I know it is referring to Shanghai, and Baidu has a handy explanation of its origins here, but how would you translate it? "The Mystic Capital"? "The Devilish Capital"? In the theme of 帝都 to describe Beijing as the "The Imperial capital" etc.

  • The Magic Capital – 賈可 Jacky Sep 27 '17 at 15:44
  • I think the magical metropolis would be better when I view this question again now. – 賈可 Jacky Mar 9 '18 at 2:28

You can use Demon City.

魔都 (used for 上海) came from the novel 魔都 written by 村松梢風 in 1924, and according to wikipedia, the novel's name is translated as Demon City.

Note that you don't have to translate into capital, because it means big city too.

● 都
 1. 大都市:~市。~会。通~大邑。

  • I didn't know it as a Chinese. – wolfrevo Sep 21 '15 at 7:00
  • The magical metropolis is better – 賈可 Jacky Mar 9 '18 at 2:29

If we disregard the existing historic translation Demon City, and want to come up with a more, perhaps "modern" English translation to convey what early 20th century Shanghai was like, then what about: Sin City. It is still used to describe historic Shanghai, as seen in these examples:

Sin City Shanghai | For a short time in the beginning of the 20th century this city ... Shanghai was THE island of wickedness on the Chinese continent.


Sin cities in which you can pursue vice and debauchery have existed throughout history, from Rome’s ..., to Shanghai where you could float for days in opium dens high on sex and drugs.



Why not "Mordor"... I have always believed this is the only correct transl(iter)ation.

  • Good idea, but when 帝都 and 魔都 come up together, which word would you choose for 帝都? – Stan Sep 23 '15 at 18:58
  • Interesting choice, but since Mordor and 魔都 are unrelated etymologically and also have very different meanings, this would be a poor translation. They only sound similar, coincidentally. – congusbongus Sep 24 '15 at 2:27

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