Good Bad Translation

Its tale begins like so: "In each town,under a keepers control, the time flow was correctly kept with a time key. But, a bad man appeared and stole the time key to stop the time flow. The towns were attacked one by one, the time flow was stopped and they received damage." Apparently, so did the English language. Tragically, it would never recover.

Whether it be due to Executive Meddling, bad translators, or just being a rush job, there are bad translations at times. Either the wording is funky, the grammar is off, or they just flubbed the line.

However, it proves so popular with the fans (either due to being unintentionally hilarious or memorable and amusing to repeat) that not only do they not go back to correct it partway through the run, but reprints and sequels will keep the mistranslation in because the fans want it. Essentially, the bad translations are So Bad, It's Good.

This is different from a Woolseyism because those are intentional, while these are mistakes that prove popular with fans.

See also Translation Train Wreck for gibberish translations that may fall under this trope. Related to "Blind Idiot" Translation. Compare the intentional versions, Gag Dub and Intentional Engrish for Funny.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The original The Legend of Zelda is famous for its mistranslations, which were humorous in that they didn't always make a lot of sense; for example, "Eastmost penninsula is the secret" [sic].
    • "Dodongo dislikes smoke." Sadly, the Gamecube and GBA rereleases make things at least a little better.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link contains what was often mistaken as such, in the form of a character saying, "I am Error." Some players even thought the phrase represented a literal error in the game's coding; in other words, text for the character's dialogue was not properly programmed in, so an "error message" was displayed instead. Anyone who actually bothered to get far enough in Zelda 2 would have met a man in Mido that actually references him by name. It got bad enough that Nintendo had to confirm it was his real name. The real translation mistake was another character named Bagu, who was just supposed to be named "Bug". This would have given us Bug and Error.
      • Nintendo even jokingly referenced this themselves in Super Paper Mario; a robotic boss says this after he is hacked into and his systems are attacked.
  • Cave Story: "Litagano motscoud." The translator, Aeon Genesis, simply didn't notice that it was supposed to be a backwards Title Drop. Also, Balrog's catchphrase wasn't really "Huzzah!" according to Pixel, but it became very popular; the same goes for "Grasstown", which was supposed to be more like "Bushlands". Nicalis' translation actually changed them to what Pixel was really thinking of.
  • The original English dub for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a rich source of Narm Charm for a lot of players. Many of these players were nonplussed when the PSP remake redubbed all the lines.

    Adventure Game 
  • The Russian-developed point-and-click adventure game, Midnight Nowhere, features numerous bizarre and hilarious lines when looking at the scenery. For example, looking at a stethoscope on a dead doctor's desk will produce the line, "He's probably lying here to show off. It's like he's saying, 'I'm not just wearing my pants out, I've got medical training!'" rendered in voiced, well-emoted English.
  • The Spanish translation for The Secret of Monkey Island has an example. The closest counterpart for the slang I'm rubber, you're glue... used in the insult swordfighting, is Botellita de Jerez (todo lo que digas será al revés, everything you said will be reversed). However it was literally translated as Yo soy cola, tú pegamento, resulting in a very funny phrase that lacks any coherence. It got very popular, becoming an icon of the game and even being preserved in the remake.

    Beat Em Up 
  • Among many other examples in River City Ransom, one of the gangsters' anguished cries of pain was translated as "BARF!" For the translation of River City Ransom EX, Atlus not only kept this in, but they even made a wallpaper bearing the phrase.
  • While technically not a translation error (the English version's script is completely different from the Japanese original), the NES version of Double Dragon III has Billy's name misspelled as "Bimmy" in the opening of the 2-Player Mode. The 1-Player Mode uses the correct spelling. Double Dragon Neon has a Shout-Out: a Dual Boss's Boss Subtitles is "Mistranslated Mutants: Bimmy and Jammy".
  • The X-Men arcade game is so famous for its poorly translated dialogue that original lines like "X-Men, welcome... to DIE!" were preserved when the dialogue was re-recorded for a later Xbox 360 release.
  • Pu Li Ru La's broken English translation only adds to the game's surreal quality.

