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Fan Translation

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A phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with Emulation, Fan Translation (or "Fanlation") is pretty much what it says: The translation of games that only appeared in other languages (almost always Japanese) into the player's native language (almost always English) as a fanmade Game Mod or ROM hack.

This most often occurs on Japanese RPGs that were released prior to Final Fantasy VII. Before that game's breakout success, American publishers shied away from Japanese RPGs because of their relatively poor sales compared to action games. In fact, the fan translation hobby largely began from the efforts to localize Final Fantasy V and Trials of Mana (then known to international audiences by its Japanese name, Seiken Densetsu 3), Square games that were heavily hyped as coming to the US, then mysteriously canceled. Some older RPGs were even re-translated due to the "quality" of the translations ranging from a mere "Blind Idiot" Translation to an outright Translation Train Wreck.

Licensed Games can also receive this treatment. Often, it takes years before an anime series is brought over and becomes popular in the West, while the Japanese games based on that series are seen as obsolete by the distributors.

While no legal dispute over a fanmade patch has ever occurred, a handful of cease-and-desist orders have been issued regardless of any actual validity. Since ROM patches contain no assets from the original game and no derived assets that are viable without it, no likely basis for arguing infringement is known. The resulting translated ROMs themselves, of course, fall under the same rules as any other ROM dump if distributed (hence why ROM hacking sites generally only distribute patches, requiring players to find the original ROM elsewhere and use a patching program to actually use the patch).

Plus, No Export for You already garners enough bad PR, exacerbating it among fans would definitely not be a good idea.

See also Fansubs for the Anime version and Scanlations for the manga version.

Please note that people aren't getting paid for this and are Doing It for the Art (though they may have professional translation work as their main occupation, as with Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin, the head translator of Mother 3, who does fan translations solely as a hobby in his spare time); Development Hell is common, and Vaporware might happen occasionally (an example of the latter being the aforementioned Clyde Mandelin's abandoned translation of Tomato Adventure, though he did release the source code for his work in case anyone else wants to give it a shot and a Fan Translation was finally completed in 2021). Any ongoing projects may take VERY long.


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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Project Threepio (a companion piece to the Despecialized Editions) contains fan translations of the Original Unaltered Trilogy in languages where only the Special Edition was officially released (such as Croatian and Slovene). It also contains retranslations in French, Italian, Hungarian and Finnish (all 4 of which have non-SE versions with lots of Engrish).
  • There are several rare foreign films unofficially subtitled in private film forums such as Karagarga.


  • The Deer King has an English fan translation on Infinite Novel Translations.
  • Digital Devil Story, the original source material for the Shin Megami Tensei video game series, was translated by a fan. Well, the first two novels were, anyway.
  • Dororo: Ainikki translated Jinzō Toriumi's novel trilogy from February to December 2021. She's currently working on Part 2 of Masaru Nakamura's novelization of the live-action film since January 2022, with estimated completion in late August 2022.
  • The Evillious Chronicles fandom is populated by many amateur translators, as there are no official English releases of any of its content. This applies for the songs as well, but currently Cloture Of Yellow, Wiegenlied of Green, and The Lunacy Of Duke Venomania either have fan translations or are currently being given one. The series' wiki also does translations that are even rougher to learn what new information is being released in each novel.

  • Moribito:
    • From August 2016 to December 2019, Tansou Tsukai translated Volume 3, Guardian of Dreams, into English as Guardian of the Dreams.
    • Inspired by Tansou Tsukai, Ainikki began a project to translate the remaining volumes. She has finished translating the remaining main volumes and the first spin-off into English: Traveler of the Void, Guardian of the God, Traveler of the Indigo Road (as Traveler of the Blue Road), Guardian of Heaven and Earth, and Wanderers (as The Wanderer). She is currently working on the last two spin-offs: Treading the Path of Fire (called Those Who Walk the Flame Road), and Traveler of the Wind (called Where the Wind Takes Us), with estimated completion by the end of 2023.
  • A fan translation of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King can be found here. (As the original story is in the public domain, there are no legal issues.)

  • Phenomena is given one. It's not very fast but it's something.

    Video Games 

Fans who translate games:

Games translated by fans:

  • Geoff Embree completed a translation patch for 7th Dragon in April 2014. (The initial "open beta" version was actually released on April Fools' Day.)

  • Armadillo had a very well-done fan translation that translated 100% of the game's story text to English and modified the title screen. This fan translation is even being sold online in the form of reproduction carts.
  • A game which had been dropped by NoA despite being late in development, ASH Archaic Sealed Heat, from Mistwalker, had a partial fan-translation leaked by a beta-tester of said fan-project, which has been dropped.

