3 Times That Game Translations Were Quietly Changed
When classic games get re-released, sometimes their translations get slight updates too. These are three recent examples.
This Be Bad Translation #07, Battle Rangers!
This arcade classic features amazing examples of bad 1980s video game translation.
This Be Bad Translation #01, Zero Wing!
This infamous scene from the start of Zero Wing has become the face of bad translation worldwide.
How They Translated Bubsy into Japanese
How were all those English cat puns, jokes, and movie references handled in the Japanese translation?
Yakuza 0’s “Fisting Artist” in Translation
How did this surprising scene work in the original Japanese version of Yakuza 0?
Japan’s Surprising Love of the Word “LABO”
Step foot in Japan and you'll find yourself surrounded by the word "Labo" written in English. What's the deal?
This Be Bad Translation #04, Download!
This Japanese game has a surprising amount of interesting and colorful English.
Legends of Localization Projects in 2018
New books, new software, new gadgets, and new discoveries are on the horizon.
Persona 5 (English) [PS4]
Approximately 200 strange, funny, or interesting screenshots from portions of the English PS4 game.
What Happened When I Auto-Translated the Official Final Fantasy Browser Game
This official browser game was only released in Japanese - here's what happens when you auto-translate it.
28 Fake NBA Teams in Japan’s “Super Dunk Shot”
This Japanese basketball game had crazy fake names for NBA teams and players.
Mega Man III (Japanese / English) [FC/NES]
14 save-states and over 130 side-by-side images from the Japanese and English versions of Mega Man III.
Mega Man II (Japanese / English) [FC/NES]
132 side-by-side screenshots and 14 save-states from the original Japanese and English versions of Mega Man II.
The Legend of Zelda (Multiple Versions)
Save files, photos, and over 1000 images from 10 different versions of the original Zelda game.
Tales of Phantasia (English) [GBA]
450+ screenshots and 9 save files from the English GBA release. One super-EXP .ips patch file included.
Pokemon Vietnamese Crystal (Bootleg Translation) [GBC]
Over 500 screenshots and several save files from the early part of this bootleg English translation.
Final Fantasy IV (English) [PS1]
Nearly 3000 screenshots from the English PS1 re-translation of Final Fantasy IV.
Final Fantasy IV (English) [GBA]
Over 3000 screenshots from the North American version of Final Fantasy IV's GBA port.
Final Fantasy IV (Japanese / English / Easy Type) [SFC/SNES]
Over 12,000 screenshots and 30 save files from the original Japanese, English, and Japanese "Easy Type" releases.
MOTHER 1+2 (MOTHER 2 only) [GBA]
Over 50 save files and 5000 screenshots from the Japanese GBA port of MOTHER 2/EarthBound.
Super Mario RPG (English w/ Japanese Text) [SNES]
Over 50 save files + 4000 screenshots of the English game with the Japanese text in a special sidebar.
Xenoblade Chronicles (English) [Wii]
Over 100 hours of video footage from the English Wii version of the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Japanese) [Switch]
Over 13,000 screenshots from the Japanese Switch version of the game.
EarthBound (Japanese / English) [SFC/SNES]
Over 13,000 screenshots + 100 save-states from the Super Famicom and Super NES versions of MOTHER 2/EarthBound.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Japanese / English) [FDS/NES]
Over 1500 screenshots and 33 save states from the original Japanese FDS release and the English NES release. A side-by-side script PDF too.
EarthBound Beginnings (Japanese / English) [FC/NES]
Over 4000 screenshots + 36 save files, covering both the original Japanese release and the long-unreleased English version.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Japanese / English) [3DS]
Over 8000 crisp PNG screenshots, covering the full Japanese and English 3DS versions of the game.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Japanese / English) [SFC/SNES]
Over 1500 organized screenshots from the Japanese and English versions of the game.
Mega Man (Japanese / English) [FC/NES]
Screenshots, comparisons, and save files from both versions of the original Rockman/Megaman game.
2 New Books About Lovely Translations & Horrible Translations!
Actual quote from one of the books: "The enema is saying that you should not wear a basketball!"
