Translation Train Wreck
"I can use my present, mine of I to own instincts like you?"
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"My gift, can I use my own instincts as you?"
Sometimes translations are bad. And sometimes they pass bad at warp speed and crash headlong into the wall around the galaxy.
When a translation goes from odd word choices and stilted grammar that is still somewhat parseable into the realm of pure gibberish, you have a Translation Train Wreck. This is especially common in bootleg translations, where the "localization team" has little budget, less incentive, and may not even speak the language they're translating to. In the case of little or no knowledge of the target language, they may guess as to the meaning and structure of what they need or use a direct machine translation.
This often results in a Good Bad Translation, although these tend to apply more to generally okay translations with a few funny mistranslations.My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels, Either World Domination or Something About Bananas and Intentional Engrish for Funny, where a fictional character manages to botch a language beyond all recognition. Also see Word Salad Humor.
- 1 Milking in Ambulance (Anime and Manga)
- 2 Fun Falconing (Film)
- 3 Limbness on the Darkness (Literature)
- 4 Long Gasping Afrongs (Live Action TV)
- 5 Mars Riding Cocks (Merchandise)
- 6 Malnutrition Longing (Music)
- 7 Vark Long New Sex (Video Games)
- 8 Cowboys Moving Hardcore (Western Animation)
- 9 Top is Table Doing Sex (Tabletop Games)
- 10 Ordinal Fabrication (Other)
- 11 Living Blood Real Long Time (Real Life)
Milking in Ambulance (Anime and Manga)
- A Chinese bootleg of Grappler Baki had this, although sometimes it bordered on Good Bad Translation. For example, "endorphins"(the pain-numbing hormones produced by the body during stressful situations or exercise) is translated as "brain coffee".
- The One Piece HK subs, which contained such infamous lines as "I smelted the edge .. on the goog", "he dive like a crazy beef", "the cord's from your bingy", "shit of cockchafer?!", and "what shall we do? we can't break through the Hymen this way". Screenshots here.
- There are Inuyasha DVDs of unknown origin that feature Miroku yelling loudly (at least according to the subs) "That man, let me suck him!!"
- There is a particularly bad Chinese bootleg sub of Mobile Suit Gundam. The subtitlers had no idea what was going on, and seemed to have thrown in subtitles from an office drama. However, the subtitles, completely inappropriate as they were, still synched to the voices. The best example of this was Garma Zarbi plunging to his death at the helm of a burning bomber, shouting out "Merry Christmas!"
- Gundam has more than its fair share of hilarious subs. An HK sub of Zeta Gundam refers to minor character Katz as "Gryps" every time he appears. The problem here? Gryps is a place (and obviously one whose name sounds nothing at all like "Katz").
- A Taiwanese bootleg of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society included a line that's become a bit of a meme in itself: "Even electronic brain pancake crystal elderly."
- Speaking of that series, "Are you aware of the Frequent Occurrences of Mass Naked Child Events within the country?" The fact that that particular Fan Sub group blatantly violated a cease-and-desist order blacklisted them in most of the community, but the controversy would have been much more severe if people didn't already know they sucked.
- A HK subbed Mazinger movie set had a few amusing lines, like "Shirt this guy!", and the renaming of "Duke Fleed" to "Docashelado".
- In the TV series, we're treated to such gems as "Dr. Hill" and his crabstick, and Baron Ashura appropriately renamed to "Intersex."
- A fansub of one of the movies sees Kouji admonishing his brother Shiro with the words "Shilon, don't be a slapdash", and Baron Ashura responds to Mazinger with "Fuck you, madcap!"
- A rather hilarious fandub of Ranma ½. Mostly it's a case of Blind Idiot Translation, but there are multiple episodes where "Finagle" (Finagle's Law?) is literally every fourth word, and times where "Please leave me be, I want to be alone" is translated as "Don't poke it".
- The Hong Kong subs of Yu-Gi-Oh! are usually just a Blind Idiot Translation, but they venture into this territory at times. There are a few screenshots with subs on this page. Perhaps the best example is this priceless line from episode 64:
Yugi: "Marik had mentioned about silent puppy... Where is him?"
