The Polish Voiceover Translation of Dragon Ball Z definitely takes the cake here as being translated and voiced over from the French dub. For example, Piccolo is "Satan Littleheart" (Szatan Serduszko), Cell is "Protophyte" (Komórczak - it actually sounds less sophisticated in Polish) and Muten Roshi is "the Genius Turtle" (Genialny Żółw). We also have Kakarrot as either "Clown" or "Whale" (Kaszalot), Mr. Popo as Mr. Momo (understandable, as "Popo" means something mildly rude in Polish and French), and some really ingenious techniques. Big Bang Attack as "Mega Garlic Cannon" among others. Polish dub of Dragon Ball Super switched back to proper Japanese names, but occasionally the crew throw some nods to the French-Polish names, as a sign of acknowledgement of their memetic status. For example, when Beerus calls Krillin "Turillin" (Curly in the English dub), in the Polish version he calls him "Krilan", as he was called in the old DBZ overdub.
The manga translation has it better (Piccolo is called "Satan Piccolo" and Roshi is addressed either as "the Turtle Hermit" or "Divine Mastah").
Also note that while Piccolo and Roshi's names were present in the French version, Cell was just Cell.
Since the French dub had already used Satan as a name for Piccolo (based on his title being great demon king - daimao - and because it probably sounded more threatening than a musical instrument), they were in a bind when a character actually named Mr. Satan showed up; so they renamed him Hercule. (no 's' at the end in french) This name is also used in Funimation's edited English dub, most of the video games, and Viz Media's translation of the manga - In all cases, this causes several jokes to be Lost in Translation - the most notable being when Earth holds their hands up to the sky and start chanting "Satan!" over and over.
To be honest, he would've been the third character whose name derives from Satan, seeing how Ox King was called Satanirus for some reason.
Considering that his Japanese name (Gyuumao) means something like "Demon King of the Oxen," a name revolving around Satan makes some sense.
The name Kakarrot was problematic in every translation that used the French dubbing as a basis, as it never made it clear that this was Son Goku's real name. Its transliterations ranged from Cachalote ("Sperm whale") in the Portuguese dub to Kasalo (pronounced "Kásáló", meaning the nonsensical "One who does pulp") in the Hungarian dub, and Vegeta seemingly pulls the name out of nowhere, only to never use it again. In the Spanish dub, he's never called by that name in the anime, but in the movies, he's called "Karoto" in the first Broly movie (maybe because "Kaka" sounds too similar to "Caca", "poop") and "Kakalot" (keep in mind it's a proper romanization) in the rest. This indirectly also causes a problem when Vegetto shows up - since "Kakarotto" is never mentioned, not even once, outside of movies, Vegetto is named Vegeku instead.
"Master Roshi" is itself an English version. The character's name in Japanese is "Muten Rōshi", but "Rōshi" is actually his title (which means "eldery master"). "Master Roshi" is equivalent to saying "Master Master".
Though it can be argued that "Master Roshi" just sounds better than "Master Muten".
The Italian dub of Dragon Ball is just as bad. We get three 'Satans': "Al Satan" = The Ox-King, "Al Satan" (again, without any kind of logic)note Actually, after the introduction of this other "Al Satan", the former one was renamed with his Japanese name Jyuma = Piccolo Daimaō, and the well known and loved Mr. Satan. Muten Roshi is called the "Sea Turtle Genius" (Genio delle Tartarughe di mare). Tenshinhan becomes Tensing, Chaozu becomes Rif (???), Piccolo becomes Junior, and so on. And of course there are some horrible mistakes in the technique names translations - the worst of them all probably being the one which involves the Genki-dama and Kaioken. Basically, we get to see Goku training with Kaio-sama (in Italian "Kaio") and learning the Genki-dama ("Spherical Energy"). Then he goes back to Earth - and when he first uses the Kaioken against Nappa, someone arbitrarily decided that had to be the Genkidama, so they made him scream "Spherical Energy!". Which of course did not make any sense, and was later replaced by the proper Kaioken. The worst example of all, though, has to be Gohan's name - it's stated that Goku named him after his grandfather, but in the italian dub Goku's grandfather is named Son Gon.
To be honest, though, a huge part of the name confusion carried over from the original Dragon Ball dub. In detail: most of the names of characters introduced in Z keep their original name, and techniques either get a straight translated name into Italian ("Final Flash" becoming "Lampo Finale") or keep theirs (Big Bang Attack). On the other hand, characters and attacks that got changed in Dragon Ball kept the "adapted" names.
The Hungarian dub of Dragon Ball, which was also translated from the French one, had serious consistency issues regarding the name of the Kamehameha. It starts out as "Lifeforce Wave", occasionally becoming "Magical Beam", "Magical Power" and "Great Forces" (yes, in plural). When the character using it DOES shout Kamehameha, the -ha in the end is usually replaced with random shouting. And the worst is when two or more versions are used in the same episode. Also in the Hungarian dub, the Crane Hermit became the Raven Hermit, for no apparent reason. Although in Hungarian, the word for raven sounds more fitting to a villainous old man.
Add to this that the weird name changes (Young Satan, Genius Turtle, and the rest) also made it through. Dragon Ball GT was dubbed a decade later, this time from Japanese, but half of the characters still retained their crazy French names. Only minor corrections were made, like "renaming" Momo to the original Popo, calling Trunks by his full name (formerly, he was simply called Trunk), and they also got rid of the older dubs' habit of treating Son Goku as if it was a single word. The dialog even worked in some unchanged Japanese names (like Tsufuru instead of Tuffle), which resulted in even more inconsistency. That said, GT's dub also contained genuine translation hiccups. For instance, Kamehameha would often switch back to the older dubs' "Kamehame", and there was some weird inconsistency pertaining to all the "Kai" names — Is it Kibito Kai or Kibito? Kaishin or Kaioshin? Kaio-sama meanwhile retained the name "Kaito" from the old dubs. Further, there was one instance when the Super Star Warrior state (which is what both the old Z and newer GT dubs called Super Saiyan) was mistranslated as "Super Warrior Star".
The second recap of Captain Ginyu in Goku's body shouting "Body Change!" was left undubbed in the French version. When redubbed into Hungarian, the translators didn't know what to make of this indecipherable Japanese yell, so they had Goku in his own voice shout a random "Kamehame!". It seems that in Europe, Kamehame(ha) was the go-to attack name for everything every time a translator got confused.
The Spaniard dub, derived from French, also has a few issues. "Kamehameha" got translated as "Vital Wave" (Onda Vital) for most of the series, sometimes using other variations. The problem is that the term "Vital Wave" was used to replace the Kaio-Ken, Kikoho (Tri-Beam in English) in one or two ocassions, when they had their own translations. When the Latin American internet got notice of this blatant mistake (especially compared with the Mexican dub, which was based off the Japanese original and left most of the technique names untranslated), the outrage about that translation was so huge, it ended up cementing Spaniard dubs as the Butt-Monkey of Hispanic translations, regardless of actual quality, and the trope in Spanish actually ended up being known as "Vital Wave". Worse case scenario, some Latin Americans use the term as a anti-Spain slur, particularly on Twitter and YouTube. Some people defend the Spaniard dub to some degree, as the latter tends to get Mis-blamed for mistakes that are actually inherited from the French dub, but translating "Kamehameha" as "Vital Wave" is exclusive to the Spaniard dub.
The Danish dub of the series, while notable (and particularly awesome, you can tell that Søren Lampik, the translator read the manga) for being one of the only Anime dubbed into Danish, that is not based of a cut English dub, it has a bit of this as it's, like most of the European translations that aren't the German or Italian dub, based of the French version, witch already had its problems. For example, a lot of the beams are called "Kammehameha", like the Ki beam, Piccolo and Gohan uses, and sometimes a Galick Gun was called it, even though Vegeta clearly says "Gallick-stråle" (Gallick Beam) when he first uses it. There is also the Genki Dama. It changes name from "Genki Dama" to "Gendi Kama" when Goku returns to Earth. Speaking of Goku, the whole "Son" family is always called "Son" before their names, for example "Son-Goku", "Son-Gohan"
In the German translation of Dragonball the Kamehameha was first known as "Shockwave of the Old Ancestors". The syllables of the Kamehameha are extended so much in the original that the words "Schock(KA)welle(ME) der(HA) alten(ME) Ahnen(HA)" fit in quite nicely when the attack was used during fights. When it was merely referenced (and thus spoken much faster) it was usually abbreviated to "Schockwelle".
