This Be Bad Translation #12, Breath of Fire II!


Every speck in this photo is Breath of Fire II making a mistake
You know how your brain just sort of fizzles out when you try to think about how many stars there are in the universe and stuff like that? At some point, it just becomes impossible for the human mind to grasp things at that scale.

Well, the same thing happens whenever I think about how many translation problems there are in the Super NES RPG Breath of Fire II. I even wrote a huge overview of the game’s translation issues, yet barely scratched the surface. Breath of Fire II is a miracle of bad translation.

However, Breath of Fire II is also one of those games with a “slow burn” bad translation, just like Twinkle Star Sprites and Harvest Moon. Basically, single problems might not seem too bad, but they come at such a quiet, steady pace that when you eventually look back on your experience with the game, the text nonsense is one of the first things to come to mind.


Without a doubt, Breath of Fire II deserves a spot on my all-time bad game translation list. So here are just a few examples of the game’s translation in action:

Other Info

Again, individual screenshots don’t really do the game justice. But if you want to see more details about the game’s translation issues here, see my review here.

The crazy thing is that this translation is actually an improvement. A beta version of the game shows that the script had even more issues.

Incidentally, Capcom re-released Breath of Fire II for the Game Boy Advance many years later… but didn’t fix a single thing in the translation. The script was edited for the game’s Virtual Console release much later… but it only changed two lines that didn’t really need fixing. Brrrr!

If you liked this, check out This be book bad translation, video games!, my book dedicated to game translation disasters from the 1970s until today!
  1. I forgot all about the salad tossing scene.

  2. > If you jump on the bucket at the windmill storage behind ,

    Wait, windmill storage? I wanna see the place where they store the windmills!

  3. Oh. It never once occurred to me that “Tolen” was a typo for “Token”! I thought it was just some random emblem with a special name.

  4. Wait…the GBA release DIDN’T fix the translation? I’ve played both versions and I would’ve sworn it did.

  5. Have you checked out the fan translation? It seemed pretty good to me, but I’d be curious as to how well they did with following the actual Japanese.

    1. It’s okay, but they did do that thing that some fan translators like to do, they changed some NPC lines to reference memes. One NPC in particular in the Wizard School talks about Harry Potter. Oh, and the Gold Fly in Simafort has liberal use of the word “retard” which didn’t sit well with me either.

      1. Fan translations in general (whether it’s video games, manga, or anime) have a major problem with rough language. It’s almost never handled well, and a lot of the time it ends up sounding less like a professionally-written script and more like some 15-year-old edgelord trying to be “adult.” Well, this guy is clearly yelling, and obviously he’s angry at this other guy, so obviously he _must_ be saying “shit”, or calling him a “son of a bitch” or whatever. For christ’s sake, there are scanslations of Dragon Ball Super where Beerus starts spewing four-letter words over not being able to eat some pudding. We’d like to _think_ the days of J2E are behind us, but… no, they’re really not.

  6. Just a quick note: I’m in the middle of moving the site to a new server, so a handful of comments have vanished from the past 2 days or so. You haven’t entered an alternate universe. Trust me.

    1. Of course not. Pretending otherwise would make you end up beaten up with a big stick. 😛

  7. I hope one day we can get a translation comparison between the original SNES English version, the fan translation from several years ago, and the original Japanese!

  8. BoF II Needs a Full Retranslation!

    When BoF II got ported to the GBA, couldn’t those lazy morons have been bothered to retranslate the crap translation of the SNES version?

    1. Yes, they do.
      “Equip lod/bait” -> “Equip rod/bait”

  9. The thing about the BoF 2 translation, though, is that it’s mostly still understandable, so at the time, it didn’t bother me. Compare this to the PSP Legend of Heroes games, for example, where there are entire passages that are completely undecipherable – that really ruined those games for me.

    1. Compare to Suikoden 2 where certain NPC dialogue is literally nothing but garbage “text”.

      I really wish I was joking.

  10. Well come on, game. Even Rainbow Dash can tell that the Bum’sCL is clothes. Something more informative would be nice.

  11. As far as I know, “uparupa” is a synonym for “axolotl” (that critically endangered Mexican salamander species).

  12. Another one:
    “(name) tried to opened the door, but he can’t figure it out.”
    (“opened” is supposed to be “open”)