This Be Bad Translation #05, Gunbarich!
This popular Japanese arcade game finally hit the Nintendo Switch, along with an awkward English translation.
How Ganon’s Motivation Changed in Breath of the Wild’s English Translation
This is a good example of how a single translation can significantly effect an entire story.
21 Times “Yoshi” Was Called “Yossy”
Everyone's favorite green dinosaur has a slightly different name in Japan, as these pics demonstrate.
Why Even Simple Jokes Are Tough to Translate
Jokes are almost always a challenge to translate between languages. Here are two specific examples.
All Your Bad Translation Books Are Belong to Us!
I wrote this book about the history of bad video game translations and why bad translations happen.
See Behind the Scenes of Legends of Localization
There's now a second, more regularly updated Legends of Localization blog. Check it out for extra info & entertainment!
That Weird Time Lakitu Started Throwing Pipes
This is a great example of how name mistranslations happen in game localizations, and what happens as a result.
How the “Over 9000” Meme Was Inserted into Street Fighter X Tekken’s Translation
This English scene features an ultra-popular Internet meme. But what did it originally say in Japanese?
Is This Snowy Translation Really Literal?
A line of dialogue includes a translator's note about literal translations. What *is* a "literal translation", anyway?
This Be Bad Translation #02, Vroom in the night sky!
This notorious Nintendo Switch game is proof that bad translation is alive and well, even on the newest game consoles.
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?
This Be Bad Translation #03, SLASH HERO!
This Japanese mobile game is a treasure trove of machine-translated nonsense.
How Nintendo Recently Changed Zelda 1 Even More
Nintendo has been quietly altering The Legend of Zelda for 30 years. Here's a look at the latest changes.
How a Quote in Final Fantasy IX Became More Famous in English Than Japanese
This beloved quote references two past Final Fantasy heroes. But what does it say in Japanese?
Mega Man V’s Ending Was a Bit Different in Japanese
There usually isn't much story in Mega Man games, but this particular story received some changes.
How One Fan Translation Team Turned Official
To some degree, most professional translators start out as hobbyists. Here's one such story.
Tomato Adventure Fan Translation Patch & Tools
This quirky JRPG is the spiritual predecessor of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. It's never been translated... until now.
Breath of Fire II (Super NES) Localization Review
This classic JRPG supposedly has one of the worst translations of all time. Is it really as bad as everyone says?
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!
Check out This Worldwide Japanese-To-English Game Translation Contest
Game translation contests are a great way to build experience and résumés, and the game this time is superb!
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Live Japanese Script Viewer
This custom tool displays the Japanese script live as you play the English game. You can try it for yourself!
Behind the Scenes of the EarthBound Legends of Localization Book
I committed a chunk of my life to writing this giant book about localization. Here's what happened behind the scenes.
A New Way of Playing Japanese and English Games Side-By-Side
I worked some technical magic to play games in a weird new way. Here's how my prototype worked.
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?
How Items and Names Get Sorted in Japanese Games
The first Final Fantasy game organizes items in a weird order, but why? And how are words sorted in Japanese anyway?
4 Translations in Goonies II That Make More Sense in Japanese
This NES classic has some interesting text that doesn't seem quite right. What did it originally say in Japanese?
Was This Line in Tales of the Abyss a Mistranslation?
Even a basic word like "new" can change dramatically in translation. This is a perfect real-life example.
How Splatoon’s “Stay Fresh” Catchphrase Works in Japanese
Splatoon's localization is overflowing with squid puns. How did this one work in Japanese?
The Growing Pains of the Translation (and Professional) World
If you're hoping to learn a skill or start a career in any field, this is a helpful experience to learn from.
10 Examples of Untranslated Text in Video Game Localizations
Failing to translate everything is a common pitfall in game localization. These examples help explain why.
Why Are Tootsie Pops and M&M’s in a Japanese RPG?
The English localization includes real-life pop culture jokes, but what were they originally in Japanese?
Early Japanese Previews of Zelda 64 and MOTHER 3
Here's some early info and high-quality screenshots from these Nintendo 64 games.