    Fighting Game 
  • The Samurai Shodown series never got around to fixing the title either. Considering SNK's track record on weird translations, whether or not this was intentional from the second game onwards is anyone's guess.
    • Speaking of Samurai Shodown, who could forget this classic from the fourth game in that series: "VICTOLY!"
    • Absolutely ridiculous translations. That's SNK. And don't forget it, dweebenheimer!
    • The original US title of the game was actually supposed to be Shogun Shodown. The name was changed before release, but the intentional misspelling was kept.
  • Keitai Denju Telefang was a monster-fighting game released in Japan only. Bootleggers, um, "translated" the game into English and packaged two versions of the game under the names Pokemon Diamond (not to be confused with the game released for the DS in the mid-to-late '00s, which is a real Pokémon game) and Pokemon Jade. The translation contains lines like "For the clever opponent, Injure increase!!", "Let us go to see the ball!", "Shit! Remember it!" and "I will use my strength to LET YOU SHUT UP!". Even the battles have their share of Engrish: "Some points of [number] lost!" Though horrific translation aside, it wasn't a bad game. Well, at least the Japanese version wasn't.
    • There is a good reason for this, though: in Japanese, both 'let' and 'make' (as in, make you do something) are the same verb tense, saseru.
  • According to flavor text in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Squall's gunblade shoots "barrets". One has to wonder how he managed to turn a giant black man into an elemental being, then miniaturize him to use as ammunition.
    • This may be a Shout-Out to one of Zell's attacks in Final Fantasy VIII, called Meteor Barret. Of course, that one was likely a mistranslation as well, which makes one wonder whether they did it in Dissidia for laughs or because they still hadn't figured it out...
  • "A Winner Is You" from Pro Wrestling is a bit of a meme.
  • Street Fighter II: "You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!" Ryu's boast (literally translated: "Until you can overcome my Shōryūken, you cannot win!") was partially-translated into Chinese for unclear reasons. The SNES port fixed this translation, but also claimed in the manual that both Ryu and Ken were disciples of a "Master Sheng Long", further muddying the waters. This gave rise to a longstanding rumor (and April Fool's hoax) that there was a secret boss character who went by that name, and even inspired Akuma's entrance in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. One could argue that it's simply too much a part of the franchise's history now to try and change.
    • The joke reached it's climax with Street Fighter IV, where Capcom announced Gouken as Sheng Long, one of his optional profile titles references that he is a real version of 'Sheng Long', and that he states in one of his win quotes, "You must defeat me to stand a chance!"

  • A famous (or rather notorious) doujin H-Game for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, called Phoenix Drive, was translated from Japanese into English by someone who didn't seem to be fluent in either language. The game was laughable enough as it was, but turned into outright hilarity and unintentional brilliance with such lines as "I will beat a rod till... a tank empties", "Does sperm collect to your lower part of the body in large quantities?" and "Hey, Ni-ick. Your [Penix Wright]". Even the worksafe scenes are wonderfully Narmful.

    Light Gun Game 
  • Time Crisis. "Don't come! It's a trap! Oh noooooo!"
  • House of the Dead is full of these: "You must stop Curien, or else something terrible will happen!", "Don't Come! Don't Come!", "Suffer like G did?", and so on.

