A random joke in Investigations was, however, rendered somewhat awkward. Examining the side of a building in the fifth case has Kay deliver a line beginning with "Thief Child says:", clearly a parody of Lang's catchphrase, but it makes no sense unless you realize the Lang Xi in "Lang Xi says:" literally translates as "Wolf Child".
Some mistakes are particularly noticeable because they're used consistently. For example, the final case of Apollo Justice uses "jurist" instead of "juror" throughout (they are very different), and Investigations has "make due" instead of "make do" and "secretariat" instead of "secretary" (with that last one being especially ironic, since it was also used by a Malaproper in the first game, with the translation there presumably being intentional).
The eroge fan game Phoenix Drive is extremely notorious for this, as it was translated by the developers themselves, who either plugged the game's script through a machine translator or only know enough English to spell words properly.
Ace Combat Zero gave us the "Hydrian Line," presumably, given the surrounding Arthurian lore, supposed to be some reference to "Hadrian's Wall."
The official English translation of the Alice In The Country Of Hearts ios port pretty much entirely consists of this trope. The entire game reads as though the translation effort amounted to putting it through google translate and then directly into the game. Needless to say, to the fans who were looking forward to an English translation, this very much counts as Bad Export for You. Some examples:
Alice: I feel happy to be in the beautiful things. I look up the beauty.
Alice: The laughter sounds flowers. It's maybe exaggerated, but it needs such a description.
Boris: Especially at this amusement park. There is some sexy air we produce for only at night time.
The PAL release rewrote the intro text, though. Not that it still makes sense... they also removed the "SPEEDSHOCK!" etc. from the main menu, which is just inexcusable.
The Game Boy ColorAnimorphs game, despite being an American-created game that presumably needed no translating, was burdened with this to the point of its script being largely incomprehensible.
The two games in the Armored Core 4 timeline gave us a huge power generator supposedly called "Megalis." Not "Megalith," then? Equally, Spirit of Motherwill is said to be armed with a "loaded shell cannon."
The French subtitles for For Answer aren't initially too bad, but the quality of the translation takes a gigantic nosedive around the end of chapter 2, with garbled wording, dropped details and incoherent, sometimes outright made-up dialogue aplenty. For example, the line "Is he sinking in the ocean? Just like that? Unbelievable." (said in reference to an ally being shot down) is translated as "Underwater mode? You're crazy..." and "It's a missile carnival!" is changed to "It's a Cannibal missile.".
The mangled French dub of Assassins Creed II gives us the gem "VOUS LE PAIEREZ DE VOITRE VIE!"note equivalent line in the English dub is "I'll kill you for what you've done!", an extremely mangled French equivalent of the English idiom "You will pay with your life!"
Bad Dudes: "Rampant ninja related crimes these days, White House is not the exception."
Battle Rangers, a.k.a. Bloody Wolf included such gems as:
"You! Invaders! Get you the hot bullets of shotgun to die!" (Idiomatic translation: "Intruder! Prepare to eat hot lead!")
"Opp! I've got foods! Chuck, chuck..."
"I've got medicine! Must be good for wounds!"
"Hey! Same words to you!"
"Haha. Here's goes bloody sight!"
"Come on boy, you've got to be serious!"
"You stupid! You die!"
"Kuuh! You are the loser!!"
"Hugh! Me to lose???"
"The special mission available!"
Also, basically every English-language song from Japan
The manual for Bionic Commando. "You can shoot at wide range but reach is shoot (short)". As well as much of the dialog in-game:
"So you think you can destroy the main system? You have no chance!"
"Maybe we can find good weapon we can use".
"Ok, we are going to open the door of the boos's room".
It should also be noted that absolutely nothing was changed in the GBA port. Even one instance where a regular party member's name was replaced with a placeholder flag.
The GBA remake's translation is actually even worse. Would you trust "The Destined Child" vs. "The Fatal Child?"
Not in the case in the EU version; where Ryu is always referred to as the "Destined Child".
The translation of the first game, while not as bad, is not good in any sense of the word. Item and spell names are particularly fun due to a character restriction leading to gems like "ProtnA", "Mrbl5" and "Pararai" (which itself is a mistranslation, clearly meant to be "paraly", being a paralyze spell and all)
Persian fan-translation of Modern Warfare suffers from EXTREME idiotic translation. One notable example is "Ditto" for "Copy that".
The official Japanese translation of the later games has plenty of problems, too - most infamously in the level "No Russian", the Title Drop of "Remember, no Russian" was translated to mean "Kill them, the Russians"—not entirely inappropriate to the result of the mission, mind you, but entirely different from the intended meaning (one character warning his squadmates not to speak in Russian so as to appear as American terrorists).
Call of Duty: United Offensive has all your team messages in German if you're on the German team. Said messages are all translated and pronounced correctly. Unfortunately, in CTF, the messages for "we have the enemy flag" and "the enemy has our flag" are reversed. The (English) text still displays correctly, but the conflicting audio makes life rather more confusing than it needs to be if you happen to speak German.
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 allows you to play as a member of the Brazilian Militia (actually a criminal gang) in multiplayer. When the character is about to plant a claymore he yells: "golpeando com espada!" (Striking with a sword!), presumably because the translators confused the claymore mine with the Claymore sword. When the character is about to reload, he yells: "trocando de arma!" (changing weapon. When the character is about to throw a flashbang he yells: "Apareceu de repente!" (Appeared all of a sudden!) or "atirando uma granada de măo!" (Throwing a hand grenade). However, when he throws a fragmentation grenade he says: Atirando uma granada de luz! (Throwing a flash grenade or flashbang).
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow translated "Rubicante" as the unintentionally amusing "Lubicant", and "Scarmiglione" became "Skull Millione" - take that, Dante. Likewise, an excellent way to annoy anyone with a passing familiarity with Hindu mythology is to refer, as they did, to a certain bloodthirsty goddess as "Curly".
The English translation of The Magic of Scheherezade also calls Kali, "Curly". Among other misnames.
Amusingly, Kali from N Ie R was originally called Curly in the Japanese version.
Castlevania 3's translation from Japanese to English mangled "Vernandes" into "Belnades."
A significant portion of Castlevania 2's dialogue was assumed to be this; as it turns out, they're supposed to be lying (or at least misleading)
Chaos Wars, a Massive Multiplayer Crossover between several RPG series (And shooter series Gungrave for spice), was localized by O3 Entertainment. Leaving aside its bad voice acting, the translation itself was extremely poor. Shadow HeartsSmug Snake Nicholi got his name translated as "Nicole", every single "Breath" attack was translated as "Bless" (so you'd better watch out when that red dragon uses its Fire Bless on you) and- most glaringly- they translated the game title "Rebirth Moon" as "Reverse Moon" even though an English logo sits right below where they wrote this.
There are many who argue for literal Russian transliteration, arguing about "Nikolai" versus "Nicholi". "Nicole", however, is hilarious.
They also quite obviously never even glanced at the official translations of the games they take characters of; they render the Shadow Hearts main known in the US as "Yuri" as "Uru" instead, and also render the "Hiyoko Bug" as a "Chick Bug" — although this is an accurate translation of Hiyoko, the Generation of Chaos and Spectral series games translated by NIS America and Atlus USA have always just left it as Hiyoko..
They were probably going for Ulmanov/Urmanov, which is a legitimate Russian name (a surname actually), if kind of obscure.
Furthermore, at least some of these changes were unavoidable, as they would have needed to buy the rights to use the translated terms from the respective US companies.
A mistake in the SNES translation of Chrono Trigger has Gaspar saying "One of you is close to someone that needs help. Find this person... fast", which seemed to imply the existence of an additional quest apart from the several he mentioned (most often believed to be one to save Schala); further confusion arises from the fact that this line disappears once you defeat Queen Zeal (and likely all of the other sidequests). In the DS remake, this is corrected to have him tell the player to speak to each of the party members for clues on the quests.
Melcior's response to seeing the Rainbow Shell is "This is a very rare!"
The German version of Civilization IV translates "Power" in the statistics screen as "Elektrizität" (electricity). It's about military power.
The French version of Clock Tower on the Playstation has many hilarious examples. Some proves that the translators never actually played the game. For example, when you finish an ending, the ending appears on the ending list with a mention "Cleared". They took the wrong meaning and translated it "Effacer" ("Delete"). Which is just confusing.
In Company of Heroes, the online multiplayer modes for the French version of the game was translated from "2v2 AT" (meaning 2 versus 2, arranged teams) as "2v2 Anti-Tank" (In French).
The Spanish setting of Contra: Shattered Soldier translated the game's "hit rate" display (which shows the percentage of unique enemies destroyed by the player in each stage) as "taza de velocidad" (speed rate).
Actually, "speed rate" would be "tasa de velocidad". "Taza de velocidad" translates as "Speed Cup".
The Italian version of the adventure game Cruise for a Corpse. Delphine Software (which was a French company) didn't hire professional translators and handled translation by itself - the results have to be seen to be believed. For instance, the title was translated as "Crociata per un cadavere", which means "CRUSADE (no, I'm not joking) for a corpse", with "for" meaning "in favor of"! Add to that dialogue translations ranging from hilariously bad to completely nonsensical and you've got one hell of an unplayable game version - most of the time you can hardly understand what people are telling you.
Many gamers claim Crusader of Centy's "The data have been saved" is of bad translation, but is actually a grammatically correct sentence. ("Data" is plural for the seldom-used "datum"). No such excuse for the rest of the game, though...
While fixed in the USA localisation of Demons Souls. In the Chinese/English version, while the NPCs and most important information show Surprisingly Good English, some of the flavor text is borderline gibberish (although it's generally comprehensible).
The German version of Dawn of War soulstorm has the soritas screaming "Hexenkraft und Ketzerei" which comes from "witchcraft and heresy", which should have been "Hexerei und Ketzerei".
In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, mailboxes on the fictional Chinese island of Hengsha can be seen that say "Hengsha Post" on the side. However, the Chinese characters used the translate the word "post" refer to something like a post on a bulletin board or message board rather than mail.
The Spanish version of Diablo II had several with the names of the monsters and items:
Unraveler — Desenrredador (Untangler)
Overseer — El que todo lo ve (The one that sees everything)
Hollow One — Hueco uno (Hole #1, as if we have a hole or hollow labeled "number one")
The Necromancer Head items — Translated as "Leader", so you got things like "Leader of the Zombies", "Leader of the Untanglers", and "Leader of the Demons" (Hey, isn't it Diablo this one? You've already won the game!)
And the infamous Great Poleaxe, translated as "El Gran Pollax", with literally means "The big cock". This, combined with the suffixes and prefixes, may lead to things like "The hard big cock", "The relaxing big cock", and such.
The French version translated the Eldritch Orb as "Orbe d'Eltrich", as in "Eldritch's Orb", probably having no idea what 'eldritch' means.
Still can work, as you can translate it "Orb of Eldritch" which, while cumbersome, can work.
When Disgaea: Hour of Darkness had its DS version released in France, we got a full translation... except that it was the English version almost word for word. Translated with a dictionary, apparently. With pearls like translating "Usagi Drop" as "Rabbit Crap", or failing to see that the Horse Wiener was a Gag Penis and not an actual wiener. Seriously, guys.
In the English version of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, a lot of the lower-level swords are called by generic names, such as "katana" or "rapier". But the sai, rather than simply being called a sai, is called a "Rhino" instead.
In the H-GameDivi-Dead, when confronted by an obnoxiously smug character at one point, the protagonist thinks "What a fart-blasting scrotum this guy is!" This insult is arguably way better than whatever the writer had in mind originally.
The disclaimer, originally from the Bullet Hell shooter DoDonPachi, shown on Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: "Violator and subject to severe penalties will be prosecutedt to the full extent of the jam."("jam" is "law" with the first and last letters inverted)
The boss warning sign from the first game says: "This is not similation. Get ready to destoroy the enemy. Target for the weak points of (the) fuckin' machine. Do your best you have ever done."
The Game Boy Advance dungeon crawler Dokapon: Monster Hunter has a hilariously awful translation—it seems more like a corny fan-made effort than a genuine translation. "Gems" include: "Fire breathed practice alcoholism", "Cat to hold is special skill," and "Make some status effect happen."
This is how Donkey Kong got his name. Miyamoto was looking for a word in English that meant "stubborn" or "foolish" to match the character's personality.
And speaking of Namco, here's the ending text to Dragon Spirit in its entirety: "Zawell's ambition was crushed by the brave attempts of the warrior Amul and bluedragon to rescue princess Alicia from the hands of her captors. The kingdom cloud ultimatery restore peace. People were rejoiced to start from a nightmare, thus celebrating the restoration and jazzing up with joy. The evil perished, and the light came back to the kingdom again, as if celebrating its prosperity and happiness...." And you wonder why it took so long to bring win comments to Tekken...
Independant game Dungeon Defenders has these on the setup screen for the Spanish version: Save gets translated as "ahorrar", as in "save money with Geico", Launch becomes "Lanzamiento" as in Launching the rocket, Push to talk, and Restore defaults are not even translated. Close gets translated as "Cerca", as in you're too close. Swap remains untranslated once, but then gets translated twice as "canje". Mods gets translated, for some reaon as "conversiones". No idea why. Of course, once in the game it gets worse, much worse.