What a Certain Line About Gender Roles Says in Japanese
This translated line seems out of place at first glance, so let's take a look at the full scene in question.
Japanese Coverage of American Video Games in 1992
We always hear news about Japanese gaming events, but here's a Japanese look at an American event.
Why the Japanese “Clash at Demonhead” Script Mentions Famicoms
The Japanese script mentions Famicoms at one point, but why? And what does the English script say?
Final Fantasy VI Beta Images (Early 1994)
This is a fascinating Japanese preview of Final Fantasy VI a few months before its release.
How the Resident Evil 5 Door Pun Is Handled in Japanese
What does a sarcastic one-liner in English look like in Japanese?
What the Mario & Luigi Sock Creature Is Named in Japanese
This sock creature has a Japanese name in English, so what is its name in Japanese?
The Exciting Ups and Painful Downs of Game Localization
Every professional starts from somewhere. This professional translator shares an early misstep in his career.
The Time Suikoden’s Script Went off the Rails
A party member suddenly spouts developer notes instead of dialogue. What happened?
How the “Metal Gear” Name Is Explained in Japanese
A scene in Metal Gear Solid 3 explains the meaning of the iconic name, but does it make more sense in Japanese?
What the Hidden Japanese Text Says in Link’s Awakening
There's a set of silly, hidden lines in this classic game. But what did they originally say in Japanese?
Is This “LIE” Also in Japanese Metal Gear Solid 2?
This game gets so crazy that you can't even trust individual words by the end. Was it the same way in Japanese?
Did Project X Zone 2 Reference All These Things in Japanese?
This crossover game references many games and companies. Were these references in the Japanese version too?
Does Japanese Pokémon Reference Stand By Me?
This classic American movie is mentioned in early Pokémon localizations. Was it in the Japanese games too?
Link’s Gender in Early Zelda Games
These are classic examples of how Japanese grammar and pronouns can have a profound effect on a translation.
Culex Is Quite Different in Japanese Super Mario RPG
There's a secret boss in Super Mario RPG with Final Fantasy connections. What is he like in Japanese?
How a Cheesy Anti-Drug Message Was Inserted into an Old Game Localization
This ninja policeman shares a really hamfisted anti-drug message. What did he originally say in Japanese?
What’s Written on This Nopon Monado in Xenoblade X?
There's a Monado-like item in this new Xenoblade game, but what does its symbol mean?
Legends of Localization Book 1 is Now Out!
Legends of Localization has hit the big time - now you can cite me in all you essays and last-minute assignments!
What Do Japanese Zelda Fans Think of Linkle?
A surprising new Zelda character was unveiled recently. How did Japanese fans respond to the announcement?
What Do Japanese Fans Think of Cloud in Super Smash Bros.?
This is a great showcase of the kinds of assumptions gamers have about gamers in other countries.
3 Examples of Translated Jokes That Don’t Work at All
Japanese puns can be hard to localize... but the localizers really dropped the ball in this case.
How The “Litter Joke” Was Reworked in Dragon Warrior IV
The English release of Dragon Warrior 4 features a forced pun. What was it originally in Japanese?
How Triforce Heroes, Meme References, and Controversy Collided
A recently localized Zelda game features an outdated Internet meme. What did the original Japanese line say?
How the Tickle Robot in Medabots Really Acts in Japanese
Something seems off about a certain line in this game's translation. What did it originally say in Japanese?
Why Is This Egg Tart Censored?
Was this part of the game censored during the translation process? What was it originally in Japanese?
The Shenmue Girl Who Looks Like a Cat
This girl gets angry when she's compared to a cat. But why does she get *this* upset?
These Are the Japanese Boxing Ring Aliases in Smash Bros. Wii U
All the characters have silly boxer nicknames... and they're different in every version of the game!
Did Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire Just Suddenly Reference Alain?
Are these anime-exclusive characters referenced in the Japanese games too, or did the game localizers change things?
What That Cat Sign Says in Paper Mario Sticker Star
There's a bit of decorative Japanese text in this Paper Mario game. What does it mean?
Why the Letter “W” Appears in Japanese Games All the Time
The letter W often appears in Japanese text for no apparent reason. What does it mean?