So needless to reiterate, the attack names in many of the French-derivative dubs were just plain screwed-up. Worth mentioning are instances when "Kamehameha" came out as "Kamehame Personality Wave" or "Kamehame *insert pity trashtalk here*", and pretty much every attack was named "Fist of the Sun" note known as Solar Flare in English translations at one point, be it a simple Kamehameha or a Kienzan. There were episodes which consistently attached the name to the Neo Tri-Beam attack, and the actual Fist of the Sun technique was renamed to "Sunbeam Beating" or something similar.
Another curiosity of a few French-based localizations: Freeza became Freezer. Okay, that's fair. But then, his father Cold, who has a meaningful ice-based name to begin with, is called Cord.
The French version had further troubles with Kaioken, Genki Dama and the various Super Saiyan stages. For example Kaioken changes to "Kaio, empower me!" after Goku returns to life, and when he first becomes a Super Saiyan, he again shouts the same thing, even though the two have nothing to do with each other, and Kaio (King Kai) definitely doesn't empower him. Afterwards, the translation settles on "Super Space Warrior", with the 2nd stage being called "Super Super Space Warrior" at first, and "Hyper Warrior" later. As for Genki Dama, its proper name isn't even mentioned until the end of the series (where it becomes Genki Ball), which prompts Goku to ask what a Genki Ball is, even though he's used it several times by then.
The English translation of Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest was rather odd. While the dub pronounced the Big Bad's name as Dr. Willow, the subtitled version calls him Dr. Wheelo. Neither are correct, since the character's name is play on "Uiro", which is a type of Japanese steamed cake from Nagoya. Dr. Uiro's henchmen are named after local Nagoya delicacies (i.e. Dr. Cochin, Kishime, Ebifurya, Misokattsun).
In the Viz Media translation of the manga, Vegeta's Signature Attack is "Gyarikku Hō" instead of "Galick Gun" - despite the fact that the name was supposed to be English in the first place.
The Italian dub of Pokémon is filled with translation problems.
For starters, name attacks were different from the game ones until Season 7: Vine Whip was translated as "Stretta con Liane" ("wrap with vines") instead of "Frustata", Water Gun was "Getto d'Acqua" ("Water Stream") rather than "Pistolacqua", Swift, called normally "Comete", got between "Attacco Rapido" (Which actually is the Italian name for Quick Attack, a completely different move), "Velocità" ("Speed") and twice was used "Millestelle" ("Thousand Stars").
Until Season 11, Pikachu's Thunderbolt was called "Superfulmine" rather than "Fulmine".
The first movie got different attack names, so Vine Whip changed into "Stretta con Tralci" ("Root Wrap"), Razor Leaf became "Lame Vegetali" ("Vegetal Blades") and not "Foglielama" and, for the best one, Hyper Beam became the overly-long "Attacco con l'Iperlaser" ("Hyperlaser Attack").
In the Italian versions of Pokémon Emerald and in the Anime Season 9, Brandon was named Baldo, yet in Season 12 is named Mariano. In the same way, Riley is translated as Marisio in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum and Fabiolo in Season 12.
And let's not talk about the pronunciations. Smoochum got to be called "Smoo-Chum", "Smo-Choom", "Smoo-Choom" and "Smah-Choom". Meowth was pronounced "Me-Oh" for a long time (and also called "Meo" in the credits), then in Season 12, he became "Meow".
This is an issue with the English dub, too. It obviously uses the (usually expertly done) name localizations from the games, but doesn't always understand why the game localized it the way it did, and what the pun is supposed to be, thus screwing up the pronunciation. Thus, the tiny rock Pokémon that resembles a bonsai tree in a flowerpot, named "Usohachi" (from "uso" (=fake) and "hachi" (=flowerpot)) in the original, got cleverly localized to "Bonsly" in the games (from "bonsai", "sly" and "lie") and the dub pronounces it "Bon-slee".
The pronunciation issue was made worse after the release of Pokédex 3D Pro, where Pokémon names are pronounced out loud, and those pronounciations became the official Italian ones, often replacing correct pronunciations with wrong ones. Good examples are Charmeleon, Muk and Wobbuffet: Until 2013, they were pronounced "Char-ME-lee-on", "Muck" and "WOB-bah-fett", now they're pronounced "Char-MAY-leon", "Mook" and "Wob-BOO-fett".
The Latin American Spanish dub of Pokémon since season 10. Though mistakes and inconsistencies were always made, they were usually ignored due to nostalgia and the generally good quality of the rest of the work. But then bad dub struck, and translation mistakes and inconsistencies became much more evident (so big we wouldn't encourage listing every single one of them) and many people were turned off by the series. The change of dub company for season 13 seemed to brighten up things a bit, although the translator is using Nintendo of Europe's names for cities and attacks making the new dub something really odd to watch (name conventions between Latin America and Spain are vastly different when it comes to this, since the Latin American dub translates directly from the English dub, and the Spanish dub translates according to the Spanish games from Europe).
In the Latin American version of 2.B.A. Master, "capture of all Pokémon" is mistranslated as "secuestro de un Pokémon" ("kidnapping of a Pokémon"), changing the context and making it sound much more sinister than intended.
The Brazilian dub of Pokémon translated String Shot as "Tiro de Estilingue", which means Sling Shot.
Somewhat justified because of who used said technique in the debuting episodes of the anime: Caterpie, whose antennae is shaped like a pink slingshot.
The English dub:
The Pokémon League championships are called conferences because of a mistranslation. Their Japanese name is ポケモンリーグの大会, which translates "Pokémon League Tournament". However, the last word, 大会, can also be translated as "conference", depending on the context. Given that the event is question is a tournament in which league participants battle each other, it's clear that "conference" not the intended meaning here. Unfortunately, the dubbers couldn't be bothered to apply some context, so they translated it as Pokémon League Conference, and never bothered correcting it in later seasons.
Similarly, ever wondered why such cartoony villains as Jessie and James have a heroic sounding motto? That's right, another mistranslation. The original Japanese version of the motto stated that Jessie and James pretend to be good but are actually lying villains. Yup, the dub's mangled translation resulted in the motto gaining the opposite context from the intended one.
Given their general behavior, the mistranslated motto is more accurate to their personalities.
While very good in most parts, the Polish translation had Sailor Venus' "crescent beam" spell translated into "peas and beans", probably because the translator mistook the word "bean" for "beam" and just ran with it.
"Sailor Saturn" was also mistakenly translated as "Sailor Satan" for two volumes (presumably because both words have an identical pronunciation (Satān) in Japanese).
In the Mixx/Tokyopop English translation of Sailor Stars series, Sērā Reddo Kurou was translated to Sailor Red Crow. It should have been Sailor Lead Crow, which would have made more sense since the enemies in that arc were named after a metal and an animal. Sailor Tin Nyanko became Sailor Teen or Sailor Tein, Ptilol became Petite Roll, and at one point, Haruka was referred to as 'Alex Haruka'.
In the MIXX magazine, Hotaru was called Jenny for all of one page in the Dream Arc, long after her name was known and manifested as Hotaru.
In the Kodansha English re-release of the manga, Jupiter's 'Sparkling Wide Pressure' is 'Spark Ring Wide Pressure' for Volume 3. Tokyopop had gotten it right, and Kodansha corrected it in future printings.
Also, no one can forget Kodansha's "I am Princess Beryl! Queen of the Dark Kingdom", where her line should've been "I am Queen Beryl! Mistress of the Dark Kingdom".
The DiC English dub of did this once, with an early episode in the first series that featured a tennis player that Naru referred to as "Onee-san". Usagi, being dense, acted offended that Naru had never told her she had an older sister. In Japan, it's not uncommon for younger children to refer to older people they look up to as a big brother or big sister, so the joke was relating to Usagi's cluelessness. However, the dub translated the line literally, even though the practice is completely unheard of in America and Serena's misunderstanding isn't a joke at all. Even odder was that the dub simply cut out every other instance of a character using "oneechan" or "oniisan" like this, so someone wasn't paying attention.
The Russian dub occasionally fell victim to this, mainly due to very obvious lack of any research on the translators' part. Probably one of the best examples: in a first season episode that featured a cat Youma, the cat in question was named (in the dub) "Red Hunter". Except his original name was supposed to be a pun on "Rhett Butler", not "Red Battler" (whatever the translators might have heard); apparently, the massive amount of Gone with the Wind jokes in this episode was missed by the dubbing team. The fact that the cat in question is light blue doesn't help at all (amusingly, Luna's comment about the name not fitting was left intact in the dub).
Also in Russian, Minako's warped proverbs and puns were more or less okay in early seasons, but the second translation group missed most of them. One episode in particular had a pun involving the Japanese words for "spider" and "clouds" (both pronounced "kumo"). In the Russian dub, the line is translated literally, and happens not to sound silly enough to justify the rest of the girls getting sweatdrops. (One more or less appropriate way to deal with the line could be constructing Minako's line in a way that utilizes two particular forms of the words in question that happen to rhyme - this would've explained the reaction.)