The German version is just as bad: Exit got translated as "Ausfahrt", which indeed means exit...of an Autobahn. "Save" and "Close" are translated in exactly the same sense (and thus exactly as wrong) as in the Spanish game.
The Swedish translation of Dungeon Keeper annoyingly translates "Your minion has fallen in battle" as "Din underhuggare har hamnat i en strid", which actually means "Your minion has ended up in a fight". It also translates the name of the "Mistress of the Dark" character as "Mörkrets älskarinna", which is technically correct... except that "älskarinna" means "mistress" as in "lover", not as in "ruler". (But then, maybe they had a reason.) Also, if you try dropping coins in the temple pools, the original will tell you that "this is not a wishing-well". The Swedish translation hilariously tells you that "this is not a wish for well-being". Add to this that in the manual, the monsters are listed in alphabetic order, except that the translator didn't bother to change them around when the translation meant that their names began with different letters...
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 suffers from this in utterly stupid ways. Usually, the Koei franchise features good translations, but whoever translated this game just didn't recognize traditional English phrases.
Cecily: "It looks like we'll make it back safe... how about some toast when we get back home?"
Mission title: "Peace Singing Singstress"
Kamille: "I could be dead by morning. I should have changed my underwear."
Shinn Asuka: "I'm more than a match for these guys! Who's laughing at Shinn now?!"
One particularly bad case has Kira Yamato triumphantly declaring "Thanks to this sword Lacus gave me, I can start kicking butt!" This is extremely out-of-character for the very much Reluctant WarriorTechnical Pacifist Kira. The line in Japanese was a more solemn declaration that he would use his new weapon to fight in his own way, against the injustices he saw in the world.
The French translation has some issues of its own. For example, one mission description mangles "Colony Drop" (ie: forcibly crashing a space colony down to Earth) into "installing a colony", which will leave those not familliar with the events of the series very confused.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn has several unfortunate mistranslations in its "Quiz" missions, which can lead to English-speaking players selecting the wrong answers. Setsuna, for instance, is identified as a "Pure Innovade", whereas anyone familiar with Gundam 00 would have called him a "True Innovator" (there is a significant difference in-series between an Innovade and an Innovator). There's also a case where Char says "Good girl, wouldn't want you to waste your talents." when praising a younger pilot... except he says this to male characters as well. The word Char uses in Japanese actually means "child", not specifically "girl".
In the Finnish back-of-the-box blurb for Escape from Monkey Island, despite there being a boatload of possible piratey phrases to use in Finnish (for example 'Myrsky ja mylväys', the Finnish version of the German 'Sturm und Drang', meaning 'Storm and Stress'), 'Shiver me timbers' was translated directly as 'Täristele puitani', which sounds more like 'Shake my trees' than anything else.
The Spanish version of this game has some translation errors so obvious you have to wonder if they didn't use a translating software once in a while. For instance, in the wooden cane store, if you get near the counter you get a choice to "Ring Bell" to call the manager. The Spanish version translates the word "ring" as the jewelry object instead of the verb, so where it should say "Tocar Campana" it says "Anillo Campana" instead, which makes as much sense as replacing "drink water" with "bracelet water".
The Curse of Monkey Island makes a similar mistake of replacing a verb with a subject when Guybrush is on the theatre stage and says "What I really want to do is direct". This should be translated as "Lo que realmente quiero hacer es dirigir". Instead it's translated as "Lo que realmente quiero hacer is directo", which actually sounds like "What I really want to do is straight".
The copyright disclaimer for the Japanese version of Express Raider says: "If you are playing this outside the country of Japan, YOU ARE ENJOYING IN A PRIME!"(You are involved in a crime)
The MMORPG Fairy Story Online has terrible translations. One questionable mistranslation is that the mages are in the 'naughty' type, contrast with the somewhat correct 'sympthathetics' and 'braves'.
Fallout 2 has quite a good share in French version:
"Peut-ętre penseras-tu ŕ moi" (Yes, they translated the shoutout to the intro of Fallout, with "Maybe by Ink Spots")
The Pipe Rifle, wich used a pipe as a cannon, was named "fusil ŕ pipe". "Une pipe" is something you use to smoke tobacco, while the pipe used here is "un tuyau".
The Fatal Fury series is no stranger to bad translations, but the best of the lot is in Fatal Fury Special. Krauser's ending shows a picture of him holding a glass of wine, with the text below stating "WOW! What a tough!". Whilst this is already pretty funny, the clincher is that the endings also contained voice acting. Krauser's voice actor repeated this incredibly silly line without any alteration. Seeing as he was the only voice actor in the game whose first language was English, you'd have thought he'd have pointed this out!
In the Spanish version of FIFA 09 they translated Belgian Club RC Standard de Ličge as "RC Normal de Ličge". One might think "well, maybe they didn't get the license for that club", but yes, they did. It even has the official club crest and logos.
Final Fantasy IV (the SNES translation) has a lot of translation errors. Because of Square's policy at the time all of the translation had to be done in-house in Japan, it resulted in a lot of typos, punctuation errors, and enemy name butchery. For example, "White Dragon" was translated as "Pale Dim." Though it's mostly from No A's iron-fisted censorship, how they got Dim from Dragon is a riddle of the ages.
More a case of lack of playtesting, but the Spanish translation of IV Advance has Rosa's mother ask where her daughter "NAME_ROZA)" is.
Additionally, the translators accidentally filled in the blanks, meaning Tellah was Edward/Gilbart's father. Seeing how the whole "spoony bard" incident would be [Incest Subtext woudn't make any sense], the PS1 versions and onward fixed this error.
Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante had their names translated as Milon, Kainazzo, Valvalis, and Rubicant (there's a difference) in the SNES version. Someone didn't catch the Divine Comedy references...
According to the iOS version of the game, Cecil is the "Load Captain" (lord captain) of the Red Wings.
Final Fantasy V (the PS1 translation) has a character named Faris, who was adopted at a very young age. As it turns out, her real name is Sarisa, and her adoptive name was simply all she could pronounce at the time. The English translator apparently never got the joke and instead went with... "Salsa".
There were also several notoriously badly translated enemy names. The Wyvern enemy was rendered in said translation as "Y-Burn". There was also a squid enemy called "Soccer". People were left wondering what connection this mollusk had to footy until the GBA remake, where the enemy's name was properly transliterated as "Sucker".
Not to mention, the name of the first boss. "Karl Boss" (actually Karabos), anyone?
Final Fantasy VI wasn't quite as bad as some of the other games in the series due to the Woolseyisms, but it still had its moments of jarring dialog. For example, when Terra, Edgar and Banon are visiting Narshe and about to open Locke's secret passage into the mines, Terra says "somethihg" instead of "something." And, of course, there's the classic "I owe you one, so I'm going to jam up your opera" line from Ultros. The game also mistranslated "Biggs" as "Vicks."
The Guard Scorpion is supposed to be a Warmup Boss, with a simple gimmick to show off the active-time battle system; attacking at the wrong time note namely, when its tail is pointing upwards will result in a nasty counterattack. However, a botched translation led to Cloud yelling the exact wrong thing to do, turning the first boss of the game into That One Boss for those who couldn't figure it out. He did actually say the right thing to do, but the way it was worded and the gap between the messages appearing made it misleading. What he actually says is "Barret, be careful! Attack while its tail's up! It'll counterattack with its laser!" Obviously, there was supposed to be an "and" in between the last two sentences (the meaning being "If you attack when its tail is up, it'll counterattack with its laser"), but because the battle system in this game isn't turn-based and players are impatient, people will tend to see "Attack while its tail's up!", think "Okay!" and do so, then wonder why their party just got fried by a laser... THEN they see Cloud continuing "It'll counterattack with its laser" and think "I wish you'd told me that sooner..."
Later releases of the game actually have a walkthrough of the first area of the game in the manual. Many suspect that this was the primary reason why.
Final Fantasy VII also gives us the classic boss name mistranslation "Safer Sephiroth." It's meant to be "Sefer", which is Hebrew and goes with the Kabbalah reference in Sephiroth's name, and possibly "Seraph," which is the name of the six-winged creatures that stood in Heaven's throne room.
Bizarro Sephiroth is often thought to be this, but it's actually something of a clumsy Woolseyism - the katakana for the name is リバース セフィロス (Ribāsu Sefirosu), which can be read as either "Rebirth Sephiroth" or "Reverse Sephiroth". Since both could potentially fit, the translators decided to Take a Third Option instead.
Speaking of Final Fantasy VII, the English translation had a minor error in one of Cloud's Limit Break moves. It was supposed to be "Climb Hazard" ("Kuraimu Hazādo" in Japanese, referencing the attack's effectiveness against aerial enemies), but was mistranslated into English as "Climhazzard".
Another Final Fantasy VII example is translating Odin's "Gunguniru" (Gungnir, Odin's spear from mythology) as "Gunge Lance", leaving English players wondering what the hell slime has to do with the attack. Likewise, his Zantetsuken attack which literally translates to "Iron-Cutting Sword" and is generally left untranslated in every FF game after 7, was translated as Steel-Bladed Sword.note Pretty much every sword in the world has a steel blade, and steel probably couldn't cut iron. Then again, maybe in FF7's world, steel is some kind of wondrous divine material that's even better than Mithril.
Even worse is the German version, which was obviously translated from the English one. Why? Because every other English line is left untranslated. And no, it's not a case of Gratuitous English, when random lines like "He's scary!" or "I'm so nervous" suddenly appear in an all-German text for no reason. When Yuffie asks Cloud to give her all the Materia after they have defeated Sephiroth, the translators apparently decided to take a break in the middle of their work and ended up forgetting to finish the translation of one textbox which resulted in the (in German communities often quoted and by now legendary) sentence "It's all in there, read it sorgfältig durch" (read it carefully). This made the quote unintentionally comical and people still refer to it as a prime example of bad translations. Also, some attack and weapon names were mistranslated horribly. For example, "Drain" became "Rohr," which means "sewer-pipe" instead of "to drain of something", and Materia and spell names often got varying translations in different places of the game. It was often hard to make out what you actually just equipped.
On top of some very strange... choices, what was especially baffling about the French translation was that there were sometimes missing words or, at the other end of the spectrum, words or entire sentences repeated for no reason.
In Spain, Ahriman was translated to Alemania, Spanish for Germany. Also, the translators managed to call Aeris both a woman and a man in the very same dialog box, multiple times (and did that to Tifa and Jesse, and probably any female character, too). And Allévoy, a typo of Allá voy (Here I come) is an actual meme. Sífilo is a meme too; it's one of many typos of Sephiroth/Sefirot that happens to look (and sound) very similar to syphilis. Also, when you talk with a child in Costa del Sol, he says, more or less It hurts when you kick [the ball] with your bare feet; in Spanish, it got translated to It hurts when you kick me with your bare feet. Yuffie says let's go instead of let go to Don Corneo's henchmen, and the time when she says GROSS-NESS is just untranslated. Oh, and Absorb MP materia, in some games, had the description text: Summons Knights of the Round Table. Spanish translation for FFVII was horribly catastrophic. It could have its own wiki.
Strangely enough, in the aforementioned horrible spanish translation, Cloud correctly indicates Barret to NOT attack the Guard Scorpion when its tail is up. Guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.
In one treasure chest in Inside of Gaea's Cliff, you find an item called "Last Elixir", but when examining your inventory, no such item can be found. It turns out "Last Elixir" is just the Japanese name for Megalixir, and the translation team simply forgot to change the name in that one instance.
Final Fantasy Tactics has a notoriously bad translation, with such gems as mistranslating "Fire Breath" as "Fire Bracelet", and being totally inconsistent with name spellings (such as Luveria/Ruvelia). The game also has a baffling number of bizarre spelling errors and quite a few odd expressions brought on by procedurally generated text ("Thanks to Squire, we succeeded" when having a squire in a proposition party helped)Thankfully, the PSP port fixed that problem with a brand new translation that actually makes sense (and is in fact pretty cool).
And now you know how the Assassins' "Stop Bracelet" could cause Instant Death.
"This was the darkened items won't appear"?
"Defeat Dycedarg's Elder Brother", an infamously mission instruction, actually means for you to "defeat your elder brother, Dycedarg" since Dycedarg has no elder brother, and Dycedarg is the elder brother of both the protagonist and an NPC who assists you during the fight.
One Final Fantasy X fan, dissatisfied with the English voice dub, was hoping to play a subtitled copy bought on eBay. Instead that person got something else entirely. The "Guado" race is now the "Chubby" race, "Jyscal" is "Jessica," and Walter(Wakka) is a good egg.
There's also a surprising amount of Ho Yay in the translation, such as "I feel happy that Walter wants to arouse me".
Final Fantasy XIV: The out-sourced translators originally screwed up Chocobo. Always written チョコボ (Chokobo)/Chocobo, both in Japanese and English, the initial translation of the game instead used 馬鳥 (Umatori), which was subsequently direct-translated to 'Horse-bird'. Even better, fan outcry-spurred change resulted in a global correction to Chocopo. It was fixed (for real) soon after.
Final Fantasy IX lost some of its callbacks to previous games through "Blind Idiot" Translation. Mount Gulug was supposed to be Mount Gurgu, referencing Gurgu Volcano from the first game. Mog's true identity, Madeen was supposed to be Maduin (both are romanized and pronounced the same), referencing the Esper from Final Fantasy VI, and her attack, "Terra Homing", was supposed to be "Terraforming". Other gems include "Maliris" instead of "Marilith" (the proper name of the fiend known as "Kary" in early translations of the first game) and "Rally-ho!" instead of "Lali-ho!" ("Lali-ho!" being the cry of the dwarves in Final Fantasy IV). Freya's long-lost love, Sir Fratley, was possibly meant to be Flatley, a reference to Michael Flatley, an Irish-American step dancer and actor.