How Quina’s “S/he” Pronoun is Handled in Japanese Final Fantasy IX
Pronouns are easily avoided in Japanese, but what happens when you translate pronoun-less text into English?
You Have to Save Lucca’s Mom a Different Way in Japanese
This is a great example of how language differences can lead to unexpected gameplay changes.
Why Japanese Demons Became Elephants in WarioWare
WarioWare's boxers, janitors, and bakers weren't in the original Japanese game. What did they replace, and why?
What the Backwards-Speaking Japanese Vampire Says in Virtual Hydlide
This game features a very strange audio clip that seems to be in Japanese. What is it saying?
What Xenogears’ Beloved “Oh My Gabrino” Line Says in Japanese
A character in this sprawling JRPG shouts a very unique line in English. Is it the same in Japanese?
Is This Prison Quote from Soul Blazer Meant to Be Philosophical?
An unusually worded line in the English translation leaves players confused. What did it originally say in Japanese?
Is Harvest Moon Supposed to Have Lightening or Lightning?
Poor translations can become even more baffling when typos enter the picture.
The Bananas in Final Fantasy Legend II Are Actually Drugs
This is a classic example of the type of content changes that Nintendo forced back in the 1990s.
How to Tell the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Writing
If you don't know Chinese or Japanese, these easy tips will help you differentiate the two.
How Palutena’s Name Works in Japanese and English
This is a great example of why translating names between cultures, languages, and eras is a challenge.
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?
Why Bishops in Elminage Are Always “Touching” Things
Why is "YOU TOUCHED IT" a failure message in this game about dungeon crawling?
Does Japanese Final Fantasy X Feature the Macarena Too?
Does the world of Final Fantasy X really know about 1990s Earth music? Was it mentioned in the original Japanese script?
What’s with the “Dark Friar” Attack in Illusion of Gaia?
Why is one of the special attacks called "Dark Friar"? Is it a mistranslation, or something else?
What Do Japanese Fans Think of the Super Mario Bros. Movie?
The Super Mario movie has a poor reputation in America and elsewhere. But what about in Japan?
Did Castlevania II’s Endings Get Mixed Up in Japanese Too?
This classic has three endings, but something seems off about them in English. What were they like in Japanese?
What Did Famitsu Think of American Super Mario Bros. 2?
This classic transformed several times before re-entering Japan in the 1990s. What did Japanese gamers think of it?
Did Natsume Misspell Its Own Name in Harvest Moon 64?
The Harvest Moon games are known for their poor translations, but surely they can't be *this* bad, right?
Why Harvest Moon Keeps Asking You To “Confirm the Origin of Fire”
The Harvest Moon series is known for its consistently awkward translations. This line marks the start of that legacy.
How Did Japanese Fans React to the Greninja Smash Bros. Update?
The announcement of this ninja character had Smash Bros. fans curious about fans in other countries.
Is Ridley from Metroid Really Native to Zebes?
Is this powerful foe really the source of all life on Planet Zebes? Or was there a mistranslation somewhere?
How Zelda’s “Like Likes” Were Named After a Japanese Proverb
These foes have an unusual name with an unusual origin, but some games give inconsistent reasons for the name.
This Is Why Japanese Games Have Small Text on Top of Normal Text
Japanese writing sometimes has smaller writing on top of it. This explains what it is, and why it exists.
Is This Pokémon Couple as Suggestive in Japanese?
This lovey-dovey couple has an "interesting" Pokémon combination. Was it the same way in Japanese?
What Does Japan Think of Little Mac in Smash Bros.?
Punch-Out was never quite a smash hit in Japan, so what was the response to Little Mac's Smash Bros. announcement?
What the Weird “Googly-Goo Zombie” Line in Suikoden Was Supposed to Say
A great example of why context is vital to translators, and why insults don't always translate well.
Is Lance from Pokémon Supposed to Be This Sadistic?
Does this enemy leader really threaten to strangle you with dragons' tails?
What Were These “Sweet Tacos” Originally in Japanese?
This classic SNK game features an unusual food combination. What was it originally in Japanese?