The Shitennou in the original are all named after minerals — Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite. The Russian translators apparently only recognized Nephrite, replacing his name with the Russian equivalent — but the rest of them retain their English names, breaking the Theme Naming. This trend continued from there, as most villains are just known by their original names — or, bizarrely, names from dubs in some other language. For example, Petz, Calaveras, Berthier and Koan became Petzite, Calaverite, Berthierite and Kermesite, which are literal English translations of the names of the minerals, and then they just pronounced the English names as is instead of at least further translating them into Russian. Never mind no kid would probably realize what they were supposed to mean.
A similar mistake was made with Amazon Trio (AFTER they switched the translators): Fisheye is okay, but Hawk's-Eye and Tiger's-Eye got their names literally translated in a way that completely disregards the mineral Theme Naming, despite there being proper Russian equivalents for the minerals in question.
When Sailor Venus introduces herself to the rest of the Senshi for the first time, one of the girls refers to her as "Sailor Five". While she is technically the fifth team member introduced, "Sailor Five" is likely a misinterpretation of "Sailor V" via Roman numerals, never mind she was constantly called Sailor V up until that scene.
Then there's the infamous SuperS dub, which appears to have been re-translated from the German RTL2 version, by people who have never seen the previous seasons even dubbed, let alone the original. It not only managed to be inconsistent, but sometimes got downright crazy, particularly in early episodes. For starters, Super Sailor Moon's response to getting the Kaleidomoon Scope for the first time was something along the lines of "A rope?.. What for?.."
Another case of a crazy translation happened in episode 144. Tuxedo Mask, whose speeches were always given a somewhat loose interpretation, ended his introduction by suddenly offering the listeners some "magic powder". Cue fandom jokes about what it could be and whether it could be the reason for such translation quality. Really fits it.
Yet another case was introduced in episode 165, when Nehellenia was explaining the powers of the Golden Crystal. During that sequence, the "energy of children's dreams" somehow became the "energy of the epitomizer". The last word at least sounds to be English but means absolutely nothing in Russian, and it isn't clear where it came from.
The Swedish dub gives the first four generals names that, spelling aside, are mostly similar to their origin word ("Jedyte", "Neflite" and "Zoysite"), then they turn around and name Kunzite "Kunta" (the four sisters in R became Petzite, Calver, Bertesite and Kermasite, so it seems they had figured out the theme naming by then, though "Calver" still doesn't entirely fit). It also exclusively referred to Sailor V as "Sailor Five" whenever her name was spoken out loud.
The Hungarian dub was likewise fond of terribly bizarre translations. Again, it was re-translated from the French version. One sentence became notably legendary among anime enthusiasts: in one of the episodes when Sailor Moon has just been saved by Tuxedo Mask, the dub has her reciprocating by angrily shouting "Go away, you filthy man!" While the animation, of course, still shows her being all happy. In fact, the translator has openly admitted that their French was far from good, so for the most part, the dubbing script was really just a bunch of guesswork based on the few words the translator understood.
The German version of Sailor Moon translated the attack "Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss" into "Macht des Lichts, sieg' und heile" ("Power of Light, win and heal!"). (German Wiki Article about the attack mentioning the sentence under the section "Beschwörungsformel": http://www.sailorwikimoon.de/de/Macht_des_Lichts ) The part "sieg' und heile" invokes some unfortunate implications due to similarities to the Nazi Salute.
While the Mexican dub of the show is regarded as one of the best 90s anime dubs of Latin America, it has some jarring mistakes, one of the most notorious was from Ami's introduction, in that episode, Ami notes that Luna's name is the same of the satellite, pretty smart in Japanese, completely obvious and unnecessary in Spanish, made more evident when Usagi praises her for being intelligent enough to realize it.
The Brazilian dub for the 2nd season is either this or a Translation Train Wreck, since it used the Mexican dub as the source. The Sailor Scouts are now referred to as the Sailor Moons, Moon Princess Halation got translated to ''By The Power of the Moon Princess's Tiara", note that the attack doesn't have anything to do with her tiara at all.
Transformers Armada and Transformers Energon were created on so rushed a schedule as to feature first-draft translations as finalized scripts, and even unfinished animation used for broadcast. Translation errors fly about freely, characters are regularly referred to with the wrong name, there are typos in the title cards, and a hugely disappointing proportion of dialogue, put simply, does not make sense. This is especially problematic in Energon, in which every single episode has plot points that are obscured by dialogue that apparently got most of the words but missed the point. Thankfully, their sequel series, Cybertron, received a competent localization, appropriately peppered with Woolseyisms and other cleverness that, y'know, made sense. Even so, in one episode Thundercracker famously referred to himself as Starscream and Crosswise was called by his working-name Smokescreen for a while. Although these were later corrected, most foreign dubs were produced based on the erroneous dialogue.
Energon's English translation also had characters talking where originally no one did and using drawn-out "uh"s to fill out the frankly sparse dialogue. The only advantage it had was having characters react to certain important events, like getting new bodies or color schemes, at all, where in Japanese they kept on like it was the most normal thing ever.
And then there's the Polishoverdub of Armada, which failed so badly that it is to this day considered the worst Polish translation of a Transformers series ever. Characters would often get new names that were so ridiculous it made you think whether the translators were doing it on purpose. Example: "Hot Shot" became "Piorunus", which, when translated back into English, becomes "Lightningus", which is just plain wrong— even more so when you realize that his character has nothing to do with lightning whatsoever. And to make it even worse, the translators were somehow able to make Armada's already nonsensical dialogue make even less sense at times, like saying Cyclonus is a planet. He's a Decepticon.
Then there's the Hungarian dub, which is equally abysmal, but there is no fan consensus over how bad it is compared to other Transformers localizations simply because TF media is so screwed over in Hungary that fans mostly stopped paying attention to them. While the translator himself is a very prolific and quite decent one, since he had to work with the error-filled English script, he fumbled up parts of the dialog even more in trying to make sense of it. But he has no excuse for the names he gave some of the characters. For example, Side Swipe became Sűrű, meaning "Dense" or "Thick", as in "thick forest". Not that he managed to keep track of his own names either: Sparkplug has been called everything from Grindor to Incinerator (and at one instance his name was out-right omitted from the dialog), the translator mistook Sideways for Side Swipe at one point, and some of the special combinations and weapons also changed names every other episode.
Similar to the confusion between Sideways and Side Swipe, the second Hungarian dubbing of Cybertron mixed up Thunderblast with Thundercracker in one episode.
Energon's second Hungarian dubbing at first made sure to call the characters by the names made popular in the translations of the old Marvel Comics series, rather than names used in the show's first dub. But as the series progressed, the names began alternating every other episode, leading to a confusing mess. Even in the 20 minute DVD Clip ShowOptimus Prime vs Megatron: The Ultimate Battle, containing newly dubbed clips from Energon and Cybertron, couldn't keep them straight: certain names would change within the same scene, while characters who have only ever been named in Energon would be erroneously referred to by Generation 1 names or completely new names.
Before Armada and Energon, Transformers suffered a particularly infamous instance of this trope. The So Bad, It's Good English Transformers: ★Headmasters dub changed dialogue so nonsensically that you got translations like "Fortress Maximus has come himself". There were also bizarre and completely pointless name changes, like renaming Blurr "Wally" and dubbing Spike as sparkle of all things. The whole dub has become a minor meme in the Transformers fandom and is often considered a good example of what can happen with incompetent dubbing elsewhere.
The French dub messed up and forgot that Jack, other than being a proper name, is also the face value for a card (which would be valet in French). This resulted in card names like the Knight of the King, the Knight of the Queen, and the Knight of Jack, whoever that Jack may be.
In the Polish dub Yugi's Millenium Puzzle was translated as "Milenijny Pasjans", where pasjans means solitaire. Sure, this is a show about cards, but, y'know
The cards' names suffered from grade-school level errors. For example "Man-eating Plant" became a "Plant-eating Man", while "Dark Magician" was renamed to "Cień Magii" (Shadow of Magic) for the most instances but occasionally was called by the name "Ciemny Mag" (a more acceptable translation) or other variants. Other cards shared a similar fate.
What's more perplexing, they somehow couldn't keep the names consistent not only within the series but even within a single episode. Take a look on an example. Yami during his duel with fake Kaiba summons Dark Magician and calls him "Cień Magii" (Shadow of Magic). Later, Yami casts Magical Hats on Dark Magician and calls him "Mroczny Magik" (which is closer to "Dark Magician" and might be the only case in the show when dubs use this name). When Real Kaiba watched the fight on his computer, it said Yugi used a combination of Magical Hats and... "Black Magic". They managed to use three different names for the same card in the same episode!
