Blind Idiot Translation / Tabletop Games

Competition from the face to the office (Tabletop Games)

  • There are some bootleg Pokémon cards which included, as the Pokémon names, a description of their appearance. "Little Yellow Mouse (Evolves into Yellow Mouse)" for Pichu, "Small Worm" for Caterpie, and "Little Bird (Evolves into Bigger Bird)" for Pidgey, and the list goes on.
  • The Polish translation of Cyberpunk 2020 RPG consists mainly of things translated needlessly (like song lyrics used as one chapter's opening motto) or wrongly ("cyberwear" gets translated as "skin cyberations" in the description of boostergangs or "bag lady chic", ie. hobo wear, as "old fashioned"), but at least it's So Bad, It's Good when it turns "Input" (slang name for a girlfriend) into "Socket". At least it's consistent with changing "Output" (slang name for a boyfriend) into "Plug", forming an interesting Double Entendre. Curiously, the phrase "Stuffit" (slang name for sex) is entirely omitted from the Polish translation.
  • Word of God has it that one of the Fantasy Counterpart Culture place names on the map of Mystara, a Dungeons & Dragons game-setting, translates as "Goat Dropping" in English.
  • The Spanish translation of FadingSuns RPG translated the word "peasants" as "hormigas guisante" ("peas ants").
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Spanish translation of the card Pride of Lions should be "Manada de Leones", instead we have "El orgullo de los leones" (as in the "feeling proud" kind of pride).
    • The Italian translation is often quite poor. The card "Mind Spring", clearly representing a flow of knowledge, had the spring translated as the bouncy, metallic coil. "Brush with Death", similarly, was given as "Brush of Death", the brush being a literal plant. In many other cases the wrong synonyms are used, and sayings wrongly interpreted.
    • The Brazilian translator for the card Miren, The Moaning Well got the "well" part confused, and it was translated to Miren, O Bem Lamuriante ("bem" is an adverb; "poço" or "cisterna" would be the proper translation for the noun form).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Many card names have been translated literal, but out of context in the German version. For example, "Option Hunter" (based off of an enemy from Gradius who steals the ship's "Options") got translated as "Jäger der Möglichkeiten", which translates back as "Hunter of the Possibilities" and has nothing to do with the original monster.
    • And then the is the case of the "Ant Eating Anteater", who became an "Ameisenfressender Ameisenbär". This would actually be a translation of "Ant-eating Anteater", and thus reverses the roles once again.
    • Sometimes card names that were originally in English get mangled due to incorrect interpretation of the katakana. For example, the card known as Buster Rancher in the English version is clearly supposed to be Buster Launcher (Basutā Ranchā in katakana), and a lot of cards include the word "Des" (which is not a word in English at all), which anyone with even a passing knowledge of katakana could tell you is meant to be "Death". (Okay, so Never Say "Die" might have been in effect, but it would have been better to change it to something else rather than making up nonsense words.) Other times, the name changes are just bizarre (Revival Slime getting changed to Revival Jam, despite the fact that the monster is blue and looks nothing like jam at all) not to mention inconsistent (Slime Zōshokuro - literally Slime Breeder Reactor - got translated to Jam Breeding Machine to match the change of Revival Slime to Revival Jam, but the tokens it produces are still called Slime Tokens rather than Jam Tokens).
      • There's also the zombie monster that ended up as Fushioh Richie, never mind that the katakana literally spells out "Nosferatu Lich".
    • The spanish translations fall into this an awful lot of times. There a ton of examples. It seems the spanish translator for "Garbage Lord" couldn't even properly read the name and ended up translating the card's name as "Carga de Porquería" (Garbage LOAD), "The Tricky" was translated as "El Díficil" (made worse by the fact that the anime properly translated it as "El Tramposo"), "Qliphort Shell" as "Concha Qlifuerte" ("shell" as in computing shell doesn't have a translation in spanish to begin with). Sometimes you wonder if the translator is an actual human being and not a machine, thanks to cards like "Dian Keto, el Señora de la Curación" and "El Mago Blanco Pikeru" that use a male pronoun to refer to clearly female cards. This extends to entire archetypes too; "Fabled" was translated as "Fabuloso"... when the proper translation is along the lines of "Legendary" or "Mythical". And in its worst form affects entire mechanics; "Tuner", something that in spanish is known as "Afinador" is somehow translated into... "Cantante" (Singer). How the translator made the jump from someone that tunes musical instruments to someone that sings music is a mystery.
    • In the Japanese version, the Egyptian God Cards had English text on them that were English "translations" of their names. While Osiris (Slifer) and Obelisk got pretty okay translations (Saint Dragon - The God of Osiris and The God of Obelisk respectively), Ra got the bizarre translation of "The Sun of God Dragon". One assumes they were going for something like "Dragon God/God Dragon of the Sun" and got the word order wrong.
    • An inversion is the Elemental Mistress Doriado card (known as Elemental Master Doriado in Japanese, which actually makes more sense - "master" here is used in the context of "to master (to subject to one's will, control, or authority; to conquer; to overpower; to subdue)" which makes it gender-neutral - there is no verb "to mistress" in English). A lot of people thought it was supposed to be Dryad and that UDE (Upper Deck Entertainment) had translated it wrong, but one of the UDE employees posted on the official forums saying that Konami had told them it was actually supposed to be Doriado and not Dryad - the character is merely a woman who happens to be named Doriado, not a creature from mythology.
    • Italian translations have some goofs here and there, like in Magic above. V-Tiger Jet's first print had a mention of dogfight in its flavor text translated as it referred to dog fighting (necause you know, everyone brings a fighter jet in a fight between dogs). The error was fixed as soon as the card was printed in another set. An even more blatant error came with Naturia Eggplant, whose name was interpreted as some kind of fusion between a plant and an egg rather than the actual vegetable.
  • Warhammer 40,000 gives us an In-Universe example. The Space Wolves Space Marine chapter are so named because somebody in the Imperial bureaucracy screwed up his translation of "Vlka Fenryka", which actually means "Wolves of Fenris". Likewise their rank "jarl" got mangled into "Wolf Lord".
  • The German translation of the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons was filled with weird translations. Most egregious were a "torch" translated as "Taschenlampe" (electrical torch) and "box leaves" (from the box plant) as "Kiste Blätter" (a box of leaves).

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