Which Is the Correct Translation in Cave Story: Grasstown or Bushlands?
Cave Story fans seem split over which translation is better. This name is particularly controversial.
How Were These Japanese Characters and Typos Handled in Ace Attorney?
What does this decorative Japanese text say? And are these English typos based on Japanese typos?
How Final Fantasy VI’s Secret “Scrap of Paper Scene” Works in Japanese
Banon has a somewhat secret line in Final Fantasy VI. What does he say in the Japanese version?
Did Secret of Mana Reference Final Fantasy VII?
Did Square sneakily reference two Final Fantasy VII characters years before the game's release?
How 2 Grand Theft Auto Scenes Were Localized into Japanese
How are modern, AAA English games localized into Japanese? Here are some specific examples.
What Does This Untranslated Japanese in The Wonderful 101 Mean?
There's a good amount of decorative Japanese text in this game. What does it mean?
Is the Starbeans Cafe Guy Supposed to Be Sad in Japanese Too?
This punk-haired coffee guy has an odd line in English. What does he say in Japanese?
This Is What the Japanese Writing Says in Kirby Squeak Squad
There's some decorative Japanese text in this Kirby game. What does it say?
What Does The “Killing Weenies” Line in Last Blade 2 Say in Japanese?
Old SNK games are known for their peculiar translations. What was this line originally in Japanese?
What Does This New Pokemon X/Y TCG Card Say?
Some Pokemon trading cards feature decorative Japanese text. What does this text say?
Is Syfa from Castlevania III Male or Female?
The English release of this Castlevania game left some details unclear. What about the Japanese version?
Rare Video of the Ninja Gaiden Prequel Never Released Outside Japan (Translated)
There's a little-known Japanese-only prequel to the original Ninja Gaiden. What was the story about?
How Geno Introduces Himself in Super Mario RPG
This character introduces himself in an odd way in English. But what does he say in Japanese?
All 3 Weird Endings in the Notorious “Transformers” Famicom Game
This game's ending is written in Japanese... but with English letters. What does it say?
Does Japanese Disgaea Have a Horse Wiener?
Was this surprising line from the English translation in the original Japanese script?
Was Princess Daisy Originally Princess Toadstool/Peach?
Mario's first Game Boy release left players with many questions, including one about this damsel in distress.
The iOS/Android Final Fantasy Translations Have Basic Translation Problems
Why has this classic JRPG - and others like it - received such shabby translation work lately?
How a Simple Line in Paper Mario Became a Fire Emblem Advertisement
This is a perfect example of how outside circumstances can influence a game's localization.
How Zero Wing’s “All Your Base” Translation Compares with the Japanese Script
This infamous video game intro feels very different in Japanese and English.
These Fan Translations Became Official Translations
Some fan translations have made the legendary jump from unofficial project to official release.
How a Kangaroo Accidentally Appeared in Tales of Phantasia’s Translation
This is a last-minute nightmare scenario for any modern game translation team.
How Bionic Commando’s Infamous “Nerd” Insult Works in Japanese
Why does this enemy soldier talk like a high school jock? What does he say in Japanese?
Is Helen Keller Seriously in this Japanese Video Game?
This game features a surprising reference in English. But was it in the original Japanese game too?
Is the Blitzball Kid in Final Fantasy X Really This Dumb?
This little kid doesn't seem very bright in English. But what about in Japanese?
Is This Character in Pokémon X/Y Transgender?
Pokémon localizations are filled with interesting changes concerning gender roles and cultural values.
How the Heavy English Accents in Dragon Quest IV Work in Japanese
Controversy surrounds the heavy English accents found in this Dragon Quest localization.
Zelda’s Audio & Graphical Differences Live on in Famicom Remix
The Japanese version of this unusual Zelda "re-release" remains different from the English game.
What Masahiro Sakurai Says in an Old Super Smash Bros. Update
The old Japanese Super Smash Bros. preview site featured content not shown in English.
Here’s What Being a Translator Is Like, Business-Wise
Pro translators have to do more than just translate - the business side of things is a challenge too.