  • Bare Knuckle III, the Japanese version of Streets of Rage 3, was fan-translated in response to the unnecessary changes to the American version.
  • Aroduc is a one man Battle Moon Wars translating machine.
  • The unofficial Russian dub of BioShock Infinite. While 1C-Softclub did release an official localisation of the game, it was only limited to subtitles and UI, so a team of intrepid modders took the effort of producing a complete fan dub. They even got Anna Moleva — whom Irrational themselves hired to serve as the live-action model after she earned a lot of publicity for her spot-on cosplay portrayal of the character — to voice Elizabeth.
  • Breath of Fire
    • In March 3, 2022, vivify93 from released a brand new translation for Breath of Fire I that does the same for the game as d4s and Ryusui did for Breath of Fire II. Among the many improvements are: a greatly expanded script with nods to terms and story elements of later games, most of the censorship has been removed as well as an "ensured consistency" with terms used in Ryusui's retranslation of BoFII. There are also optional patches that doubles the EXP and zenny/money obtained from battles to lesser the need for grinding and/or change the menu icons to use text.
    • Breath of Fire II is an example of a game that was already internationally localized before it received a Fan Translation. The unfortunate quality of said translation (which was nonetheless re-used for the game's re-release on the GBA) led to fan-based efforts to localize the game. In 2006 a group called d4s released a patch for the SNES version that contained not only a high-quality German-language translation of the game but also added in the gameplay tweaks and fixes introduced in the GBA release and a new intro montage that made liberal use of Japanese marketing materials, including Capcom's in-house game art and the J-pop single originally commissioned by Capcom to be used in its advertising for the game, "Owaranai Ai". The d4s version is considered so well-done that it has become the basis for numerous other retranslation projects for the game, such as Ryusei's 2009 English translation.

  • Captain Rainbow is currently being translated into English and Italian. When finished, it will be run the same way as the Fatal Frame 4 translation.
  • Choujin Heiki Zeroigar, an anime-style Shoot 'Em Up for the NEC PC-FX (and one of the system's very few action-oriented games), received a fully subtitled translation patch in August 2015.

  • The Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Land III received an English translation patch in October 2012, 12 years after the Japanese release. While there already exists an official English version (the game itself is British) it was made for the original Game Boy, not the Game Boy Color.
    This English translation was also the basis for a unique Spanish translation about a month later, in November 2012.
  • Dragon Quest:

  • Energy Breaker finally received a translation patch in September 2012.
  • Ensemble Stars!, being a rare very popular mobile game with no official English version, has a translation on its wiki. Unlike other video game examples, the minimal gameplay combined with the difficulty accessing all of the stories (they are attached to gacha cards and events and while it's not especially hard to unlock any particular current story, it's quite difficult for a newcomer to read older stories) and the Visual Novel style format mean that rather than a patch, the translation is simply uploaded to the wiki in text form with images to show who is speaking. Stories are also translated unequally depending on who is willing to go through the effort, meaning that dramatic stories featuring popular characters are much more likely to be translated than Breather Episodes about less popular ones. Fans also often do very quick, unedited translations to twitter as soon as a new story is released so non-Japanese-speaking fans can quickly hear about any major new revelations.
  • The original Ether Vapor got an English translation patch — or rather it used to after it was licensed by Nyu Media to localize its updated re-release.
  • The PC-98 predecessor to E.V.O.: Search for Eden, 46 Okunen Monogatari: The Shinkaron (The Theory of Evolution), received a fan translation at the end of 2016. The same group went on to translate Rusty.
  • The 3DS version of E.X. Troopers received a full English translation in 2019. While the creator admitted it was rough around the edges, the achievement is worth noting. In particular, because CAPCOM didn't want to put in the localization effort for a very unique way of presenting in-game dialogue as they thought the niche title couldn't recoup costs enough for it to be worth it.note .
  • Fallout 2 is currently being translated to Brazilian Portuguese since 2004, and while there is no release date, it's quite certain that it's in a very advanced state.
  • Due to the cancellation of the US and European releases of the game, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is only available in Japan. However, a group released a patch that runs from the Wii's SD card slot using Riivolution, instead of directly patching the game (since the developers stated that they don't want to promote piracy). Though people have figured out how to do it anyways using their files.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III for the NES were fan-translated in 1998 and 1999, with III receiving an additional translation prior to the DS remake's release. The eventual English versions of the former were in the form of remakes, some of which tweak the Stat Grinding system, while the latter initially only had an English release of its heavily "reimagined" Video Game Remake on the Nintendo DS until the 2D Pixel Remaster remake released 15 years later gave Westerners a version that updated the graphics while making few other changes. Both games received new translations after they were Remade for the Export, in both cases giving the original Famicom versions scripts influenced by their remakes' official translations.
    • Final Fantasy IV already had an official American release known as Final Fantasy II (no relation to the real Final Fantasy II), but differences between the American and Japanese versions as well as a Porting Disaster on the PlayStation prompted for not one, not two, but three different fan translations:
      • First is the J2E project for the Japanese version, which claims to be "more faithful" than the original English translation. In practice, while there are a handful of corrections, most of what it does either copies the original script or is an outright Gag Dubadding excessive cursing, pop culture references that weren't in either version of the script, or adding lines that break character entirely. Legends of Localization argued that it's a worse translation than the very one it was meant to supplant in their comparison of the different translations, and it's so bad that there's been addendum updates by various hackers to remove the spiced up parts.
      • Next is Project II for the English release, which uses a script that takes elements from all the translations of the game, boosts the enemy stats back to what they are in the Japanese version, restored the dummied out battle commands and items, fixes bugs/glitches, and implements 10 other QoL mods.
      • Finally is the Namingway Edition for the English release, an updated version of Project II that replaces certain names and terms with their modern official versions. This translation is the one most heavily favored by the folks at Legends of Localization, owing to it having the greatest amount of improvements over the original SNES release.

