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Translation Train Wreck

"I can use my present, mine of I to own instincts like you?"

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    Proper English Version 
"My gift, can I use my own instincts as you?"

Sometimes translations are bad. And sometimes they pass bad at warp speed and crash headlong into the wall around the galaxy.

As seen on this page, when a translation goes from odd word choices and stilted grammar that is still somewhat parseable into the realm of pure gibberish, you have a Translation Train Wreck. This is especially common in bootleg translations, where the "localization team" has little budget, less incentive, and may not even speak the language they're translating to. In the case of little or no knowledge of the target language, they may guess as to the meaning and structure of what they need or use a direct machine translation.

This often results in a Good Bad Translation, although these tend to apply more to generally okay translations with a few funny mistranslations.

A Sister Trope of "Blind Idiot" Translation. Often caused by Recursive Translation. May also include Translate the Loanwords Too.

Compare Gag Sub, a conscious choice usually made in fansubs and the subtitled counterpart of a Gag Dub.

Compare My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels, Either World Domination or Something about Bananas and Intentional Engrish for Funny, where a fictional character manages to botch a language beyond all recognition. Also see Word Salad Humor.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Milking in Ambulance (Anime & Manga) 
  • At least one official Chinese translation of a manga often comes out very soon after the Japanese version. There are more people bilingual in Chinese and English than Japanese and English; fan translators who actually know Japanese are much more common now than they used to be, but quick and dirty translations from Chinese used to be quite ubiquitous. Even if the English ends up making sense and being grammatically correct, the fact that these translations have to make up English names based on Chinese transliterations of Japanese kanji or katakana practically guarantees several examples of Spell My Name with an S (this is, in fact, the explanation for "Duwang" in the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure example below—the name of said town is actually Morio).
    • There are cases when this happens the other way around. Certain manga has the English scanlation appear earlier than the Chinese version, and some Chinese translation group make their translation directly from English version. Since the differences between Japanese to English and English to Chinese are both very big, this is worse than it sounds.
  • A Chinese bootleg of Grappler Baki had this, although sometimes it bordered on Good Bad Translation. For example, "endorphins"(the pain-numbing hormones produced by the body during stressful situations or exercise) is translated as "brain coffee".
  • The One Piece HK subs, which contained such infamous lines as "I smelted the edge .. on the goog", "he dive like a crazy beef", "the cord's from your bingy", "shit of cockchafer?!", and "what shall we do? we can't break through the Hymen this way". Screenshots here.
  • There is a particularly bad Chinese bootleg sub of Mobile Suit Gundam. The subtitlers had no idea what was going on, and seemed to have thrown in subtitles from an office drama. However, the subtitles, completely inappropriate as they were, still synched to the voices. The best example of this was Garma Zarbi plunging to his death at the helm of a burning bomber, shouting out "Merry Christmas!"
    • Gundam has more than its fair share of hilarious subs. An HK sub of Zeta Gundam refers to minor character Katz as "Gryps" every time he appears. The problem here? Gryps is a place (and obviously one whose name sounds nothing at all like "Katz").
  • A Taiwanese bootleg of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society included a line that's become a bit of a meme in itself: "Even electronic brain pancake crystal elderly."
    • Speaking of that series, "Are you aware of the Frequent Occurrences of Mass Naked Child Events within the country?" The fact that that particular fansub group blatantly violated a cease-and-desist order blacklisted them in most of the community, but the controversy would have been much more severe if people didn't already know they sucked.
  • A HK subbed Mazinger movie set had a few amusing lines, like "Shirt this guy!", and the renaming of "Duke Fleed" to "Docashelado".
    • In the TV series, we're treated to such gems as "Dr. Hill" and his crabstick, and Baron Ashura appropriately renamed to "Intersex."
    • A fansub of one of the movies sees Kouji admonishing his brother Shiro with the words "Shilon, don't be a slapdash", and Baron Ashura responds to Mazinger with "Fuck you, madcap!"
  • A rather hilarious fandub of Ranma ˝. Mostly it's a case of "Blind Idiot" Translation, but there are multiple episodes where "Finagle" (Finagle's Law?) is literally every fourth word, and times where "Please leave me be, I want to be alone" is translated as "Don't poke it".
  • The Hong Kong subs of Yu-Gi-Oh! are usually just a "Blind Idiot" Translation, but they venture into this territory at times. There are a few screenshots with subs on this page. Perhaps the best example is this priceless line from episode 64:
    Yugi: "Marik had mentioned about silent puppy... Where is him?"
    • The HK subtitles are full of flubs and blunders, but translating "Heart of the Underdog" as "Dignity of the Retarded" is probably the worst.
  • The HK subbed Scrapped Princess had many memorable translation train wrecks, none as more so as the actual title to the series: "Trashed Cat Princess".