- The HK subbed Scrapped Princess had many memorable translation train wrecks, none as more so as the actual title to the series: "Trashed Cat Princess".
- The OVA for Psychic Force has a fan-sub that is not remotely useful as a translation. Not even characters' names are correct or even consistent.
- For Code Geass R2 episode 5, a group called WeWin released fansubs. They were a Translation Train Wreck that spawned such gems as calling Suzaku "my lord Jesus" and "This is Area 11 IN A BUN!" More from this release can be seen here.
- The only fan translation for the fourth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is nigh-unreadable, both for being scattershot in quality and for horrible copy-editing. Sadly, this is the only English version available at this point. The fans refer to them as the DUWANG scans.
- There is a bootleg version of the second Pokémon movie movie that, among its many bizarre phrases, consistently translated the word "Pokémon" as "magical sonnies". The Sixth movie received a similarly hilarious bootleg, where Pokémon became "Supernatural Magic Baby".
- There was a HK Sub of the last 2 Future GPX Cyber Formula OVAs in which it has such infamous lines like "Winds of Sand", "Rise and move out", and the subs even managed to rename some of the character's names. For example, the subs renamed Bleed Kaga (whose actual first name is Jotaro) "Gelly."
- The notoriously bad Gravitation bootleg featured gems such as "You are being the son of the bitch".
- The Omni Productions dub of Transformers: The Headmasters needs to be mentioned owing to this notorious line: "Fortress Maximus has come himself."
- Not to mention Spike being "Sparkle", Blaster being "Billy", among others. Plus most of the cast sounds like Davy Jones.
- The Chinese bootleg of Triton of the Sea translates octopi as "Big wacky fish" and sharks as "rabbitfish".
- This translation of the last battle of Yu Yu Hakusho between Yusuke Urameshi and Yomi has odd sayings like "It's empty in the brain Feel so good" and "The two people appeared in the same time". Oh, and Yomi's name translated is "Work hard".
- It wasn't just the final battle that was translated poorly. That clip from the Yusuke/Yomi final battle is from a twelve disc bootleg version. All twelve discs are translated in that fashion.
- When Dragon Ball Kai first aired, the first fansubs released were noticeably bad. It had gems like Vegeta referring to the scouter as "drug", or telling Frieza that he will "not stop till you okay". Bulma also seems to like using "That Thing" as a swear word.
- Fortunately it eventually got an official English release, but for a time only the HK dvds were available for Star Ocean EX. They're an interesting case, as there appears to be two translators. Some episodes are very high quality, and even seem to have knowledge of the game's English translation. But the majority of them are this trope in spades, barely even being comprehensible in some places.
- The Gag Fansubs for Musashi Gundoh don't even pretend to make sense, sometimes even just taking taking the original Japanese and making Mondegreens out of it (i.e. "hime" being regularly translated as "He-Man".)
- Circa 2000 there was a grey-market box set of Sister Princess available through various channels, apparently via Hong Kong. It had English subtitles that looked to have been translated from the Chinese translation of the original Japanese. Plus, there seemed to have been three different teams translating different parts of the series, because each character had three different names at different points in the story, none of them the original Japanese.
Fun Falconing (Film)
- A Chinese bootleg of "Bad Boys 2" has a lot of random "Damn"s scattered around, an instance of "Do Not Want", "I love your father", and many more hilarious butcheries of the original dialogue that don't belong in any sense of the movie.
- There is a bootleg copy of Revenge of the Sith with subtitles that skip bizarre and start off in the Twilight Zone. The dogfight dialogue appears to be about prostitution, a stolen piano, and a bath tub. It gets worse.
- In another bootleg of the same movie, pictured here, at least two instances of "no" were inexplicably rendered as "do not want", which is now a long-established meme referring to squick.
- In all Sinic languages there's no straight word for the Big No; they only have a negator that is used as an adverb. Since this is Hong Kong, let's use Cantonese as an example: the negator in this case is n̏g, but since it's an adverb, it has to be used with a verb, which is, in this case, "hóu" (to get, to need, to want). As a result, a Recursive Translation of the Big No would make into "Do Not Want."
