Ventilator and scanlations of UBS (Fansubs and Scanlations)
EXTREMELY COMMON for fansubs and scanlations in general, due to a number of factors.
The translators are, more often than not, amateurs who don't have a lot of experience or training.
Particularly for popular weekly series, groups often have strict deadlines (both to keep up with the series itself and for the satisfaction of getting that series up before other groups). This means proofreading can be rushed or nonexistent.
The culture of fansubbers/scanslators and their followers is, overwhelmingly, one that heavily emphasizes the idea that foreign works must be kept as "pure" as possible, thus must be "translated" as little as possible; thus what is deemed fit to translate at all is usually translated literally with next to no regard for voice or flow (or sometimes even grammar).
The translators are often not native speakers of either the original or subtitled language. Chinese bootlegs (such as some of the Fullmetal Alchemist and Elfen Lied examples below), for example, are especially prone to this, for this reason.
Ever since Chapter 127, there have been a few really badly scanslated chapters of Claymore posted on online manga readers, which have a very distinct machine-translation style and amateurish lettering with multiple terrible fonts. All the more strange, since the groups who did it before (and continue doing it for all the other chapters) are generally very skilled both at translation and typesetting.
There was a scanlation for Fullmetal Alchemist that has Winry's name as "Willy" and Riza's name as "Lisa".
There is a Chinese bootleg of the 2003 anime where a group of characters named after the Seven Deadly Sins included the names "Rust" and "Blatnee" (Lust and Gluttony) for several episodes before the translators apparently caught on. This same phonetics issue leads to a subtitle of Wrath later screaming "CALL ME LASSIE!"
One subbed version would, for several episodes at a time, refer to Ed as "The Square Enix". Presumably the title and the production company's close proximity on the covers and related media led the subtitlers to take a misguided shortcut.
That same subbed version refers to Ed as "Edowado Erurixtuku", Winry as "Wuxinnrexi" (which thankfully later changed to the better-but-still-wrong "Wendy"), Roy Mustang as "Roi Masutanngu" and many other mistakes besides. It also uses the wrong pronoun ("he" instead of "I" comes up many times), making it really confusing to follow conversations.
Those names are a particular brand of word processor romaji (ie, the specific buttons you push on the keyboard to make the Japanese characters appear). In this system, straight nihon-shiki romanizations are used for every separate character, the n character is written as "nn", and the x button is used to indicate that the following character is small.
Of course, these spellings serve no purpose outside of direct explanations of how to use type Japanese on a computer, using them in a fansub is insane.
And "Xerxes" as "Celecsess", or something like that. Granted, "Xerxes" was translated from old Persian into Greek and then English, so the orthography is a bit weird.
Ed also says, "I don't like stuff I don't like" in one scanlation.
The same fansub features a university professor blurting "Take it all off!" apropos of nothing, the name Mayu translated as "Cocoon" (which is literally accurate, but...), and crying subtitled as "hoot hoot".
The original fan-made translations of Parts 4 and 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are notorious for this, as it was done by someone whose first language was definitely not English. The most infamous is a page from Part 4 that shows the main villain exclaiming "What a beautiful Duwang!"
It was popular enough that fans created a Duwang Gag Sub for the anime.
Double translations from Japanese to Chinese and then from Chinese to English often have name changes like this because Chinese people may refer to Japanese names by using the chinese pronunciation of the characters.
The AnimeJunkies fansub group made a laughingstock of themselves when they released a flawed translation of a line from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The line was supposed to be a question about numerous kidnappings by foreign mafia agents, but was translated as, "Are you aware of the frequent occurrences of the mass naked child events within the country?" The "mass naked child events" line became a meme referring to terrible translations.
That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but AnimeJunkies had been consistently putting out crap subs for a while at that point. Their Get Backers subs are almost as bad (especially compared to another far more talented fansub group that was also covering that show, to say nothing of ADV's official subs that came out a couple years later). What turned everyone against them was their reaction to criticism and other fansubbers.
There was a Bleach fansub that translated a Japanese slang term for uvula (のどちんこ, nodochinko) literally, as "throat penis".
When OneManga was still up: "So you have came, Uahara Kisuke".