According to the translators, however, Executive Meddling is the reason for most of these changes, as apparently the players were supposed to figure out the references themselves.
While it's often said that the boss Valia Pira was supposed to be Barrier Pillar, the katakana for the boss's name actually deliberately uses the "va" katakana - they write it as ヴァリアピラ (Varia Pira), whereas "Barrier Pillar" would be バリアピラー (Baria Pirā - also note the long "a" sound). Quina's Limit Glove move is another case of this - it's often thought to be "Limit Globe", but again, it's deliberately spelled with the "vu" katakana - リミットグローヴ (Rimitto Gurōvu), instead of リミットグローブ (Rimitto Gurōbu).
Even Final Fantasy I had an example of this. The English translation rendered Marilith's name as Kary due to the lack of usable space for names. It was actually supposed to be Kālī, a reference to the Hindu goddess of the same name.
There is also a theory that the recurring ice summon Shiva was actually supposed to be called Shiver, and was mistranslated with the name of a Hindu god that doesn't really fit (apart from being male - though Hindu deities are technically genderless - Hindu Shiva has nothing to do with ice whatsoever).
Final Fight suffered from nonsensical names that were supposed to be something else. In particular, mixups with the katakana for "to" and "do" (exactly the same except for two little marks) and the translator never knowing for sure whether it was supposed to mean "to/do" or "t/d". As a result, we got "Bred" (Bret), "Dug" (Doug), "Andore" (Andre), "Simons" (Simon), "El Gado" (El Gato), "Rolento" (Laurent), and worst of all, "Edi.E" (Eddie). And of course, the SNES-only sequel continued the tradition with "Mic" (Mick), "Eliot" (Elliot), "Jony" (Jonny), "Elick" (Erick), and "Schot" (Scott...whoever came up with that one should be schot). "Rolento" got changed to "Rolent", which of course did not improve matters one tiny bit.
The rendering of "Shiroma" and "Kuroma" from the Final Fantasy side-games as "Shirma" and "Croma" in post-merger translations. These are technically acceptable romanizations, but result from the translator apparently being completely oblivious to the Punny Name nature of the original names — it would make more sense to change the names entirely to something that has a similar joke... or, failing that, to romanize them directly to maintain the original joke for people who would still get it.
The names are not only punny, they are also meaningful: "Shiromadoushi" means "White Mage" and "Kuromadoushi" means "Black Mage": Exactly what those two are. Giving them Eight Bit Theater -esque names would probably have been more appropriate for the translation.
The North American version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn manages to translate a use of "Fire Emblem" in game as "heart of fire", yes they mistranslated the titular MacGuffin while getting it right in the title. Yes, Heart of Fire is a valid translation otherwise, but come on, how do you do that...
Possibly because in the title of the game, "Fire Emblem" is written in katakana as ファイアーエムブレム (Faiā Emuburemu), but in the actual game dialogue, the term is written in Japanese.
In the same game, the Four Riders (a title granted to the four highest ranking generals) of Daein are mistranslated as the Four Horsemen in the Black Knight's profile. Again, a valid translation (and if used consistently, would have been better), but it's quite the mistake.
Muarim's profile is for some reason the same as Mist's.
The later installements got better, but they still have issues: Amelia of Sacred Stones refers to herself as a man when she promotes, two throwable weapons from Path of Rradiance were called "Swordreaver" and "Axereaver", despite that game having no "Reaver" weapons, and no two games on the same system call (Armor) Knights the same thing (Like most other classes, for that matter... They have it worst though, since half the names are dumb).
Much more glaringly the FIRST time around: "THIS ROOM IS AN ILLUSION AND A TRAP DEVISUT BY SATAN"
Golden Sun hilariously translated several attacks wrongly. Most of these ("Death Size" (Scythe)", the Blessing (Breath) attacks) were fixed in The Lost Age... only for confusion to hit Ulmuch (Hsu) (the translators had apparently forgotten his Dub Name Change) and Dullahan's "Formina Sage" (Fulminous Edge) attack.
In the English version of German RPGGothic, a certain type of health-restoring berry is labelled 'Blueberries'. They're red.
The Dutch manual of Gothic 2 translates 'turn undead' as 'ondood worden', which means "become undead". 'Turn undead' is an attack that destroys undead.
Doubly stupid because this is obviously the result of translating the (itself faulty) English translation back to Dutch, instead of translating the original German version directly. There's no way you could confuse "Untote zerstören" (destroy undead) with "Untoter werden" (become undead). Triple ridiculous because Dutch and German are so similar and easy to translate into each other.
In the game Graffiti Kingdom, there are several small mistakes in grammar. "It is time for tea almost" instead of "It is almost time for tea", and such things like that.
The original Grand Theft Auto's Italian translation seems to be fine for the most part, but it has at least one mistake. One of the missions in the first scenario begins with the text, "Bubby's wife, Skye, has been visitin' a friend in Central Estoria. Go get her." The Italian translator translated the last three words as "Vai a farla fuori." The problem is, "farla fuori" means "get her" as in "kill her" — whereas the intended meaning was simply "pick her up". In other messages, the game makes it clear in both languages that killing Skye is supposed to be a bad thing.
In one of the Russian localizations of the first Half-Life game, chapter name "We've got hostiles" was translated as "We've got hostels".
A Russian translation of Halo: Combat Evolved left all of the voice-overs alone, but replaced all the text. It seems that it was done by either a computer, or someone who has no idea what they are doing. The first mission's objective of "Find Captain Keyes" became "Find the Captain's keys".
Halo Zero experiences this; remember, kill the covenants!
The publisher company Natsume couldn't decide on a romanization for its own name at first: it used the Kunrei-shiki romanization "Natume" in Harvest Moon 64's title screen, not to mention the prominent message telling you to "Push the Start".
They also spelled "sofa" as "Sopha", "flour" as "Flower", and stone as "Sone" in Friends of Mineral Town.
That's more the territory of really bad spelling than really bad translation, though. (Incidentally, Natsume is horrible about that in general - problems with its/it's/its', their/there, and commas are to be expected in all things Harvest Moon.)
They just plain forgot in one instance with Zack in Friends of Mineral Town; he still speaks Japanese if you attempt to speak to him often enough as he picks up shipped items.
Untranslated Japanese text appears in Harvest Moon DS too, usually during sidequests.
Worse than that is the local priest, Carter. At one point in the game, you can ask several characters to pick grapes with you. If you ask Carter, he says "A part-time job in the vineyard sounds like lots of fun." In German.◊
"g Rod "hing RodCopper Fishin For Fishing" - The description for the fishing rod.
'"A Wonderful Life'' and its related games have numerous errors. Their translation of the Special Edition was especially bad, with Lumina being referred to as Muffy on a few occasions.
Their translation of River King Mystic Valley is... special. A lot of the characters in it are from Japanese folklore and mythology... but Natsume was apparently totally oblivious to this. If the manual is anything to go by, you get Tenuki instead of Tanuki, Arai Adzuki instead of A(d)zuki-Arai (They apparently mistook it for a personal name, rather than the name of the type of creature he is, and reversed it into "Western order"), the kamaitachi (literaly "Scythe Weasel") simply as "Weasel", Kapa instead of Kappa (yes, it does make a difference), and Nurikabe as "Plaster Wall" (An accurate literal translation, but sounds ridiculous as a name for a creature in English).
After you've completed a mini game, you get a "CLEAR!" message in big letters (as in "FINISHED!"). In the German version, it says "LÖSCHEN!" (as in "DELETED!"). (And this isn't Lumines.)
In Harvest Moon Original Series and Harvest Moon GB, the text "火の元かくにん！" ("Checking to make sure the stove is off!") was rendered in awkward literal-translationese as "Confirm the origin of fire!"
A pirate translation in Russian of Heroes of Might and Magic IV had one distinctive mistake in translation: all of the the buttons labeled "Back", instead of being translated as in "Go Back" ("nazad") were translated like the part of the body ("spina"). They Just Didn't Care, how else to describe it?
Also, one pirate translation in Russian of Heroes of Might and Magic V: Hammer's of Fate was made with autotranslator, which led to some hilarious phrases, for example, original phrase "Give us the child and surrender" became "Daite nam rebenka i sdachu", which means "Give us the child and a change". That is, like the bought a child in a shop.
There was a particularly bizarre (and hilarious) Russian translation of Empire Earth II. "Composite bowmen"="complicated men of bowing". A Korean faction named "Chou"? "A tube made out of paste" (presumably connected to Choux pastry?).
While the French word for "Werewolf" is "Loup-garou", the French translation of Hexen 2 named Werepanthers as "Panthčre-were". No, "were" does not mean anything in French and would be the equivalent of naming them "Garoupanthers" in English.
The German translation of the WW2 shooter Hidden & Dangerous is a hilarious example. The sentences seemed correct at first, mostly as it featured voice-overs, but almost all critical information was wrong. In one mission, the player is ordered to destroy "die verbleibenden Panzer" (the remaining tanks), but there are no tanks on the map! Unless, of course, you figure out that tank can also mean an oil tank. Another example is "Bordwaffenbeschussmodus links / rechts" (aircraft weapon firing mode left / right) meaning, yes, "strafe left / right". There is some historical truth to it, but it made it look like your HQ was infiltrated by Dadaists.
You are at least introduced to the quality from the beginning - the game's loading screen reads "Das Laden, warten bitte" - in English "The Loading, wait please".
Along those same lines, there are some out-of-place uses of the word 'Panzer' in Codename: Panzers. Anything that is called a tank is called a Panzer ingame - Russian crewmen shout that their Panzer has broken down, while a US unit cries "A Tiger... they have a Tiger Panzer!" Obviously, due to the use of Panzer (short for Panzerkampfwagen, "armour-battle-vehicle") meaning both tank in German, and being the designation for their AFV's in WW2 (at least until the Panther, which was officially designated the Panzerkampfwagen V until Adolf Hitler himself decreed in 1944 that it shouldn't be).
The House of the Dead series, especially the second game, is defined by its amusing translation. It takes skill to have voice actors you've just grabbed off of the street say lines like "Don't come! Don't come!" without snickering.
The French subtitles were just terrible. "La maudite La Roue du Destin... Nous devons la détruire !" i.e. "The cursed The Wheel of Fate... We must destroy it !"
The official English translation of If My Heart Had Wings is rather infamous for being pretty spotty at times. Aside from one or two entire scenes that were rendered nigh incomprehensible (in particular, a sequence early in Ageha's route where Aoi gets a reputation for two-timing on the grounds that he's hung out with lots of different girls in a short span of time, and... well, that was about all anyone could get from it, anyway), there are numerous occasions of lines being clearly translated out of context. At one point, a 'sempai' from Yoru is translated as 'Aoi' even though she's clearly talking about Kotori; at another the characters are talking about Tobioka and then inexplicably start referring to him with female pronouns for a few lines; and in yet another, a line from Hotaru that was clearly supposed to be 'Ao-nii, I'm scared' was translated as 'Ao-nii, you're scary'.
Iron Tank: The Invasion of Normandy for the NES: "SNAKE! Watch out, use radar, gigantic enemy objects ahead". "Found the train firing bullets by radar". "I'm your friend. Stay on the railroad, go straight through the town. The enemy train is there. Shoot it." "Enemy's long range bullets are awesome. Allies are destroyed." "Look out ahead, there is the long range firing bullet. Destroy it immediately. The safety of the back up unit is your goal."
In the English version of Ishar 2, the citizens of the main city greet you with "Welcome presumptuous travelers!".
The IOS game Kawaii Pet MEGU has this in the English version. It has awkward text like "He is wearing perfect smile", though this may be indirectly part of the game's appeal.
In order to sucker people into thinking it was an actual Pokémon game (the gameplay of the original game is a bit similar in that respect), someone - probably a Chinese bootlegger - created a pirated version of Keitai Denjuu Telefang in which the game (besides being bugged up the ASS) is translated into English. If you can call it English, at least:
"Some points of X lost!"
"I want to somewhere by the way and will return!"
This one is famous. You want an example? The water world is called Alice.
If a Keyboardmania arcade machine detects a problem with the wheel during its power on self-test sequence, it will say "PLEASE WHEEL REPAIR. WE DO THE APOLOGY FOR ANY INCONVENIENT."
In the North American version of Kingdom Hearts II, some of the Organization XIII members' original names were mistranslated. Xigbar's original name was rendered as Bleig instead of the correct Braig, Xaldin's as Dilin instead of Dilan and Lexaeus's as Eleus instead of Aeleus.
While not a bad translation by any means, the English release of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days suffers from unfortunate inconsistency issues with the names of some Heartless, especially for those who have played previous games. For example, the Heartless known as "Loudness" in all Japanese versions is called "Crescendo" in the English version of Kingdom Hearts II, but renamed to "Loudmouth" in the English version of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Other examples are "Surveillance" in Japanese, called "Surveillance Robot" in Kingdom Hearts II and "Watcher" in Days, "Mad Dog" in Japanese called "Rabid Dog" in Kingdom Hearts II and "Bad Dog" in Days, and "Aiming Cannon" in Japanese called "Cannon Gun" in Kingdom Hearts II and "Li'l Cannon" in Days. They already had English names, why give them new ones?