    Platform Game 
  • At the end of Ghosts 'n Goblins:
    • 'Congratulation. This story is happy end. Thank you.'
    • 'Being the wise and courageour knight that you are you feel strongth welling. In your body. Return to starting point. Challenge again!
    • 'This room is an illusion and is a trap devisut by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progres!'
  • Ghostbusters for the NES had an Engrish final message: "Conglaturation !!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go rest our heroes."
    • The fixed Japanese ending actually spells the word "great" as "grate". No one got to see it since all the Japanese got to see instead of the congratulations is the glitchy screen. And the ones who got to see it still can't figure out why couldn't they fix the other spelling errors as well.
    • It even appears in the new Ghostbusters game on a PC screen in their office!
  • The Varia Suit in the first Metroid was actually originally meant to be called the Barrier Suit, but instead of fixing the mistake, it was kept (the reasoning apparently being that since the Varia Suit can handle many different variable conditions of planets, it could also be short for "Variable Suit".)
    • The planet Zebes was supposed to be "Zebeth," and is called such in some early sources. The confusion comes from the katakana rendering, "Zebesu."
    • In addition, the series often talks about a race of bird creatures called the Chozo. "Chozo" was used in the original Japanese to refer to the bird statues scattered throughout Zebes, and was taken to refer to the race of creatures. In fact, it referred to the statues themselves: chōzo is Japanese for "carved statue". Japanese media simply referred to them as chōjinzoku which literally just means "birdman tribe". Since Metroid Prime, which was developed by a Western studio, the name "Chozo" has been used in Japanese media as well; it has been interpreted as a contraction of their original name.
    • Another wiki claims that "Barrier Suit" was at least in the manual for Metroid II, though the game itself features "Varia".
    • The original also ended with the Engrish-y message (bad spelling and spacing preserved), "Great !! You fulfiled your mission. It will revive peace in space. But,it may be invaded by the other Metroid. Pray for a true peace in space!"
  • Contra III begins the game with one of the heroes offering the brilliant suggestion of "Let's Attack Aggressively!" Never mind that attacking someone is already an aggressive action by nature. The line isn't even a direct translation. In the Japanese version, Lance's actual line is "Let's greet them with style!"
    • Likely in tribute to this, Pliskin in Contra Rebirth says this line as well.
    • Not to mention, when the heroes of Contra 3 reappear in Contra 4 as unlockable characters, they reprise this gem of a line, except (much like the Pliskin example above) now it's voice-acted.
    • The unlicensed NES port of Contra Spirits (otherwise known as the Japanese version of the above) by Ei-How Yang has something completely different for its' intro. Then, apart from the below quote, there is thending!
      A GAME
  • In The Goonies II, whenever you try to "PUNCH" an NPC, they will respond by saying "Ouch! What do you do?" (instead of "Ouch! What did you do that for?")
  • This can even happen to fan-made hacks of a game: when raocow did his Let's Play of the Super Mario World romhack known as VIP, a member of his forum attempted, with varying levels of success, to translate the various level names into English. This resulted in one level being called "Dodge the Beefsteak!" (a more proper translation would have been "Avoid the Enemies"). Later, an actual Japanese speaker did a proper translation of VIP for Raocow, but she left "Dodge the Beefsteak!" alone because it was just too funny.
  • Rockman 4 Minus Infinity has a downplayed version - you can still make sense of the story, but the actual wording of the English translation leads to things like this:
    Kalinka: (referring to an upgrade) I suppose I put it on the doggy. ... All OK.
    Dr. Light: W... what you said?! No joking, Rock!

