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Blind Idiot Translation / Fan Subs

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An example of fansubbing done... not so well.

Ventilator and scanlations of UBS (Fansubs and Scanlations)

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  • Ever since Chapter 127, there have been a few really badly scanslated chapters of Claymore posted on online manga readers, which have a very distinct machine-translation style and amateurish lettering with multiple terrible fonts. All the more strange, since the groups who did it before (and continue doing it for all the other chapters) are generally very skilled both at translation and typesetting.
  • There was a scanlation for Fullmetal Alchemist that has Winry's name as "Willy" and Riza's name as "Lisa".
    • There is a Chinese bootleg of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) where a group of characters named after the Seven Deadly Sins included the names "Rust" and "Blatnee" (Lust and Gluttony) for several episodes before the translators apparently caught on. This same phonetics issue leads to a subtitle of Wrath later screaming "CALL ME LASSIE!"
    • One subbed version would, for several episodes at a time, refer to Ed as "The Square Enix". Presumably the title and the production company's close proximity on the covers and related media led the subtitlers to take a misguided shortcut.
    • That same subbed version refers to Ed as "Edowado Erurixtuku", Winry as "Wuxinnrexi" (which thankfully later changed to the better-but-still-wrong "Wendy"), Roy Mustang as "Roi Masutanngu" and many other mistakes. It also uses the wrong pronoun ("he" instead of "I" comes up many times), making it really confusing to follow conversations. There is an explanation for the names being written like that, as they show the specific buttons you push on the keyboard to make the Japanese characters appear in a certain word processor. In this system, straight nihon-shiki romanizations are used for every separate character, the n character is written as "nn", and the x button is used to indicate that the following character is small. (Of course, while knowing those spellings is useful when learning how to type names in Japanese alphabets, using them in a fansub is insane.)
    • And "Xerxes" as "Celecsess", or something like that. Granted, "Xerxes" was translated from old Persian into Greek and then English, so the orthography is a bit weird.
    • Ed also says, "I don't like stuff I don't like" in one scanlation.
  • One Elfen Lied bootleg has the line, "This is the police! Come out with your pants down!". This is made even stranger by the fact that the rest of the episode was near-flawlessly translated.
    • The same fansub features a university professor blurting "Take it all off!" apropos of nothing, the name Mayu translated as "Cocoon" (which is literally accurate, but...), and crying subtitled as "hoot hoot".
  • The original fan-made translations of Parts 4 and 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are notorious for this, as it was done by someone whose first language was definitely not English. The most infamous is a page from Part 4 that shows the main villain exclaiming "What a beautiful Duwang!note  chew" [sic] The translation became popular enough that fans created a Duwang-style Gag Sub for the anime.
  • The AnimeJunkies fansub group made a laughingstock of themselves when they released a flawed translation of a line from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The line was supposed to be a question about numerous kidnappings by foreign mafia agents, but was translated as, "Are you aware of the frequent occurrences of the mass naked child events within the country?" The "mass naked child events" line became a meme referring to terrible translations.
    • That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but AnimeJunkies had been consistently putting out low-quality subs for a while at that point. Their Get Backers subs are almost as bad (especially compared to another far more talented fansub group that was also covering that show, to say nothing of ADV's official subs that came out a couple years later). What turned everyone against them was their reaction to criticism and other fansubbers.
  • There was a Bleach fansub that translated a Japanese slang term for uvula (のどちんこ, nodochinko) literally, as "throat penis".
    • Earlier on had Yammy referring to Ulquiorra as "Uluqiorra".
    • In addition, for a large portion of the early chapters, at least three different spellings of "Zaraki Kenpachi" were used, none of which were correct.
    • Around the time Ichigo's training with Urahara, Urahara's zanpakuto, Benihime is called "Kurenaihime", and Ichigo's Zangetsu was called "Kitsuki".
  • One of the scanlations for Love Hina has a chapter in which Keitaro has a fever and Naru is taking his temperature. However, Keitaro's body temperature was apparently 39.7 degrees Fahrenheit - And yet Naru says to get the ice bag?!? That would mean Keitaro's DEAD!! That goes beyond Blind Idiot Translation. Most Americans at least know of the Celsius system, even if they don't regularly use it and have trouble converting, so if the subber couldn't convert, why not just leave it in Celsius? (For the record, 39.7 degrees Celsius is roughly 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit, a pretty high fever – any higher and they'd need to take him to the hospital immediately).
    • Said scanlation also jumps around a little in quality - there are some mild grammar mistakes or parts where the Japanese text is left untranslated and not given a reference (possibly because it doesn't really mean anything and is just added for comedic effect) on top of it being a scan.
    • "Ha ha ha! Sara, don't you actually made that joke!"
