ lā fàn jí ān)
Talenelat'Elin - 塔拉内拉塔艾林 (tǎ lā nèi lā tǎ ài lín)
Note: Among those symmetrical words, this (TALENELAT - 塔拉内拉塔) is probably the only one that can remain symmetrical after translation, because of the difference between English and Chinese. (Sigh.) When you read Chinese SA, the symmetry is not very obvious. We have to add footnotes to make readers understand.
+ + +
Shallan Davar - 沙兰·达瓦 (shā lán dá wǎ )
Torol Sadeas - 托洛尔·撒迪亚斯 (tuō luò ěr sā dí yà sī )
Adolin Kholin - 阿多林·寇林 (ā duō lín kòu lín)
Meridas Amaram - 梅里达斯·亚马兰 (méi lǐ dá sī yà mǎ lán )
Note: “·” is a Chinese punctuation. When translating foreign names, we use it to separate the first name, (middle name) and last name, since there’s basically no space in Chinese texts. But the case is diifferent when it comes to “Kaladin Stormblessed”, because “Stormblessed” is just a title, and it should be placed before the name.
Note: When the first letter of a term is A, we tend to transliterate it in two ways:
1) a - ah (See Adolin.) But in fact, Adolin should be pronounced as AY-do-lin.
2) a - ya (See Amaram.) This usage comes from dialects. I live in Shanghai, and the people here who speak dialect do this very often. In Mandarin, we don’t speak like that.
+ + +
For Roshar and Urithiru, see former post.
Alethkar - 阿勒斯卡 (ā lè sī kǎ)
Jah Keved - 雅克维德 (yǎ kè wéi dé)
Azir - 亚泽尔 (yà zé ěr)
See? A-YA, here we go again.
Kharbranth - 卡哈巴兰斯 (kǎ hā bā lán sī)
Thaylenah - 泰勒拿 (tài lè ná)
Shinovar - 深国 (shēn guó)
Meaning: The Nation(国) of the Shin(深) People
Origins - 飓源 (jù yuán)
Meaning: The Origin(源) of Storms(飓)

3. History

Desolation - 灭世 (miè shì)
Meaning: (The Event that) Destroys(灭) the World(世)
Everstorm - 灭世风暴 (miè shì fēng bào)
Meaning: The Storm that Destroys the World
Recreance - 光辉变节 (guāng huī biàn jiē)
Meaning: (The Day) The Radiants(光辉) Betray(变节) (the Humankind)
Aharietiam - 亚哈里提安 (yà hā lǐ tí ān) [transliterated]

4. Weather and Environment

Highstorm - 飓风 (jù fēng)
Meaning: Severe Storm → Hurricane
Stormlight - 飓光 (jù guāng)
Crem - 飓砂 (jù shā)
Meaning: Grits(砂) From the Storm(飓)(water)

5. Lifeforms

Cremling - 飓虫 (jù chóng)
Meaning: Storm(飓)-Bug(虫)
Chull - 红甲蟹 (hóng jiǎ xiè)
Meaning: Crabs(蟹) with Red(红) Shells/Carapaces(甲)
Ryshadium - 雷沙迪乌马 (léi shā dí wū mǎ) [transliterated, but we have “horse”(马) at the end]
Skyeel - 飞鳗 (fēi mán)
Meaning: Flying(飞) Eel(鳗)
Thunderclast - 雷岩兽 (léi yán shòu)
Meaning: Thunder(雷)-Rock(岩)-Beast(兽)
Parshmen - 仆族 (pú zú) [part transliterated, part paraphased]
Meaning: Servant(仆) Peoples(族)
Parshendi - 仆族智者 (pú zú zhì zhě)
Meaning: The Parshmen(仆族) Who Can Think(智者)

6. Culture

Freehand - 闲手 (xián shǒu)
Meaning: Free(闲) Hand(手)
Safehand - 禁手 (jìn shǒu)
Meaning: Forbidden(禁) Hand(手)

7. Magic

1) Surgebinding
Surge - 飓能 (jù néng)
Meaning: Storm(飓)-Energy(能) - Energy and Power From Storm(light)
Surgebinding - 飓能术 (jù néng shù)
Meaning: The Art(术) of (manipulating) Surges
We make this similar to Metallic Arts.
Soulcasting - 塑魂术 (sù hún shù)
Meaning: The Art of Molding(塑) Souls(魂)