In the Swedish dub of Yu-Gi-Oh, they translated a line saying "I'm tired of your six decks." into "I'm tired of your sex decks.", as in Swedish language, the difference between 'sex games' ('sexlekar') and 'six decks' ('sex lekar') is a matter of a single space. Even worse, when this was subbed into English, it was subbed as "I'm tired of your sex games," because deck and game are both the same word.
The Brazilian dub of Yu-Gi-Oh was shared between two translators, informally known as "the good one" (that does most of the episodes) and "the bad one" (that did some episodes). For examples of the bad one:
In an early episode of the Duelist Kingdom arc, Tea and Tristan refer to Bakura as if he was a girl (they use the feminine article, calling him "A Bakura" instead of "O Bakura"), which makes things confusing when, in the Battle City arc, Bakura is properly refered as a male.
In one episode, the translator misheard "Great Moth" for "Great Mouth", and that giant moth thing was called "Great Mouth" (in Portuguese) for the rest of the episode.
In the movie, Queen's Knight was misheard for Queen's Night. Since the name makes no sense, the bad one changed it to "Queen of the Night", which unfortunately has some interesting connotations in Portuguese/Hispanic culture (namely, that it is a title often used by drag performers). The other two followed the pattern. It turned into Hilarious in Hindsight now that there is actually a card called "Number 87: Queen of the Night".
In a flashback, Marik calls Mai "meu caro", Portuguese for "my dear". The problem? "Meu caro" can be only used with men. In Mai's case it should be "minha cara".
In a later season there is a small joke with a "secret identity" of Yugi's grandpa called Apdnarg Otom, which backwards spell "Grandpa Moto". At the end of an episode, this is explained, but the translator apparently didn't catch the joke and transliterated it full, which makes no sense because "grandpa Moto" is "vovô Moto" in the dub.
The Latin American dub (itself based on the 4kids US dub) was alright, but in case of the duels it couldn't appear to choose between different translations, giving out different terms for the same thing ("campo santo" and "cementerio" for graveyard, "Dragón Blanco Ojiazul" and "Dragón Blanco de Ojos Azules" for Blue-Eyes White Dragon, "mazo", "pila" and "baraja" for deck, etc). It also couldn't choose between translating the monster's names from English or not. It could be excused by the fact that there were at least four dubbing studios for the series, but sometimes they wiggled between translations in the same episode, and worst of all, between scenes.
In the Danish dub of 5D's, "Satellite" is translated to "Satellitten", which is acceptable enough, though it should actually just be "Satellit". On occasions, though, they also translate "Yusei" into "Siger du?", leading one to think they misheard it as "You say?"
The Indonesian translation of the early manga is quite misleading during the part when the card games kick in. Some of it is purely wrong, often because of the difference in the word structure (such as Infinite Dismissal, which in Indonesia states "when your opponent say 'attack' instead of 'declaring attack'") and sometimes because card effects whose wording was hard to understand. The first opening's translation was very rough and it becomes very different when translated back to English. Finally, some lines were changed completely from what it's supposed to say, lke Anzu causing "global warming".
During Kaiba's duel with Zigfried, the German dub confused the word "invincible" with the similar word "invisible", so they mistranslated it to "unsichtbar" instead of "unbesiegbar". It made no sense in context.
The Italian translation of the manga is a complete mess. Between wrong romanizations (Bandith Keith became "Bandit Kierce", a name that doesn't exist anywhere, and also many names that were Gratuitous English in Japanese were romanized in the wrong way - such as "Dynausor" instead of "Dinosaur" or "Ribaiasan" instead of "Leviathan"), card names changing between chapters, the translator thinking that minds and souls are the same thing (every Gratuitous English usage of "Mind" had a footnote translating it as "Anima", which is Italian for "Soul"), Yen being replaced with Euros in two random, unrelated chapters while talking about Yen in every other chapter, and so on.
For a long period, the most common English fansub in the fandom was a Recursive Translation from Hong Kong, which resulted in some really silly lines.
The most infamous case was probably a card named "Bonkotsu no Ijii", which more or less translates to "Will of the Ordinary." The official translation was the fairly accurate "Heart of the Underdog." The Hong Kong sub? "Dignity of the Retarded." Which made it even funnier when Yugi started claiming the card reminded him of his best friend.
The Millennium Items are very inconsistently named, with the worst offender being the Millennium Rod, which goes by "Millennium Tinny Rod," "Millennium Tin Stick," and "Ancient Buddhist Stick" at various points. Kaiba is often renamed "Seahorse," and Blue-Eyes is sometimes labelled "Green-Eyed." Also, "shuffle" got translated as "wash," which is pretty silly when dealing with cards...
The grammar ranges from "not terrible" to "English as a third language" to "incomprehensible." Lines like "You can't defeat me" frequently become "you can't win me", for instance. Unsurprisingly, profanity is a lot more common, which led to the memorable line "This piece of shit can't win me!"
Some merchandise for A Place Further than the Universe describes it as "A story that leads to the Antorctico." Yep, that's "Antarctica" with two of the A's replaced with O's. The same English sentence is spelled correctly in the anime itself (although it should really say either "the Antarctic" or "Antarctica" without the "the"), so most likely a non-English-speaker hand-copied it from the opening animation and misread two of the letters (the font they used makes lowercase "a" and "o" look very similar).
Air Gear has the "Rez Boa" Dogs, a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo name based on Reservoir Dogs. The name is spelled in Japanese slightly different from how Reservoir Dogs is in Japanese. However, it should still be rendered "Res Voir Dogs".
As an aside, Rez (レズ) in Japanese, if a separate word, is an abbreviation of "lesbian".
English translations of Area 88 refer to the team of pilots who hunt down deserters as "Escape Killers". To an American, this looks like a mistake in romanizing of "Escaped Killer". Kaoru Shintani's actual intention may have been "Escapee Killer", which still sounds odd. This pronunciation has actually made it into at least one dub of the anime. The Viz/Eclipse adaptation of the manga dodged the issue by renaming them "The Enforcers".
There was an Ask Dr. Rin! subbing that had Tokiwa call himself a "Lovable Sex Maniac". Now, ostensibly true as that may be for character description purposes, understanding Japanese, I can definitely say that he was calling himself a "shikigami user" instead, which makes a lot more sense.
In Funimation's subtitles of the second opening of Attack on Titan, found here, the translators translate the Japanese, but not the German, leading to phrases such as "What sings is Sieg" (better translated as "We sing the song of victory") or "On my back, Flugel der freiheit" (that phrase is the German for the Japanese title of the song; "Wings of Freedom," so it makes even less sense why they didn't translate that.)
Then there's the subtitles on Manga UK's release of the same series, which seem to constantly straddle the line between this and Translation Train Wreck. Practically every other line is mistranslated, even the most basic things that one would assume couldn't possibly be misinterpreted, and these translations range from "Well they kinda got the nuances wrong" to "Holy shit that is not even close to what was being said do you even know Japanese translator." Just as a random example, the final line of the first opening theme is translated as "The blood red of twilight pierces through". A more accurate translations would be "The crimson bow and arrow pierces through the twilight". And this is one of the less glaring errors in their subtitles. One wonders why they even bothered making their own script rather than just using the subtitles from FUNimation.
And of course, we're ignoring the elephant in the room: that the Japanese title actually means "the advance of the titans," rather than the bizarre mistranslation we got that suggests that either only one titan is being attacked or maybe the setting is on one of Saturn's moons.
This is actually due to "Attack on Titan" being the subtitle◊ (in English already) for the first volume- originally put there to look cool rather than convey any information. The translators decided to pick it up instead of making a new translation for the title.
Which is understandable, since the most suitable-sounding translation ("March of the Titans") is already the name of a well-known (in Britain, at least), quite racist book.
Also note that "Shingeki no Kyojin" actually translates to "(the) Attack(ing) Titan" (could also be translated as the Charging Titan or Advancing Titan) note in the same vein as "Armored Titan" or "Colossal Titan", which is the name of a specific plot-important titan, namely the protagonist Eren's titan power. So translating it correctly would've been a major spoiler, since it's not actually mentioned in-series until chapter 88.
The manga scanlation effort for Baki the Grappler decided to heavily alter certain dialogues during the Prisoners Arc, for some reason, one notorious event is the time Baki and Kozue first try to make love and Yujiro interrupts them to give them a piece of his mind, the original Japanese dialogue has Yujiro gloating about how Baki and Kozue shouldnt be nervous about touching each other, that people should indulge themselves in sexual intercourse as much as possible, living for ones desires is the true way of life, the scanlation dialogue on the other hand changed all of that to Yujiro demanding Baki to make a child with Kozue as soon as possible, that Yujiro wanted a new heir since Baki till that point was not the potential fighting challenge Yujiro hoped for so a grandchild would be groomed for that goal. That introduced a completely new plot point that simply did not exist.
