I’ve written a lot of short, fun articles about game translation and the Japanese language, so if you’re in the mood for a few laughs, give these articles a read.
Bad Game Translation Hall of Fame
Let's take a look at the best of the worst English game translations of all time! (UPDATED May 11, 2018)
Japan’s Love Affair with Filler English Text
When you need a block of English text no one will read, just copy it from something crazy.
Game Translations with Amusing Religious Quotes
Bad translations and religious references often mix in amusing ways, as seen here.
Redundant Translations in Games & Anime
Redundancy problems are common in entertainment translation: here are some examples.
Funky Fantasy IV: A Machine-Translated Video Game Experiment
I Google-Translated an entire video game one day. The results were so surprising that I even wrote a book about it!
How Symphony of the Night’s “Miserable Pile of Secrets” Scene Works in Japanese
This game features one of the most famous video game quotes of all time. But what did it originally say in Japanese?
Why That One Guy in Zelda II Says “I Am Error”
Zelda II features one of the most famous game quotes of all time. But was it a mistranslation? What was it in Japanese?
What the Famous Quote From “Bad Dudes” Originally Said in Japanese
What did this army guy say in the Japanese version of Bad Dudes? What was Bad Dudes called in Japanese anyway?
How a Translation Oversight Led Chun-Li to Become a “Family Man”
This is the perfect example of why game translators must keep all possible scenarios in mind at all times.
How Final Fantasy’s Infamous “I Will Knock You All Down!” Quote Worked in Japanese
Final Fantasy features one of the most famous game quotes from the NES era. But what did it originally say in Japanese?
Why Grilled Mormons Are in Takeshi’s Challenge
Is this Japanese restaurant really trying to cook religious believers? Or is it a mistranslation of some sort?
Is This Pokémon Couple as Suggestive in Japanese?
This lovey-dovey couple has an "interesting" Pokémon combination. Was it the same way in Japanese?
The Ending to Ghostbusters (NES) Is Even Worse in Japanese
This game's notoriously bad translation is somehow an improvement over the original. Here's why.
How a Kangaroo Accidentally Appeared in Tales of Phantasia’s Translation
This is a last-minute nightmare scenario for any modern game translation team.
Game Translations that Turned Surprisingly Political
Politics can seep into everything, including game translations. Here are some examples.
What’s the Deal with That Creepy Sonic CD Secret?
A hidden mode in Sonic CD features a spooky message written in Japanese. What does it say?
People Used to Marry Pokémon All the Time
Get that honeymoon trip booked - it's time to get hitched to some Japanese critters!
Zero Wing Had 32 Weird Secret Endings in Japan
The infamous "All Your Base" game is jam-packed with secret Japanese endings. What do they say?
What Do Japanese Fans Think of the CD-i Zelda Games?
These two Zelda games were never released in Japan. So do Japanese fans consider them holy grails?
Fat, Beauty, and A Link Between Worlds’ Localization
In Japanese, a queen loses her beauty when she grows fat. This changed in English... but how?
Movies in Japanese #01: The Wizard
How did this classic video game movie change when it was translated into Japanese? Let's find out!
How the Michael Jackson References Work in Yakuza 0’s Localization
There's a *lot* of Michael Jackson references in these side quests. How did they work in the original game?
Does Japanese Pokémon Reference Stand By Me?
This classic American movie is mentioned in early Pokémon localizations. Was it in the Japanese games too?
How They Translated Bubsy into Japanese
How were all those English cat puns, jokes, and movie references handled in the Japanese translation?
28 Fake NBA Teams in Japan’s “Super Dunk Shot”
This Japanese basketball game had crazy fake names for NBA teams and players.