Minjie Chen at the LARB:
Third, Monkey King accentuates one of the major appeals of the novel — its humor — with embellishments made by the translator in three main ways: dialogue, the culture of the immortal society, and the technicality of magic. Monkey is nothing without his complete disregard for formality, even (or especially) as he interacts with those perching at the top of the deities’ hierarchical system. He evokes both childish innocence and rebellious boldness. The English edition takes this characteristic and runs with it, tweaking a word choice here and perfecting a repartee there, in line with the lighthearted tone of the original. I should mention also that Lovell excels at spicing up the insults exchanged between Monkey and his enemies. One of the spirits sent to subdue Monkey threatens his monkey kingdom, “The merest whisper of resistance and we’ll turn the lot of you into baboon butter” — you will not find “baboon butter” in the original version.