In an example that has nothing to do with dubbing, the first episode of Bartender includes a brief explanation of what the word "bartender" means. They explain that it is derived from the English words "bar" and "tender", meaning "a gentle perch".
Bleach has a nice, albeit subtle, example of what might be called "Spangrish." On the third OST, Chad gets a nice little theme song with the Spanish title "Domino del Chad." Direct English translation? Dominating of the Chad.
The English translation of the second part of Count Cain, titled Godchild, actually gets the title wrong. When, towards the end of the story, the significance of the title is finally explained, it's clear from the context that it ought to be translated as Grandchild. Elsewhere in the manga, the translation is quite poor, with odd decisions such as pocket watches being referred to in dialogue as "clocks".
An apparently bootleg copy of Cowboy Bebop managed to phonetically mistranslate a phrase that was already English - the drug "bloody eye" became "BLDI".
Fridge Brilliance: BLDI could quite reasonably be an acronym for the drug's scientific name, while "Bloody Eye" is a street name derived from the acronym.
The Swedish Dub of Cyborg 009 is filled to the brim with these, but sadly none of them are funny enough.
The Malaysian English-subbed bootlegs of the 2001 series have their own unintentionally-hilarious subs for some episodes and terminology. In the "Blue Beast" episode, the titular character has his named subbed as "Green Monster" (owing to the fact that some languages have the same word for "blue" and "green"), which makes it look more than a little awkward when you can see that he's clearly not green.
The same bootleg is responsible for the bizarre name mutations of "Ger Link"/"Jade" (Jet Link), "Furansowaazu" (Francoise), "Great Brirmin" (Great Britain), "George" (Joe), and "Peanma" (Pyunma). The Sphinx in "Computopia" is referred to as "Stevens", while Carl Eckermann became "Gaia Ekamann".
Always in the "Computopia" episode, at one point doctor Eckermann tells 003 about how his son was about her same age when he was struck by the illness that eventually killed him. The bootleg subtitles, however, renders his sentence as "Although he's about your age but he's got arthritis." Yes, seriously◊. Given how the Japanese kanji for the word for disease, byouma (病魔), are the exact same and have the same meaning in Chinese as well, one can only wonder at which point in the Recursive Translation it turned into "arthritis".
In D.Gray-Man, we see the tombstone of Allen Walker's adopted father and it has the following written on it: "It is evil that to the thing which, fortunately, there be that preferably it is buried here afriend and dose it and uncovers acorpse to the person when it is sraied, and cannot touch this stone, and move our bone."
Old example: Dangaioh's subtitles hilariously mistranslated "Psychic Wave" as "Sidekick Wave".
The English dub of Danganronpa: The Animation has a particularly bad example where, in the first episode, Makoto Naegi's younger sister Komaru calls him "little bro". What makes this espically puzzling is that the localization of the first game had been out for other a year at that point and the word used in the original Japanese means "elder brother", implying that Funimation not only didn't bother to consult readily available sources, but didn't even translate the original script and instead used the subtitle as the base. His mother also calls him "Naegi" instead of "Makoto" as she does in the original Japanese, and referring to another family member by their surname makes very little sense.
One of the title translations displayed in the second Death Note opening is in Russian: "Zapiska Smerti". While this is a literal translation of "death note" into Russian, it disregards the fact that "note" means "notebook". An accurate translation would be "Tetrad' Smerti", literally "notebook of death". The title itself is actually officially translated as "Tetrad' Smerti", but the opening read "Zapiska angela smerti" (Death angel's note).
Another example of the disregarding of the Japanese meaning of "note" would be the two Serbo-Croatian manga releases, which both translate the title as "Biljenica/Belenica Smrti". The title is, again, the literal translation of Death Note; the correct translation, taking into account that "note" is actually the Japanese clipping of the word "notebook" would be "Sveska/Svezak Smrti". The Serbian release by Darkwood (considered to be miles ahead of the previous Croatian release by Algoritam otherwise) also has a rather blatant blunder: it transcripts Light's name as "Raito", which is not incorrect per se (it is, afterall, how the Japanese pronounce it themselves), but this sadly causes the loss of some of the symbolism that was present.
There's a Japanese response word which means "Your question cannot be answered, because it depends on incorrect assumptions". That word is mu. It's what you might reply with if you can't answer either yes or no. At the very end of the series, the last three rules tell us about the afterlife in that setting: "All humans will, without exception, eventually die; After they die, the place they go is MU. (Nothingness); Once dead, they can never come back to life." The problem is that if you look at the Japanese rule for "the place they go is mu", and at the original text for the author's explanation that is translated as "death is nothingness", it's pretty clear that they're using this "your question is invalid" sense of "mu" — people don't go anywhere after they die, because there is nowhere for them to go! Yet thanks to the (perfectly understandable) wording of the translation, fandom is awash in people who think there's a world of nothingness called Mu where people are supposed to go after they die, or even that the shinigami realm is the afterlife. This is despite ample Word of God stating that the message of the whole story was that this life is all there is and death is final and forever.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, people who have acquired the official english VIZ Media licensed print have noticed some pretty bizarre translation mistakes then and there across the volumes, misspelt names and syntax errors are the most common but sometimes there are cases where a sentence somehow is translated to have the exact opposite meaning of what it originally had, like the obviously orphan and lone warrior Inosuke one time assuming Tanjiro (whos also an orphan) had parents and siblings to go back to, contrasting with himself who has lived alone his entire life in the mountains, the Viz translation somehow made Inosuke brag that he has parents and siblings, unlike Tanjiro.
The German Digimon dubs changed a few genders. Awkwardness ensued when Renamon became male in Digimon Tamers, considering her final form Sakuyamon is a miko with an obvious female figure, and in Digimon Adventure 02 Hawkmon (who remained male) somehow becomes a female when reverting to Poromon. It should be noted that the English dub has done this on occasion - Lopmon accidentally became female in Tamers, and the Camp Gay LordKnightmon intentionally became the female Crusadermon in Frontier - but those changes actually worked okay, especially Lopmon.
In the Toei version, which was seen on Hulu and Crunchyroll, as one example, some episodes of Adventure 02 used the Japanese "evolve" and the English "Digivolve" in the same episode. As of August 19, 2013, Toei has taken them down.
The Netflix version has it worse. Along with occasional typos such as "What it that?", this version would often get the names completely wrong. For example, it referred to Piccolomon as "Picklemon" for a very long time. In the episode where they finally got it right, Zudomon inexplicably became "Cannomon", even though they had called him Zudomon in previous episodes. Not only that, but Wizarmon was referred to either by its dub name, Wizardmon, or the completely wrong Withermon. Adventure 02 is consistent at least, but it consistently uses several dub terms ("Digivolve" instead of "evolve" and "DNA Digivolve" instead of "Jogress Evolve", for example).
The Italian dub of Xros Wars: The Young Hunters leaping through time gave Opossumon a male voice. Even when "he" evolves into the blatantly feminine Chohakkaimon.
The original Finnish translation of Digimon Adventure by Agapio Racing Team was just as bad as their dubbing. It appears that the translators had no idea about the context when translating the dialogue - whenever a word could be translated in two ways, they picked the wrong one. Especially hilarious when the word is dropping.
The Brazilian dub of Digimon Adventure, aside from being completely inconsistent, has one or two instances of plain weird phrasing. For example: in the second episode, Jou is lecturing the other children "A group of people form a party. Our party has 7 people...". The problem here is that the word used for "party" ("festa") doesn't mean "a group of people", but "festivity". Cue fandom joke.
The Brazilian subs of Dog Days in Crunchyroll suffer from a lot of English-Portuguese mistranslations. One blatant example is the name of the fourth episode, "Charge! Princess Recovery Battle!!", in which "charge" was interpreted as "[electrical] charging" instead of "attack!".
The title of Yama no Susume was localized to English as "Encouragement of Climb," an accurate literal translation but also a stilted-sounding grammatical mess that doesn't explain the concept very well. It leaves out that it's specifically about mountain climbing (the primary definition of "yama" is "mountain") and "susume(ru)" also means to move forward (literally or figuratively) or march, not just "encourage." The characters don't climb any cliffs; it'd be less confusing for the title to say something about mountain hiking, and camping.
The episode summaries on the back of the European releases of Eureka Seven seem to have been written by someone whose primary language is not English, or forgot to proofread them. The worst ones:
For episode 11, the summary is "Whilst suffer from headaches, the link between Eureka and the Nirvash seems to be weakening. In the meantime, the Gekko-Go prepares to meet the mysterious thing, the Coralian", which sounds awfully similar to what you'd get in an Internet translation engine.