An example from Kingdom Hearts II itself is the Heartless named Magnum Loader. Sounds like a good enough name, until you realise its Japanese name was "Magna Roader", which, aside from making infinitely more sense (since the Heartless has a wheel and "drives" around), is also a Shout-Out to the enemies of the same name from Final Fantasy VI.
The American translation of Klonoa Advance 2: Dream Champ Tournament translates Guntz' name to "Gantz", and one of the messages the guide robot says in World 4 ends with "Gabi!" instead of "Naga!"
Most of the changes to the English script of Knights in the Nightmare are just removal of characters' accents, name changes due to length restrictions or for rank pulling, and the alteration of all text into standard polite English. Some of the translation conventions, however, cross into this territory:
The original Japanese script had a female Lance Knight named Meslieness and an NPC poet named Marion. For whatever reason, Meslieness' name was changed to Marion, and Marion's name to Mervyn. Something that might irritate those who preferred the original script perhaps, but nothing catastrophic—except for the fact that in the game and the few translated bonus materials, "Mervyn" was still referred to as "Marion" in many places, causing a lot of confusion.
Then there are the item names. Atlus has always shown confusion on how to translate the name of the item ココリの実 ("Kokori no Mi"), which has variably been written as Applecot, Kokorinut, and Applecot Nut; however, it was the "Upola Statue" item which was the most egregious example in the game—the translation that had stood for the past two entries (and their two remakes) was changed to Upora Statue, evidently out of L/R flip confusion.
And... Marietta's signature attack, which in Japanese has always been ?????? (usually Romanized as "Rivellion" by Sting) and has always been translated as "Angelic Thunder" by Atlus, was suddenly changed to Rebellion without explanation.
The Legend of Dragoon had an amusing example. Since the characters shout out their attack names, the incredibly literal "Gust of Wind Dance" (supposed to be "Gale Dance") just becomes Narmtastic.
Heck, the whole game was filled with moments like this. Particularly bad during cutscenes that are supposed to be serious.
The strange thing about the game's translation is its unevenness. It starts out fairly decent (only a bit below the level of, say, Final Fantasy VII) but seems to get worse as the game goes on. Some scenes are positively tear-jerking, only to be followed by laugh-out-loud terrible comments on the same event.
The Little Busters! Visual Guide Book that comes with the game's perfect edition actually includes an English translation for the descriptions of the few game CGs the book highlights. This might seem odd, as Japanese developers are generally very much against foreigners playing their games, but a quick glance at English provided makes it very clear that people who can actually speak the language were not the intended audience. For example, the description for a CG of Rin surrounded by cats reads:
Rin sunk in the bath of cats.
She is little shy, so going good with cats, same characteristic features.
If stranger came near them, all will gone.
Lufia & The Fortress of Doom contains several instances of awkward dialogue. Sometimes it's punctuated wrong, sometimes it's gramatically incorrect, but mostly the dialogue is just incoherent and/or random with what's happening in the story.
The "Safe Tea Ring".
Lufia II has some translation problems as well, but it looks as if Lufia: The Legend Returns's script wasn't even proofread. Stock example: "This is what I call frue destruction!"
Lux-Pain. The entire game is littered with examples. Most is fairly tame, maybe adding or missing a letter, or changing one. Then at times it simply gets confusing, such as using "he/him" when they should have used "she/her". Or forgetting if it's in Japan or America. Or calling characters by the wrong names (At one point resulting in the player being told he needs to go talk to himself.) And then there's the bizarre word fusions. ("You slunched over and crushed the cake!")
Olivia: "Fight with me over the supremacy of the world. I was the country's Magical Girl Britannia." Akira: "And the child earlier, why fight to Nantes?" Olivia: "You know I'm a law of this world." Akira: "I care not fight." Olivia: "Looking to win the all clear." Akira: "I thought out!"
The Russian version of Mass Effect 2, full stop. There is everything: mistranslations, text that wasn't in the original, missed text from the original, they screwed up even the font. Plus, half the names from the translation of the original (done by entirely different company) was carried over, while the other half wasn't. The Russian version of Mass Effect 3 was a bit better, but not much.
Even worse with the most recent Citadel DLC. You might think they used voice files to make their translation, because this is the only way one can confuse "odd Earth custom or..." with "odd Earth customer ". And again they didn't bother to carry over names from the translation of Mass Effect 2.
Russian version of Max Payne had horrible voice actors, poor font decisions, some translation mistakes. Plus, the V As talked so slow, a lot of text that was in comic cutscenes was cut away.
The infamous Dr. Light/Right and Crash/Clash Man (and Cr/lash Bombs) mixups in Mega Man (Classic). The first of each pair is considered correct.
Actually, in the latter case, neither is correct. It's supposed to be Crush Man. (Not that any of the possible permutations of the name make sense for a guy who shoots tack mines...)
This is actually lampshaded in Mega Man Battle Network, where Lan's grandfather is named Tadashi Hikari—which is Japanese for "Right Light".
One of the manuals for a Mega Man game even used the translation Dr. Wright, which really would make the most English sense.
And then there is the case of Doc Robot in Mega Man 3... In Japanese, his name is a pun... Dokuro is the Japanese word for skull and robotto is the Japanese word for robot, so what do you call a Skull Robot? Dokurobotto, which ended up translated as Doc Robot.
The Navi Mode tips in Anniversary Collection. Interestingly, there's an It Was His Sled moment too, as Protoman is the tip-giver in Mega Man 3, despite the fact that you're not supposed to know about him yet.
Proto Man shows up early enough in Mega Man 3. More egregious is Kalinka being the tip-giver in Mega Man 4, which not only introduces a character that won't appear until the end of the game, but hints in advance that the alleged Big Bad of the game isn't.
The popular song Airman ga Taosenai translates as "I Can't Beat Airman." Unforunately, thanks to a blind idiot translation, many YouTubersvehemently insist that it's "Airman will not be defeated." The reason is that "taosenai" is, in this case, clearly meant to be the negative potential conjugation of "defeat" (i.e. "cannot defeat"), but can also be the negative passive conjugation (i.e. "is not defeated"). Both make grammatical sense, but the former describes what the frikkin' song is about.
The fourth game in the Battle Network series introduces a class of bad guys that should have been translated as HeelNavi... instead the player was faced with HealNavis. This was especially funny because unlike the original name, which would've been Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the name was in no way appropriate to their appearance; HealNavis are big bruisers with spiky armor. Beware the medics...
From the same game, the infamous line "What a polite young man she was." I mean, we know Ran looks absurdly androgynous, but come on.
Mega Man, is the jack out now!
There are so many electronic store!
Leg's go, Mega Man!
Want to saver you progress?
If you want to see all of the horrible translation mistakes, click here. It's and entire let's play of Battle Network 4 through 6, and due to how much the LPer hates Battle Network 4, he made a "Fuckup Tally" for all of the game's mistakes. By the end, the "Fuckup Tally" had reached 294.
However, some of the tally increases sometimes counted as multiple mistakes for one thing if it's just that bad (such as Woodman's level glitching if you encounter a single enemy during it) and overall bad programming.
The most hilarious example, however, would be the 100% completion screen, which congratulates the player for clearing EXE 4 instead of BN 4.
And the fifth game, while not as bad, had some rather amusing bits, such as Lan asking Mister Famous "What am I, Mister Famous, doing here?"
The DS version of the fifth game is even worse than the GBA version (somehow). With the chip trader offerring to "Bigin Trading", and lines like "Be areful Lan." and "I'm on flames!"
Also the the infamous "Load Chaud" from the first game.
There are also amusing inconsistencies with virus names; the most glaring of these is the Metool virus being labelled as "Mettaur".
Network Transmission, Gamecube adaptation of the Battle Network series, has a few of these. Most notably, "the professor is now cooling his heals in jail."
Three enemies in Mega Man X2 are the X-Hunters (Counter Hunters in Japan), with Agile as the only translation survivor. "Sagesse" (wisdom) has been mistranslated to "Serges." "Violent" without its final T looks too similar to "Violin," which is dangerously misleading.
Mega Man X5 had a lot of "H"s put where they didn't belong, making it rather hard to understand. Then comes X apologizing for the death of "Octopardo", and nobody knew who the hell that wasnote It was supposed to be Octopuld, referring to Launcer Octopuld, Launch Octopus's name in Japanese. Too bad nobody told the translators they changed it for the first game. Sadly, the unintentional Macekre is still better than the intentional (and terrible) Guns And Roses naming theme they had going.
Mega Man X6 is just full of these: for example, it wants to know if you want to "Overwright" your save...
Mega Man X8 had one boss's name written in the manuals and in dialogue as "Gigavolt Man-O-War". On the "boss display" screen when you selected his stage, it displayed the name as "GIGABOLT MAN-O-WAR". Most likely due to the B/V confusion in Japanese transliteration of English words.
The manual for Mega Man X Treme 2 seems to misspell the names of the villains and Iris, being translated correctly in the actual game. This isn't as big of a blunder for the villains Gareth (Garess) and Berkana (Belkana) but given that X4 came out several years before this, you would figure they'd know how Iris is spelled. Instead, she's 'Aillis.'
The NES translation of Metal Gear was So Bad, It's Good ("The truck have started to move!", "I feel asleep!"), but the English MSX version (official, not a fan translation) a mess. Example: "Destoroy the ultimate weapon, Metal Gear".
AVGN: Man, these translations suck. Couldn't they just get anyone to proofread this shitload of fuck?
Snake's Revenge, the non-canonical NES sequel to the first Metal Gear, has quite a bad translation for a game supposedly made for the American market in mind. One instance has a three-man sub-boss team telling Snake that they've prepared "three graves" for him, while another instance has a dying ally telling Snake that they have "found out that Jennifer is a spy" (though its obvious what he meant was that Jennifer was an inside agent whose cover was just blown, the line seems to imply that she was actually a spy working for the enemy when that's not even the case at all). One plot twist involves another of Snake's allies being an enemy spy in disguise, but it's easy to see it coming when he gives such cleverly craftedmisdirections like "there are no enemies in that car" and "there are no traps in that car".
Metal Gear Solid 2 was generally really well handled, but the most egregious mistake is the parrot chanting the horoscope 'Venus in Cancer'. The original line was something like 'The Venusian crab!' (a reference to the Venusian from It Conquered the World), and was supposed to cast Emma as a b-movie geek (in contrast to her brother's anime Otakudom). Makes even less sense when in Metal Gear Solid 3, Para-Medic jokes that the mask makes Snake look like a Venusian - "not the crab kind, the other kind".
Metal Gear Solid featured a similar mistake: When calling Otacon while fighting REX, Otacon will give some history on some of its weapons, including the railgun. During his explanation of the rail gun, he mentions that it was created by a joint venture between Arms Tech Incorporated and Rivermore National Labs. The Japanese version actually referred to the second group as Livermore National Labs, as in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as in the weapons research and development lab in Livermore, California. This issue was corrected in the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database.
This is further confirmed by the mention of the Nova Laser project, which was based at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. Although a small translation glitch shows up in the mention of a 'NIF laser'. NIF stands for National Ignition Facility (which is on site at Lawrence Livermore), which essentially means 'the place where the government blows stuff up for science'. Sometimes lasers are involved, but there is no single project known as the 'NIF laser'.
The Maru Mari and Varia from Metroid. Maru Mari literally translates as "round ball" or "circle ball", of course this later became Morph Ball. The "Varia" (suit) was originally meant to be called the Barrier Suit. However, the name Varia caught on and has been used ever since...
The name "Chozo", the birdman race featured throughout the Metroid series, came from an abbreviation of Choujin no Zounote 鳥人の像 or "birdman statue". Thus, the name originally referred to the bird-like statues that appeared in the games, and not the actual birdman race itself that they represented. When Nintendo Power's Super Metroid tie-in comic gave Samus her origin story, the name "Chozo" was used to refer to the birdman people that raised her and every subsequent game afterward would follow suit. Interestingly, the Chozo statues in Super Metroid were called "Torizou", which is another way of reading the characters for "bird statue" or "Chozo" in Japanese.
The English-language manual of Mighty Bomb Jack describes what the three Power-Up levels do under the oddly phrased heading "amplified of mighty power." The enemies' names and descriptions are also bizarrely translated, e.g. "Heel" (a flying skull): "It narrates the pyramid legend weirdly, 'Weird! Weird!'"
Mondo Medicals has many deliberate examples of very awkward English. "CANCER?! DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT A CANCER IS?! CANCER IS A SMALL PIECE OF DEATH THAT SLOWLY TAKES OVER A BODY!"
Every Cactus game has this. It was quite a surprise to find out his English is rather good when conversing normally.
The Brazilian Portuguese translation of Mortal Kombat 9 (one of the first in the new wave of Brazilian game releases) has a few blunders. In Story Mode, when Sonya rescurs Jax from Shang Tsung's captivity, she asks how he's doing and he replies with "I'm great". Okay, but Portuguese isn't gender-neutral on adjectives, so the translation is given on feminine form! (the caption reads "Estou ótima"). And Sonya's reply ("Liar" - because Jax's all beat up) follows suit! ("Mentirosa")
Also, the Tower mission where Scorpion has to beat up Mileena because she made him a teddy bear. It's pretty clear she has a teddy bear in her hand, but "teddy" can mean both the bear and a sort of women underwear. Guess which meaning the translators went with?