    Puzzle Game 

    Role Playing Game 
  • In Final Fantasy IV, when Tellah fights Edward, the original featured Tellah cursing at Edward for taking the sage's daughter away. The original English script featured, instead, the line "You spoony bard!" This proved so popular that the line is in every single English rerelease (although the other lines have been translated more appropriately). At the current time, this comes out to three different rereleases that retranslated the game but kept that line. note 
    • Lampshaded in the DS remake - talk to the lead translator in the Developer's Room in-game, and he'll state that they went through and fixed the erroneous translations - and then states "But the bard was spoony - we checked!"
    • This phrase is so popular that it's actually started to appear in other Final Fantasy games, such as the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics or in a somewhat obscure Shout-Out in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Hell, even other companies make a Shout-Out to the famous line. In the last case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations, the prosecutor Godot (who is fond of coffee metaphors) refers to Maya's mind as "a cup of café au lait" (referring to her current state of confusion), and then refers to the Judge as "the spoon" (inferring that his remarks are confusing Maya further). The judge's response: "I-I'm a spoon?! I'm no spoony bard, I'll have you know!"
      • Which is because the translator for that game is so enamored with the phrase he tries to slip it in to everything he does.
      • AND in the Phoenix Wright Manga in the first chapter, Maya calls Larry "Spoony". The translations page at the back of the book (which explains certain phrases) states that Bards can be Spoony.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, a single vowel misheard led the incantation of the heroine's main attack being changed from the original "I shall annihilate your soul!" to "It shall be engraved upon your soul!" This translation proved so popular that four different characters say a variant of it in the prequel, Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria.
    • In Radiata Stories, you can recruit the VP Valkyrie into your party during the bonus dungeon. When she unleashes her Volty Blast in that game, she repeats this line again.
  • Most of the spelling and grammar mistakes that appeared in the first Wild ARMs game were corrected in its rerelease, Wild Arms Alter Code F. However, the Artificial Humans in the game were still called "Holmcross" instead of the correct "Homunculus" because fans felt it was emblematic of the series.
    • Wild ARMs 2's translation is also seriously flawed, but at least one "mistake" turned into accidental genius; the game's Goldfish Poop Gang, Liz and Ard (who happen to be aliens) are turned into Cloud Cuckoolanders whose dialogue is both incomprehensible and hilarious. They were already comic relief characters in Japan, but translating Liz's "poetic" dialogue literally produced something much more entertaining than it has any right to be.
  • Final Fantasy VII wasn't really cerebral. It graduated into an outright Mind Screw in the English version because of the dodgy translation—which may have been one of the reasons Western fans found the game so fascinating (and funny). The PC edition corrected some of the more obvious mistakes.
    • While not exceptionally mangled, the phrase "This guy are sick" was so hilariously out of place that it's become something of a shibboleth amongst Final Fantasy VII fans to identify the newcomers.
    • The Gold Saucer Arena also had an error in the punctuation of the quit option. When asked if you want to continue you get the aforementioned "Off course!" for yes and "No, way!" for no, with a misplaced comma.
    • Now that's a typo that will poque even your interest.
    • Look for something called 'Secret'!
    • One bewildering exchange has Cloud announce, "Hm. So that's how you fool them", and Aeris respond, "Hmmmm! So that's how you fooled them!" The original exchange was supposed to be more along the lines of: "Looks like I have to go in to the brothel to complete my disguise."/"Oh, so that's your excuse?", but Aeris' line was translated incorrectly, then accidentally duplicated and assigned to both characters, after which another localiser adjusted the lines to suit Cloud and Aeris's established speech patterns without fixing the problems.
    • The gag where Tifa becomes concerned that Barret's looking up her skirt is so garbled as to be lost entirely, instead giving the impression that she suddenly freaks out about the height (???) for no reason.
    • There's a few (although only a few) moments where unnatural construction gives the dialogue a sort of poetry. One example is when Sephiroth attempts to explain that Jenova is a shapeshifter, instead phrasing it as "The power to change one's looks, voice and words; that is the power of Jenova."
    • The German version went one step further and didn't translate a few lines of text at all. This leads to Yuffie starting a sentence in German, changing to English mid-sentence, and then switching back to German.
    • The French version didn't want to be left out, so aside from generally being full of grammatical mistakes, typos, and just plain awkward sentence structure and choices of words, some sentences are repeated for no reason; or, at the other end of the spectrum, just stop halfway through. Like the German version, it also included a few lines left untranslated from the English version.
    • The Spanish version fares no better, having typos where Cloud is a she (ella) and Aeris a he (él); and a scene when Cloud is going to join the "party" upstairs—"party" as in a group—translated into Spanish as "fiesta".
  • Final Fantasy I gives us "I, Garland, will knock you all down!" which was kept for the GBA rerelease. The line did not, however, make it into the Playstation version, Final Fantasy Origins. Origins came first, which means the line was removed, then put back in for the GBA version. The line even made it into the PSP 20th anniversary edition, too!
  • Secret of the Stars has a laughably bad translation possibly caused by little faith in the game's success in the United States or Tecmo simply not caring. This gave us such lines as "SCATT THE DOG-PILL," "CHAINMALE," AND "WHAT? YOU'RE SO ANYTHING! GO TO THE CIRCUS NOW!"
  • Persona received a remake in the PSP which overhauls the dialogues. One line from the original remains. Guess which one. Mark danced crazy!
  • Feudalism, a flash browser game which the first installment is plagued with misspellings and typos. One of the typos was Soul Braker. This was quite hilarious that it was not 'repaired' (probably intentional) on the second game.
  • MapleStory:
    • The game used to be filled with these in the US port of the game as occasional lines of dialog contained obvious Engrish and other translation errors, with occasional lines not translated from the original Korean at all. As of the Big Bang patch, much of this has been fixed.
      • The ads that were run around the time of the US version's launch lampshaded this, stating that the game was now available "in broken English."
    • Horned Mushrooms used to be called Horny Mushrooms.
  • A Vietnamese bootleg translation of Pokémon Crystal made famous in a Let's Play by DeliciousCinnamon on YouTube. Among other things: Professor Oak claiming that everyone call him [sic] "ELF MONSTER", the player character's mother preparing "VOLCANO BAKEMEAT", "put in" being translated as "fuck", nonsensical Pokémon names such as "OUD"note  and "LAP"note , Silver's dialogue making absolutely no sense, and a Pidgey saying "LITTLE STRAWBERRY ME BABY" if you talk to it.
    • That particular Pidgey is named Strawberry, so the "LITTLE STRAWBERRY" part makes sense.
    • Another Let's Play of the game by another user, Blame Truth, has created its own memes. Notably, BAJI BAJI, PRIZEnote , and IRON BARnote .

