"Beijingle All the Way"

by Fei Wu

"Fei Wu, who lives in a suburb of Shanghai, China, is an author, translator, freelance editor, and literary agent. As agent, he represents the works of EQMM contributors Edward D. Hoch and Paul Halter in China, and he's played a key role in introducing Chinese readers to the works of Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr, Clayton Rawson, and many other Golden Age authors as well. His current goal is to do the same thing in the other direction: introducing Asian mysteries to Western readers."

This one happened very differently from any of my other translations. When I receive a story by a Dutch or Flemish author, I can simply read it in its original language, and then translate from there. For stories I've translated from Spanish, Italian, and Romanian, I've dropped the original text one paragraph at a time into Google Translate and then used my own knowledge of how crime fiction works to craft the resulting near-gibberish into publishable English.

In this case, though, author Fei Wu -- who has a reasonable command of the English language -- did his own rough translation of the story into English. What resulted was certainly better than what I would have gotten from Google Translate, but it still needed a lot of work before it was ready for English-language publication, and that's where I came in.

This was the third of three consecutive issues in which I had contributions in EQMM: I had both a story of my own and a translation in the September/October 2019 issue, and then another translation in the November/December 2019 issue, and then this translation and the second of my Puzzle Club stories in the January/February 2020 issue. That's two of my own stories and three translations in three issues -- a hat trick I don't expect I'll ever repeat ... although of course I'd love to! (Note added in late November 2020: As luck would have it, I did pull off another hat trick almost right away, with the third of my Puzzle Club stories in the November/December 2020 issue, the fourth one in January/February 2021, and both a non-series story and a translation in March/April 2021!)

In November 2020, EQMM editor Janet Hutchings asked me to record myself reading "Beijingle All the Way" for the magazine's December podcast. You can listen to it here.

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