  • The OVA for Psychic Force has a fan-sub that is not remotely useful as a translation. Not even characters' names are correct or even consistent.
  • For Code Geass R2 episode 5, a group called WeWin released fansubs. They were a Translation Train Wreck that spawned such gems as calling Suzaku "my lord Jesus" and "This is Area 11 IN A BUN!" More from this release can be seen here.
    • At least one fansub had Suzaku declaring that he "will now proceed to pleasure myself with this fish".
  • For several years, the only fan translation (known as the "Duwang scans") for the fourth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was nigh-unreadable, both for being scattershot in quality and for horrible copy-editing. TMBNE Scans finally put out a much-improved one, but kept several of the more infamous lines from the Duwang scans.
    • Another scanlation for the fifth part is noted as a mix between this and Macekre, altering the characterization of much of the cast in the process. There's something to say about how bad the Duwang scans are when these are considered better.
    • A number of fans who suffered through these versions of the stories actually made a Gag Sub of the 2012 anime adaptation, deliberately invoking this trope to allow for a deliberately So Bad, It's Good version of the show that utilized Intentional Engrish for Funny. Unlike the other two examples, the fandom loves this.
  • There is a bootleg version of the second Pokémon movie movie that, among its many bizarre phrases, consistently translated the word "Pokémon" as "magical sonnies". The Sixth movie received a similarly hilarious bootleg, where Pokémon became "Supernatural Magic Baby".
  • There was a HK Sub of the last 2 Future GPX Cyber Formula OVAs in which it has such infamous lines like "Winds of Sand", "Rise and move out", and the subs even managed to rename some of the character's names. For example, the subs renamed Bleed Kaga (whose actual first name is Jotaro) "Gelly."
  • The notoriously bad Gravitation bootleg featured gems such as "You are being the son of the bitch".
  • The Omni Productions dubs of the early Transformers anime shows need to be mentioned owing to this notorious line: "Fortress Maximus has come himself."
  • The Chinese bootleg of Triton of the Sea translates octopi as "Big wacky fish" and sharks as "rabbitfish".
  • This translation of the last battle of YuYu Hakusho between Yusuke Urameshi and Yomi has odd sayings like "It's empty in the brain Feel so good" and "The two people appeared in the same time". Oh, and Yomi's name translated is "Work hard".
    • It wasn't just the final battle that was translated poorly. That clip from the Yusuke/Yomi final battle is from a twelve disc bootleg version. All twelve discs are translated in that fashion.
  • When Dragon Ball Kai first aired, the first fansubs released were noticeably bad. It had gems like Vegeta referring to the scouter as "drug", or telling Frieza that he will "not stop till you okay". Bulma also seems to like using "That Thing" as a swear word.
  • Fortunately it eventually got an official English release, but for a time only the HK dvds were available for Star Ocean EX. They're an interesting case, as there appears to be two translators. Some episodes are very high quality, and even seem to have knowledge of the game's English translation. But the majority of them are this trope in spades, barely even being comprehensible in some places.
  • The Gag Fansubs for Musashi Gundoh don't even pretend to make sense, sometimes even just taking taking the original Japanese and making Mondegreens out of it (e.g. "hime" being regularly translated as "He-Man".)
  • Professional Example: The official British blu-ray release of Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, which is notoriously filled with quotations from wide variety of famous and obscure sources ended up being a complete train wreck, where the translator inexplicably thought that Batou making an anecdote about Decartes treating a doll like a human being was talking about himself, not an 18th century French philosopher, among many other oddities that make the subtitles almost Dadaistic in their random absurdity.
    • The subtitles made by Dreamworks for the original American release were more accurate, but due to containing typos, some grammatical errors, and cues for the deaf, they came off as this to fans used to the far better work done by Manga on Stand Alone Complex.
  • Professional Example: Toei Animation has this habit of producing English subtitles for some of their shows in-house, not proofreading them or having a native speaker check them over, and then requiring licensors to use them. It happened most infamously with ADV Films' abortive uncut release of Sailor Moon and Viz's release of the Prince of Tennis anime.
  • The official subtitles for the first six episodes of Lupin III (Red Jacket) seem to have lacked a QC editor. Several lines, especially in the second episode (the one where they steal cash from the Maracana Stadium), look like they could have come from Hong Kong. Fortunately, all subsequent episodes are fine.
  • One box set for Chobits did very well for all but the last few episodes, which go into Word Salad, probably because they were using their own translation instead of a fansub (evidence of the fansub group's logo shows up in a few places they forgot to remove it). It gets particularly hilarious when they go into the recap episodes and we see Hideki being labeled as a "metamorph" instead of a "pervert".
  • One version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in Japanese actually got rid of its first, stunningly incompetent English subtitler, and brought in a new, even more incompetent one halfway through. Both Kadaj and Denzel immediately change their names to "Cardan" and "Texar" and stay that way for the rest of the movie.