Nexus: The Jupiter Incident was quite obviously translated into german by someone less than fluent in the language. Among other things, "Fighters" (as in, jet fighter) became "Kämpfer" ("Fighting people") instead of "Jäger" (which translates to "Hunters", but is the german term for that kind of craft). Also, every single instance of sarcasm is translated and pronounced like it is meant to be utterly sincere, which makes the narrator seem a tad unhinged at times.
Opoona's translation, while... servicable, does have several notable and bizarre errors. One particular art piece in the game has its name rendered as Octopus Ballet, Octopus Bounce, and Taco Volley. The "taco" part probably comes from the Japanese word for octopus ("tako"), but the rest is up for debate. The game also does things like constantly misspell character's names, and there are some confusing item names as well (like the "Pet Gauge," which is actually a Pet Cage).
Castle Shikigami 2 is terrible about this. Even though you can still enjoy the game without understanding anything that is being said, backstory and references to the prequel are impossible to understand because of the vague translations. There are several characters whose stories are so badly translated that you have no idea why they're even in the story (even the next to final boss has a backstory that makes almost no sense due to the translation). And then there's the ingame dialog. Keep in mind this isn't even some of the worst dialog in the game.
Penumbra: Overture had a quite good French translation (they even managed to render Red's speech patterns quite accurately), but Black Plague... was not nearly as good. For starters, Red's name was blindly translated as "Rouge" in-game (though amazingly, they got it right in the intro), and then you had a lot of sentences that don't really make sense unless you read the English text they have been translated from, since they followed the original sentences' structure word-for-word, like "Je plaisantais au sujet de la chose 'qui venait le prendre'", which was "I was only joking about the "come, get him" thing" in the original. note A more accurate translation would be "Je plaisantais quand je disais "Viens le chercher", because the translated sentence here just means "I was joking about the thing 'that came to take him'".
Persona, again. Some of the name changes of the Personae and demons in the game were a result of this — they just directly romanized or approximately romanized the name of the Demon/Persona, without bothering to check if it was referencing anything — which, this being a Shin Megami Tensei spinoff, it was virtually every time. Among others, this leads to Armati becoming Almighty, Scylla becoming Sucula, and at the "what were they thinking?" end, Skuld becoming Skragg.
That's not to say Eternal Punishment is without it's flubs. It has occasional trouble with honorifics, as few English-speaking players were expected to understand them in 2000. This is most obvious when characters refer to the protagonist of Innocent Sin as "Upperclassman Tatsuya", the closest English translation of the term "Tatsuya-Sempai". More recent games (particular Persona 4) tend to avoid this. the PS1 fan-translation, on the other hand, averts this, and he's only addressed as Tatsuya or Tatsu.
The Phantasy Star games were full of these. A gem from the second comes in Paseo after Nei dies, where talking to an old man results in him telling you: "Brain. This caused the people's mind to weaken. The trap also leads Algo to destruction. I don't know who made the trap, or why. There is a Neisword in the box. When you pick it up, it will rescue you from the evil side."
In the English version, Alys of Phantasy Star IV is nicknamed the "Eight Stroke Sword", and she hates the name with a passion and scolds people for using it; but some players wondered why she hates having such a cool name. In the Japanese version, she was called "Yatsuzaki Lyla", which would be more accurately translated as "Lyla the Disemboweler" or "Rip-Their-Guts-Out Lyla".
Also in IV, one of the Musk Cats is utterly convinced that the old man's shuttlecock is the most beautiful thing ever. In the original, he's talking about Myau's wings.
The opening cinematic of Phantasy Star. The guards beat the heroine's brother to death and make an example out of him, telling the curious onlookers "Do not sniff around in Lassic's affairs!". In the Brazilian-Portuguese version, the translators took the less innocent meaning of the word and this turned into "Năo se intrometa nos romances de Lassic!", which makes the dramatic scene about the evil overlord's grip on the population look like a paparazzi was too annoying during his job.
Phantasy Star Zero's blue Ar Rappies and pink Rab Rappies seem to be a bad translation, considering the fact, that in Phantasy Star Online, the blue Rappies were called "Al Rappy" (jap. アル・ラッピ aru rappi) while the pink ones were calles "Love Rappy" (jap.ラブ・ラッピ rabu rappi). As the "u's" at the end of English words, written in katakana, are in the most cases not pronounced (i.e. Bus (jap. バス basu)), it seems that the person did simply apply this rule.
"Map of the treasure is in pirates' power. Help me to find it. It might be dangerous. Be strong and be brave. Good luck."
There's a similarly bad one in the German Pokémon game translations: the move "Pound" is translated as "Pfund" (the currency or weight). There actually is a German equivalent for this - "jemandem ein Pfund geben" means to sock somebody. It's not exactly standard German, though
The attack Judgement was translated in Germany to "Urteilskraft", either meaning "power of judgement" or "reasoning powers". Would have avoided confusion if they had chosen "Urteil" (literal translation of judgement).
The ability 'Trace' is translated as 'Fährte' as in traces left by animals, traces of blood, what have you. Yet it copies the opponent's ability. They translated the description correctly. The translator(s) might (not) have wondered why the ability and its description do not match.
In Spanish translation: the hooked [name of Pokémon] (when you fish) was translated to el malvado [name of Pokémon], which means the evil [name of Pokémon] (hooked, yeah, but not like that). And the move Counter is translated as contador, which is, in fact, a counter, one which counts things. It was corrected in Generation VI to Contraataque.
The Italian version makes the same error: Counter is translated as Contatore. It was finally corrected in Generation VI, where it was replaced with Contrattacco.
Polish also made the same mistake: The move is translated as Liczydło, which means "abacus".
Also in Spanish, the move Return (as in "give something in return") was translated as Retroceso (something like step back or rewind). Retorno could have been a better translation. The Generation VI games corrected it to Retribución (Retribution), which is much more fitting. This is also a mild case for the English translation of the move itself, as the Japanese Ongaeshi, while literally meaning "Return Favour", has the more idiomatic translation of "Payback" or "Repayment".
The English translation itself had some problems with the attack 'Splash', which originally meant something closer to 'Hop'. In the original games, this wasn't any big deal (the only thing that could learn the move was the fish Pokémon Magikarp), but cue confusion in generation 2 when Hoppip got the move despite no apparent connection to water.
Not helped by the fact that the animation shows water splashing when it's used. This is a matter of the word having two different meanings, but only in the original language.
The English translation also had problems with attacks that were actually in English in the first place: for example, 'Speed Star' was translated as Swift, despite the fact that it has stars all over the place, but Sky Attack is also worth mentioning, since due to it being translated the way it was, the user just glows randomly in its first turn. That's because its original name was 'God Bird' (likely changed due to Nintendo of America not wanting religious references in its games at first).
Likewise, the 3D games and the anime caused some disconnect between what the attack looked like and what the not-entirely-accurate English translation called it. Rain Dance is never going to be portrayed as a dance because its original name, Ama-goi, means "Rain Prayer" or more literally "praying for rain", and Aerial Ace was named after the famous sword strike Swallow Reversal / Tsubame Gaeshi, and is a Flying move Just for Pun, but has nothing to do with flying and is widely available on non-winged Pokémon. Newer games have more closely translated attack names presumably for this reason.
The move Thunder was also badly translated. The original Japanese name (Kaminari) can translate as both "thunder" and "lightning", and in this case was referring to a lightning strike.
Same with Thunder Punch, though in that case they just wouldn't have had enough letters to call it "Lightning Punch". Its possible that the translators decided on Thunder to keep it consistent with Thunder Punch.
Another case of a move's original name having a double meaning that was ruined in translation is the move Curse, which has two different effects. When Ghost-type Pokémon use it, it's a Cast from Hit Points move that curses the target, but if a non-Ghost-type uses it, it lowers the user's Speed while raising its Attack and Defense. This is because the original name for the move is Noroi, which can translate as either "Curse" or "Slow", so the joke is that it's actually both - Ghosts interpret it as Curse and non-Ghosts interpret it as Slow.
While the Norwegian Pokémon games remain untranslated, the original instruction booklet for Pokémon Red explained the "Cry"-button on the Pokédex as "Se om en Pokémon grĺter", literally "see if a Pokémon is crying".
Another case of a Chinese bootlegger releasing a pirated game with a questionable English translation: Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal. When the character picked up an item such as a Potion, the text would display "GOLD!DRUG BAG FUCK". This might be the same reason that word shows up in the bootleg subtitles of Revenge of the Sith: the Chinese word for "to do" (干 gŕn) is slang for sexual intercourse, just like its English equivalent.
This bootleg version is better known as "Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal", which contains hundreds of other errors. For starters, Pokémon are referred to as "elves", and the Pokémon names are very odd.
It might have something to do with how the character "puts [item] into the bag" after finding them - put it in bag becomes BAG FUCK.
The English translation of HeartGold and SoulSilver, while for the most part good, had some lines that were... fairly awkward, to say the least. "And this place that you can have such fun... is called the Battle Frontier!"
"Argh! Fucking kid! You send my plan down to the WC!" note WC is short for "water closet", an old-fashioned but technically correct euphemism for the toilet.
The creator seems to use "paranoia" for both "supernatural" and "coincidence", neither of which is what paranoia actually means (unfounded suspicion). Several NPCs address the player character by Spanish nicknames, which are never explained as such, making you wonder who they're addressing. Misspellings abound. And then there's the Gratuitous Japanese, which manages to be even worse than his English.
When a Power Instinct 2 machine first boots up
FIRST BOOT UP IS.
FIRST EEP ROM DEFAULT INITIALIZED.
Polish translation of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time while being fairly decent, contains one. When the Prince rejects Farah's proposition of covering him, because she could hit him, the dialogue in Polish goes like this:
Farah: I'll cover you.
Prince: Please, don't. Your duty is to hit me.
It actually sounds rather close to snark. And this is the Prince. (Originally he said "You're liable to hit me" - "liable" can mean either "obliged" or "likely". The latter was the intended meaning, but the former is apparently what the translators went with.)
English translation of the rather obscure action-RPG Prince of Qin is quite mangled, though it mostly manages to convey the intended message. There's a lot of unintentional humour and redundancy and Accidental Innuendo, though:
-I am a fat lamb? Only if you have the capability!
-I want to take his life because I want to!
-But generally speaking, it is not proper to burn so many books and kill so many people.
-Now Wacheng has been conquered and I have no worries in my rear.
-See brother, this is troublesome. However, it's just small trouble. I don't want to bring you any trouble.
-You bold escaped criminal!
Pu Li Ru La is full of such phrases as "That town is so head that no persons can live in." Then again, very little of what goes on in this game makes any sense.
Early released games of the European-based visual novel Publisher MangaGamer is full of this. It's so bad that one of their games, namely Edelweiss had to be re-released with only minor grammar fixes. Not that it does any help, because the game is still gibberish after that. But on the other hand, when you actually figured out some lines, it's worth some good laughs.
Edelweiss is also notable for not translating significant portions of dialogue, presumably because they found it too complicated, and not germane to the "sex". Anytime when the protagonist is saying, "I don't know what he's saying..." — it's perfectly understandable, if complicated Japanese.
They tried to bribe their only available English-speaking contact, to retranslate/spellcheck. He hasn't gotten back to them yet.
They eventually did do a full retranslation of the game, released as a free patch and done by a native English-speaker.
As admitted in a later interview, early games were translated in-house by Japanese employees (not translators) whose grip of English was... questionable, and there was no script editing done after that. This becomes jarringly obvious in Edelweiss where you can notice that different routes were translated by different people with different level of English proficiency, leading to a single term (Homunculus) being translated/transliterated differently in every route.
Admittedly, among their 3 opening titles, there is one well-translated game but at the same time, it was the worst game of them, content-wise. It still didn't do much help.
Speaking of MangaGamer, another of their game, Kira-Kira got pretty close to this, being translated too literally and resulting in a unnecessarily long wordy script. The other English version on iPhone? Even worse.
From the epilogue of the Original R-Type: "THE EVIL BYDO EMPIRE WAS ANNIHILATED TO NEVER SCARE PEOPLE AGAIN." R-Type II has "THE BYDO EMPIRE WHICE WAS ATTEMPTING TO EXPAND ITS TERRITORY..." and "MANY PLANETS WERE INVADED BY THE EVIL EMPIRE AND TURNED INTO DEATH STARS..."
The original's ending text also called the Bydo the Byde, even though the title screen got the name right.
Every single Resident Evil game has English audio— even in the Japanese releases. The very first Resident Evil was dubbed by native English speaking voice actors, but overseen by a Japanese director. Thus you get such Good Bad Translation lines as 'This hall is dangerous! There are terrible demons! Ouch!' (and yes, he does say the word 'ouch').
"I'm going back to the pharmaceutical room." She actually means the chemical room where you mix the V-Jolt, not the medical room in the main house.
And the Grenade Launcher is called a "Bazooka" in the original.
When you have to enter the second password in the Umbrella lab, you are told to "Try enter password".
RE 2 has pretty bad translations in parts too:
"We lost contact with them over ten days ago. Chris, Jill, Barry, every last STARS team member has disappeared. We should have listened to them." Of course, their communication was cut off due to the Zombie Apocalypse.