    Shoot Em Up 
  • R-Type: "The Byde Empire was annihilated to never scare people again."
    • The sequel also has "The Bydo empire whice was attempting to expand its territory over this wide galaxy collapsed here" and "Many planets were invaded by the evil empire and turned into Death Stars..."
  • The PAL Sega Mega Drive version of Zero Wing. "All your base are belong to us."
  • While the English localization of the first Castle Shikigami game was just plain bad, the second and third games tilt more toward the So Bad, It's Good scale, if still somewhat incomprehensible.
    • "Oh, you're into THAT."
    • "I like girls. But now... it's about justice."
  • The English Dreamcast version of Bangai-O. There are popular rumors that suggest that the English script is either an intentional Homage done by the localization company to poor translations of the golden era of video gaming, or that Treasure had sent a preliminary translation of the script that said localizers liked so much that they left it as is in the game. Regardless of that, fans wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Beating Gradius III for the SNES on the hidden "Arcade" difficulty setting would end the credits with the baffling message "I'M GIVE UP YOUR APPELLATION'S TECHNICAL MONKEY". This may mean "You've won. Your ranking is: Cheater".
  • The Data East shooter Bloody Wolf (more precisely, the European arcade version retitled Battle Rangers) has such gems as: "YOU! INVADERS! GET YOU THE HOT BULLETS OF SHOTGUN TO DIE!"
  • Aero Fighters: "I never thought I'd be frying" over a jungle.
  • Armed Police Batrider brings us wonderful song titles such as "Choice Or Die" (menus), "Let Ass Kick Together !" (ground boss), and "Chop U!" (air boss).
  • The instruction manual for Thunder Force VI shows a prototype continue screen: "DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE? PLEASE SELECT YOUR MIND." (The second sentence was changed to "PLEASE SELECT YES OR NO" in the final release.)
  • DoDonPachi: "How dare you penetrate my territory ? You have robbed everything I possessed. You knoe,what you've done to me is just unforgivable. I'll punish you myself and see to it that you die a miserable death with my awesome weapon. Die,maggotts."
  • Blazing Star: "You fail it! Your skill is not enough, see you next time, bye-bye!" This was the Trope Namer for Epic Fail.
  • Touhou: "Girls do their best now and are preparing. Please watch warmly until it is ready."
  • CAVE games have long had a legal warning on them which ended in the sentence "Violator and subject to severe penalties and will be prosecutedt to the full extent of the jam." When Mushihime-sama received a Steam port, it was reworded into more proper English... but they left the word "jam" in.

    Simulation Game 
  • The various Harvest Moon games are known for their somewhat lovably bad translations, which run the quality gamut from "Actually not bad" to "lol wut." Most famously, in Harvest Moon 64, Natsume misspelled their own name on the title screen (sort of).
    • Probably one of the most well-known is "Confirm the origin of fire!", which was in several games.
  • Start screens have always been a bit of a challenge for Natsume: Harvest Moon 64 welcomed players to "Push the START".

    Stealth Based Game 
  • The NES port of Metal Gear. "The truck have started to move!" "I feel asleep!" "Contact missing our Grey Fox"
    • The European localization of the MSX original was even worse. "Penetrate the enemy's Outer Heaven and destoroy the ultimate weapon Metal Gear." "Mision! Gain access to the enemy's fortress, Outer Heaven." And cigarettes are Cigals, and landmines are L-Mains.
    • Snake's Revenge, the NES sequel to Metal Gear, featured such a dubious writing quality despite being allegedly produced with the American market in mind with such cleverly written lines of dialogue such as "here are three graves for you!" or "that room is filled with gas". One of the most infamous examples is a segment where Snake gets in contact with a captured ally who is actually an enemy spy in disguise. The spy attempts to misdirect the player with such obviously deceptive advice such as "there is no trap in that car" or "there are no enemies in that room.