    • The official translation from Tokyopop has several instances of really bad grammatical structure note . The translation itself seems reasonably decent. It just needed a better editor.
      • This is made more obvious by Kadokawa Comics' 2012 re-translation of the series. Nearly all of the grammatical errors were fixed, but the translation itself is far more literal, and thus less fun to read.
  • Code Geass: A "Blind Idiot" Translation of episode 5 of R2 was done by a group called WeWin. It includes such hilarity as Suzaku as My Lord Jesus, Lelouch is "a lot of abandoned homes", Area 11 being in a bun, and Lelouch's strange little brother named Lolo. Read it here.
  • In one chapter of Maid-Sama!, a character cosplays a US Navy Captain. The translation refers to him as "Colonel", a rank never used by navies. While the mistake makes sense from a linguistic standpoint,note  the visuals should have clued the translator in on what the correct choice would be.
  • There are some pretty bad subtitles on episodes of Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. Examples include the characters' tendency to yell "You son of a bitches!", and in one case "I will revenge!", or the way "The clever Akakakabuto (One too many ka's) layed in ambush and hurted Takeda." and "Three puppies has been born at Daisuke."
    • "And now did Riki died too."
    • "Humans had been forced to give after for the bears power."
    • "Gin are like his father."
    • "Got damit!"
    • One of the most annoying examples is how every use of the word "man" is replaced with "male". The reason this is annoying is because half the series is the dogs running around Japan to find "males". It also results in Cross assuring Ben that she doesn't need to say farewell because she's "going to become a male".
    • Also funny is the way the subbers always used the word "bitch" for referring to female characters. This is accurate because a bitch is a female dog, but anyone watching it will be thinking or the other definition when Gin yells "Cross is a bitch!"
    • When Moss sends Lloyd and Jaguar to see Ben's pack, he is supposed to tell them to deliver a message. For who knows what reason, in the fansubs he tells the two to rape them instead.
  • One fansub script for Dirty Pair TV episode 10 rendered one of Kei's lines of dialog as "Kei says something here". (The subtitles on the Nozomi Entertainment DVD release render that line as "Good job, guys!")
  • Some One Piece scanlations had characters declaring that they would swear Royalty (sic) to their king.
  • The first 20th Century Boys film hit the Internet with English subtitles that were pretty good. Which made it pretty baffling when the subtitles on the second film were for the most part complete gibberish, featuring what seemed like random collections of letters half the time, and also tending to translate character's names as regular words, like "Kanna" being subtitled as "sad". The only way to have any hope of following the film using those subtitles is to have read the manga at least twice.
  • The final battle in Rave Master is an epic clash between the forces of darkness and light, or would be if you could focus on it instead of all the improper conjugation.
  • In an episode of Rozen Maiden where Shinku is appreciating some Assam Tea, one fansub rendered it as something along the lines of "the asamti is in finance".
  • There is a pretty terrible Hong Kong bootleg of the Tales of Eternia anime that runs on the trope. One of the funnier screw-ups was rendering the two worlds of "Infernia" and "Celestia" as "Yugoslavia" and "Czechoslovakia."
  • Several scanlations of Great Teacher Onizuka have sloppy grammar and overlay the original Japanese speech/thought bubbles with translucent colored boxes containing the text.
  • TDX's translations of Liar Game chapters 114 and onward. Translating "Isutori Game" literally as "Steal-A-Chair Game" rather than "Musical Chairs" is a mistake on the level of referring to a character's "Handheld" (cellphone) which he's left charging in the "Concent" (electrical outlet) back at his "Mansion" (apartment).
  • There used to be a scanlation floating around for Psychic Squad which could possibly cause headaches due to the confusing wording throughout. Example: "You still have your fist other than your psychic..."
  • One fansub group for Black Butler consistently translated what was being clearly pronounced in English Cinematic Record into Magic Play.
  • The scanlation for Until Death Do Us Part manages to do this with English in an editor's note: "ED Note: Freighter is a cargo ship".
  • Some of the "dishwasher" fansubs of Dragon Ball Z were notorious for bizarre name spellings and gratuitous overuse of profanity.
    • Dragon Ball Super likewise has some pretty abysmal speedsubs which consistently manage to mess up the most basic lines and struggle to even make sense within the context of themselves. Highlights include claiming that Beerus had been asleep for 30 billion years (it was actually just 39) or mistranslating Whis's explanation of the twelve universes to claim that a thirteenth universe existed which was some sort of massive container for the other twelve, when he was actually just saying that there were six sets of "twin" universes, and any two universes whose numbers add up to 13 (1 and 12, 6 and 7 and so forth) are twins. To demonstrate the level of quality we're dealing with, here's a review of one of them.