"You think we can get upstairs (to the other side) through this shaft(hole)?"
"I cleared the wreckage (debris) that was blocking the corridor."
"Only there's a wrecked car barring the entrance". It's a van, not a car, and although it blocks the door, it's not "wrecked".
"We now have access to the back of the parking lot (the back of the basement, that is)."
"Her forehead's burning up (she's got a fever). I've got to hurry before the embryos (there's only one embryo actually) pupate (metamorphoses)."
"Did your mom give you something called 'G Virus'?" Sounds like "did she infect/inject you with it"? Wait, actually, it sounds more like "did she give you chlamydia?" Squicky.
"We've finally arrived. There must be something hidden here." Actually, they haven't quite arrived at the laboratory yet.
"We're inside Umbrella's secret lab." Underground research facility, not a lab itself.
"Someone tried to kill me": actually she was trying to kill Ada and Leon took the bullet. "Ada... went after the sniper," i.e., the gunman.
Claire to Sherry in the 2nd scenario ending: "You look terrible."
"Which one is the right switch?" "Sherry! Push that switch over there!" They mean a button. There's no actual lever/switch to flick up or down.
Even Code Veronica didn't have the best translation.
A couple of the most narm worthy quotes from the game make an appearance in Dead Rising, specifically one of the stores. Reading the description you'd have to wonder if Capcom did the bad acting on purpose.
The English version of Resident Evil Archives, a companion book to the first five games in the main series, suffers from several translation mistakes, as well as an overall poor attempt at localizing the book's content. One section of the book replaces all instances of the word "biohazard" with "Resident Evil", even when the context doesn't warrant it, giving us such gems like the "Umbrella Resident Evil Countermeasure Service" and "a Resident Evil outbreak has been detected".
RE 3 was even more gratuitous: "It is not enough to make the device to work". "Mikhail appears to be in pain and suffering". "A dried up pumpkins are placed here". "It can be used for the power source of the large sized machinery".
Resident Evil 4 has one only apparent if played in Japanese. There is a monster called "Colmillos", Spanish for "fangs". The name is rendered into Japanese as コルミロス Korumirosu which is not at all how colmillos would be pronounced in Spanish. Most Japanese-Spanish dictionaries would have given コルミージョス korumījosu as a more accurate Japanese approximation.
Resident Evil 4 also had at least one mistake in Spanish. An enemy that turns invisible is called "Novistador", which is supposed to be "the Unseen". However, translated to English it means something akin to "No Sight Man".
There's more than one bad translation in Resident Evil 4. For instance, one of the phrases the Ganados scream at Leon when they're following him is "ˇPuedes correr, pero no puedes discutir!". They obviously meant it to be Spanish for "You Can Run, but You Can't Hide", however, "discutir" means "discuss" or "argue", not "hide", which makes the threat puzzling rather than intimidating.
Deliberately pointed out by the translators of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. "Welcome to the town of Whitesnow, a town filled with snow. Enjoy the world of snow. * Note: this is what happens when you do a direct translation."
The Samurai Shodown games are full of this. All of the games in the series suffer in some way. One rather unusual example in the second game looks like an exception, when Cham Cham is regarding the SNK Boss right after she's declared her intent to 'eat, eat you all': 'Shit! You really make me mad!'
Samurai Shodown IV is always happy to declare "victoly!"
The referee's statement after anyone's second fight in 2 is "ki ga warui" (meaning, roughly, "something's not right" or "something strange is happening"). It was translated literally into English, into the immensely quoteworthy "Horrible atmosphere."
Not only does the Portuguese in Scribblenauts look like a mix of Portugal and Brazil Portuguese, they also managed to do this in the pause menu: the restart option became "Tente Sair (Try to Quit).
Scribblenauts as a whole can easily be wrecked by a bad translation, being a word-centric game, but the French version takes the cake.
Some simple words don't give any results : try typing “meat" ("viande"), nope, never heard of that.
Pretty much all words give you 2 or 3 possibilities, either all so similar they're impossible to distinguish, or completely unrelated to what you typed. And the disambiguation hints don't help a single bit.
Type "cow" ("vache"), you get "cow (human)", "cow (mammal)" => the first one is a cop, it's apparently old slang nobody's heard of.
Type "rock" ("pierre"), you get "rock (stone)", "rock (nature)", “rock (environment)" => the first one is some unidentified U-shaped object, the second one is a big rock and the third one is a small rock.
Type "wall" ("mur"), you get "wall (contruction)" and "wall (construction)".... => The second one is a wall, but the first one is some sort of safety barrier.
The list could go on - virtually every word is a problem.
Also: type in almost anything in a different language, and go to a different language. The translation is extremely different. (For example, typing "chat" with French, then changing to English and coming back, viewing its name will give you "button front.")
Secret of the Stars had a particularly bad one, such as translating "Kraken" as "Clarken". Some quotes from the game:
"Whew! Studying math gave me a rash."
"What? You're so anything. Go to the circus now."
"I am just your everyday normal cat! Not!"
SEED: Rise of Darkness, an iPhone game. Half the place names are wrong on the map graphic, the first jester you meet seems to be named both "Johnny" and "Zani", at the same time, and one NPC seems to be referring to a place that doesn't exist. How do you expect me to get your compass fixed if you want me to go to a nonexistant place?
Speaking of Shadow Hearts, the third installment, From the New World, features several enemies lifted directly (though mostly In Name Only) from the works of HP Lovecraft. Apparently the game's Lovecraft Lite atmosphere and the presence of Lovecraft himself as a character weren't enough to make the translators double-check a few of them. Sure, it's easy enough to mistranslate "byakee" as "byarkee," but when Shub Niggurath is translated as "Jeb Niglas", anyone familiar with the source material can't help but Face Palm.
Cave is well-known for doing this to Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE. The most known examples being how the chain expertise "Regal Presence" turned into "Retaliation" and, more recently, "Alchemy" turned into "Craftsmanship".
One of the main NPC of the story, Snakeman, is also very well known for speaking in Engrish.
Some skills were translated inaccurately (such as Megidolaon becoming Megidoraon, Ziodyne becoming Ziondyne, and Mahama becoming Manma), but that's more a case of not doing the research than wrong translation.
There are lots of items that have some mistranslations, but some of them are just weird, such as the "Medical Glove", which isn't a glove, but a dress!
And then we have inconsistencies with enemy names, such as "Hua Po" becoming "Hao Pao" in the Shibuya Quartz (Gold) dungeon.
The Shining Force series is full of these. It gives us quotes such as: "I know you want me to be die!" and "Why did you kill sir Howel? How can you be so mean?"
Happens many, many times when translating games to Italian. For instance, in Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, they translated "intelligence", as in "military intelligence", as "intelligenza", which means "intelligence" as in "intelligence quotient".
The Polish version of SimCity 4: Rush Hour qualifies. Oh, so much. For example, "Free Ride" was translated as "Darmowa Jazda"... "Darmowa" means "free" as in, "for free". Another example, the "abduction" function of the UFO was translated as "obdukcja"... which means "autopsy". And the "chopper" bike in the vehicle selection in "My Sim" mode was translated as "helikopter"... you can guess what that means.
Skyblazer was loaded with WTF-caliber translations, but the one that stands out is that the word "well" was consistently rendered as "tuell". Comes close to qualifying for Translation Train Wreck.
The PAL version of the game corrected most of the numerous typos, although the script still ended up being pretty awkward.
The French subtitles of Sonic Adventure 2 are horribly mangled, to the point one thinks They Just Didn't Care. "Le prototype est resté en vie et a placé la station sur une course de collision course de collision avec la plančte !", which roughly translates as "The prototype has stayed alive and located the station on a collision race collision race with the planet !". And yes, they did repeat "course de collision".
Even the English dub isn't completely safe. Unlike the original Sonic Adventure, the dialogue was not rewritten for English but translated. This led to various odd-sounding sentences in the game. One example is near the end of the game where the BioLizard teleports outside of Cannon's core. Shadow then exclaims "Is that what Chaos Control is?" as if the Biolizard teleporting somehow gave Shadow a knowledge of how Chaos control worked. The intended context was "Was that Chaos Control?".
One line that really screamed that out was 'But, there's no way you could use the Chaos Control using an emerald that is fake!'
And then there's the message that appears on-screen when the battles with The Biolizard and The Finalhazard take place: "The Prototype of the Ultimate Life". Not to mention that "Finalhazard" is itself a mistranslation, as it was supposed to be "Final Lizard".
This also extends to Eggman's English voice actor using the word "Yosh" when clearing a level or petting a Chao. "Yosh" can be translated from Japanese as "Yeah!" or "Alright!"
The English version of Sonic Heroes had Tails saying "Look at all those Eggman's robots!".
They also mixed up "robot" and "clone" in Team Dark's ending, leading to a lot of very confused fans.
Rouge: So Shadow is... a robot?
Omega: So you know about cloning.
The English localization of sora by ΩTH, as it has poorly-written dialogue and noticeable moments of Idiot Programming. Fans of SUGURI aren't happy about these unfortunate turn of events, especially considering the SUGURI series were first localized by Rockin' Android.
In Space Colony, among the player's many tasks is mining for silicon (in German: "Silizium") to produce computer chips. German players, however, had to mine "Silikon" (silicone). Admittedly a very deceptive false friend, but come on...
The german demo (and possibly the retail version) of 1998's Spec Ops: Rangers Lead The Way had a hilariously bablefish-translated readme file attached. The highlights: (U.S. Army) Rangers turn into (Forest) Rangers, i.e. men who work in the woods taking care of trees and animal populations etc. (Förster). Navy SEALs turn into literal seals i.e. something that locks a door or similar for good (Versiegelung). Then there's the multitude of different first-generation 3D accelerator chip brands that are translated literally: Stingray 3D (Stachelrochen 3D), Orchid Righteous (Rechtschaffende Orchidee),...
Star Ocean: The Second Story translates a monster supposed to be named "Scylla" as "Sukula", and at least one or two Tales games mistranslate "Stirge", a bat-like enemy, as "Stage".
Star Fox Adventures had an acceptable French translation, but two errors stand out for being visible even if you didn't understand English:
Early in the game, after Fox falls into some water, a dinosaur greets him with a line whose two only intelligible words are "hot spring". "spring" was translated as if it was the season.
Late in the game, a dinosaur offers to take Fox within striking range of some defensive turrets, but since their range is greater than Fox's, asks him to "protect [me] from their fire" and not blindly shoot at them. It was translated as if the turrets were either equipped with flamethrowers, or on fire themselves.
In Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, the Italian translation got a really nice one: someone translated "carbon" into "carbone", which in Italian means "coal". Who could seriously think to produce durasteel for darktroopers armor and whatnot with coal?
from Latin (root language for italian): carbo=coal. And coal is composed of carbon.
The Overmind from Starcraft was blatantly translated in Russian as "Nadmozg" ("Abovebrain"). Later, it was adapted as a nickname for a poor translator (usually of movies or video games).
There's a glaring example in the Hungarian translation of one of the books, Shadow of the Xel'Naga: the phrase "Wanderers from Afar" (canonical poetic name of the Protoss) was translated as "Wanderers of Afar". As in, Afar remaining un-translated; resulting in "Afar Vándorai" instead of "Messzi Vándorok". The translator probably didn't know that "afar" is an English word too...
"Get lose, you can't compare with my powers!" (M Bison in the arcade version of Street Fighter II).
The first Streets of Rage game had very minimal text, but the dialogue for the final boss had a big glaring error. When he makes you the offer to join his side, he says "Would you become my right-hand man?" If you deliberately try to get the bad ending, the final boss will say before making his offer "You're no ordinary man." He will refer to the player character as a man, even if the player is using Blaze, a female character.
The Polish version of Submarine Titans translated Depth Mines (as in explosives used to sink subs) as Głębokość Kopalni (The depth of the mine, i.e dig site), while Increased Mine Productivity (yielding faster resource production) as Ziększona produktywność min (min is a dative of miny - explosive charges).
Stallion has a unique rune that gives him Super Speed and doubles your overworld map speed; it's basically a souped-up version of the Holy Runes available in stores, which just double your normal walking speed. Fans usually call it the Godspeed Rune. The game calls it the "True Holy Rune," which is a problem because the True Runes are artifacts of world-shaking power that wars are fought over, and if some random elf had one it would be kind of a big deal. The mistake gets repeated in II when he shows up again.
Suikoden II is full of these as well, with plenty of name inconsistencies such as Bright Shield Rune/Shining Shield Rune, Black Sword Rune/Black Blade Rune, Jilia/Jilian Blight, Han/Hal Cunningham, etc.
And the "honking" and "talking" cats. (The former was supposed to be hissing, the latter meowing.)
The talking cat notably spawned a crack theory about it being the reincarnation of Teo Mcdohl due to it saying "So...nya" rather than "N...nya," or "Mr...mrow."
"Don't waist your money okay!"
The game also has entire sections of dialogue being spoken by the wrong character. Most notably at a peace conference late in the game it looks like one of your allies is betraying you since she is speaking lines meant for the enemy.
Super Mario Bros. is not immune. A great many of the English item names show that Square's publication arm utterly failed to do any research when localizing Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. To wit, the "Noknok Shell", a familiar green bouncy turtle shell: "Nokonoko" is the Japanese name for the race known in the West as the Koopas.