    Survival Horror 

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Professor Daravon was famous for such lines as "This was the darkened items won't appear."
    • "I got a good feeling" would occasionally pop up in tavern mission reviews. (And was sadly cut with said missions in the PSP remake.) Like the Spoony Bard reference above, another such Shout-Out is given to this line in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 referenced a similar interjection from tavern mission reviews: "This is the way!" To the uninitiated, both "I got a good feeling!" and "This is the way!" are random exclamations that party members issue while the mission leader is trying to recap the events of the mission to the player. Fittingly, "This is the way!" is the name of the document in FFTA2 that tells you about the implementation of a similar mechanic in that game.
    • "Surrender, or die in obscurity!", which the PSP version retranslated as "Lay down your swords or die clutching them! None shall mourn your passing."
    • The entire translation of Tactics gave memorably awesome lines, sadly removed in War of the Lions, like Delita's "Don't blame me. Blame yourself or God."
    • The prologue sets the stage (and the sort of translation you're in for) by explaining that the kingdom is having some trouble with rebels plotting rebellion because they have l i t t l e m o n e y. (To clarify, in the opening prologue, the text moves along at an automatic pace. However when it gets to the words "little money" it slows down a lot. Allegedly this was the translators angling for a pay raise.)
  • An interesting Fan Translation example occurred with the fifth Fire Emblem game. Most of the FE community relies on a fan who goes by "Firelizard" for translations, which are actually of surprisingly good quality. While working on Thracia 776, Firelizard hit a snag and asked a message board for help, asking if anyone knew a more... elegant way to say "Purple Dragon Mountain". Everyone was too amused and the name stuck. The same translation also has "Murder Hollace", both the name of a chapter and a concept that gets brought up in dialogue. Firelizard claimed it's a real medieval term for a strategy where you lock both yourselves and the enemy in a room and fight to the death, but no-one has been able to confirm whether that's true or not, and it's likely just a Gratuitous English "Muder Holes". It's become so iconic to the Fan Translation though that no-one wants to change it.
  • Thunder Maiden Arycelle Dania in Tactics Ogre, in the original version was supposed to be called 'Alocer' based on the Ars Goetia Theme Naming. However, when the PSX version is out, her name becomes Aloser. But since she remained a Game Breaker despite such name, it was considered a charm on its own.
    • Speaking of Tactics Ogre, the PSX version also contained a boatload of profanity, using everything short of the f-bomb. Vice was particularly foul-mouthed for a "good" guy, one of the first things he says is to call the hero's sister (and also his childhood friend) Kachua a "bitch" and saying "shit" practically every other sentence. Such language, though, did contribute to the game's dark and cynical setting, and the worst of the swearing was largely limited to characters who were established to have short tempers and violent tendencies. The PSP remake of the game eliminated almost all the cursing in favor of a more sophisticated manner of getting their anger across, to some fans' disappointment.