2) Knights Radiant 光辉骑士团 (guāng huī qí shì tuán)
Meaning: The Order(团) of the Knights(骑士) Radiant(光辉)
Windrunners - 风行骑士 (fēng xíng qí shì)
Meaning: The Knights(骑士) Who Walk(行) the Winds(风)
Dustbringers - 归尘骑士 (guī chén qí shì)
Meaning: The Knights Who Turn Things (Back) into Dust(尘) (This process is called 归.)
Stonewards - 护地骑士 (hù dì qí shì)
Meaning: The Knights Who Guard/Protect(护) the (Stone) Ground(地)

3) Voidbinding - 虚魂术 (xū hún shù)
Meaning: The Art Belongs to Void(虚) Spirits(魂)

4) Old Magic - 古魔法 (gǔ mó fǎ)
Meaning: Old(古) Magic(魔法)

5) Fabrials - 法器 (fǎ qì) [part transliterated, part paraphased]
法 - magic 器 - tool/device/utensil/implement

8. Extra: Curses

Brandon invented many unique curses, which are a big challenge to us tranlators. The translator of WoK and I, we tried VERY hard to creat Chinese analogues.

(There’re just too many curses. This time we talk about storm-related ones first.)

Storms! Storm it! Storm you! Storming XXX!
- 风操的!(Winds Fxck It/You/Sth.!)
- 风杀的!(Winds Kill It/You/Sth.!)
- 吃风去!(You Go Eat the Winds!)
- 风打雷劈的!(Winds and Thunders Strike It/You/Sth. Good!)
- 飓风啊!(Oh My Storms!)
- 飓风在上!(Storms Above!)
There’re also other variations, such as “Your Brain is Completely Broken by the Winds!” and “Shut Up Your Fxcking-Storm-Mouth!”.

Among them, “风操的” is the most vulgar, so we usually let those slaves, sailors, bridgemen and soilders say it. When it comes to nobles and scholars, we usually let them say the last ones, which are mildy more cultivated. But it is not always settled, since everyone can lose control. We need to decide a character’s personality first, then guess their emotions from the context.


Perhaps @Sam Script can provide a similar list and give a brief introduction about how the Taiwanese translator does those terms?

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So you're the one who does translation for the entire book? Storms, that's amazing. I do a bit of freelance translation work and I know it takes a lot even for short documents. I cannot imagine the work it takes for a monster work like Words of Radiance!

Thanks for the highly detailed explanations and examples!

BTW, bit of squeeing here, but I've come across your art before and it is gorgeous. Thank you!

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Question about Oathbringer, 渡誓. 

correct me if I'm wrong, (probably am), but wouldn't it be 渡誓者 to show 'he/it that brings the oaths', or 'oathbringer' rather than just 'oath bring?' 

my Chinese isn't very good even at best of times, so pardon of its a stupid question

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For Botanica's suggestion, I add some Traditional Chinese Versions here:



Cosmere 寰宇(huan-yu), it's not an invented term but existed before Brandon's book, which means "the whole universe".

Adonalsium 雅多納西(ya-do-na-si)we used 雅, as the problem of 雅(ya) and 阿(ah)

Shard 碎力(sue-li), meaning the "shattered force"

Shard 碎神(sue-shren), meaning the "shattered god", 神 - shren

Investiture 授能, meaning the "invested energy" 授 - give, invest, bestow ; 能 - energy


Book Names

Elantris: we have a sub-title for the book, 諸神之城:伊嵐翠(City of Deities: Elantris) 諸: several ;神: god, divine ;城; city

Mistborn: 迷霧之子 as well

Warbreaker: 破戰者 as well

Emperor's Soul: 皇帝魂(huang-di  hoon). This novella is inspired by National Palace Museum in Taipei, when Brandon visited Taiwan 4 years ago. There's introduction in Coppermind wiki about this trivia XD

Stormlight Archive: 颶光典籍(G-guang-dian-ji)  典籍 means encyclopedia something, close to 志 in Simplified version.

The Way of Kings: 王者之路 as well

Words of Radiance: 燦軍箴言

  So this is pretty different from Simplified version, as our translation in Knights Radiant are quite different. 

  In Traditional(Taiwan) version, KR is translated into just two Characters: 燦軍(Tsan June), while 燦 means bright or vibrant, and 軍 means military troop.

  And in Simplified(Mainland) version, KR is translated as four Characters: 光輝騎士(Guang-hui-chi-shih), while 光輝 means glow, 騎士 means knights.