In the case of episode 21 the second sentence reads "Meanwhile aboard the Gekko-Go, Talho tells the crew some shocking revelations, that will shock everyone."
The epilogue of the Eyeshield 21 anime. The best example is "Welcome to National Football League" Weird part is, it was said in a perfect accent, and the only time the accent messed up the lines was when it tried to pronounce "rookie". The R got in the way.
Fairy Tail: Job request pages whenever we see them on the Fairy Tail message board, which are all written in Babelfish-quality English.
Although not an example of English or bootleg subtitles, the choice of words in the Finnish subtitles of the anime Final Fantasy: Unlimited was quite off rather frequently. A good example is during a pretty serious fight, when a swordsman, according to the subtitles, yells something that roughly translates into 'Have a taste of this sword'. Unfortunately, the phrasing made the request sound completely literal. And yes, the subtitles were official.
Toei's official subs for the Fist of the North Star TV series have quite a few mistakes (the humongous monster-like fighter called "Devil Rebirth" becomes "Devil Rivers") and odd translation choices (every martial art style and technique mentioned in the series is given a translated name instead of keeping their proper original one, yet all honorifics are kept), but it's a passable translation otherwise (if overly basic).
The Discotek sub of The Movie, on the other hand, is just filled with instances where the translator did not double check his translation or simply didn't care. Hokuto Shinken is repeatedly misspelled as "Hokuto Kenshin" (even though the correct spelling is used as well) and many terms used throughout are mistranslated as well (e.g. "denshousha" is translated as "savior" instead of "successor", while "aniue", a formal word for "elder brother" that Jagi uses when he's sucking up to Raoh, becomes "master" instead). Most egregiously, there are several instances where a character is mentioning the names of their technique and the translator, not knowing what the characters were saying, simply replaced it with some made-up embellishment (i.e. Nanto Gokusatsu Ken or "South Star Hell Murder Fist" is translated as "Nanto cannot be harmed").
Discotek explained this as them being forced to use Toei's pre-made subs (not shocking, considering Toei has a history of doing that), and they did rerelease it with corrected subtitles in 2010.
The first French dub was infamous for the VAs not liking the series for its violent themes, deciding instead to make one filled with bad puns and self-aware dialogue.
Sentai's subtitle for episode 20 of From the New World, right at the beginning, translates "Aitsu da yo" ("It's them," or in context "It's the ogre") as "It's it." In addition to being grammatically bizarre, that phrase happens to be a brand of ice cream sandwich. The dub does a better job, translating it as "It's coming."
The dub of the Garzey's Wing features this. Likely the translator just translated it verbatim from Japanese and CPM didn't bother with a script editor. A review (with clips) is available here. Watch as Chris wrings his hands in stress and says "I must somehow make sense of our convoluted situation." in a dull monotone.
"You are so easygoing!"
"Show me the ancient Japanese man's spirit!"
"Oh my god! I felt like I was having a dream!!"
"He's just a human. Humans are just human."
"I was bruised all over my body because I had to fight naked."
"We are entering Gabujuju. Will the Ishubara affect the Dragorol?"
"DAMN YOU YAMATOTAKERUNOMIKOTOOOOO!!!"
A particularly amusing example comes in the official dub of Getter Robo Armageddon, where the dub could not decide on which giant robot would be known as Getter-2. Tradition and every other source of media has the silver Getter with a drill-arm being known as the Getter-2, but the name was also strangely applied to the rubber-armed and insanely-different-looking yellow Getter-3 as well.
The dub also had trouble getting the attack names right. One example has Gou using the right name to fire Shin Getter's Getter Beam in the first episode, but the next time he used it, he called it "Fire Ray". Hell, the never said "Open Get" even though that was English to start with. Although, it did give Ryoma some interesting lines.
Ryoma: Laugh while you have a head old man! <and> Payback is a bitch you bloated corpse!
The Dutch subtitles on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex are an incomprehensible mess. It appears that they were the English subtitles run through a machine translator, because they make more sense if you constantly translate the text to English. One might as well listen to the English dub.
Amazon's stream of Girls und Panzer refers to Mako as the "Doomsday-driven driver." Quite alliterative, but how exactly it applies to the character, whose main traits are her snarkiness and being sleepy with no excess pessimism or the like is a mystery.
The English subtitles of episode 10-21 of Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin appears to have been translated by someone who knew Japanese, but not English, given the massive amount of grammatical errors than can be found throughout. Some down right mistakes were also done, with the crowner probably being "The two of you, go spy on them" which got translated to "You two will go rape them."
The Filipino voice actors of Gundam Wing got the names of the five pilots and some of the secondary characters right, but they fail horribly at the translation with some of the characters, which is understandable since it was broadcasted two years before the English dub came.
Their dub of G Gundam and Gundam X is quite worse in translating the names of characters.
In the first episode of the English dub of Wing, Zechs Merquise declares "No machine gun for him! Shoot him down!", when he should have said something like "no warning shot".
Horribly, horribly present in Hellsing. From the fact that the title comes from "Van Helsing", which is only ever spelled with one 'L', to the fact that some British characters have names in Eastern order ("Seras Victoria" instead of "Victoria Ceres"), to opposite gender titles of nobilitynote It's actually worse than just the gender screw-up; it is strongly hinted that Integra's title is hereditary KBE titles like "Dame" are never hereditary thus her "proper" title should be either Baroness, Viscountess, Countess, or possibly Marchioness; regardless, she should not be called "Sir", to (most egregiously) the fact that in the official subtitles a character whose name is "Dracula"reversed is called "Arucard". Because Bram Stoker wrote a book called Dracura, apparently. The original author admitted that he had no idea what he was doing when he wrote the English bits.
At an anime convention, Taliesin Jaffe (ADR director and scriptwriter of the English dub) addressed the "Arucard" issue. They knew "Alucard" was correct, but the Japanese licensors insisted that they use "Arucard" in the subtitles on the grounds that "It's Dracura backwards". Cue facepalm from the localizers.
A Chinese fan nickname for Hellsing is 《地獄之歌》 Diyu zhi Ge, which is literally "Hell Sing" or "Hell's Song".
The official Italian translation of the manga Historie by Hitoshi Iwaaki, while overall great, has a recurring mistake that's pretty difficult to ignore. The story is a romanticized retelling of the life of Alexander the Great's personal secretary, Eumenes, who was a Scythian ("scita" in Italian), as many more characters in the story. However, the translation insists on calling him and all other people of his race Shiites ("sciita" in Italian, with two "i"s). As in, a Muslim from the second biggest branch of Islam. In a story that takes place between 370 and 310 BC - that is to say, more than 800 years before the birth of Muhammad, let alone the foundation of Islam. And no, it's not an intentional Anachronism Stew. This is more likely to be a screw up on part of the editor rather than the translator, especially considering how the words for Scythian and Shiite in Japanese note "sukitaisha" and "shii" (both written in katakana), respectively are just too different to be possibly mixed up.
The Dutch sub of Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle translates "The Witch of the Waste" as "De Heks van Verspilling", i.e. "The Witch of Wasting", rather than "De Heks van de Woestenij".
Initial D 4th Stage out of Malaysia has some particularily horrid examples. The subs appear to be translations of the Chinese dubs, which seem to have been censored to aviod giving people ideas. When Itsuki turbocharges his Levin, a couple of car otakus comment that it has "the part" and when Takumi gets snubbed on Akina, he clearly says something (my Japanese isn't that good) about "braking," but the sub just says, "That is not an easy opponent." Names can be as-they-sound-in-Japanese, as-the-kanji-sound-if-read-as-Chinese (Takumi ends up being something like "Liagjang"), or transalated into English (Daiki is often "Big Tree"). Then later in the stage Keisuke damages his own car and the team has to get a "shopping car." My personal favorite is when Daiki brings his car into the garage before the battle because, "I need to check the car baker. Lend me some glue."
There was a Chinese bootleg of Inuyasha which called Sesshoumaru "The Killing Pill" and referred to Miroku (a Buddhist monk) as a "rabbi". (Well, if Nuns Are Mikos...)
Perhaps it is set in the same universe as Backstroke ofthe West, where the Presbyterian Church is secretly the Jedi Council.
And inexplicably renamed Kilala "Roger", and had people falling into the malaria.
And inexplicably rendered Kikyo's name as "Jugen".
The kanji of "Sesshoumaru" literally means 'killing people pill' or 'murdering pill', especially when read in Chinese. The kanji of 'maru' originally meant 'pill' in Chinese, but after the Japanese started incorporating Chinese characters into their language, 'maru' came to mean 'circle', and was often used to end male names back in the day. As for Kikyo, the kanji for her name can be read in several different ways, and "Jugen" is one of them.