Earlier on had Yammy referring to Ulquiorra as "Uluqiorra".
In addition, for a large portion of the early chapters, at least three different spellings of "Zaraki Kenpachi" were used, none of which were correct.
Around the time Ichigo's training with Urahara, Urahara's zanpakuto, Benihime is called "Kurenaihime", and Ichigo's Zangetsu was called "Kitsuki".
One of the scanlations that used to be on OneManga for Love Hina has a chapter in which Keitaro has a fever and Naru is taking his temperature. However, Keitaro's body temperature was apparently 39.7 degrees Fahrenheit - And yet Naru says to get the ice bag?!? That would mean Keitaro's DEAD!! That goes beyond Blind Idiot Translation. Most Americans at least know of the Celsius system, even if they don't regularly use it and have trouble converting; so if the subber couldn't convert, why not just leave it in Celsius? (For the record, 39.7 degrees Celsius is roughly 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit, a pretty high fever – any higher and they'd need to take him to the hospital immediately).
Said scanlation also jumps around a little in quality - there are some mild grammar mistakes or parts where the Japanese text is left untranslated and not given a reference (possibly because it doesn't really mean anything and is just added for comedic effect) on top of it being a scan.
"Ha ha ha! Sara, don't you actually made that joke!"
The official translation from Tokyopop has several instances of really bad grammatical structure note Volumes 2 through 9 are all affected, but the worst offenders are volumes 3, 4, 5, and a rather important climax in volume 9. The translation itself seems reasonably decent; it just needed a better editor.
This is made more obvious by Kadokawa Comics' 2012 re-translation of the series. Nearly all of the grammatical errors were fixed, but the translation itself is far more literal, and thus less fun to read.
Also in the department of fansubbers—"Image Hosted at MangaFox.com. Please Don't Hotlinking. Thanks."
Code Geass: A "Blind Idiot" Translation of episode 5 of R2 was done by a group called WeWin. It includes such hilarity as Suzaku as My Lord Jesus, Lelouch is a lot of abandoned homes, Area 11 being in a bun, and Lelouch's strange little brother named Lolo. Read it here.
In one chapter of Kaichou Wa Maid-sama!, a character cosplays a US Navy Captain. The translation refers to him as "Colonel," a rank never used by navies.
There's actually an explanation for this. The Japanese only have one ranking system, shared between the Army and Navy; Taisa is equivalent to O-6 (Army Colonel, Navy Captain). This is a problem that comes up all the time in the Gundam franchise. However, that's no excuse for getting such a clear sign wrong.
There are some pretty bad subtitles on episodes of Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. Examples include the characters' tendency to yell "You son of a bitches!", and in one case "I will revenge!", or the way "The clever Akakakabuto (One too many ka's) layed in ambush and hurted Takeda." and "Three puppies has been born at Daisuke."
"And now did Riki died too."
"Humans had been forced to give after for the bears power."
"Gin are like his father."
One of the most annoying examples is how every use of the word "man" is replaced with "male". The reason this is annoying is because half the series is the dogs running around Japan to find "males".
Also funny is the way the subbers always used the word "bitch" for referring to female characters. This is accurate because a bitch is a female dog, but anyone watching it will be thinking or the other definition when Gin yells "Cross is a bitch!"
When Moss sends Lloyd and Jaguar to see Ben's pack, he is supposed to tell them to deliver a message. For who knows what reason, in the fansubs he tells the two torapethem instead.
Before the final battle, Cross assures Ben that she doesn't need to say farewell because she's "going to become a male."
One fansub script for Dirty Pair TV episode 10 rendered one of Kei's lines of dialog as "Kei says something here". (The subtitles on the Nozomi Entertainment DVD release render that line as "Good job, guys!")
Some One Piece scanlations had characters declaring that they would swear Royalty (sic) to their king.
This is not even getting into the Kaizoku-Fansubs "translations" for that show, which only occasionally fall into this trope, preferring instead to consistently occupy this one.