    Fun Falconing (Films) 
  • A Chinese bootleg of "Bad Boys 2" has a lot of random "Damn"s scattered around, an instance of "Do Not Want", "I love your father", and many more hilarious butcheries of the original dialogue that don't belong in any sense of the movie.
  • There is a bootleg copy of Revenge of the Sith with subtitles that skip bizarre and start off in the Twilight Zone. The dogfight dialogue appears to be about prostitution, a stolen piano, and a bath tub. It gets worse.
    • In another bootleg of the same movie, pictured here, at least two instances of "no" were inexplicably rendered as "do not want", which is now a long-established meme. In fact, the original name of this article was "Do Not Want."
      • In all Sinic languages there're no straight word for the Big "NO!"; they only have a negator that is used as an adverb. Since this is Hong Kong, let's use Cantonese as an example: the negator in this case is n̏g, but since it's an adverb, it has to be used with a verb, which is, in this case, "hóu" (to get, to need, to want). As a result, a Recursive Translation of the Big "NO!" would make into "Do Not Want."
      • Interestingly, the most common, context-free "no" statement in Mandarin would literally translate as "not yes".
      • "R2, do you is fucking" was another line from the bootleg which reached similar levels of infamy.
    • Said bootleg also included such gems as "Allah Gold, you can not sit in Presbyterian Church" when referring to Anakin and the Jedi Council, and had the full title of Star War: The Third Gathers: Backstroke Of The West.
      • The defining characteristic of Presbyterian churches is that each church is controlled by a council of elders, or presbyters. Jedi Elder Council -> Religious Council of Elders -> Presbyterian Church
    • Somehow, Obi Wan's line "Don't try it!" became "Is!", and the Sith became "The West". Similarly, "Darth Vader" was translated as "Reaching the west of Reaches".
      • The Sith are additionally called as "bigs" according the senator. (Backed up by Obi Wan saying "...we are for 'the big'.") "The West" refer to their ambitions as "becoming strong and big". Also, the "The West" can be killed by...their land, which apparently lets them go to bed.
    • Funnily enough, Yoda's lines sound like things he actually would say.
    • A few examples of the most spectacular nonsense lines:
    Anakin: Giving first aid, the already dishevelled hair projection. (Well, someone needs to get Anakin a comb and some shampoo....)
    Fighter pilot: He is in my behind! (the actual line was "They're all over me")
    Obi-Wan: Like, reach the man, good good good let us counterattacking.
    Count Dooku: You are a sacrifice article that I cut up rough now.
    Battle droid: Superior, they have escaped a day after the fair. ("General, we have found the Jedi.")
    General Grievous: (responding) I should really feeds you all dog. ("Activate the ray shields")
    Palpatine: They are just a flock of to fish for fame its person.
    Obi-Wan: Disabled person must solve. ("Only a Sith deals in absolutes")
    Obi-Wan: I was old. ("Always on the move...")
    Obi-Wan: This is what who fuck! ("Who could have done this?")
    Anakin: Ratio Tile, the wish power are together with you. ("Obi-Wan, may the Force be with you.")
    • "I have the high ground!" became "The geography that I stands compares you superior!"
    • "You are already at full cock now."
    • Obi-Wan and Anakin keep referring inexplicably to the "elephant", who apparently is good.
      • For the truly curious: "good elephant" (好象)is a homonym of the Chinese characters for "seems like" (好像). This is just one example of why word-for-word translation is an epically bad idea.
    • Someone created a hybrid version of "Backstroke of the West" and A New Hope, resulting in a version where C-3PO is extremely foul-mouthed, Darth Vader is a neurotic who can't handle his duties, Grand Moff Tarkin and Chief Bast are lovers, as are Luke and Obi-Wan (although the latter seems afraid of commitment), and both Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt are doing business dealings with the Presbyterian Church.
    • And then there's a dubbed version.
    • Darth Plagueis becomes "reaching the man cloth space", who could use the "original dint" to create life. He became more and more strong and big, until he lost his power and died. After teaching all skills whole only to [his] disciple, cloth space's land killed him to let him going to bed. Also, "Mr. Speaker" or "the D" (Palpatine) is both the speaker and prime minister of the senate, as well as the governor of the city of Coruscant (which is redundant) and a west. The Presbyterian Church seems to be behind the hopeless situation warriors (which are renamed heroes ground later on for no apparent reason) but they may or may not be using them to usurp the D. The D later goes on to form "The Empire of the First Choice." Evidently, the D gets the choice.
    • In a minor quibble, everything from a starfighter to a giant space battleship is referred to as an airship. Even the Escape Pod, which becomes the "first aid airship."
  • Somehow in the Indonesian subbed version of Live Free or Die Hard, there are always references to the non-existent soya-bean cakes. This is caused by the words 'know' and 'tofu' being a homonym (tahu) in Indonesian.
  • Several bootlegged versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, again made famous through screenshots posted on the Internet — for instance, these taken from The Two Towers.
    • The bootleg sub creates a Hilarious in Hindsight moment when Sam asks Frodo "Why so serious?"
    • "Bring your pussy face to my ass!"
    • The bootleg subs for The Fellowship of the Ring are a little more coherent, but still contain plenty of errors. Most bafflingly, any mention of Isildur's name is erased, resulting in Sauron supposedly being killed by another guy who also happened to be called Sauron, and the person who failed to throw the One Ring into Mount Doom being variously said to be either Elrond or Legolas at various points in the film.
  • The Hobbit managed to get its own rather interesting translation. One bootleg of The Desolation of Smaug managed to somehow make it that, rather than promising Azog Thorin's head, Sauron promises (to give) him head.
  • A bootleg of Van Helsing translated "It's carnivorous... about 360 pounds, 8 and a half to 9 feet tall..." as "It has 360 feet. Go to carnival."
    • "How long has it been? Two, four hundred years?" was rendered as "How long has it been since we fled Hambling Hills?"