Kouga, in a Chinese bootleg of the Shichinintai arc: "Gewei (Kagome) once was red like flower, now is white like fish belly!"
The Malaysian translation of the other Parts of the manga (up to Vento Aureo) translated some names of the characters and the Stands fairly well, but ended up translating the Egyptian God Stands "Bastet" and "Atum" to "Vesta" and "Autumn" respectively.
The Brazilian translation of Stardust Crusaders had Avdol say this about Stands that harm their own Users:
"In the past, my Stand became dangerous to me and I ended up dead. I witnessed various humans like us."
The tenth episode of Love Live! is titled 先輩禁止(Senpai Kinshi), which roughly translates to "Senpai is Forbidden," and refers to Eli asking the school's Idol Singers, a group that includes students from all three years, to not use "senpai" on their upperclassmen. One translation, used on the wiki, is "No Upperclassmen Allowed!"
The official English translation of the Lucky Star manga is at times just downright awkward to read. It's a mix of being overly literal and having grammar that would technically be correct but not colloquial at all, as well as using outdated or inappropriate phrases and euphemisms (you rarely hear people say "let's have a blast" these days). The credits suggest it was translated by someone whose first language was Japanese based on the name who also translated the anime.
Early volumes were translated by Rika Takahashi (a veteran translator who used to work for Geneon USA and graduated from Stanford), and later volumes by William Flanaghan.
Kiseki Films' subtitles for Macross: Do You Remember Love? completely change the meaning of some lines. For example, the line "We fell into the engine block" became "My engine blocks are angry at me", and the line "He screwed up during an acrobatic maneuver" became "Well... you seem to jump back and forth between subjects like an acrobat".
Magic Knight Rayearth: The title was erroneously translated as "Magic Knights of Rayearth" in Brazil, giving the false impression that "Rayearth" is the name of the world the story takes place in. It's not.
The only available English subs for Mankatsu (an Animated Anthology from the creator of Lupin III) are machine-translated scripts (translated from the Russian dub) from a fan fourm. So, we get things like a character being warned "It is not your onions" when wondering if he should help someone, or people asking "What is this, this 7 ?" when confused (and let's not talk about what it did to the segments based around puns)
As mazin sounds like majin (demon god) this may explain why Mazinger is translated as Tall Evil God.
Crabstick. Asla (also called Intersex sometimes) directs the beast king armies of Dr. Hill with its Crabstick. This has become the subs' unofficial name in some circles.
A bootleg of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED had quality that varied from episode to episode (in some cases being astonishingly good). The shining moment was when they called Mwu la Flaga, general badass and counterpart to the Char clone, "Florida".
Another bootleg kept changing Nicol's gender from sentence to sentence and misspelling a number of the characters' names in the subtitles.
This even happens in the official dub; not with the dialogue, but reading some of the messages reveals grammar that is just painful.
In the German dub, instead of original Japanese or even English pronounciation, they use German pronounciation, with different accents and letters. Meaning, every letter "s" is now pronounced as "z", every "z" is pronounced as "ts" and every "ch" is pronounced as "sh". Meaning that Sasuke (pronounced sas-kay in English) is pronounced zaZUke (ZU being the accented part). Also, Jiraiya is pronounced Yiraya. "Sensei, Itashi [is using] amaterazu!!!"
However, there are some properly pronounced words and names (Sensei, Neji).
Choji's name is probably one of the worst examples, whose name is pronounced as "Shui".
There are also some weird examples. Early, most of the jutsus were translated in German, but later, some of those translated jutsus weren't translated. Also, Chidori is always called with its translation ("Chidori - Tausend Vögel"). Despite that Kyuubi is always tranlated as "Neunschwänziger", the other Bijuus and the term Bijuu are not translated most of time, and Jinchuuriki were translated as "Jinchuu-Kraft". The term "Pain Rikudo" was translated as "Sechs Pfade des Pains", but "Rikudo Sennin" and even the names of the six Pains were not translated.
It got even weirder, when Tobi enumerate the Jinchuurikis with their Bijuus, Roshi's name became suddenly "Yoton" (lava style) which is actually a Ninjutsu element.
In Episode 12 of the Boruto anime, when Boruto and Mitsuki talk about Naruto, Boruto says "Kaa-chan ni deredere shite." For some reason, the English subtitles on both Crunchyroll and Viz translated that to "He makes Mom do everything," which is egregiously bad because a more accurate translation would be "He is lovestruck towards Mom" and all of the non-English subs give a similarly faithful translation—the French subs translated it to "Il est gaga devant maman" ("He is gaga in front of Mom"), the German subs translated it to "Er himmelt Mama an" ("He adores Mom"), and the Italian subs translated it to "Fa tanto il carino con la mamma" ("He's so cute with Mom").
In an older region 0 DVD dub for Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, After Kai Shiden rescues Reccoa Londe, he introduces himself by saying "My name's Kai Shiden. As a freelance investigative journalist, I can appear anywhere, anytime. Even the Vatican." Kai actually carries himself as if he thought he was a supercool secret agent, so it almost fits into character. The Bandai dub covers this up by giving him a more pedestrian line "...and as a freelance investigative journalist, I can behave professionally, even around a beautiful woman such as yourself".
A Chinese bootleg version of The End of Evangelion, that was floating around on YouTube and other video streaming sites, had attached an English fansub, which was clearly very literally translated, leading to several hilarious examples of English that, while grammatically sensible most of the time, often ended up as nonsense. Most notably is when Asuka confronts Shinji with the line "I know about your jerk-off fantasies of me." In the original Japanese, Asuka actually uses the idiomatic phrase "I know you've been using me as a side dish". In Japanese lingo, "using something as a side dish" is an expression for using something or someone for one's erotic fantasies, but with the underlying implication that the person using the "side dish" is too scared to actually act on their feelings. In the fansub, however, the line comes out as "I know you only think of me as food!"
Before the official localizations became widely available, fansubs of the series also made things less clear than they really were. Many fans believed there was no evidence whatsoever of Rei being cloned from Yui based on fansubs, and this was used to rebuttal arguments against Rei and Shinji being incestual.
A bootleg of One Piece from before the series was licensed outside of Japan replaced every single character's name with "Jack".
A different bootleg had a somewhat less-mangled subtitle quirk involving names. Every name was translated into a un-namelike English word that sounded similar. The best of which were "Sanji" translated as "Sunkist" and "Crocodile" translated as "Clock Dell." Usopp became Liar Bu (understandable, being as the uso in his name means lie) and his father Yasopp was rendered as Jesus Bu. Other bizarre choices were referring to the back of one's head as the "afterbrain," and calling a cannon a "barker."
There is also one bootleg sub that renamed Zoro "Susan" and in which Luffy's "Gomu Gomu no Pachinko" attack became "Gum Gum Nintendo".
One manga hosting site is infamous for poor translations. Aside from awkward name translations (Riku Doldo -> Dolt, Jesus Burgess -> Xuxasu Basasu, the Yeti Cool Brothers -> Eighty Cool Brothers, despite there only being two of them), context is butchered and and scenes are mixed up, so we get things like stating Doflamingo is controlling Kaidou (despite it actually being the opposite in canon), Vice Admiral Maynard deciding to spread chaos, and Riku telling his granddaughter that, once he becomes king again, she will be queen. This gives off the implication of incest. (The actual line states that she would be a princess.)
A fan translation of a later chapter has Orochi claim that he killed his relative Kurozumi Kanjuro's parents, when, in fact, he "got rid of the people who killed (his) parents."
There's a store in Melbourne that sells anime DVDs that had Japanese subtitles translated to Chinese and then translated to English. They have never, ever correctly spelled a character name, sometimes just giving up and giving them a random English name instead. Hayate, the male love interest of Prétear, started out being called Sarah, then Jingje, then finally Hayate. The same DVDs also translated all the male characters as female but kept all references to female characters as female, except for the main character, who was apparently the only male.
The same thing happened to the characters of Sister Princess in the English subtitles of a grey-market Hong Kong release of the series. None of them were called by their actual names, and the names changed several times during the course of the series.
There have been two Italian dubs of Princess Mononoke: one made in 2000 that saw wide theatrical release, made by Miramax, and one that saw a one-week release in theatres in 2014, made by Lucky Red. While the 2000 dub was perfectly fine, the 2014 dub, aside from suffering from overly archaic dialogue, chose to translate Shishigami's name as "Beast-God". The problem? The Italian form of the name is a direct insult to God, one that's considered as bad as a racial slur to boot. After some attempts to defend the word choice by the head translator, subsequent releases changed the name to "Stag-God", which is a much more acceptable form (though still not entirely clean).