The first 20th Century Boys film hit the Internet with English subtitles that were pretty good. Which made it pretty baffling when the subtitles on the second film were for the most part complete gibberish, featuring what seemed like random collections of letters half the time, and also tending to translate character's names as regular words, like "Kanna" being subtitled as "sad". The only way to have any hope of following the film using those subtitles is to have read the manga at least twice.
The final battle in Rave Master is an epic clash between the forces of darkness and light, or would be if you could focus on it instead of all the improper conjugation.
In an episode of Rozen Maiden where Shinku is appreciating some Assam Tea, one fansub rendered it as something along the lines of "the asamti is in finance".
There is a pretty terrible Hong Kong bootleg of the Tales of Eternia anime that runs on the trope. One of the funnier screw-ups was rendering the two worlds of "Infernia" and "Celestia" as "Yugoslavia" and "Czechoslovakia."
Several scanlations of Great Teacher Onizuka have sloppy grammar and overlay the original Japanese speech/thought bubbles with translucent colored boxes containing the text.
TDX's translations of Liar Game chapters 114 and onward. Translating "Isutori Game" literally as "Steal-A-Chair Game" rather than "Musical Chairs" is a mistake on the level of referring to a character's "Handheld" (cellphone) which he's left charging in the "Concent" (electrical outlet) back at his "Mansion" (apartment).
Some of the "dishwasher" fansubs of Dragon Ball Z were notorious for bizarre name spellings and gratuitous overuse of profanity.
Dragon Ball Super likewise has some pretty abysmal speedsubs which consistently manage to mess up the most basic lines and struggle to even make sense within the context of themselves. Highlights include claiming that Beerus had been asleep for 30 billion years (it was actually just 39) or mistranslating Whis's explanation of the twelve universes to claim that a thirteenth universe existed which was some sort of massive container for the other twelve, when he was actually just saying that there were six sets of "twin" universes, and any two universes whose numbers add up to 13 (1 and 12, 6 and 7 and so forth) are twins. To demonstrate the level of quality we're dealing with, here's a review of one of them.
One fansub of Magic Knight Rayearth insisted that Escudo weapons "glow" the more you use them. Anyone who's read the introduction to a self-instruction Japanese primer can tell you what went wrong here.
For the longest time, the only English subs for Digimon Frontier, produced by a certain fansub group which will not be named, were this. Between translating lines like "This is Fire Terminal, a Digimon village" into "This is Fire station, a Digimon boundry", the "Demon Beast" type (Majuu) being labeled "Magic," and subtitling the word "Kusai" ("This stinks") as "*random Italian splurge* " (sic). Adding to this is the mind numbingly insane amount of ENTIRE SENTENCES AND LINES WHICH WERE LEFT UNTRANSLATED. Not only are there times when one or two full lines of dialogue are not given any subs, but words that the "translator" couldn't understand were left marked off with dash marks ("— Digimon") or ellipses ("Junpei, isn't that...?"). It's just god-awful. A better translation was eventually provided, but for a good five years, this utter garbage was the only option if one wanted to watch the series in Japanese.
Non-Japanese example: The fansub for the Norwegian horror film Thale is a prime example. Within even just the first 5 minutes, at least half of the subtitles are overly literal, awkwardly phrased, or otherwise incorrectly worded.
Kamen Rider Double has an infamous example in the TV-Nihon subs of 30. During a dream sequence, Akiko imagines that she's Double, with the Transformation Trinket announcing "Naniwa no Bishojou Kamen!" TV-N translated this as "Who is that beautiful girl Kamen?", but a little research would have shown that "Naniwa" is an old name for Osaka — Akiko's home. Therefore, a more accurate translation would have been "Masked Beauty of Naniwa/Osaka". (Also, just because fans know the "Kamen" in Kamen Rider means "Masked" doesn't mean no occurrence of the word "mask" should ever be translated, but that's just how TV-N rolls.)
In Kamen Rider Den-O, TV-N misheard Owner's greeting of "Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs" as "Ladies and gentlemen, banana new shoe!" It became a meme for quite a while.