    • Final Fantasy V was the first of many RPGs for the SNES to be translated by fans. A patch was released in 1998, one year before Square released an official localization for the PlayStation. However, Square Enix released a far more polished translation for the Game Boy Advance several years after the PlayStation version.
      A revised version of the fan translation was released about 20 years after the original release of said translation, with most of the changes being minor tweaks to the script aside from changing Bartz and Krile's names to match the official translations, while another hack released the same year takes a different approach by inserting the script from the Game Boy Advance version's official translation into the Super Famicom version when possible.
    • Final Fantasy VI was retranslated by a group called RPGONE, better known for one of the team member's screen names, Sky Render. This version was a literal translation, and was divisive for several reasons, most prominently for transforming Kefka from the love-to-hate-him Monster Clown of the English versions into a much more generic villain, consequently proving firsthand that the official translation was right to so heavily change Kefka's characterization (the Straw Nihilist Psychopathic Manchild that was so heavily beloved by western fans was a wholecloth invention by translator Ted Woolsey; in Japan, Kefka was just an annoyingly forgettable cardboard cutout of a villain before later portrayals in Japan started carrying over Woolsey's take on the character). Sky Render himself posted a comment on Legends of Localization saying that he thinks the translation could have been better, especially compared to his later work.
    • Although Final Fantasy VII did get an official English translation, many fans considered the translation to be poor in areas, introducing a lot of Mind Screw that supposedly wasn't there in the original Japanese script. One team made a full retranslation of the game, with basis on later localizations (spell names like "Firaga" and "Blizzaga" for instance) with text much clearer and at times more faithful to the original script.
    • News of a practically completed English patch for the Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System ended up surfacing after that version of the game ended up being Japan-only.

  • Final Fantasy Legend II and Final Fantasy Legend III, the Nintendo DS video game remakes.

  • Fire Emblem:
    • Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Gaiden were both translated by fans. Both also ended up being Remade for the Export, the former on the Nintendo DS and the latter on the Nintendo 3DS.
    • Mystery of the Emblem, a Super Famicom game consisting of a remake of the first game (called Book 1) as well as a sequel to the same game (called Book 2), has a translation that's at least more complete than the ones for the Jugdral games. The Nintendo DS remake of Book 2 from that game (since the first game already had a DS remake), Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem — Heroes of Light and Shadow, would later receive a complete fan translation.
      The script translator of the original Mystery of the Emblem (who also led the development of remake's translation) later approved of the development of a revised translation of that version of the game, though the code ended up needing to be hacked from scratch because the original translation's hacker dropped off the radar and the tools used to make said translation were lost.
    • Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 were both never officially localized and have received fan translations. In 2016 Genealogy received a new translation that provides an in-game English translation of the ending for the first time, a feat in itself as the ending is very long and your choices of who you recruit, who lives, who dies, and who falls in love change the ending for a game that was made 20 years ago. The same team behind that translation also wants to develop a new translation for Thracia as well because the only translation we have is notorious for hilariously broken English, utter nonsense, and sizable amounts of dialogue that simply aren't even translated (for example, many portions of the menus are gibberish due to the removal of the Japanese font). The new fan translation was finally released at the end of May 2019.
    • The Binding Bladenote  never received an official translation, despite its prequel being the first officially localized installment. This game, which is what Roy's presence in Super Smash Bros. Melee was promoting, has a complete fan translation to fill the gap.

  • Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (For the Frog the Bell Tolls), the Japan-only Game Boy adventure/platforming game which is the spiritual predecessor of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (which features Prince Richard from the former as an important character) received a fan translation in 2011.
  • The Front Mission Series Translation Team have released a complete fan translation of Front Mission 5, which never made it outside of Japan. They are currently working on fan translations for Front Mission 2 and Alternative. Likewise, they are also covering other Front Mission media, having just completed translating the Gun Hazard radio drama series. You can learn more here.