  • One fansub of Magic Knight Rayearth insisted that Escudo weapons "glow" the more you use them. Anyone who's read the introduction to a self-instruction Japanese primer can tell you what went wrong here.
  • For the longest time, the only English subs for Digimon Frontier, produced by a certain fansub group which will not be named, were this. Between translating lines like "This is Fire Terminal, a Digimon village" into "This is Fire station, a Digimon boundry", the "Demon Beast" type (Majuu) being labeled "Magic," and subtitling the word "Kusai" ("This stinks") as "*random Italian splurge* " (sic). Adding to this is the mind numbingly insane amount of ENTIRE SENTENCES AND LINES WHICH WERE LEFT UNTRANSLATED. Not only are there times when one or two full lines of dialogue are not given any subs, but words that the "translator" couldn't understand were left marked off with dash marks ("— Digimon") or ellipses ("Junpei, isn't that...?"). A better translation was eventually provided, but for a good five years, this utter garbage was the only option if one wanted to watch the series in Japanese.
  • On Youtube, there are users who upload the Hong Kong subtitles of Yu-Gi-Oh! The script is translated into Chinese, then translated into English. This creates a LOT of screw ups in the translations where Chinese terms are taken literally. For instance the Blue Eyes White Dragon is often called the 'Green-Eyed White Dragon', Summoned Skull is sometimes 'Steel Demon Koko' and The God of Obelisk is 'Giant of the Square Tipped Tower' and names are swapped around (In the Joey/Yugi duel at the docks, Joey is called 'Serenity' for 3 episodes straight!) And then of course, there are card names which get such a bad translation, that hilarity ensues. The best example being in this clip, where the card, "Heart of the Underdog", gets a very weird name. And of course the implications it has for poor Joey...
    • "Dark Magician" was once translated as "Dark Physician."
    • Some Yu-Gi-Oh fansubs have quite a few obvious errors. Some names are changed and others are completely wrong; for example, "Black Magician" and "Exodia" are switched around. They also use some odd grammar, especially in the opening song translations, and make some strange changes to the words. In Yugi's duel with Pandora, they call the buzzsaw a "gummer" (most likely a mishearing of "cutter", which is what the characters literally say) and sometimes refer to the cards as "pokers". Possibly the most hilarious was translating "Millennium Puzzle", and "Millennium Rod" into "Thousand Year Bricks" and "Thousand Tin Stick".
    • In a couple of episodes in the second season, they translate Kaiba as "Seahorse"note , some early episodes refer to Yugi as "Game", and on one occasion, Mokuba as "Wooden Horse" (both are literal translations). They also usually mistranslate Anzu's name as "Kyoko" (a misreading of her kanji).
    • On top of that they confuse "Yugi" referring to the character and being used to mean "Game". There are lines such as "...then Yugi can win" with Yugi not even being present at the time (when it should have been something like "...then I can win this game").
    • Even some English names from the original are wrong; "Revival Slime" becomes "Revival Mud".
    • 'For me the hatred of the death souls does not mean anything for me. Let me show you my spirits!' takes the biscuit.
    • One episode subbed Lightforce Sword (Hikari no Fūsatsuken, literally "Sealing Card Sword of Light") as "Swords of Revealing Light" (which is Hikari no Gofūken, literally "Protective Seal Swords of Light"). Confusingly, the card actually known as Swords of Revealing Light was still subbed as "Swords of Revealing Light", meaning there were two different cards referred to with the exact same name.
    • If you thought the subtitles listed above were bad, this one REALLY takes the cake. "The fiery shooting machine, used on the guarding soldiers!"
    • Pegasus is referred to as “Pacassi Helenfaki” in the Hong Kong subs.
  • In one scanlation of Hellsing, Serace Victoria's name switches between Serace, Sarah, and Ceres throughout the series, and Warrant Officer Schrodinger becomes Schuldinger.
  • There exists a sub of Gensoumaden Saiyuki that starts out fairly normal, but its later episodes appear to have been translated this way from Chinese (whether or not they come from bootleg DVDs of any sort is unclear). One arguably positive side effect of this was the use of the Chinese names for the characters, which makes sense considering that the story is based on Journey to the West (although, depending on who you ask, this transliteration can be distracting, as for the most part the Japanese pronunciation of these names is very different from the Chinese). Outside of this, however, the translation mainly resulted in odd sentence structure, and sometimes nearly approached the level of Backstroke of the West in terms of comprehensibility. The occasional use of the word "boob" as a curse/interjection didn't help either.

  • The Star War Gatherings does this for, well, Star Wars. The project is inspired by a bootleg release called Backstroke of the West (detailed on the Film page) and features intentionally bad follow-up fansubs and dubs of the rest of the franchise, created with the aid of mangled Recursive Translation.