  • Parodied on the Special Edition DVD release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which has subtitle options in several languages, in addition to the fake-Swedish "mřřse" subtitles during the opening credits (which cannot be turned off, as it would ruin the gag). One set of subtitles is labelled "Subtitles For People Who Don't Like The Film" and consists entirely of lines from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2. It's occasionally thematically related to what happens on-screen... sort of.
  • There is a Shrek bootleg that had subtitles that look like the movie had been run through William Shakespeare, in the writing style, anyway. And it was brilliant. As an example, the mentioned bootleg refers to Lord Farquad as "Lord Fire Squad" in almost every instance.
  • There's a bootleg of the first Spider-Man movie that's full of horrible subtitles, but the most inexplicable was when Osborn's line "Forty thousand years of evolution and we've barely even tapped the vastness of human potential" was translated simply as the word "Change."
    • Speaking of Spider-Man, there's also this bootleg of Spider-Man 3 with such characters as Peter Pa Gram and Admire Rui. "You is really a papaya," indeed.
      • And he seems to want someone to take Zhao somewhere...
      • And the cheering crowd saying "How do you do."
      • "You are personal residue." "At once fuck off."
      • "You of the clothes hurriedly take off."
      • And of course, "Peter wants to kill us."
  • This subtitle script of Home Alone 4. It seems almost Shakespearian.
  • A bootleg copy of the musical Chicago had rather odd subtitles, such as "I will be a loaf" and "Some guys just can't hold their ass in it".
  • In a Japanese edition of Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki (otherwise known in the West as Yo-Yo Girl Cop) the English subtitles seem to have been generated by attempting to translate the individual words directly into English, including the names. The seemingly meaningless phrase "of temple" keeps recurring in the dialogue — as a translation of Asamiya, the heroine's family name.
  • One bootleg of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom contained subtitling errors that, while pretty minor compared to other examples on this list, are still pretty amusing. For instance, the vase the Indy finds at the start of the film is referred to as being from "Mong's Dynasty," Short Round became "Shoot Ground" and the Kali-worshipping Thuggees became the "Sacky Cult," who we are told made human sacrifices in the name of "Colly."
  • Screenshots from a Japanese bootleg of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Or, should we say, Harry Potter and Zahafuburaddopurinsu. The name "Hedwig" is always translated as "Angry Inch".
    • And an equally hilarious Chinese bootleg of Goblet of Fire, featuring such oddly named characters as Khalifa, 61516, and Lunduidu Sha MA Maxim. And this one of Order of the Phoenix, likely from the same people. Both translate Azkaban as "marriage". Al Bundy would approve. The Phoenix one manages to translate "I" as either "France" or "the French" and "it" as "hypothermia", resulting in the line "Hypothermia should be fun."
    • The Prisoner of Azkaban ended up with a perfectly accurate subtitle script... for the Dolph Lundgren movie Detention.
    • Screenshots from a bootleg version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets have popped up. In addition to butchering everyone's names horribly, the bootleg inexplicably renders the word "Muggle" as "Melon" and "Petrified" as "Stoned". Lord Voldemort's name is also turned into "Fodi," which would be bad enough by itself, but leads to an absolutely jaw-dropping moment later in the film when the phrase "I AM LORD VOLDEMORT" is written on-screen in huge letters, with a small caption reading "I am Fodi" underneath it. Clearly some translators don't know when to give up.
  • In a Chinese bootleg of the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children are on a raft whilst leeches are approaching. However, the Chinese subs have them screaming "The Lychee Trees are coming!"
  • A Chinese bootleg DVD of Ip Man 2 is flooded with subtitle errors, some of which are ridiculously bad. A few notable ones include calling Ip Man "Leaf Question" (The characters are "葉問" and do translate literally as such), and another scene where the subbers apparently just stopped caring and substituted "fubu fu" for another line. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
  • A Chinese bootleg of The Princess and the Frog, while not too bad compared to others, had difficulties with the accents of various characters - Ray's 'Y'all from Shreveport?' was subtitled as '1, 2, 3, 4'.
  • A simple search of dialog online turned up a copy of X2: X-Men United made much more introspective by adding the subtitles to Amélie.
  • Back before Avengers came out on DVD, there was a bootlegged copy floating around with wonderful gems such as Loki being renamed "Rocky" and the Tesseract being called a Rubix Cube. A favorite, however, is this one:
    Loki: Tell me what you need.
    Hawkeye: I need bait... and eyeliner.
  • When Bollywood movies are given English subtitles, there often seems to be a tendency for the translators to write the subtitles in excessively formal English. Thus, the characters onscreen will be cool, casual young people who seem to be talking in the most formal way possible, when in fact they are actually talking casually. The relaxed, casualness of many characters' dialogue apparently gets lost in translation very often.
  • The English subtitles of the South Korean Slasher Film Record give us gems like "You are nothing but a Hell kite!" and "Everybody die not long time".
  • The same translator(s) responsible for Backstroke of the West got their hands on another two films in the summer of 2005:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Smith had Jane Smith variously renamed as either "Chien" or "Jean." It also changed the codeword Jane uses with a contact (just before meeting John for the first time) to the rather more amusing "Do you fuck here?"
    • War of the Worlds had a grinning Tom Cruise tell his son early in the film, "Play baseball with me, otherwise I will kill you." Cruise also reacted to his daughter's abduction by screaming "Not, not, not want!"
  • The captioner for District 9 got a little confused by the Afrikaans words dropped into mostly-English dialog. When Wikus sees a prawn gnawing on a tire and yells "Voetsek!" ("Scram!"), the caption reads "Food sack!".