  • The '80s-to-'90s Glory of Heracles games were not localized when they were current. However, as of 2016 there are fan translation patches for the first four main installments of the series (two Famicom games and two Super Famicom games), as well as a translation for a Game Boy spinoff called Snap Story. DvD Translations, who translated the first game (The Glory of Heracles: Labors of the Divine Hero), also produced translations of the NES/Famicom versions of The Portopia Serial Murder Case and Falcom's Romancia.
  • Grandia Parallel Trippers got a translation patch in September 2011.
  • Several Grand Theft Auto translation projects have been made mostly by Eastern Europeans to which there isn't an officially localized version of the game, although an official Russian version of Grand Theft Auto IV was released by the 1C Company. Translations of the games to languages like Indonesian, Arabic and Filipino are also available.
    • A certain fan translator has gone low into turning the series as an Author Tract medium for his views, though. So much that he plastered anti-gaming messages in place of the games' billboards and signages, and restricts users of his game modding tools from utilizing his programs for authoring content he deems as offensive or contrary to his ideologies.

  • After over four years Hellsinker finally gets one as well.

  • An attempt to hack an English translation into the Swedish game Jönssonligan: Jakten pĺ Mjölner has been made, but so far failed. The reason it is still mentioned on this page is that the translator behind that project then decided to write subtitles for another player's commentary-less longplay which covers the whole game, straddling the line between this and a Fan Sub.

  • KAMUI is the only game in The Tale of ALLTYNEX series to have a fan English translation. Then Nyu Media localized it for English-speaking players and released it a year and a half later, making the fan patch no longer necessary.
  • The original PlayStation King's Field games are a trilogy, but the first in the series was never released outside of Japan. A complete fan translation patch has somewhat corrected that oversight.
  • Dynamic Designs released a translation patch for Kishin Douji Zenki: Battle Raiden (an action Platform Game for the Super Famicom by the same team responsible for Hagane) in January 2016.
  • Klonoa Heroes: The Legendary Star Medal finally received a complete English fan translation in March 2022, after going two whole decades without one.
  • The Famicom platform game based on Kyatto Ninden Teyandee (better known as Samurai Pizza Cats) received two fan translation patches, one of which is a straight translation and the other which—like the show it's based on—throws out the original script and writes new comedic dialogue based on the events of the game.

  • L.A. Noire has also been subject to fan translation — a team of hackers from Xentax and elsewhere came up with their own Czech translation of the game in 2011.
  • Of the five games in the The Legendary Starfy series, only one (the fifth) has been localized to America. Since then, the first game has recieved two English fan translations; one made by a fan called Torchickens and posted on her website, the other made by the team MiYaku Gaming and kept on GitHub. Neither are full translations as both are still works in progress, though the latter is in general a more literal and less polished translation than the former.
    • The second, third, and fourth games in the series have been covered by Autumnchild via let's plays of the games on her YouTube channel, translating what certain important text in the game means. Unfortunately, the translations of the second and third titles can't be seen in the videos anymore, since they were provided by annotations (which YouTube no longer supports). The translations of the fourth game are still intact due to them being edited directly into the videos.
  • The Legend of Zelda games on the Nintendo GameCube all received a Korean translation by one Nintendo fan and collector, as no Nintendo games other than Pokémon Gold and Silver were ever released translated into Korean until Nintendo of Korea was established in 2006.
  • The group TLWiki started translation work on Love Plus. It was picked up by Jjjewel and members of the Gbatemp forum some time later. As of January 2012, the translation project is considered complete.

  • Magical Doropie has a fan translation that keeps the Ninja Gaiden style cutscenes of the Japanese version, which were removed in the American version and are generally considered the saving grace of what is otherwise a pretty blatant Follow the Leader of Mega Man (Classic).
  • Marvelous: Another Treasure Island got a fully-made fan translation in 2016, a few years after a previous one had been abandoned part way through development.
  • Master of Orion 3 got a German Fan Translation.
  • The Romhacking Aerie's long-awaited translation of Megami Tensei: The Old Testament was released in August 2014.
  • Metal Gear got a fan translation, because its official translation was famously horrible and cut out all the jokes.
  • Metal Gear 2 was fan-translated many years before an official translation appeared as an Embedded Precursor game in Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • Monster Hunter 2 (dos) has the DOS English patch by Burango.
  • Mother:
    • Mother 3, a victim of Troubled Production in its original Nintendo 64DD incarnation from a series that's been continually Screwed by the Network, released brand new on the Game Boy Advance in 2006 (when the GBA was pretty much dead, as the Nintendo DS turned two years old the same year): A perfect storm of commercial infeasibility. Faced with this situation, a group of translators spearheaded by Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin coalesced around, the series' major fansite, including a number of professionals from the game industry itself. The result, released on October 2008, is one of the most widely heralded fan translations ever (it even has its own Wikipedia page) and has received praise from members of the game development community.
      While this translation was only released in English, its developers encourage speakers of other languages to base their work on it, as the tools used to make it were released to the public and the font it uses includes characters rarely used in English but commonly used in multiple mainland European languages, such as accented vowels. EarthBound Central, a fansite ran by Clyde Mandelin, often keeps track of translations into languages other than English, such as at least two Italian translations.
    • Some of the Mother 3 translation staff made a translation for the Compilation Rerelease MOTHER 1+2 after the former translation's completion, though they only fully translated the MOTHER 1 half (partially because EarthBound (1994) uses a complex scripting language for its text and partially because it already has a well-regarded official translation, in contrast to the dryness of the first game's then-unreleased localization). Since EarthBound Beginnings now has an official release on the Wii U's Virtual Console, Tomato has disowned his fan translation and now advocates the purchase of Nintendo's translation.