    Visual Novels 
  • At one point in Ever17, you have the dialogue choice of "Naturally I knows the hacker." (It's meant to be something like "Of course I know what hacking is.") The rest of the translation isn't too great either, but this one line became one of the most quoted phrases from the game.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, if you get the bad ending in the final case, you are treated with the line "The miracle never happen..." in the cutscene that follows.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Dragon Half, Dug Fin's ultimate weapon is a sword that was initially translated as the "Godslayer of Hit Points". When retranslated for a DVD release, this line was kept in the subtitled version (the dub contains the better translation, "Demon Sword Godslayer").
  • In Transformers Headmasters, Sixshot's title of ninja commander was infamously translated as 'ninja consultant' in the English dub. This became so well known that it even found its way into the subtitles. Another beloved mistranslation resulted in a bad guy gloating that "Fortress Maximus has come himself." (By which we mean "Fortress Maximus has arrived.")
  • The mysterious "Armblast" from the English dub of Kiddy Grade was originally named "Armbrust" - German for "crossbow" (which also better fits the theme for the rest of the characters' names). The "correct" translation would be "Arbalest." (It's a word for a large crossbow. Here. Incidentally, Armbrust (and Armbruster) are perfectly legitimate German last names in real life.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: EVERY SINGLE MISSILE HIT THE TARGET!! Game, Set, and Match.
  • Code Geass: "You know full well what this badass mother can do!"
  • Inverted in the English dub of Excel Saga. One episode features Excel going to America. The original dialog contains poorly used English, while the dub contains poorly used Spanish and ghetto slang. However, the original audio of people's reactions to Excel popping out of a sewer is left the same. ("JEEEEEEEE-SUS!")
    • Yo yo homies! Feliz Navidad. Me llamo Excel. You're my bitches!
  • In the second season of Black Lagoon, Revy goes to Japan, where she doesn't speak the language (even though her character has been speaking it throughout both seasons) because she's American born. Even though the grammar and word choice is good, her diction and pronunciation is so far off it's impossible to believe she's ever been around a native speaker. Balalaika speaks similarly throughout the story arc, but she has the excuse of being native born Russian — and while Revy's attempts to sound tough in English come across...cute...Balalaika actually manages the intended menace.
  • Quattro's "Oh dear mother of God...!" during her very priceless Oh Crap! moment during Episode 25 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.
  • When Mobile Suit Gundam SEED originally aired fansubbers went a very different route with some of the name translations, for instance they translated Yzak Joule and Rau Le Creuset as Issac Joule and Raul Cruz respectively.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED was quite a gold mind of Spell My Name with an "S", both because many of the characters' names were completely fictional and had no real-world language equivalent (when official spellings for the names were revealed, some people found them so outlandish they refused to use them for a while; big offenders included Fllay and Cagalli), and because it was such a popular show it had close to a dozen different fansub groups working on it, and each of these groups used different spellings for the names. When the series was still new in 2002/2003, one memorable topic that cropped up on the Animesuki forums was called "Battle of the Names", where people more or less voted on which fansub spellings they liked the best. One poster's hilarious response to spelling Le Creuset's name went as follows: "We should just call this guy 'Cruise', like Tom Cruise."
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: "CANADA is greatest country."
  • The Puella Magi Madoka Magica English dub has Sayaka's "You're mine, Madoka! Mine, mine, mine!" and Hitomi's "Girls can't love girls! Girls can't love girls! Girls can't love girls!", both of which are in accidental Les Yay moments between Madoka and Sayaka. The lines are a lot more unnatural-sounding and repetitive than the originals, but the scenes are supposed to be awkward and silly, so it works...a little too well.
  • The "Duwang" fansub of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure draws inspiration from the infamous early scanlation of Part 4, featuring broken grammar, the lyrics to The Beatles' "Get Back" for Part 1's opening, silly names like "Joey Jojo" for Jonathan Joestar and "Jack in the Box" for Jack the Ripper, and "ABAJ" as a frequently used interjection.

  • The 1993 Yuen Woo-ping version of Iron Monkey both played this trope straight in the VHS dub, and subverted with the 2001 theatrical release of a subtitled version which was much more serious and dramatic. The earlier dub included all the overexaggerated Hong Kong-style fighting foley effects and such gems of dialogue like:
    • "You're so ugly, no wonder you're still a virgin!" to a homely female adversary.
    • "You! You're the monk who rebelled against the religion of Shaolin and destroyed the temple by burning it!" "They deserved it! And I won. So don't preach to me, it's your dead colleagues who are sorry now!"
    • "Fight poison with poison! What a brilliant doctor!"
    • "Wonder Palm!"
  • The title of Bicycle Thieves was translated as The Bicycle Thief in some countries. Many consider this a better title than the original since it doesn't reveal the fact that there are two thieves.
  • Backstroke of the West would be an excellent example. "Do Not Want!" indeed.

  • The phrasebook The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English (also known as English As She Is Spoke) is famous for its mangled English phrases.
    • The mangled phrase "To Craunch a marmoset" is especially great.
  • Karl Marx wrote poetry when he was young. One of his poems was "The Fiddler" or "The Player". It may be dark, but it's not funny. Meanwhile someone wrote a religious tract alleging Marx was a Satanist, in which a bit from the poem was "translated":
    The hellish vapors rise and fill the brain,
    Till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed.
    See this sword?
    The Prince of Darkness sold it to me.
  • An in-universe example from Discworld: there's a mountain that was named in the classic "point at it and ask the locals what it's called in your own language" method, which ultimately led to its current name of Yourfingeryoufool.
  • There's a non-fiction book by Isaac Asimov that in the Spanish translation has black holes as ventanas negras (black windows).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Rude Awakening, Dave said he had to chase Christian Slater down the street. This was translated to Hebrew as "A Christian slate-layer".