    Limbness on the Darkness (Literature) 
  • Pedro Carolino's English As She Is Spoke. For those who have never heard of it, it's a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that was written by someone who did not speak English, using a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook and a French-to-English dictionary. The result, needless to say, is quite unintelligible, and hilarious to English speakers.
    • Actually, it's a bit funnier than that even. Not only did he translate from Portuguese to English by way of French, while not knowing English; he apparently had an extremely limited knowledge of French, as well.
  • Similar to the above is the book How to Correctly English in Hundred Days, from the Correctly English Society of Singapore.
  • There is a book for sale on Amazon entitled How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?. The only intelligible English in it is the stunned responses from the author's equally word-blender Usenet posts.

    Long-Gasping Afrongs (Live-Action TV) 
  • This rather hilarious collection of screencaps from a Stargate Atlantis bootleg. "Defendoofs"!
  • An infamous one in the tokusatsu fandom is the Hong Kong subs of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger The Movie: Full Blast Action, which rendered a villainess' "Scorpion Whip" attack as "Scorpion Penis". The phrase instantly became a minor meme within the fandom.
    • On this subject, the HK subs for Hurricaneger vs. Gaoranger translated the name of Gao Red's Gao Mane Buster as "Gao Main Bastard". It's become a joking insult in the fandom.
    • An HK sub of Kamen Rider Black RX has the villains searching for "the strongest queer guy" and the eponymous Rider referred to as "Black Superman."
    • And nearly a decade later, we had Coolguy!
    • Really, when it comes to tokusatsu, and especially Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, HK subs can always be counted on to provide enough laughs and Drinking Games to last for years.
  • One of the episodes of the 1994 season of Catch Phrase when it airs on Challenge airs with a subtitle track taken from another episode. As you can imagine, none of the answers match up, as well as the subtitles being horribly out of place with the actual dialogue
  • An in-universe example of this occurred in the Christmas 2010 episode of Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock and Chips, "Five Gold Rings". Freddie Robdal told Joanie Trotter a French phrase roughly meaning "I am enjoying this food" while driving her home. Joanie then repeats this at the Trotters' dinner, and while it remains vaguely recognisable, she totally butchers the grammar and syntax of the phrase. The young Del Boy overhears this and thinks he'll impress his new girlfriend's parents by telling them the phrase, but mangles it even more and instead ends up telling them about how he enjoys a certain sexual position.
  • The Japanese automotive video magazine Best Motoring was released in Hong Kong around 1999-2000, with butchered English subtitles.

    Mars Riding Cocks (Merchandise) 
  • If you know where to look, you can buy 150 Yu-Gi-Oh! CCG cards, including rare ones, for around $1.50. Unfortunately, the Winged Dragon of Ra might read "Magic Dragon with Wings [Legend beast junta] Fairy is sing. Powerful strength is charging the world that means all the life, ghost so much as skeleton." And let's not forget "Black cows magician" instead of "Magician of Black Chaos".

    Malnutrition Longing (Music) 
  • The Engrish Eurobeat cover of TM Revolution's Hot Limit (We Drink Ritalin). As with most English-language covers of J-Pop.
    • Although to be fair Eurobeat songs rarely makes sense, even when they are originally in English.
  • The Japanese vinyl of the single "Stranger In a Strange Land" by Iron Maiden has hilarious translation errors on the lyric sheet, especially the rap part of "The Sherriff of Huddersfield".

    Vark Long New Sex (Video Games) 
  • Keitai Denjuu Telefang was only ever released in English as a pair of bootleg games known as Pokémon Diamond (not to be confused with the authentic Pokémon game called Pokémon Diamond released alongside Pokémon Pearl) and Pokémon Jade. The translation leaves quite a bit to be desired. For just two examples:
    • One character, apropos of nothing, shouts out "It must be sedge!" in the midst of a dialogue due to the translator confusing sugei (awesome) with suge (sedge).
    • A character originally known as "T-Fanger" is translated into "T-Mildew"; the translator apparently having mistaken "fanger" for "fungus".
    • There is evidence that Telefang was first bootlegged from Japanese to Chinese first, then from Chinese to English, which accounts for the horrid translation.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics skirts on this trope, especially in the tutorials: "Select the Job command that bundles up the Action Ability by the Job in the unit's sub-command". It also introduces creatures named "Cuar" (coeurl) and a dance named "Wiznaibus" (with knives).
    • Dragons attacking with "Fire Bracelet" deserve a mention.
    • "I didn't think the God made holy stones but... more evil... well... Lucavi made them to land in this world." Sorry, what?
  • "No DRG for party, camp spot site with 30 dmg, but is it for 20 like 30 dmg when you no hit be it for dd, for 30 dmg instead? or half is 10 for 20 dmg?" This question was asked on an English Final Fantasy XI forum by a presumably Japanese poster, years ago. It has since taken on a life of its own, with recurring parodies and even short movies around the catch-phrase. (DRG is the abbreviation of the Dragoon job, but the rest makes no sense.)
  • Someone once bought a supposedly undub version of Final Fantasy X on ebay, but ended up with a So Bad, It's Good bootleg version. Some examples:
    I think Walter is a good egg.
    I am happy that Walter wants to arouse me.
    Oh no. How can we be so free at the very time? hey!
    Oh, at last we know nothing.
    Hey grandpa, are you a chick?
    You are a romping guy.
    I, Simon Chubby am here as an individual.
  • This LP of a bootleg version of Pokemon Crystal Version.
  • This translation of Pokemon Green
    Aochider: It's our first meeting! Welcome to the world of pocket monster! My name is Aochider I was called. Dr PET was loved and esteemed by us all!