  • Namco × Capcom received a fan translation as well (via PPF patch) since the game was never released outside of Japan.

  • Panel de Pon was technically already released in English as Tetris Attack, but an English patch was released on New Years' 2008 all the same for those who prefer the fairy characters to their Yoshi's Island replacements.
  • The original Parodius for MSX was translated by Takamichi Suzukawa, who was also responsible for the Metal Gear 2 translation mentioned above. Interestingly, he chose to render Vic Viper's name as "Big Viper" because, as the author reasons, its name was always romanized as "biggu baipaa" rather than "bikku baipaa".
  • Remember Persona 2 and how Executive Meddling kept one-half of the duology in Japan? October of 2008 finally saw the fan translation of the missing half, Innocent Sin. A Video Game Remake of Innocent Sin was eventually released worldwide on the PSP, but in an inverse situation, the PSP version of the second part Eternal Punishment was only released in Japan, and a fan translation of that version was released in 2022.
  • Petal Crash has been unofficially translated into Japanese by vgperson.
  • An infamous fan translation is Phantasy Star Gaiden, which alters the revelation that Minima is a clone of Alisa to make her her daughter instead.
  • With the English version of Phantasy Star Online 2 having languished in Development Hell for years (only being announced as back on track for 2020 by Microsoft at E3 2019, and not counting AsiaSoft's SEA version), a large-scale fan-translation project dubbed Arks-Layer rose to translate the Japanese version of the game on PC.
    • These people in fact went above and beyond the call of duty, fixing many issues with the game’s client and adding features to improve the user experience. When the Microsoft Store caused problems for US players, the Arks-Layer team worked their asses off to make their launcher get around as many of those issues as possible, and once the Steam version came out, they added support for that version as well, with the ability to hot-swap between the two US PC versions easily.
  • Pokémon:
    • There is a fan translation hack of Pokémon Green. The spelling and grammar, however, left much to be desired.
    • Poor-quality translations appearing a few months before English releases is practically a staple of Pokémon games, especially during a new generation. (This practice has dropped off ever since Generation VI, though, when main-series games started being localized as they're being developed so they can receive simultaneous or near-simultaneous worldwide releases.) However, some members of Project Pokémon made a superb, 98% complete translation of Pokémon Black and White before it was released.
    • The sequel to the Game Boy Color's Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon Card GB2: GR-Dan Sanjou!, came out very late in the system's lifespan (exactly one week after the Game Boy Advance saw release in Japan, to be specific), leading to a case of No Export for You until the Fan Translation came along.
    • The Pokémon mini had half of its entire game library released only in Japan, all of which have been translated since 2019.
    • The WiiWare Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games are the only ones that weren't available in English (possibly due to not having as much in common with other games, basically being the Lighter and Softer entry of the series), until the fan translation was released in 2020, more than a decade after the original release, and a year after the shutdown of Wii Shop Channel made it unavailable legally.
    • Although Pokémon is popular internationally, the games tend to only be released in a handful of languages, so most countries simply end up using the English version if their language isn't included as an official translation. As a result, fan-translations of Pokémon games in languages such as Arabic, Danish, and Koreannote  are not unheard of.
  • A translation patch for Policenauts, an early Hideo Kojima adventure game which has managed to elude export for almost 15 years, was released in 2009 (by slowbeef of Let's Play and Retsupurae fame), and has been dubbed by some gaming news sources as the most important Fan Translation ever produced. An updated translation of the Sega Saturn version was released in 2016.
  • Alfagame's Prince Maker - Braveness was translated in May 2012. It's a rare example of a fan translation of a game written in Chinese, as well as a fan translation of a Raising Sim.
  • Sometime in 2013, a small fan translation group called TRADUKO Soft announced plans to do a fan translation of Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable One year later, in August 2014, they released a partial translation patch, although there were a few bugs. In September 2015, they plan to release a more detailed patch, with less bugs than their previous one. As of today, TRADUKO Soft is now working on three projects, including the one stated above.
  • A fan group under the name "Precise Museum" is dedicated to creating translations for Puyo Puyo content, most of which doesn't leave Japan with the exception of a few later games. This includes full translation packs of all of the mainline games and some spinoff titles. The fan forum Puyo Nexus had previously translated the DS versions of 15th Anniversary and 7 and were working on one forFever 2 before abandoning it, but those translations (in particular the one for 7) have since become infamous in the community for taking lines out of context, completely rewriting characters and constantly adding in details that had no basis in canon solely because the team thought they sounded cooler than the original Japanese.