Why Japanese Gamers Laughed at Tomb Raider’s Translation
Early screenshots of a translation in action can affect a game's reception well before release.
What Happens When PETA, Super Mario, and Game Localization Collide
Can controversy be localized? And can controversial parodies be reverse-localized?
There’s a Localization Gem in This Generic Pokémon Clone
What would you call a dog with a flower for a butt? There's no better name than this!
How Corpse Party’s Infamous “Pooper” and “Retard” Lines Worked in Japanese
Were these crude, offensive lines added to the English translation? What are they in Japanese?
Does Japanese Mega Man Live in Monsteropolis?
Mega Man explores the world of Monsteropolis in English. But what about in Japanese?
Why the Secret Skeleton Man Clucks Like a Chicken in Final Fantasy V
This hidden old man turns into a skeleton and clucks in English. But does he cluck in Japanese?
Did Professor Oak Forget His Own Grandson’s Name in Japanese?
Is this intelligent Pokemon professor as forgetful in Japanese as he is in English?
Does Raiden Take a DOOMP in Japanese? And How Does George Talk?
How does this cyborg poop joke work in Japanese? And how do English dialects work in Japanese?
What That Weird Writing in Ninja Games Mean
Ninja games often feature a variety of decorative Japanese text. What does it mean?
Why Watt’s Gender in Paper Mario Has Caused Confusion
Why does Nintendo call this character a "he" half of the time but a "she" at other times?
Do Mario & Friends Wear Goomba Corpses in Super Mario 3D World?
Fans argue about what this Goomba power-up suggests. Luckily, the Japanese devs have an answer.
What That Japanese Guy in Dead Rising 3 Says
Did they forget to translate this Japanese guy's text? And what is he saying, anyway?
Why the “Daisy, Can You Take Care Of…” Line in Kingdom Hearts is Confusing
Game translators face many unusual challenges, including incomplete sentences and dialogue lip-flaps.
What’s So Funny About This Line in Phantasy Star IV?
Why does something seem off about a single line in this translated scene?
How Banjo-Kazooie’s Rhyming Text Was Handled in Japanese
Localizing this English game into Japanese couldn't have been easy, as we see in this intro scene.
The 4 Japanese Names for Super Mario World’s 8 “Special” Courses
What are Super Mario World's special courses called in Japanese? Are their names as gnarly as the English names?
How Pokémon’s Famous “Smell Ya Later” Phrase Works in Japanese
What is the original Japanese version of this mainstay Pokemon catchphrase?
What the Temple Text Says in the Ace Attorney Games
This game features some decorative Japanese text that was left untranslated. What does it say?
What Are Some Games with Untranslated Credits?
There's a surprising number of games with untranslated credits. Can you think of any?
Why Conversation is Mysteriously Prohibited at the Well in Suikoden
An example of how even the shortest of phrases can easily be mistranslated.
What Those 2 Untranslated Posters Say in Link’s Awakening
Nintendo forgot to localize a couple shop signs in this classic game. What do they say?
The Truth Behind the Secret Final Fantasy IV Frog
Talking frogs tie some of the Final Fantasy games together in a surprising way.
How Super Paper Mario’s Famous “Complaining on Message Boards” Scene Worked in Japanese
This super-nerd's quiz questions changed a bit during localization. What did he originally ask?
Does Jane Talk About English in Japanese Kingdom Hearts?
Or does the Japanese version ask if you understand Japanese instead?
How Breath of Fire’s Massage Scene Was Changed in Translation
This old man's text was censored in the English release, but in a surprising way.
How Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s TMNT References are Handled in Japanese
There's a Ninja Turtle reference in the English version, but what about the Japanese version?
What That Tourist Lady Says in Pokémon X/Y
An NPC in the English game speaks in Japanese. What does she say? And what does she say in the Japanese game?
Fan Translation: Does It Help or Hurt Getting Professional Work?
Here's a quick summary of my own experiences as a professional translator and a fan translator.
Why Final Fantasy Tactics’ “Little Money” Line Is So Incredibly Slow
Why... is... this... line... so... absolutely... slow...?