  • The Russian dub of Sherlock Holmes (2009) is available on Youtube translated by two different people. One person translated the film properly, the other translated it hilariously badly. There are many strange phrases.
  • The fansub for the Norwegian horror film Thale is a prime example. Within even just the first 5 minutes, at least half of the subtitles are overly literal, awkwardly phrased, or otherwise incorrectly worded.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • There are a host of mistranslations that can be accredited to TV-Nihon, and primarily for three reasons: 1: They didn't have access to transcripts at the time (and like most fansub groups didn't consistently until 2011) 2: like any other fansub group, they just didn't see it or have context to what was being talked about that would've been more accurate to state, or 3: their former owner who went by Kingranger. Kingranger was a poor translator and refused to perform quality control or corrections of their work, and attacked anyone who said there were any problems with them. This eventually got him kicked out of the group, which was taken over by user Takenoko, who in turn is a lot more accepting of critiques in regards to QA and improved their methodology regarding proofing their work overall. TVN under Takenoko put emphasis on QA corrections when made aware of errors, thus with far rarer exception (see below), the only significant difference from fellow fansub Group Over-Time is if you prefer a greater deal of localization performed or not, and whether you prefer hard or softsubs. Beyond those factors, there became no tangible, meaningful difference between the two barring typo's and occasional missed context/oversight which will inevitably happen. Unfortunately, most that slander TVN still to this day have either never heard of the change in management, Believed Kingranger wasn't the problem, hate them for their hardsubs and typesetting which is entirely a preference issue and not a valid condemnation, largely do not understand Japanese, or have never done an active comparison to any other fansub group to see their own errors and that most others that try to act as TVN replacements/superiors actually did more egregious or extensive mistranslations themselves. The reality is the hate towards them is largely overblown, as professional translators for Shout Factory and Mill Creek have consistently done worse with either their Sentai, Kamen Rider and Ultraman sets and streaming releases than what TVN offered as a free service.
    • In Kamen Rider Den-O, TV-N (due to at the time not having access to transcripts for the series) misheard Owner's greeting of "Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs" as "Ladies and gentlemen, banana new shoe!" Naturally, this became a meme.
    • for Kamen Rider Gaim, Aesir's subs for the series live on in infamy. Despite them having access to transcripts for the series, the group attempting to do a series of jabs on TV-Nihon, it quickly became obvious to anyone not invested in attacking TVN that Aesir didn't have a single idea to what they were doing, and were rewriting lines however they felt like. Most noticeable of this were them changing Gridon's name to "Ornac" which was supposed to be a anagram of "acorn" and that not being their official name, entirely misrepresenting the characterization of Yoko Minato, and changing both the Sengoku Driver and its inventor Ryoma Sengoku's name to "Warring", as in "the Warring states period (Sengoku jidai)". This last one is egregious, as Sengoku doesn't usually mean "Warring". The literal translation of "Sengoku" is "Civil War", as "Warring States" is an Americanized misnomer idiom. Worse, the Kanji presented in the transcript used for "Sengoku" in Gaim didn't translate as "Warring" or "Civil War"; it used the kanji for "Senkyoku", with pronunciation furigana that changed the spoken way to say it to "Sengoku". "Senkyoku" translated as "ESCALATION", which TV Nihon when they translated the show they noted immediately that was the case, but kept the use of "Sengoku" for the name of the driver and character as that's proper translation for names as Defined by the transcripts and information Toei/Bandai released. Gaim's show later ended up backing up the "Escalation" translation of the term as it Over-Time 'Escalation' was revealed to be a central theme of the series, and with the release of the insert song "Ranbu Escalation".
  • Olsen-banden:
    • There is an English fansub of Olsen-bandens sidste bedrifter which suffers from two major problems. On one hand, it often keeps the Danish word order, just doesn't translate a word, and/or has several typos.note  On the other hand, the verb "røv(e)" (to plunder/rob) is consistently translated as if it were the noun "røv" (ass), leading to gems like:
    Egon, you are aware that they have taken ass for 250 millions?
    • The third Swedish remake, Jönssonligan får guldfeber, got subtitled by someone else around 2012. While not as bad as the above, it still has some jarring mistakes. For instance, the catch phrase "(Du e') lysande, Sickan!"note  always gets rendered literally, as "(You are) shining, Sickan." The subtitler also fell for some false friends. So a "moppe" (motorbike) gets called a "mop", and then there's this when a character is telling another to put some mascara on:
    Original line: "Det här ska du ha på jacken, vet du." (Roughly: You should have this[singular] on the eyes, you know.)
    The fansub: "These you should have on the jacket."