  • Radical Dreamers, the other sequel to Chrono Trigger. There are French and German fan translations based on the English one.
  • Retro Game Challenge had a sequel that never came out in America. When XSEED Games refused the call due to poor sales a small team painstakingly translated everything including a text heavy adventure game, a JRPG, and every single game magazine into English.
  • Rhythm Tengoku, the Game Boy Advance predecessor to Rhythm Heaven, was fully translated in 2013 as Rhythm Heaven Silver. While the audio is not modified in any way, anything text-based (such as menus, title cards, and in-game emails) is now in English, allowing fans to more easily understand and play the game.
  • Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation, originally released in Japan in 2004, was given a full English translation in 2019. On top of the full game, there's also a custom boxart cover, a fully translated instructional booklet, a new unlock method for the Navis that originally required the BattleChip Gate peripheral to unlock, and even an optional patch to replace the game's unique battle system with the system from the mainline Battle Network games for people who prefer the latter.
  • Darkside Translations has translated the first RosenkreuzStilette for English-speaking players. Since the patch was released, however, the game itself has been getting updates after v1.05c, the version the English patch was made at the time. There has been word of an updated version of the English patch for its latest release, fixing and correcting some things in their original script along with the help of Ryusui, the fan translator of Breath of Fire II, but the updated patch has been under hiatus for some time. At the end of 2013, Darkside Translations has given word that the game will see an official English release via Playism. The game was released in English on Steam and Playism on Febuary 3, 2017.

  • None of the games in the Sakura Wars series, save the fifth game and the soft reboot, have ever seen the light of day outside of Japan, even though various anime, manga, and cameo appearances have. In late 2019, however, an English patch was completed for the original Sega Saturn title, only a few months before the Western release of the soft reboot.
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story, the Sailor Moon RPG.
  • An English translation of SD Snatcher was created by the Dutch MSX fan group Oasis as early as 1993, though it wasn't converted to a patch format until four years later. Much of the original text was lost due to their hacking skills and Japanese literacy being only basic, though they made up for that with some Woolseyisms.
  • The DS game Soma Bringer, currently in No Export for You hell.
  • Most Sonic the Hedgehog games had never officially been translated into Russian, so some video game pirates translated them by themselves... and the result was...let's say "surprising".
  • The quality of the official English translations for all S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games is at best "Blind Idiot" Translation, with a shotgun being referred to as a "rifle" and attics being mistaken for basements. A number of Game Mods (notably the "Complete 2009" mod packs) incorporate a 100% fan-made translation that's leagues more fluid and correct than what GSC did.
  • StarCraft: Brood War, had a fan-made Hungarian patch. The Hungarian version of StarCraft eventually took a different direction from the official StarCraft lore, with its own expansion pack/Game Mod, Huncraft: Genocide. Both are available for free download, in accordance with Blizzard's policies. The same team also created a translation for Warcraft III.
  • Star Fox 2, a game for the SNES that was never released until 2017 and was in the process of being translated before it was terminated (which makes sense, as it and the first Star Fox were made in collaboration with Argonaut Games, a British studio), but fans came up with ways to translate it themselves years before Nintendo released it officially.
  • The SUGURI series got fan-translation patches by Sara Leen... until she got promoted to work as Rockin' Android's translator and programmer.
  • Super Robot Wars Judgment was released by The Romhacking Aerie right after Christmas 2010.
  • Despite not being a text-heavy game, Sutte Hakkun got a fan translation that translated the amount of text it does have into English.