Nintendo themselves did this first when localizing Super Mario Bros. 3, resulting in the item forever known as "Kuribo's Shoe"; Kuribos being better known in the West as "Goombas".
In addition, the Boo enemies you first find in the sewers are just ordinary Boos ("Teresa"), yet they're called "The Big Boo" in the English translation. (Big Boo in Japanese is "Atomic Teresa".)
Super Mario 64 DS has an overall okay English translation... except from Bowser's final speech(s) (both before and after getting 100% Completion) and the message you get after collecting one of the castle's secret stars:
Wow! Another Power Star! You're getting stronger from the power of the castle.
The same game also translates King Boo's name as "Big Boo", which is very confusing considering the fact that there's already a Big Boo in the game.
Also, the Shroom Ridge track Mario Kart DS's kiosk prototype contains trucks with the word "flesh" (fresh) labeled on the side. This was fixed for the final version, where they now properly say "fresh".
The Swedish translation of the manual for Super Mario Galaxy translated the word "toad" as "frog". For those not in the know, Mario "toads" are humanoid toadstools. (Though in all fairness, Toad and the toads do always sound like they have a frog in their throat.) It also translated "ray" not as the intended "manta ray", but instead going for "ray" as in "beam".
Super Mario Land had this, in that it was pretty much machine translated from the Japanese version. The real reason half of the enemies have strange names such as 'Pakkun Flower'? It's because those are the Japanese versions of the names of enemies such as 'Piranha Plant'. More obvious when you consider the bosses and such like, with names that are very obvious English direct translations of the Japanese like 'Dragonzamasu' and 'Hiyoihoi'. It's also why half the world names lost the meaning in them.
Note that in this case, it actually works. The game is set in Sarasaland, instead of the Mushroom Kingdom, so the different names make it seem more like you're really in a different nation.
Paper Mario has a minor character named Yakkey, an anthropomorphic key which, um, yaks. In a move that could only be the result of misinterpreting his name as a diminutive of "yak", the French translation of the game calls this character "Biquet", or "young goat/kid". The Spanish translators, meanwhile, straight-up skipped some bits of dialogue. Like the FFVII example above, this isn't Gratuitous English - entire conversations, plot-important ones at that, would be left in English for no good reason.
And who could forget Super Smash Bros. Melee. The European translations (into French, German, Spanish, and Italian) seem to have been rushed (which is ironic given that this is the best-selling Gamecube game ever), so while you'll get good translations for most of the simple text (fun fact: about 90% of the game's text is in the trophy descriptions), a lot of the larger text is still in English. So if you have little to no knowledge of English, good luck trying to figure out what all those signs mean or what the announcer is saying.
Subverted in Brawl, where the European translations have almost no English text, and each language has a different announcer. The foreign announcers can get on your nerves much more easily than the English announcer, though, making you want to switch to English.
The Swedish translation of The Sword of Hope was clearly translated by someone with little knowledge of fantasy and mythology, leading to a lot of butchered terminology. Most memorable is probably the translation of "Treant" to "Trädmyra", literally "Tree ant". It is clearly depicted as a humanoid tree.
Also, whenever you came across a chest (as in 'treasure chest'), the translation treated it as the body part, thus making you wonder if you were involved in open heart surgery (or if the chest was perhaps crafted from the above mentioned Treants).
The NES tarot "game" Taboo: The Sixth Sense is rife with nonsensically bad English, which is something of a liability when a game consists almost exclusively of reading off written fortunes. Even more vexing is that the game isn't Japanese, so there's no apparent reason for the confusing text.
Taito, on the whole, has been pretty good (even when the translation isn't perfect, it's understandable), but there have been a few howlers. Like the profile for Lick Joe in Violence Fight: "Former professional wrestler. His profession revoked because he killed 13 wrestlers during playing. Although his bodily strength is very strong, his movement is slow." Never mind how they got the idea that "Lick Joe", "Bat Blue", "Lee Chen", "Ron Max", and "Tony Won" were proper names for American underground brawlers. ("Ben Smith" seems passable except that he's supposed to be, y'know an INDIAN.)
In earlier Tales games released in North America, "Armet Helm" is mistranslated as "Ahmet Helm" and "Rebirth Doll" (named as such because it automatically revives the wearer upon defeat) was mistranslated as "Reverse Doll."
An example of a mistranslation that makes sense and is just as funny as the original line: The French dub of the Team Fortress 2 short Meet the Soldier translates the line "Unless it's a farm!" to "Farms don't count!"
Terraria has multiple languages as of version 1.2 . However, at least in the German language, the word "close" as in "close a window" has been translated as "close by". Furthermore, the word "save" as in "save the game" has been translated to mean "save" as in "save money".
The German translation of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is definitely one of the worst commercial English-to-German translations in the last decade. The "Quit" button in the main menue is labeled "Fertig", which means "done" in English. Numerous quest texts aren't even translated at all, the part of the main quest in Kvatch, for example. Some items have horribly crippled names like Schw.Tr.d.Le.En.W, which stands for "Schwacher Trank der Lebensenergie-Wiederherstellung" (Weak Potion of Restoring Life Energy). It was so pathetically bad that Bethesda had to create a separate German patch just to fix the worst of the horrible translation and make the item names comprehensible. Most of the other issues haven't been fixed to this day.
The French translation of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is fairly decent, but contains a few egregious mistakes. For example, when one of your Dark Brotherhood fellow assassin tells you that Commander Maro was asked to "leave the Brotherhood alone", the french translation is completely litteral and make it that he was asked to "quit the Brotherhood on his own" instead. A complete Wall Banger, given that Commander Maro is a sworn enemy of the Brotherhood and was never part of it to begin with.
In The Ignition Factor, a firefighting game for the SNES, the fire chief says this when you inspect the map before starting a mission: "Put the castle together and push the button. And then you'll be able to reach it. I wish I could tell you more, but I have no clue what I'm talking about." It seems the translator had no clue either, since a correct translation would have been, "If you move the cursor to the place you're interested in and press the button, you can examine that area." The problem was that the translator misread "kaasoru" as "castle" instead of "cursor". The game seems to have plenty of other mistakes that are likely caused by not bothering to understand the context of the messages.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's French instruction booklet was obviously (badly) translated from English. The best part : they translated "Light Arrows" as "Flčches légčres", which means that these arrows are not heavy...
The French translation of The Sims 2 totally ruined the whole Bella Goth's abduction plot. While they translated her name as "Sonia Gothik" in the first game and in the Goth's family tree in the sequel, they changed Strangetown Bella's name to "Kathy Lalouche". Many French players have no idea that "Sonia" and "Kathy" are supposed to be the same person.
The German translation had a few examples of being too literal in translating - when clicking on a full training potty, the game tells you 'Leer' as in it is empty rather than to empty it, which would be 'Leeren'.
In the the original The Sims, clicking on a skunk will cause the option "Pet" to pop up. Choosing it will make your sim attempt petting the creature, with invariably stinky results. In the Finnish version, however, the command was translated as "Lemmikki", which is the word for the domesticated animal, not the act of petting something. This can cause the player to believe that choosing the action will make the sim try and get the skunk to be their pet, which is not possible.
Also, in The Sims 2, you are given the option to "Fire" a nanny if you want to. In an early version, however, it was translated in Finnish as "Ammu", which means "Shoot". One can only imagine the disappointent of the players who expected their sim to pull out a gun on the offending nanny...
In the original Sims' Makin' Magic, you can have a cat-sized pet dragon which you can, among other things, pet and groom (as in clean with a brush). A Russian version of the game used the wrong meaning of 'groom', and translated it to mean "the guy who marries the bride".
The Hungarian dub of The Witcher completely kills the game's climax with an obviously context-deprived translation. As Geralt is about to use his silver sword to kill de Aldersberg, the villain exclaims "That sword is for monsters!". In the Hungarian version, this is translated to "I use this sword against monsters".
The first Touhou game, Highly Responsive to Prayers, has things like HARRY UP and TOTLE.
The Genesis version (the only one to be translated) of Valis: The Fantasm Soldier. For example, "Get Fantasm Juely!", and "Welcome to fantasy world, Yuko". And Valis II for the Turbo-Grafx 16 CD has gems such as "I am the Red Salamander Zaruga, one of Roglas' 12 generals. Come warrior Valri, let's engage in combat." Also, Roglas (the Big Bad of the first game) is referred to as "the Roglas King" in the localizations, and his minions are collectively called the Roglas Army.
One of the games got translated as "Syd of Valis". It's supposed to be "SD Valis", the SD being short for Super-Deformed.
Valkyrie Profile has a pretty decent translation, possibly because the English voice cast needed something intelligible. But the message the game gives you when it's time to unleash your Limit Break is a real howler: "Technical arts energy charged, PURIFY WEIRD SOUL! Hurry up push button! Step on it!"
Interestingly, the word weird is derived from an ancient Nordic word, meaning something similar to fate. It may be a coincidence, but for a game so heavily inspired by Nordic myths to use the word weird like that, it might actually mean something. Of course, it would still be something of a mangled sentence.
Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria has its own example of this trope in the move "Nibelung Valesti". It sounds cool and all, but the move was actually supposed to be Nibelung Velocity. "Valesti", incidentally, is the Italian second person singular past historic form of "valere", meaning "to be worth", so "Nibelung Valesti" translates roughly as "You were worth of the Nibelungen".
This mistake originates in the original, and they were more or less required to keep it to maintain consistency.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. Dear God, almost every line that is longer than 3 words is wonkily translated. In fact, there are a few instances where not only is the translation is wrong, but the formatting is wrong. On one stage, there are 2 lines, both of which are very long and don't have linebreaks, causing each line to go all the way across and off the screen.
In Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3, you're treated to "SUDDEEN KILL" when you clear a 10 Opponent Outrun with an S. The same mistake is in DX; it was finally fixed in DX Plus.
Outro of the Human campaign of Reign of Chaos. Arthas announces that: "this kingdom will fall, and from its ashes a new order will rise that will shake the very foundation of the world". Apparently, the idiot who translated it into Russian managed to confuse "shake" with "shape", as Arthas says "...wil become the foundation of the world".
The Warhammer 40,000 game Space Hulk's translation from English to Spanish had a few of these, including "si fire no move" (unknown original line, but presumably "If you fire, you can't move") and "Giro 19, izquierda 1" (turn 19, left 1; "izquierda" is left as in left and right).
The original Wild ARMs game had a pretty bad translation, with gems such as "Ray Line" instead of "Leyline." Fortunately, they fixed it in the remake, although the remake's translation is widely to be considered just as bad.
Liz and Ard's ridiculous dialogue was clearly intentional, as they happen to be a pair of Cloud Cuckoolanderaliens. The rest of the script, though, has no such excuse - the translators just weren't very good.
That does not explain why everyone else's dialogue breaks when they are around. My guess is that Liz originally spoke in a very frilly, archaeic dialect of Japanese and the others (or at least, Ashley) spoke to him in the same dialect in turn. There are a whole bunch of puns in there that completely evaded the translators and ended with gems like "I don't care if it is poetry or the Emperor of Death. I'm in a hurry!". Yeah.
Wolf Team is loaded with this. Even the title screen has it! Enjoy the 5.1 Circle Sound while you use the EM-60, but have to reload four times to prevent overheat from over 200 shooting. Stupid interruption in the supply of ammo. Watch out for the Snake Attack, you never know when a Ghost Wolf will get behind you. They usually try when your Machine Gun is in installation or when you are trying to plant the bomb.
Gold coins are called "golds" (regardless of number).
Status messages include "Body stiffen" and "I'm loose."
The name of "Excalibur" is actually spelled out in English in an on-screen graphic. The translators still managed to misspell it in the dialogue as "Axecaliva".
With such "gems" as "Defeat DRAGON? if so, teach you" and "DEATH god has key to neighbor," one wonders what the hell they were on.
World in Conflict. The second screenshot is obviously supposed to be HUD of a soviet copter. The text in the right column is: "Method: seedpod of a weapon; auto piece of artillery; Sabo(?); ? of kidnaping". No wonder it was posted in a LJ community dedicated to the "Fake Russian" trope.
I imagine they were aiming for a weapon selection menu: "rocket pod," "autocannon" and "kinetic sabot." They missed by several miles.
Which Deadpool, in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, actually adopts into his repertoire, just as "Magneto! Welcome to die!". Hopefully Konami will forgive Capcom for this...
Let's not forget Professor X's sage advice. Right before the final boss fight (after defeating a Magneto imposter), he proclaims: "Alas, that was Mystique, not Magneto! Magneto is in another place! Go, X-Men!" Especially odd when you realize "another place" means "this door, right here."
The Final Boss fight is a continuous stream of this sort of dialogue, from "I am Magneto, master of magnet!" to "KILL YOU!" Most definitely worth a quarter or ten.
Usually the localization jobs on the German-developed X-Universe series are pretty good, but the English version of the X-Encyclopedia has one particular page that is a mess. An excerpt:
Together with Elena and representatives of the Goner Brennan can prove, really from as lost valid planet earth to come.
Based on context, one assumes the writer meant "Together with Elena and representatives of the Goner, Brennan can prove he really is from the lost planet Earth."