  So when it comes to WoR, Taiwan calls it 燦軍箴言(Tsan-june-jern-yan), meaning "mottos of KR" and Mainland China calls it 光輝真言, mening "glowing true words".


Stormlight Archives Translations

I'll just add Traditional Version terms after Bota

2. Character and Place Names

Kaladin Stormblessed - 受颶風祝福的卡拉丁,受颶風祝福的(sho ju fong ju fu de),  meaning Be Blessed by Storm.

Szeth-Son-Son-Vallano - 法拉諾之孫賽司

Talenelat'Elin - 塔勒奈拉-艾林(ta le ne la elin)

Torol Sadeas - 多羅-薩迪雅司
Adolin Kholin - 雅多林-科林 (we use 雅ya for Adolin's A)
Meridas Amaram - 梅利達思-阿瑪朗 (we use 阿ah for Amaram's A, different from China XD)

Alethkar - 雅烈席卡 (yā lè sī kǎ)
Jah Keved - 賈-克维德 (jǎ kè wéi dé)
Azir - 亞西爾 (yà zi ěr)
Kharbranth - 卡布嵐司 (kǎ bu lán sī)
Thaylenah - 賽勒那 (sài lè ná)
Shinovar - 雪諾瓦 (shin no va)

3. History

Desolation - 荒寂時代 (huan ji shi dai), meanig "The epoch of desolation"
Everstorm - 永颶 (yong G), mening the "forever hurricane"

4. Weather and Environment

Crem - 克姆泥(ker mu ni), 克姆 is transliteration, we added a 泥, meaning mud, to show that it's kind of mud.

5. Lifeforms

Cremling - 克姆林蟲 (ker mu lin chong), transliteration plus a 蟲, meaning bugs.

Chull - 芻螺 (Chu lo) well this is translated in both the pronunciation and meaning, 芻 means ruminant as cows and sheeps do, to show that Chulls are taming, vegetarian animals, and 螺 means snails or crustaceans.

Skyeel - 天鰻 (tian mán), 天 means sky.

Thunderclast - 雷爪(ley jra), meaning "thunder claw"

Parshmen - 帕胥人(pa shi ren), transliteration, 人 means people.

Parshendi - 帕山迪人(pa shen di ren), transliteration, same as Parshmen.

6. Culture

Safehand - 內手 (ney shǒu), meaning "the inner hand"

7. Magic

1) Surgebinding
Surge - 波(bo), means wave, or pulsars.

Surgebinding - 封波術(fong bo shu), 封 means sealing something.

2) Knights Radiant - 燦軍(chang june)

Windrunners - 逐風師(Ju fong shi), meanig the "master chasing after winds", 師 means teacher, or someone mastering in specific abilities.

Skybreakers - 破天師(Po tian shi), meaning "master breaking the sky"

Dustbringers - 招塵師(Jao chen shi), meaning "master bringing dust"

Edgedancers - 緣舞師(Yuan u shi), meaning "master dancing at the edge"

Truthwatchers - 真觀師(Jen guan shi), meaning "master observing the truth"

Lightweavers - 織光師(Ji guang shi), meaning "master weaving the light"

Elsecallers - 異召師(yi jao shi), meaning "master summoning something else"

Willshapers - 塑志師(shu ji shi), meaning "master modeling the willingness"

Stonewards - 石衛師(shi wei shi), meaning "master of stone warding"

Bondsmiths - 盟鑄師(mong ju shi), meaning "master molding the league order"

I also put the Shard interpretations here, both Traditional and Simplified versions:



I'll put the Traditional at front, Simplified at back. if there's just one term, it means that we used the same translation.

Dominion 統治 / 統御 (both means "rule")

Devotion 奉獻(devotion) / 忠愛(loyalty and affection)

Preservation 存留 / 留存 (the characters are replaced, but the same meaning)

Ruin 滅絕(extinction) / 毀滅(destroy)

Endowment 贈與(I'm not sure whether M-China has its translation)

Honor 榮譽

Cultivation 培養

Odium 憎惡(extremely hate) / 仇恨(hatred)

Autonomy 自主(on one's own), it's the first Shard Intent we named after discussing with each other (me and Botanica)

Because the publisher dealing with Brandon's book in Taiwan, Fantasy Foundation, hadn't made much efforts on Cosmere terms interpretation before my blog, so most Cosmere terms in Taiwan are followed after my blog XD

Edited by Sam Script
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