How Satan’s Name Changed a Bit in the Japanese Version of Ghosts ‘N Goblins
The iconic final boss of Ghosts 'n Goblins wasn't always known as "Satan". What was his original name?
How a Castlevania II Reference Was Added to Shanoa’s English DIalogue
This is a great example of how one generation of a classic series paid homage to its roots.
How Mario Party Advance’s Comedy Routines Work in Japanese
Dialog-based comedy rarely translates well between languages. How did these comedy routines get localized?
Is Picross a Big Deal in Japan?
Picross games have existed since the 1980s. How popular are they in Japan, though?
What the Japanese Writing Says in Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s Shirt & Ice Cream
There's a bit of Japanese kanji in the localized versions of Animal Crossing. What do they mean?
What’s the Difference Between Seppuku and Harakiri?
There's a lot of confusion surrounding these Japanese loanwords. How do they differ, at all?
What the Famous “Link, Zelda Is Your…” Line Means in A Link to the Past
What was Link's uncle trying to say in A Link to the Past? And what's with the weird names of those cane items?
Learning Japanese & Becoming a Translator
If you've ever considered studying Japanese or translation, this information will be useful to know.
What All the Japanese Image Text in .hack//G.U. Means
The localizers left a lot of graphical text in Japanese. What does it all mean?
How the “Adversary” Boss in Pocky & Rocky Speaks in Japanese
This monster says something that sounds like a mistranslation. What did he originally say in Japanese?
How Gilbert’s Sexual Innuendo in Legend of Mana Is Handled in Japanese
This hunk makes people "hard" in the English version of Legend of Mana. But what about the Japanese release?
Is Breath of Fire II’s Mt. Fubi a Reference to Mt. Fuji?
An early destination in Breath of Fire II has a name similar to Mt. Fuji. Is it an intentional reference?
What Sabin’s Strange Line in Narshe Means in Japanese Final Fantasy VI
There's an odd line in Final Fantasy VI's original English translation. What did it originally say in Japanese?
How a Rare Message in Final Fantasy II/IV Got Messed up in Translation
This is the perfect example of an obscure line of text getting mishandled in translation.
How Pearl Fey’s Gravy Accident Was Handled in Japanese Ace Attorney
An important clue in this mystery game involves gravy, but what was it originally in Japanese?
How the “Thanatos” and “Tanatos” Name Change Was Handled in Kid Icarus: Uprising
"Tanatos" gets a name upgrade in the English version, but what happens in the Japanese version?
What Do Japanese Fans Call These Legendary Pokemon?
Raikou, Entei, and Suicune... Are they dogs, cats, or something else?
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?
What the Monado Symbols Mean in Xenoblade
All the Monado symbols have actual meanings in Japanese. So what do they stand for?
Here’s What All Those Foreign Signs in Street Fighter II Say
Street Fighter II takes place all over the world, so there are signs in many languages. What do they say?
How “Control Code” MIstakes Can Wreck Game Translations
Game translation involves more than just text. If you're not careful, you could end up with problems like these.
Japanese Speech Styles & Loads of Typos in Tales of Vesperia
This "old man" stands out from the rest of the game's heroes. So how does he present himself in Japanese?
How the Dr. Robotnik & Eggman Confusion Works in Japanese Sonic Generations
Changing the name "Eggman" to "Robotnik" back in the 90s left the door open for this future surprise.
Super Metroid & Other English Games with Japanese Text Options
Super Metroid was ahead of the curve in many ways. What other games offered a Japanese language option?
What Are Mega Man “Robot Masters” Called in Japan?
Dr. Wily's robots are famously known as "Robot Masters" in English. But what are they called in Japanese?
How Japanese Ellipsis Usage Compares with English
Play any Japanese game and you'll probably find an avalanche of ellipses. What's the deal?
How a Disco Reference Was Added to a Zelda Game
This is an article from the 2010s about a game from the 1990s in a series from the 1980s that has a reference from the 1970s.
What’s the “D” Status Ailment in Final Fantasy IV/II Means
The letter "D" mysteriously appears in this classic game's translation. What's going on?
What Does Japan Think of Metroid: Other M?
This game is often derided by Western fans and critics, but what do Japanese players think of it?