Xenus 2: War in Paradise (also known in the west as White Gold: War in Paradise) sports an exemplary example of this trope. Most of the main plot dialogue translated from Russian to English is somewhat bearable and coherent, but the majority of sidequest dialogue and plain conversation with NPCs in the game seem like they've been run through Babelfish and left at that. Some lines still have Russian words in the middle of the English dialogue.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Dark Duel Stories for Game Boy Color had an... inconsistant English translation; several characters used their Japanese and English names inconsistently, some things using placeholder names (usually followed by "(?)" in the text), or in the case of the Millennium Items, using "Millennium" and "Thousand Years" interchangeably, sometimes in the same conversation. Some characters even had entirely different names than any other source, such as Yugi's grandfather being called "Trusdale" (an early working name, when the games were being localized before the show hit the US).
World Championship 2007's Spanish translation is... peculiar at best. The translating team seemed unable to distinguish nouns from actual English words and just translated everything they could. This leads to absurd hilarity like Fenomenal Factura (Great Bill. In the economic meaning of bill).
Oddly enough, the infamous line "I AM ERROR." from Zelda II The Adventure Of Link, though mistakenly assumed by many to be a case of "Blind Idiot" Translation, is actually correct. Another character is called Bagu, a literal romanisation of the Japanese transliteration of "bug". "Bug" and "Error" go together fairly well. Besides which, you're told later in the game by someone else that Error has some information you need.
Some non-Japanese fans think that Error should be Errol (as in Errol Flynn, known for swordplay in his movies) because of the Japanese Ranguage. This is impossible, since "error" (エラー erā) and "Errol" (エロール Erōru) are very distinct, which makes this a case of "Blind Idiot" Translation by the fans instead of the localisers.
Zelda II did have some examples of... unusual translation, though, particularly the classic "WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS USE FIRE." It means to use the Fire spell on armored enemies, but when just offered on its own - as it is - it becomes rather unintentionally hilarious and seems to be encouraging pyromania. (Note that the Japanese version has a different line here.)
Note that the original Japanese version of Zelda II has a lot of clunky lines too, due to having way too little space to fit way too much information into.
The original game's intro text has this classic: "Many years ago, Prince Darkness Gannon stole one of the Triforce with Power."
This is actually a case of Gratuitous English combined with They Just Didn't Care. The intro text is the same in the Japanese version of the game. The people behind the English version just didn't bother to fix up the intro.
This actually significantly increased the difficulty of the games for English speakers, since a number of lines intended to reveal locations of important treasures or future dungeons got completely mangled, thereby leaving players with no clue where to go next. For example, a message intended to reveal the location of the Magic Key (which is pretty much required for completing the final dungeon due to the absurd number of locked doors) got rendered as "10th enemy has the bomb".
Interestingly enough, the replacement message is also factual, but infinitely more convoluted than the rest of the messages combined, as can be seen here. The short version: killing 10 enemies without getting hit and killing the 10th enemy with a bomb causes them to drop a bomb, but you need to take a hit to get another bomb after 10 kills. It's possible that the translator found the information from Nintendo Hotline's folders and decided to replace the message.
The instruction manual in the English version of the game states that the Pols Voice enemy hated loud noises. Most players had assumed that the monster in question was weak to the Recorder, but when they used it, the monster wasn't affected. This is a case of a literal translation from the Japanese version of the game where Japanese players had to shout into the Famicom's microphone in order to defeat Pols Voice, a feature that American players did not get. This was changed in the American and European versions so that a single arrow can kill a Pols Voice instantly and you can kill multiples at once if they're lined up.
GAME OVER. RETURN OF GANON.
Even ignoring how stupid the Character's names sound in the German version of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, there are several inconsistencies in the translation (like the timespan passed since the founding of New Hyrule varying between 100 and a few hundred years) and when Zelda loses control over a Phantom due to leaving the dungeon section of the tower of spirits, she says "It looks like before again..." instead of "I went back to normal...".
Zero Wing: Whoever translated this game was obviously not very fluent in English, but if they were, we wouldn't have gotten the Memetic Mutation that is "All your base are belong to us."
For great justice!
Somebody set up us the bomb! (Which could be taken to mean "Please prepare a bomb with which to attack the enemy" as well as the intended meaning of "Oh no, there's a bomb on our ship!")
The English release of Zoids Saga 2 (as Zoids Legacy) was about as blind idiot as it comes. Not just did it freely mix the names from the English dubs of the Zoids anime with their Japanese originals (so you had the American "Leena" alongside the Japanese "Ballard") but it was full of pure nonsense translations. For example, the description of the Gator Zoid read "Deform for recon". More interestingly, the Merda Zoid (one of many in the game not released in the US, and it had about four or five possible Romanizations) was renamed "Hellrunner", the name it was released under in the UK... in the '80s. To make the whole thing even more confusing, one of the lead translators on the staff was an active member of the Zoids'' fan community.
It's not uncommon to play a beat-'em-up or Fighting Game which features a character whose fighting style is listed as "martial arts". Examples include Axel Stone, Cody, Terry Bogard, Ralf and Clark, and Sarah Bryant to name a few. This is because in Japan, the English term "martial arts" is used as a loanword to refer to martial arts of western origin (such as American-style kickboxing or full-contact karate), in contrast to its use as a general term in English. That's why we often get characters whose martial art style is "martial arts".
Web Games made by Beijing ELEX Co. Ltd. usually suffer from this, especially the German translations, which were apparently translated from English after being translated from Mandarin Chinese, sometimes downright bordering on Translation Trainwreck as a result. Happy Harvest is particularly infamous for this, especially in its original release, parts of which were hardly decipherable. Translations have improved in newer versions, but still contain mistakes like both components of "horseman" being translated individually ("Pferdemann"), invoking images of a centaur (or a Funny Animal) rather than an equestrian. Their other games fare no better; Cafe Time for instance, besides strange grammar and parts being left entirely untranslated, renders "counter" (the piece of furniture) as someone who counts, and "serve" (as in serving food) in the sense of serving a customer, implying that you would need to bring food to your food.
The "instructions" for the cheaper Commodore 64 games on tape often consisted of nothing more than "Type LOAD and press Return key." In one instance this got translated into German thus: "Type LADUNG und presse zurück Schlüssel," which contains exactly one correct word.
Type: Not translated. WTF?
LADUNG: They translated the computer command, thus making sure that the instructions can't work at all.
presse: Wrong meaning of "press."
zurück: No. The key has the word "Return" written right on it - so don't translate it!
Schlüssel: Wrong meaning of "key."
A lot of Genesis games had multilingual manuals in Europe with several languages present on every page, each of them seperated in their own column which also often had duplicates of whatever screenshot they had originally used there. This naturally often lead into unintentional hilarity, such as the Streets of Rage manual calling Blaze Fielding Pekka Peltonen in Finnish, a hilariously generic male name as well as the manual for Quackshot replacing the universally accepted Finnish translation of Gyro Gearloose (Pelle Peloton) with a much more literal and a lot more confusing Valle Vaihteeton. Considering how ridiculously popularDonald Duckhas always been here, you'd think they would've bothered to look it up a bit more.
Similarly, the Italian instructions for the original Sonic the Hedgehog called the main character "the Sonic" all the time.
In the Spanish instructions, Sonic was often referred to as Sónico, adding the male suffix, and made liberal use of the verbs "Salvar"note which gets a pass for becoming a neologism, although more proper "Guardar" and "Grabar" were already there and "Remover" (as in, to rescue or shake your save file).
The Polish translation of The Orange Box (Half-Life 2, Episode One, Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2) was obviously done by someone who never played or even seen the games. How else would you explain such bloopers as referring to Portal's female protagonist, Chell, as male throughout the whole game; or translating "[security] breach" as "a cave"; or translating "breach of internal base defenses" (that is, enemies getting past your defenses) as "resistance of the internal base defenses" (what? have your own defenses turned on you or what?). In fact, if you don't know English, then playing with Polish subtitles will leave you completely confused.
It's especially tragic to see Portal's trademark dark humor and creepiness completely ruined, because most of the lines in the game are mangled beyond recognition. note "Live-fire course" has somehow turned into "live fireproofing test", for starters. And that's just the tip of the cringe-inducing iceberg.
This sadly seems to be a common feature in Polish games. The Polish version of Beyond Good & Evil features the English voice track, and apparently translates the English idioms used in the game very... er, literally. "This button has no fruit juice."
The Polish version of Scrapland is just as atrocious, translating "They're engaged" as "Everyone is busy" (original voiceover says "They're engaged", referring to a female robot and the Big Bad, Polish subtitles say "Everyone is busy" completely out of the ass). More confusing is translating "Stapler" (a type of robot) as "Stapler" through all of the game with an exception of a STORY MISSION OBJECTIVE, where it's translated as "OfficeBot" (Biuras), very similar to the Polish name of "Messenger" (another type of robot).
Worse yet, otherwise acceptable translation of Fallout 3 contains a really bad pun, changing the name of villain AntAgonizer into what can be most closely re-translated as "Entomology McAnt" (although translating the nickname "Three Dog" literally is a close second). Curiously, most failed translations come from one and the same distributor.
Of course, "AntAgonizer" is already a terrible pun to begin with, so...
"Lincoln's Repeater" was translated as "Lincoln's Semi-Automatic Rifle". If you know at least a bit about guns you'll rage.
Polish translation of Jagged Alliance 2, while being mediocre overall, contains some really idiotic translations, like the phrase "I could use a hand here" being translated literally (hand as body part, not "help") and Wolf's quote "Stay alert, they'll probably pop out the moment we drop our guard" being turned into "Stay alert, they'll probably jump out when we take out the guards" in the subtitles (only text was translated, as opposed to the expansion pack...).
At one point, GLaDOS says "weeee" as in the exclamation, not the pronoun. The German translation turned it into "wiiiiir", which is the German word for the pronoun "we".
The Japanese version of PETA's Flash game New Super Chick Sisters translates Bowser as バウザー (Bauzā). This is absolutely an acceptable translation and is used in several places in Japanese works, but it is never used in direct reference to the character, who is always クッパ (Kuppa). It also obscures a quote from Super Mario RPG by translating the exclamation in "Fungah! Foiled again!" as フンガー (Fungā) instead of フンギャ (Fungya) and translating the second half of the line, which was added in localization and didn't exist in the Japanese version.
"You strange, unmasked fellow. Don't go to heaven!" is actually a direct translation from the original Japanese version, and makes sense in context. Earthbound is a strange, strange game.
The RPG Maker XP's official English translation has some translation oddities. For example, the stat Dexterity is translated as "Dextality". The Move and Stop animations were also somehow swapped together.
Of course, RPG Maker VX and VX Ace don't get away mistake-free. While the stats and interface are largely functional, the skill and enemy names in VX tend to be treated this way; "Sickle Weasel" (Kamaitachi), "Newclear" (Nuclear), "Willowisp" (Will o' Wisp), "Gayzer" (Gazer), Frame Shield (Flame Shield) and the default text for Not Lethal KO status being "[Charname] is knockout!" are all notable in VX. VX Ace is even more egregious about this, with "Breath Weapon", "Breath Armor", and "Divine Breath"—which are mistakes VX did not make. Nevermind some of the default character titles ("Dark Green Aim", what?) and backgrounds ("His youth is bound by hatred. He acts like a wise-crack due to his life"). At least these errors are all on things that can be easily corrected.
Aeon Genesis's Fan Translation of Cave Story makes a few translation errors that mar an otherwise high-quality English script:
An early area known as クサムラ (草叢 kusamura, "grassy area") was translated as Grasstown (which is pronounced the same but would be spelled 草村). Nicalis's script, used in the Wii, DSiWare, and 3DS versions of the game, calls this same area "Bushlands".
A password that comes up late in the game is supposed to be the game's name spelled backwards (リタガノモツクード ritaganomo tsukuudo, an inverse of 洞窟物語 doukutsu monogatari). Aeon Genesis transliterates this as "Litagano Motscoud" (the lead translator admitted to being half-asleep at the time); Nicalis's translation caught this and uses "Yrots Evac".
Any time Tohsaka Rin speaks German in Fate/stay night. It sounds cool and all, but it reads like the writers wrote it by translating literally using first a Japanese-to-English dictionary and then an English-to-German one. An example from Heaven's Feel (when she's putting a geis on Shirou to make him obey her):
Satz. (Sentence, as in the grammatical kind)
Beklagter, meine Wörter, werden geglaubt. (Mourned/lamented, my words, are believed)
Weiß ist schwarz. (White is black - this is the only part that makes any kind of sense)
Die Vergeltung vom Himmel. (Probably meant to be "Vengeance from the heavens", but actually reads "The avenge from heaven/sky")
An iPhone game, Anime Jigsaw Puzzle's Japanese version has gems such as:
"Tap to select hot anime" becoming "tap forselect hot anime", with "hot" meaning "high temperature".
Deadly Premonition usually has a very good translation into English. However, the same can't be said for various signs in the game world, leading to the hospital level having info signs like this:
YES!YOUR DOCTOR TOLD US THAT YOU AER TO BE OUR PATIENT.ACCEPT OUR ENTHUSIASTIC CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL WISH ON YOUR COMING CVENT... AND BE ASSURED THAT WE HAVE A VERY PERSONAL INTEREST IN YOUR CASE AND HAVE ALREADY TAKEN STEPS TO SEE TO TI THAT YOUR STAY IN THE PALO ALTO HOSPITAL WILL BE PAY US A SOCIAL VISIT BEFORE YOU ENTER?WE WANT TO MEET AND GREET YOU. FOR YOURS!