    Mother: Oh yes!...Boys should go out to travel whenever he likes! H'm! It is said in TV! Dr. Aochider living in next door came to call you!
  • A Youtuber known as 'Kevinhend' is posting a co-commentary Let's Play along with another Youtuber known as 'Catydoll409' on a badly translated pirated version of Pokemon Sapphire (Nicknamed Pokemon Crapphire). Watch it here.
    • "My name is Odd! People call me Dr. Monster!" "Poke monster is mon!"
    • "Pi dog drilled out!"
    • "Yes! Mon Ball!"
    • There's also a bootleg translation of Pokemon Emerald with similar lines, also done in a Pokemon Marathon by Extralives, along with various other bootleg translations.
  • Pokémon Quartz was written by a teenage Spanish otaku in Gratuitous English, which he didn't speak fluently, with parts in Gratuitous Japanese, which he didn't speak at all. To top it off, the bulk of his jokes are either mocking cliches, things that are taken for granted in Spain but unknown to English-speaking audiences, or just plain offensive.
  • A Taiwanese unlicensed developer known as Vast Fame made some surprisingly good, if obscure, bootleg games for Game Boy. Unfortunately, though their programming may have been good, their English proficiency left much to be desired, as is evident in the following:
    • Digimon Sapphire (GBC)
      • "Want to do not be this imbecile to can't harm you also to is stayed come down."
      • "I and Chiar is from small grow up together of greengage bamboo hobby horse!"
    • Pokemon Ruby (GBC):
      • "However become a basic term that grow the teacher, Is to acquire incumbent grow the approbation of the teacher"
      • "My Simuda reachsed to enjoy your this type of person most. However light meeting top the hero is nothing doing!" (said by Simuda)
    • Digimon Ruby (GBA):
      • "Live in the human and digimon of this place to support mutually, each other it have no power, did war, to us, the figures world probably to is we many the year make track forto look for of fantasy paradise!"
      • "What select inside of child I regardless!! Do you have method let me can return the original world??"
  • Advance Guardian Heroes is wrought with odd and overly literal translations. The opening, in particular, will make absolutely no sense to anyone who hadn't played the original.
  • Pathologic has a notoriously bad Russian to English translation, but the one for the game itself doesn't rise to the level of this trope. It can be confusing and bizarrely worded, but you can make out enough to play and at least somewhat follow the story; moreso for the Bachelor than the other two, but you still won't be utterly lost. The one for the manual on the other hand... well, the first paragraph is :
    According to the world statistics quantity of population on the planet comes to 6 bln. It witnesses of an extreme density of population and as a result of natural resources shortage. At critical point there turn on natural mechanism of population limitation. Natural cataclysms and outrages of new, unknown before diseases prove the said above.
    • It doesn't get any better from there.
  • "How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us." Zero Wing was revived from obscurity by its incredibly Engrishy intro cutscene (which can be seen on the game's page), creating some persistent gaming catchphrases and still benefiting form the Watch It for the Meme effect. For Great Justice!
  • Pump It Up NX Absolute's World Max mode. For example:
    Select the biggest Velocity at last and Do Not step the Misses more than 10.
  • Go buy a Shoddy Knockoff Product. Check the manual. Either this or "Blind Idiot" Translation is guaranteed.
    • Stuart Ashen reviewed a particularly hilarious and incomprehensible LCD handheld called "Retieval Mankind's Batman."
      • He also mentions something called Chanticleer Hegemony, which actually has him burst out in giggles upon finding it on the back of a knockoff handheld games console. God only knows what it was trying to say in the first place, but apparently it was a variation of the game known as Street Overlord...with chickens. Logically, the designers were trying to join the idea of a game about fighting chickens with the name of Street Overlord, and got Chanticleer (the name of a famous rooster) Hegemony (a concept of leadership or dominance, tangentially related to the concept of control, much like the word "overlord"). Doubles as a Word Salad Title.
  • The Ace Attorney eroge doujin game Phoenix Drive is more famous for its bad translation than its erotic content in Western countries:
    Oh snap!!! I do not hear such a truth!?
    I will beat a rod till...a tank empties.
  • The Spanish localization of Final Fantasy VII seems to have been done by people who had never seen a Spanish word in their lives before, using Babelfish. It includes awkward cut-and-paste translations from English ("partido" for "party" instead of the correct word, "equipo"), stupid censoring (Tifa owns a "storage room" instead of a pub), brain-melting statements ("Flowers don't grow in Midgar, but, for some reason, flowers do"), grammar errors a 5-year-old wouldn't make (such as simultaneously referring to Aeris as a boy AND a girl- "eres una nińo muy especial") and plain They Just Didn't Care spelling errors ("menç" instead of "menú"). And no, it's not a fan translation, it's the one Sony officially sold in Spain. Screenshots can be seen here.
  • SNK's Arcade Game Athena had a flyer with both Japanese and English text. The one complicated sentence was garbled into English as: "Knock down Cat's paw of Monarch Dante with weapons appearing one after another."
  • The Civilization V expansion Gods and Kings apparently suffered an unusual case of a train wreck translation. The leaders in the game generally speak in their native language or a modern day relative. The leader Attila of the Huns is supposed to speak the Chuvash language (one theory being that it's the nearest extant relative of Hunnic) but whoever did the translation into Chuvash clearly didn't speak the language fluently which resulted in nonsensical grammar. This is exasperated by the fact that the voice actor seems to be even more unfamiliar with the language, using very odd pacing and pronunciation. The fact he was supposed to be speaking Chuvash wasn't even obvious to Chuvash speakers and it took a bit of time for them to decipher the intended meaning behind his speech.