  • DeJap's translation of Tales of Phantasia is beloved by some fans of the game. There was a mini-controversy in 2005 regarding Nintendo's official translation, because some of the characters' names were changed (e.g., Cless Alvein —> Cress Albane) and some of the adult dialogue was supposedly toned down. However, this was a case of Mis-blamed, as a lot of it was actually added in to the fan translation.
  • Tenchi Muyo! Game-Hen, the Tenchi Muyo strategy RPG.
  • A fan translation of the first Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side game for the Nintendo DS was completed during December 2010. It was followed by unofficial translations of the second and third Girl's Side games in May 2011 and June 2015. The Super Famicom edition of the original Tokimeki Memorial got a fan translation in March 2022.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Fans have to rely on fan-translations because of ZUN's reluctance to license the series to the West. While many of the main games ended up being released on Steam, they are still only in Japanese, as ZUN does not officially endorse the fan translations. So while they're more accessible now, non-Japanese fans still have to use fan translations to play them in their native language.
    • There are fan translations for the Touhou fangames Touhou Labyrinth, Sengoku Gensoirkyo, Touhoumon, Touhou Pocket Wars Evolution, and probably more.
  • Trails Series: The second arc of the series, the Crossbell duology games weren't released state-side due to the PSP having phased out before XSEED Games could work on it. Two different translations were made, the first which translates both games for the PSP that comes with a few minor errors. The second regarded as the Geofront translation, translates several aspects the former were not able to do, but requires the PC version of the games to be used. This has become Ascended Fanon, with Nippon Ichi using the Geofront translation as the basis for the multi-platform English release of the two games.
  • Treasure Hunter G had a translation that was more or less finished in 2004.
  • The fan translation of Trials of Mana (then known by its Japanese title of Seiken Densetsu 3 even among international audiences) is quite possibly tied with Mother 3 for the title of most famous fan translation effort in history. It was one of the earliest high-profile fan translations, one of the first with a truly high quality of hacking (especially given how Neill Corlett had to crack text encryption once thought nigh-uncrackable by the hacking community) and a very solid script... and it gained the dubious distinction of being one of the oldest fan translations to not be answered with any kind of official release, with Trials remaining the only World of Mana title to be a Japan-only release. The patch was first released in July 1999, was polished by 2000, and went on to serve the fandom well for nearly two decades when there wasn't even a word from Square, and later Square Enix, of an official English localization. Although after the Compilation Rerelease on the Switch in Japan was released in 2017, people from Square Enix were acknowledging a demand for a localization, leading to the official international release of the original version of the game in 2019, plus a full remake in 2020, both featuring an all new translation done in-house.

  • Undertale got fan-translated to Japanese not long after the PC version release and before the official Japanese translation in 2017.
  • There is a Hungarian translation on Unreal Tournament floating somewhere around the internet. Unlike most fan projects, this one actually has an excellent quality dub, laced with Double Entendres and Hungarian puns.

  • The translation patch for Valis for the NES was released along with a Game Mod intended to make it less frustrating to play.

  • White Gold: War in Paradise and The Precursors by the developers of Boiling Point: Road to Hell were only released in Eastern Europe, but fans have released an English translation patch in Deep Shadow's official English forums. However, The Precursors had already been translated to English by the developers, and the patch merely unlocks it.
  • White Day: A Labyrinth Named School was translated into English by Unnamed Studios and fixes the game's bugs and compatibility with newer operating systems — or rather it used to, as Unnamed was no longer working on fixing and translating the game in at the end of 2013. A French translation was also made by other fans of the game.
  • Wonder Project J, a Pinocchio-inspired Raising Sim (and a rare male one!) was fan translated in 2001. Almost six years later, a much-anticipated patch for the N64 sequel, Wonder Project J2 was finally released.

  • Ys:
    • Jeff "Deuce" Nussbaum helped translate several Ys games in the years when the series was not receiving international distribution, as well as Cyber Knight II and the Samurai Shodown RPG for the Neo Geo CD (which was never publicly released). He now works for XSEED Games, and their official translations of Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin are based on the patches he contributed to.
    • Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys had its text translated by Deuce in 2004, though the voiced cutscenes were unchanged. In 2012, a new patch by a different group added English voice acting.

    Visual Novels 

Fans who translate Visual Novels:

  • Some Visual Novel makers allow patches to be made, since they require the original game anyway; why not broaden the potential audience? Some creators have even encouraged people to create them or occasionally made them official translations after the fact. However, between April and July 2010, several Japanese game companies sent cease and desist letters to fans striving to translate Porn with Plot visual novels, with fan translations of titles such as Yosuga no Sora and Air getting affected. Some of the translation projects ended, while others continued "underground" on /jp/. Notable translation projects related to this drama include:
  • The site used to host info about many fantranslation projects within the genre; while the domain has since expired (making it unlikely that their unfinished projects will be completed), the site can still be viewed in the Internet Archive. Notably, one of the patches available on the site (for Saya no Uta) was eventually used for an official English release. Other games that got fully translated include Little Busters!, The Devil on G-String, Demonbane and Sharin no Kuni and YU-NO. The YU-NO patch also goes beyond merely translating the game, adding the voice acting and other content from the Sega Saturn version and the FM soundtrack from the PC-98 version, and removing the awkward textual and visual censorship that had been inflicted on the Windows version.
  • The group Alka Translations has so far provided full translations of Angel Beats! 1st Beat, A Sky Full of Stars: Fine Days, and Summer Pockets (although they have since removed links to their Summer Pockets translation due to an official one getting published on Steam). They have also started working on one of the Little Busters! spin-off Kud Wafter.
  • Mirror Moon has created translation patches (which still require the original Japanese game) for several games, like Fate/stay night, Utawarerumono, and Tsukihime, and is working on many more. There are even voice patches for the former two, which rip the audio from the PS2 version (that you have to provide, of course). Mirror Moon also helpfully provides links to distributors who will sell the games to you. Out of these three Utawarerumono would eventually get an official localization.
  • Between 2005 and 2008, a group known as Insani translated several demos of commercial visual novels, and several freeware/independent visual novels. (The demos made it clear that the full games had harem plots, and often adult content. However, the freeware VNs had no harem elements, and few of them contained offensive content.)
  • Amaterasu Translations has translated a number of visual novels, including CROSS†CHANNEL, Sekien no Inganock, Shikkoku no Sharnoth, Muv-Luv Extra, Muv-Luv Alternative, and Rewrite.