  • Hot Limit, AKA "We Drink Ritalin". An Italo-Engrish Eurobeat cover of a J-Rock song. "Yo say! Summer love will stimulate my heart tonight. Mysterious mermaid, barefoot all alone. Wishing, revealing. It's the fruit I want to eat. Precious love is always eating UP MY HEART!"
    • To make things even better, not only are the lyric nonsense to begin with, but the band that sings the song is Italian and quite obviously can't speak English. This lead to the fantastic We Drink Ritalin.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Spanish fans of Space Hulk often quoted the rule "Si Fire no Move", since it was translated that way into supposed Spanish.
  • Another infamous bad Spanish translation: the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons translator didn't know "xbow" was short for "crossbow" and translated it as "Arco X" (Bow X)
  • And yet another Spanish translator (early RPG translations in Spain were made cheap by using non professional fans). In the old Star Wars RPG by GDW, this translator slipped and translated "target" as "tarjeta" (meaning "card"). "Locking on your card" was a dogfight move.
  • A early Dungeons & Dragons translation into German allegedly translated "torch" as "Taschenlampe". That does indeed mean "torch", as in the glowing thing powered by batteries.
    • Another one from the same translation: "box leaves" (as in, leaves from the plant - Buchsbaumblätter) was translated as "a box of leaves" ("Kiste Blätter")

    Web Comics 

    Real Life 
  • Some find cheap translations from Chinese products to be entertaining. There have been bands named after them (look up Glonous Cultual).
  • Instructions for Tounge of Frog. (Always remember: never throw out the other person's head.)
  • Mahir Cagri and his lovable homepage "I Kiss You". He's like the Web 1.0 Turkish Borat...or he was, before the domain name expired.
  • The UK company Lush created a bubble bar (solid bubblebath) that was sent over to Japan, under the name Frosty Glitter. Once it had been translated to Japanese and then back, the product came back under the name Flosty Gritter. It's Good Bad Translation because the people at Lush loved it- and kept the name.
  • is full of good bad translations from signs, product packaging and clothing around the world, mostly in Southeast Asia and especially in Japan.
  • YouTube's closed captioning system can create good bad transcriptions, so long as you find videos that have the "CC" button on them first.
    • On at least one occasion, this has gone back to affect a work's canon: In the second episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, one of the scenes centers around the interactions between the main characters and a distressed sea serpent. One of the lines of dialogue addressed to him, "Your fabulous manicure," was somehow transcribed as "Steven Magnet," and proved so popular that it became the serpent's Fan Nickname. This later rose to the status of Ascended Fanon in the merchandise and tie-in media.
    • On Arglefumph's Stay Tuned for Danger walkthrough, "Let's talk to Lillian because we can." apparently gets translated to "Let's talk to William because we can.
    • Some Gag Dubs have been created based on these. For example, Lutheran Satire remade their video "St. Patrick's Bad Analogies" as "St. Patrick's Bad Closed Captioning" based on captions that rendered the original's "bad Irish accents and Trinitarian jargon" into near-Word Salad.
  • According to legend, when Jacques Cartier was exploring the New World, he asked a group of Huron-Iroquois where they lived. "Kanata" is the Huron word for village or settlement, so they said they lived in their village. He assumed that "Kanata" was their name for the land, and so the land was identified on maps thereafter as Canada.
  • There is a myth that, when James Cook was exploring Australia, he came across a strange, jumping animal with huge feet and a large tail. Upon describing it to a native and asking what it was, he supposedly received the answer "Kangaroo". Assuming that was the name of the animal, he dutifully recorded it in his survey report, not knowing that it was native-speak for "I can't understand you." Unfortunately, this myth was debunked recently by a linguist researching that native language.
  • One popular theory for why the white rhinoceros of Africa is called "white" is that Dutch settlers called the rhino "wijd", the Dutch word for "wide" in reference to the rhino's lips. English settlers are said to have gotten "wijd" confused with "white" and the name stuck.
  • "Tax haven" in French should be translated as "refuge fiscal". Instead it was translated as "paradis fiscal", which is the translation of "tax heaven". But the erroneous translation is actually just as appropriate as the correct one, if not more.
    • The same is true in spanish, which is "Paraíso Fiscal". If they just did the same mistake as the french, they actually translated direct from french, or the other way around, is anyone's guess.
  • According to some, the English word "alligator" came from the Spanish "el lagarto" which actually translates to "the lizard". The Spanish word for alligator is caimán.
    • Polish word for camel is 'wielbłąd', probably a corruption of... elephant. So what's the Polish word for elephant? 'Słoń', which is probably derived from 'slan', Turkish word for... tiger.