In an early episode of the Ranma ½ manga, there is an elaborate pun on "panda", "pan da" and the sound effect "pan". The English translation turns this into a slightly less elaborate pun on the sound effect "pop" and "I'm Ranma's pop", which got literally translated in the French version to the pun-less "Je suis le père de Ranma, pigé?" (in English: "I am Ranma's dad, got it?").
In the Latin American dub, when Kuno introduces himself in the standard Japanese order, "Kuno Tatewaki", the translator interpreted his name in the Western order, thereby rendering Kuno as his first name and Tatewaki as his last name for the rest of the series. By the time his sister, Kodachi, came along, it was too late to fix the mistake and she was renamed from "Kodachi Kuno" to "Kodachi Tatewaki." Weirdly, this is the only instance of this happening despite all other characters also introducing themselves in Japanese order, but some fans have theorized that it's because of Mexican actor Kuno Becker.
Viz's English translation of the Read or Die manga was often overly literal. It gave Yomiko's organization as the "Library of England". While that's technically a correct translation of the original's Daiei Toshokan, the organization in question is in fact the British Library. May be a case of Creator Provincialism, if the American translators had never heard of the eponymous British institution, or had never seen the (nicely translated) TV series that had come out a couple years before.
Manga Entertainment's otherwise good translation of the OVA had an error involving the post-it notes left by Nenene Sumiregawa for Yomiko, which are seen near the beginning of the first episode. These say things such as "Clean this up. — Nenene". However, the translators apparently didn't recognize that Nenene was supposed to be a person's name (which is understandable since she doesn't actually appear on-screen in the OVA), and interpreted it as the question-tag particle "ne" repeated three times. As a result, the on-screen translation of this note is "Clean this up! Up! Up!" (and similar things for the other notes).
Crunchyroll's English subtitles for Saki not only left some of the Mahjong lingo in Japanese, but also frequently translated terms into their Chinese word origins and then romanized it via pinyin (which would otherwise be correct, had the Japanese not been left in as well). Sometimes a line would have English, Japanese romaji, and Chinese pinyin all in the same sentence. For example: "all simples pinfu mixed triple chow".
When talking about Momo, Kaori says that she once thought Momo was a "ghost member" of the mahjong club (a term for a member who joins a school club but rarely, if ever, shows up) only to find out that Momo was always in the room at the same time, but due to her Invisibility, Kaori couldn't see her. The Crunchyroll subs have Kaori thinking Momo was "a member of the occult club".
A hilarious example in the Polish translation has Death Fog renamed to "Dead Frog".
Orichalcum also was translated in the anime, manga, and light novels as "orihalcon", because that is what it literally sounds like; apparently Neil Nadelman (who handled the anime and is an otherwise good translator) didn't realize that orichalcum is a thing.
In the Spanish translation of the anime (besides the weird fact that all opening and ending themes were replaced by those of NEXT, which is the second series, and that Gourry became Gaudi), Rina/Lina's signature move Drag Slave (or Dragon Slave in the English dub, stated as Word of God as being a corruption of "dragon slayer") is called "Droga de Esclavos" (drug of slaves).
Shaman King's Brazilian dub is usually agreed to have a great cast trying their best to make a completely off script work. Lots of terms are either bizarrely translated (how does one go from "Chuuka Zanmai" [Great Chinese Slash] to "Golden Tower in Action"?) or swapped around to impossible levels. For the latter, episode 13 ("Over Soul"), the one that established a lot of the show's more prominent terminologies, is a perfect example. First "Silva" got his name confused with one of his spirits, so he became "Silver Wing" (the actual Silver Wing goes unnamed). "Furyoku" (something akin to "shamanic power") was translated as "Occult/Hidden Strength", and, after that episode, just vaguely referred to as "energy". "Over Soul" and "Great Spirit" got confused, so "Over Soul" became "Great Spirit" while the actual "Great Spirit" became "Good Spirit". Some episodes would forget these changes and refer to things by their old names, the end result being a well-acted but completely crazy translation.
A bootleg of Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie called Dr. Eggman "Machine King", and transcribes Tails' name as "Dillus". One line in said bootleg has Sonic's yelling "Shut up, Tails!" transcribed as "Dillus, you're too noisy!" While the Japanese word "urusai" (often used to mean "Shut up!") does literally mean "noisy" or "annoying", it doesn't quite have the same meaning as the original line.
A bootleg translated Sonic himself as "Sonic Rat" (possibly confusing the Japanese "nezumi" (rat) for "harinezumi" (hedgehog)) for about the first couple of episodes and constantly called Dr. Eggman "Machine King".
The official translators over at 4Kids Entertainment, meanwhile, spent the first season and a half or so of the English dub convinced that "Chaos Control" was the name of Eggman's base, rather than a term for what happens when the energy of the Chaos Emeralds is used to warp time and space. The confusion stemmed from a scene in the first episode where Eggman's base (where he's using the Emeralds to power a machine) explodes and the explosion warps spacetime, combined with Ambiguous Syntax - Kuckles refers to something in that direction as Chaos Control, but doesn't doesn't phrase the statement in a way which would make it clear to the translators that he means the explosion, not the base. They didn't figure out what the term meant until the show included more instances of Chaos Control, during their adaption of the game which introduced the concept, at which point the characters acted like they didn't just spend all that time using the term to refer to something else.
The battleship Ra's Captain Hayate shouts, "ENGAGE!" when issuing "Fire" commands.
He also refers to the main guns' shells as "Missiles" despite the animation clearly showing they're shells.
Tenchi Muyo! features an egregious example of bad translation when Kagato is finally killed by Tenchi he says 'I see, Tenchi can't be copied' which makes absolutely no sense and should have been easily caught by any number of people. The line should have been 'I see, regeneration is not possible'. Considering this is an especially important moment because it's how Kagato is defeated it's especially jarring.
The Brazilian dub of Mew Mew Power, as the name suggests, was based on the 4Kids version; that would mean the translation work was easy, right? Yeah, no. There are a lot of glaring English-to-Portuguese mistakes there, many bordering on nonsense. For example, a small scene of trash-talking between Zoey (Ichigo) and Tarb (Tart) includes the lines "I've brought my flying sweater!" (originally, "I've brought my fly-swatter". And no, it doesn't make any more sense in context) and "How about a little nap?" (originally, "How about a catnip?"). Also, the song "Supernatural" was translated, leaving the word as-is, which wouldn't be a problem if the meaning wasn't completely different ("Supernatural" in Portuguese is along the lines of "totally natural". The correct translation would be "Sobrenatural").
The English dub of the Tower of God anime (while generally okay) has Khun saying that Quant has unlimited Shinsu during the Hide and Seek test. The webtoon as well as the English subtitles of the Japanese version say his use of Shinsu has been limited. That's exactly what happens in context too: instead of flying and throwing fireballs or whatever, he has to do with the Super Strength, Super Speed, Super Reflexes and Super Toughness he has anyway, and can only use Shinsu to do a couple of tricks, giving the Regulars a remote chance to beat him. (If not in straight combat, which they can't, then by something like "Even he can't get up from all the way down there without Shinsu.")
Vagabond: if you only read Vagabond online, you'll get this eventually. Volumes 1 to 21 are scans of the official English language books, so the translations are of high quality and done by professionals. However, starting with volume 22 the chapters you can read online are scans from the Japanese books or from the Japanese magazine where Vagabond is serialized, with the translations done by amateurs. Though somewhat tolerable during the first volumes, later changes in translation teams make it progressively worse the more the story goes, to the point that the Post-Yoshioka arc is completely unintelligible and impossible to read (especially during the philosophical conversations between Takuan, Itakura, Kōetsu and Musashi, and in the scenes with the Hosokawa government officials). Luckily, the translation team that takes over at the Farming arc is much better, and the story becomes understandable again.
And then there's Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which transliterates "dhampir" (half-vampire) as "dunpeal", and carries the same mistransliteration into the English version, to the point Fan Fiction continues using the term. Streamline's dub of the original movie also had this mistake. It wasn't fixed until Sentai Filmworks' 2015 redub of the original movie.
The Swedish subtitles for the line "Why did you miss my heart?" translated "miss" as if it was the word for "lacking/wanting" ("I miss you") instead of the word for "not hit".
Vampire Knight: Zero telling Sara he's taking her to the "Church" rather than the actual word which was "Association", became almost a Memetic Mutation of jokes about the two of them getting married.
"Mr. kind hearted person" somehow got translated to "Mr. human lover"
There is a bootleg of ×××HOLiC in which every time Watanuki's surname appears, it always appears as its literal translation ("April 1").
Zone of the Enders anime Zone of the Enders: Dolores, i suffers from this in the early episodes of the ADV dub and subs. Translations like "Orbital Flame", "Buffram" and "Norman" were found often. Somewhat forgivable in that, by the end of the series, these translation mistakes were fixed. But they still persist in the opening episodes, so...