How the Ending to Midnight Wanderers Lost a Cultural Reference
The English and Japanese endings are different in this Capcom game. What changed?
Was Samus Called a He in Japanese Metroid Too?
Players around the world were surprised to learn Samus was a woman. Was it a surprise in Japan too?
How Toad’s Name and Gender Occasionally Caused Confusion for Japanese Fans
Is Toad one person or many people? Also, what other interesting Toad trivia is there?
How Frog Talks in the Japanese Version of Chrono Trigger
This unusual character speaks in an unusual way in English, but what does he sound like in Japanese?
2 Japanese Games with Unexpected MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice References
Japanese games are full of pop culture references - you just have to know where to look.
How to Pronounce Ryu’s Name
How do you pronounce Ryu's name? The question has baffled gamers around the world for decades.
Shadowgate Is Considered So Crappy in Japan That It’s Legendary
Rumor has it that Japanese gamers consider Shadowgate one of the crappiest games ever. But why?
How the Metroid Series’ “Varia Suit” Was Originally a Mistranslation
The Varia Suit is a key power-up throughout the Metroid series, but the name is actually a mistranslation.
How the Rap Lyrics in Mario Party Advance Work in Japanese
The English version of Mario Party Advance features rapping turtles. What do they say in Japanese?
Reader Feedback: Final Fantasy IV’s Fan Translation
I respond to an e-mail about my criticism of the old Final Fantasy IV fan translation.
Why Yoshi Is Sometimes Called Yossy in Japan
Yoshi's name often appears as "Yossy" in Japan. Have we been pronouncing his name wrong all this time?
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.
Why Super Mario Bros. 4 Is Actually Super Mario World
The Mario games stopped getting numbered sequels in the 1990s, but there *was* one more after Super Mario Bros. 3.
How the Official and Unofficial Danganronpa Translations Led to Fan Disagreement
Danganronpa fans seem split between which version is better - the professional translation or the fan translation.
What’s the Donkey Kong 64 Rap Like in Japanese?
The English version of Donkey Kong 64 features a rap about the game's characters. But what about the Japanese version?
Does Ocarina of Time Have Farting Cabbages?
French fans weigh in on the flatulent controversy.
How Kefka’s Famous “Son of a Submariner” Works in Japanese
Final Fantasy VI features one of the series' most famous and iconic lines. But what did it originally say 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?
2 Characters in Animal Crossing Who Changed Gender in Localization
Two effeminate characters were changed into full-blown female characters when localized into English.
Final Fantasy IV, Secret of Mana, and Chrono Trigger Had a Connection
My investigation into an old gaming rumor turned up an unexpected discovery.
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 “Jill Sandwich” Quote from Resident Evil Says in Japanese
How does this infamous & quotable scene unfold in the Japanese version of the game?
I Had to Write a Final Fantasy Fanfic for Square
When I applied for a translation job at Square long ago, I didn't realize they'd ask me to write fan fiction!
How Lyn from Fire Emblem Speaks in Japanese
People say this main Fire Emblem character talks like a sweet country gal in Japanese. Does she really?
How Dr. Robotnik Turns into Dr. Eggman in Japanese Sonic Adventure
The iconic mad scientist got renamed in the English version of Sonic Adventure, but what about the Japanese version?
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?
How Axel’s “Got It Memorized” Catchphrase Works in Japanese Kingdom Hearts
What was the original Japanese version of this fan-favorite catchphrase?
People Used to Marry Pokémon All the Time
Get that honeymoon trip booked - it's time to get hitched to some Japanese critters!
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?
How the Famous “Comfy Shorts” Quote Worked in Japanese Pokémon
There's a famous kid in Pokemon who likes really, really likes shorts. But what does he say in Japanese?
Why the “Graveyard Duck” from Castlevania II Isn’t a Mistranslation After All
Castlevania II is known for its odd translation, including a line about a graveyard duck. What did it originally say in Japanese?
What River City Ransom’s Famous “BARF!” Quote Said in Japanese
This simple line ranks high on every list of famous video game quotes. But what was it originally in Japanese?