On Youtube, there are users which upload the Hong Kong subtitles of Yu-Gi-Oh! The script is translated into Chinese, then translated into English. These creates a LOT of screw ups in the translations, example included the Blue Eyes White Dragon is often called the 'Green-Eyes/Eyed White Dragon', several monster names getting mangled, some of them being utterly hilarious (Summoned Skull becomes 'Steel Demon Koko' in one episode, The God of Obelisk is translated as 'Giant of the Square Tipped Tower' in one episode) and names are swapped around (In the Joey/Yugi duel at the docks, Joey is called 'Serenity' for 3 episodes straight!) And then of course, there are card names which get such a bad translation, that hilarity ensues. The best example being in this clip, where the card Heart of the Underdog gets a very weird name. And of course the implications it has for poor Joey...
"Dark Magician" was once translated as "Dark Physician."
Some of the screw-ups are really quite understandable if one knows Chinese. For example, the character used in both Chinese and Japanese, can mean both blue and green. And "Square Tipped Tower" is the literal meaning of the word "obelisk" in Chinese.
Some Yu-Gi-Oh fansubs have quite a few obvious errors. Some names are changed and others are completely wrong; for example, "Black Magician" and "Exodia" are switched around. They also use some odd grammar, especially in the opening song translations, and make some strange changes to the words. In Yugi's duel with Pandora, they call the buzzsaw a "gummer" (most likely a mishearing of "cutter", which is what the characters literally say) and sometimes refer to the cards as "pokers". Possibly the most hilarious was translating "Millennium Puzzle", and "Millennium Rod" into "Thousand Year Bricks" and "Thousand Tin Stick".
In their defense, the Japanese characters refer to the items as "Sen-nen," which literally means 'thousand years'. Only English-speaking characters (such as Pegasus) say "Millennium." Now while we all know millennium means one thousand years, some fansubbers are insistent on translating exactly what is said, rather than using English equivalents. Trying to ask them to do otherwise can end badly.
In a couple of episodes in the second season, they transliterate Kaiba as "Seahorse" and on one occasion, Mokuba as "Wooden Horse". They also usually mistranslate Anzu's name as "Kyoko".
Kaiba does literally mean seahorse, and by myth, a seahorse will turn into a dragon (Kaiba's signature type) after time. For this reason, the then new "Kaiser Seahorse" was one of the easier ways at the time to summon a Blue Eyes White Dragon (or other high level light monster). Mokuba does mean wooden horse, though God knows what the author was thinking when he chose Mokuba's name. The kanji for Anzu's name might be misread as Kyoko, as there are different ways of reading the kanji.
Perhaps worst of all, even some Gratuitous English names are wrong; "Revival Slime" becomes "Revival Mud".
'For me the hatred of the death souls does not mean anything for me. Let me show you my spirits!' takes the biscuit for the very worst piece of translation.
On a similar note, some episodes (especially the early ones) will refer to Yugi as "Game." Yes, this is literally translating the name.
One episode subbed Lightforce Sword (Hikari no Fūsatsuken, literally "Sealing Card Sword of Light") as "Swords of Revealing Light" (which is Hikari no Gofūken, literally "Protective Seal Swords of Light"). Confusingly, the card actually known as Swords of Revealing Light was still subbed as "Swords of Revealing Light", meaning there were two different cards referred to with the exact same name.
The subbers also sometimes seemed confused as to when the word "Yugi" was being used to mean "Game" and when it was being used to refer to the character. Lines such as "...then Yugi can win" when Yugi wasn't even present at the time showed up (when it should have been something like "...then I can win this game").
In one scanlation of Hellsing, Serace Victoria's name switches between Serace, Sarah, and Ceres throughout the series, and Warrant Officer Schrodinger becomes Schuldinger.
There exists a sub of Gensoumaden Saiyuki that starts out fairly normal, but its later episodes appear to have been translated this way from Chinese (whether or not they come from bootleg DVDs of any sort is unclear). One arguably positive side effect of this was the use of the Chinese names for the characters, which makes sense considering that the story is based on Journey to the West (although, depending on who you ask, this transliteration can be distracting, as for the most part the Japanese pronunciation of these names is very different from the Chinese). Outside of this, however, the translation mainly resulted in odd sentence structure, and sometimes nearly approached the level of Backstroke of the West in terms of comprehensibility. The occasional use of the word "boob" as a curse/interjection didn't help either.