    Cowboys Moving Hardcore (Western Animation) 

    Top Is Table Doing Sex (Tabletop Games) 
  • Warhammer 40,000's official material often features exceptionally badly translated or declined Latin. This possibly moves into being a Justified Trope, as the various forms of the Imperial Language ("Gothic") may not actually be Latin ("High Gothic"), English ("Low Gothic") and Old English ("Proto-Gothic"), this is simply how Studio materials "render them". Certainly, in the game world, Low Gothic is essentially a linguistic splodge of real life languages, principally Spanish, English, Hindi, and Mandarin, and "Proto-Gothic" is simply a different form of Gothic to the one that is in widespread use where the story is set (ten thousand years worth of background includes linguistic shifts, after all). It is ambiguous whether or not High Gothic is supposed to be Latin, however, and the Imperium still apparently uses the Latin alphabet.

    Ordinal Fabrication (Other) 
  • The sketch 'A Wicked Deception' by blamsocietyfilms makes fun of this to hilarious effect.
  • The comic strip Bloom County had an arc based on an in-universe example. Oliver Wendell Jones hacked into Pravda's computers to change the front page headline to "Gorbachev urges disarmament: Global! Unilateral!" Since Oliver is less than fluent in Russian, what the headline ends up saying is "Gorbachev sings tractors: Turnip! Buttocks!"
  • Sinfest has a Scandinavian fan site of Monique. What exactly they had to say about her remained on the other side of the web-translator.
  • One Jewish joke has a man trying to translate the Hebrew sentence "Tisal katal imrati" (may my speech flow as the dew). He ends up with "It shall be swollen... like a mountain... my mother-in-law" and defends his translation with Insane Troll Logic.
  • "Fresh Prince: Google Translated | cdza Opus No. 16" by CollectiveCadenza is a single-take video which hilariously documents what happens when one runs the lyrics of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song through Google Translate 64 times.
  • Cooking with Babelfish by the humor website Cracked parodies Babelfish via this.