Visual Novels translated by fans:

  • Ace Attorney:
    • A fan translation of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations was in the works before the official localisation was announced. Dahlia Hawthorne's nickname "Dollie" was a Fandom Nod by Capcom USA to the fan translation calling her Dolores "Dolly" Willow.
    • A group of fans from Court-Records released a fan localization of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 under the subtitle Prosecutor's Path, which featured not only fully-translated dialogue and other text originally in Japanese, but also custom voice-acting for the new voiced characters and an "Overruled!" effect for Justine Courtney. Due to being a Game Mod, it also writes out the Copy Protection program.
    • A different group of fans called Scarlet Study translated The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and were working on its sequel until Capcom announced an official localization. Compared to the Ace Attorney Investigations 2 fan localization, it was more literal, keeping the original names due to how intrinsically Japanese the game is.
  • Black Wolves Saga is a case of No Export for You, only released in Japan by Rejet. It does have a fan translation using Visual Novel Reader, however.
  • Canvas 2 ~Niji-iro no Sketch~ received a fan translation in October 2010. (A manga based on Canvas 2 has an ongoing scanlation. A TV anime based on the original Porn with Plot Visual Novel was fansubbed, and later released on Crunchyroll.)
  • Project Zetsubou translated Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc... and two weeks after they released it, an official English release of the game and its sequel was announced, causing the sequel translation to be cancelled about 20% through.
  • DRAMAtical Murder has fan translations for both the original game and the sequel, Re:Connect, well before JAST USA announced an official English localization in 2018.
  • The Super Famicom Famicom Detective Club Part II remake, which had many people curious because one of the lead characters, Ayumi Tachibana, was a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee (which had multiple trophies that were many Westerners' first exposure to various Japan-only characters, possibly even to a greater extent than later Super Smash Bros. games). This fan translation was an early project by Tomato, one of the translators who handled the MOTHER 3 fan translation in the latter half of the '00s.
  • Nazerine originally made a fan translation of the free version of Hatoful Boyfriend. However, not only did Nazerine's translation become the official one later on, but they were tasked with creating the official translation of the game's sequel, as well.
  • The licenser of the Higurashi: When They Cry sound novels allows them, and there have been some translation projects aiming to retranslate the first English translation, which was infamous for sounding stilted and including amateur typos (most of these projects appear to have been abandoned, though). And although MangaGamer's official re-release in 2015 mostly remedied these problems, the spin-off materials (such as Matsuri and Sui) are still Japanese-only. The fan group 07th-Mod is trying to remedy this by porting the Sui arc to PC, inserting full voice acting and graphics from the PS3 releases to other arcs, and doing additional tweaks to the game.
    • Umineko: When They Cry was fully translated by the (unofficial) group Witch-Hunt. It has to be noted that the author was very pleased with Witch-Hunt's work and named a group in the series after them.
      Witch Hunt has since then reached (semi) official status with MangaGamer selling the original games with links to the Witch Hunt translations (though the games are currently unavailable due to the license running out). MangaGamer has also announced an official release of Umineko: When They Cry on Steam with a new translation worked on in cooperation with the Witch Hunt team.
  • Several of Key/Visual Arts visual novels, such as Kanon, Planetarian, and (most of) CLANNAD have received fan translations; however, the latter two games in question (and most of their all-ages releases) eventually got official translated releases.
  • Narcissu has a fanmade translation which has been acknowledged (and implicitly accepted) by the game's creator.
  • A translation patch for Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Swordsman of Harmonia, a Visual Novel spinoff of Suikoden, was released in March 2013. In September 2013, the Suikogaiden Translation Project released a patch for Suikogaiden Vol 2.: Duel at Crystal Valley, along with a patch for Suikoden Card Stories.
  • Toradora! Portable was made by Bandai Namco Entertainment for the PlayStation Portable in 2009. The first full English patch was released in 2013. It had bugs, but a follow-up patch in 2014 corrected them.