    Living Blood Real Long Time (Real Life) 
  • Ever used an online translator such as Babelfish to translate a web page or large block of text between two languages with very different grammatical structures, that also include slang or figures of speech? Yeah. Good luck dissecting the result, because while most of it may be accurate enough to make sense of with some effort, there will be many bits of complete and total gobbledegook that will leave you absolutely baffled.
    • For extra fun, try translating the same piece back and forth several times. A few iterations will usually be enough to reduce it to complete nonsense. There's a web site called Translation Party that does exactly this, via Japanese. It's quite hilarious.
    • Latin is very often one of the first languages to go horribly and irreparably wrong. It is very obvious to teachers if you have been using translation software on it. For example, the English sentence "I went home and I lay down on the couch to happily read poems, drink wine, and eat grapes," is properly translated into Latin as "Ivi ad domum et recumbi supra lecto ut laeta legem poemas, ut bibem vinum, et ut edem uvas." Google translate gives the Latin as "Domum meam pono toro feliciter legant et carmina vino et comede uvas." This in English comes out as "My house I place for couch luckily they lay and songs for wine and comedy grapes." The grammar isn't even remotely correct.
    • Frustrated fans of Japanese-only visual novels sometimes make use of automated tools to extract the text from the game and feed it into babelfish like translators. Good luck making any sense of the results.
  • The English word "Does", when used in a question ("Does this work?"), is translated into Hebrew as Ha'im. Another Hebrew word, Ha'em, is spelled exactly the same way and means "the mother". This once caused an international incident.
  • Fire extinguisher sign says "Hand Grenade".
  • Thanks to the United States' large Hispanic minority and membership in NAFTA, it is common to find Spanish translations of English text in products, government forms, signs, etc. However, the quality of the translations varies drastically. An example: the packaging for a set of name-brand computer speakers translates "Full range drivers for crisp and realistic sound reproduction" as "Conductores repletos avanzados de gama la patata frita y la reproducción sano práctica"— that is, "The range of vehicle drivers who are in the advanced state of being stuffed with food for potato chip and practical healthy reproduction". The gender for "healthy" is incorrect (it should be "sana").
  • Nobody's really sure if it was a troll or a spam bot or some poor sap with a bad translator, but a now famous post from the 4chan imageboard consisted of "LOL at the screenshot! Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?" The thread was instantly derailed.
    • People think he meant "Has anyone else really decided to go that far in wanting to be more like", or "Has any other company gone this far to make a game look realistic?"
  • Not a translation per se, but YouTube's over a year or two old added "Transcribe Audio" function currently only seems able to generate Transcription Train Wrecks, with some rare occasions of being correct.
    • The transcriber seems to think that everything and anything is related to American politics.
    • Raocow's Let's Play videos are wonderful examples. His commentary is already a surreal string of Breathless Non Sequitur with a hint of French-Canadian accent, but once the subtitles try to transcribe it, it's like you get two videos in one.
    • Turn on the transcribed captions on the video version of Quarter-Life: Halfway to Destruction, and the line "Bad guy from the game said" becomes "John McCain said". You laugh, you lose.
    • Thickly-accented, fast-talking, slightly lisping Irish comedian Dara O'Briain produces some interesting ones, too. His voice is understandable to any English speaker, but seems to confound speech recognition software.
    • James May: "This is the Ferrari 458 Italia" becomes "this is a lot of poets the ferrari four fourty-five exam".
    • Seeing Chris-Chan singing his "parody" of Girlfriend with the train wreck translation of the captions makes the video 10 times funnier.
    • Watching this video of someone getting a strike in Mario Party somehow got out "what really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really". In a part where there was no speaking whatsoever.
      • It's the sound of the shell sliding down the lane.
    • Similarly, an acapella cover of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, which really consists of "do do do" over and over again, results in "he hasn't been hispanic data tennis player bloom", "institution international terrorists all right thanks ralph" and "status tuesday national champions".
    • Transcribing episodes from the first season of MLP: FIM produced some oddities, leading a person to string them together in a vague sort of alternate plotline, showcased on a (now-defunct) blog called My Little Pony: the Armenian Democrat Conspiracy, involving bizarre marriage proposals and Pinkie Pie having connections in the Equestrian senate.
    • You'd think using transcribe audio would allow you to understand what The Ultimate Warrior says. Wrong.
    • There's a video that collates every single time the word "pony" is used in the first season of My Little Pony. Putting audio transcriptions on results in quite likely the best thing to ever come out of the show.
    • Scott Manley makes science and video game videos, but his scottish accent and frequent use of scientific terminology appear to represent a worst case scenario for the caption generator
    • When U.S. Acres cartoons in English were still on YouTube, the audio transcription transcribed one of the songs in Kiddie Korner's lines, "Where do you wander?" as a reference to The Little Mermaid, Temp Trouble having this line, which made it sound like Wade was asking Aloysius if he can have sex with him rather than questioning Aloysius' authority, and these three gems note  in "Wanted: Wade".
    • The transcriptions can even appear on videos that aren't in English, but they can either be translated from another language or be interpreted from the original language into English. For example, a copy of the first episode of Happiness Charge Pretty Cure which had subtitles available in English had Hime saying she doesn't want to go to Iraq, and a Norwegian episode of The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie with subtitles available in German had, when translated into English, Mumfie saying that he shoots animals so that they can be turned into magic polish.
    • The Gaming Garbage/Video Game Abomination Broadcasting/Interactive Gaming Television Online Video Entertainment reprise of "Let's Play: "Trelyate"!!!!": "Let's Play: "Trelyate" According to Youtube's Transcript"
  • A class in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was once given in English as "Assyrian sawmills in Nepal". The intention was "Prisms of Ashurbanipal". Why? Prism and Sawmill are spelled the same way in Hebrew, and the name of the king Ashurbanipal could, if you split it into two words (and why would you?), read "Ashur" (Assyria) "b-Nepal" (in Nepal).
  • The back of this DVD's description of Family Guy found in Vietnam (although it might have been made in China) hod olmost ovory word spolt with on "O" instood of corroct vowels like "A", "E", and "I". Also, here's a few gems from this:
    Lois,the dohing mother who xan't figuro out why bor boby ron Koops trying to kill hor.
    Chris,tho boofy 13-year-old who woufdn't hurt a piy,unloss if londed on his hot dog.stewio,unloss it londed on his hot dog.
    And Brion,the rorcanc dog with a wit as dry as mortinis ho drinks.
    • Or moybe if wos mode by Woll Smoth. Excopt thot Petor's ond stowie's eys ond moths are tho wrong soze.
    • Now with a dramatic reading. Even the guy reading it can't keep help but laugh at it.
  • Hanzi Smatter is a wonderful website tearing apart people who attempt their own translations into Asian languages, and then having the results tattooed onto them. At best, you have something tattooed on backwards. At worst, you find out that languages don't have a 1:1 mapping when the intended "hot ass" translated word for word is actually Chinese for "raging diarrhoea". Much lulz therein.


Either World Domination Or Something About BananasArtistic License - LinguisticsCanis Latinicus
Translate the Loanwords TooWord Salad IndexTranslator Buddy
Either World Domination or Something about BananasArtistic License - LinguisticsCanis Latinicus
Intentional Engrish for FunnyLanguage TropesBuffy Speak
'Blind Idiot" TranslationTranslation TropesBlunt Metaphors Trauma
Physical Scars, Psychological ScarsImageSource/Star WarsVillainy Discretion Shot
Tradesnark™Self-Demonstrating ArticleTranslation: Yes
That Makes Me Feel AngryBad Writing IndexUnintentionally Sympathetic
'Blind Idiot" TranslationIndex FailureBonus Feature Failure

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