- Interestingly, the most common, context-free "no" statement in Mandarin would literally translate as "not yes".
- "R2, do you is fucking" was another line from the bootleg which reached similar levels of infamy.
- Said bootleg also included such gems as "Allah Gold, you can not sit in Presbyterian Church" when referring to Anakin and the Jedi Council, and had the full title of Star War: The Third Gathers: Backstroke of the West.
- Somehow, Obi Wan's line "Don't try it!" became "Is!", and the Sith became "The West". Similarly, "Darth Vader" was translated as "Reaching the west of Reaches".
- The Sith are additionally called as "bigs" according the senator. (Backed up by Obi Wan saying "...we are for 'the big'.") "The West" refer to their ambitions as "becoming strong and big". Also, the "The West" can be killed by...their land, which apparently lets them go to bed.
- Funnily enough, Yoda's lines sound like things he actually would say.
- A few examples of the most spectacular nonsense lines:
- In another bootleg of the same movie, pictured here, at least two instances of "no" were inexplicably rendered as "do not want", which is now a long-established meme referring to squick.
Anakin: Giving first aid, the already disheveled hair projection.
Anonymous fighter pilot: He is in my behind! (the actual line was "They're all over me")
Obi-wan: Like, reach the man, good good good let us counterattacking.
Count Dooku: You are a sacrifice article that I cut up rough now.
Anonymous droid: Superior, they have escaped a day after the fair. ("General, we have found the Jedi.")
General Grievous (in response): I should really feeds you all dog. ("Activate the ray shields")
Palpatine: They are just a flock of to fish for fame its person.
Obi-wan: Disabled person must solve. ("Only a Sith deals in absolutes")
Obi-wan: I was old. ("Always on the move...")
- "I have the high ground!" became "The geography that I stands compares you superior!"
- "You are already at full cock now"
- Obi-Wan and Anakin keep referring inexplicably to the "elephant". Who apparently is... good.
- And "Obi-Wan, may the force be with you" becomes "ratio tile, the wish power are together with you."
- Someone created a hybrid version of "Backstroke of the West" and A New Hope, resulting in a version where C-3PO is extremely foul-mouthed, Darth Vader is a neurotic who can't handle his duties, Grand Moff Tarkin and Chief Bast are lovers, as are Luke and Obi-Wan (although the latter seems afraid of commitment), and both Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt are doing business dealings with the Presbyterian Church.
- And then there's a dubbed version.
- "Darth Plagueis becomes "reaching the man cloth space", who could use the "original dint" to create life. He became more and more strong and big, until he lost his power and died. After teaching all skills whole only to [his] disciple, cloth space's land killed him to let him going to bed. Also, "Speaker D" (Palpatine) is both the Speaker and Prime Minister of the senate, as well as the governor of the city of Coruscant (which is redundant) and a West. The Presbyterian Church seems to be behind the Hopeless Situation Warriors (which are renamed Heroes Ground later on for no apparent reason) but they may or may not be using them to usurp D. D later goes on to form "The Empire of the First Choice." Evidently, D gets the choice.
- Somehow in the Indonesian subbed version of Live Free or Die Hard, there are always references to the non-existent soya-bean cakes...
- Several bootlegged versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, again made famous through screenshots posted on the Internet—for instance, these taken from The Two Towers.
- A bootleg of Van Helsing translated "It's carnivorous... about 360 pounds, 8 and a half to 9 feet tall..." as "It has 360 feet. Go to carnival."
- "How long has it been? Two, four hundred years?" was rendered as "How long has it been since we fled Hambling Hills?"
- Parodied on the Special Edition DVD release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which has subtitle options in several languages, in addition to the fake-Swedish "møøse" subtitles during the opening credits (which cannot be turned off, as it would ruin the gag). One set of subtitles is labelled "Subtitles For People Who Don't Like The Film" and consists entirely of lines from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2. It's occasionally thematically related to what happens on-screen... sort of.
- There is a Shrek bootleg that had subtitles that look like the movie had been run through Shakespeare, in the writing style, anyway. And it was brilliant. As an example, the mentioned bootleg refers to Lord Farquad as "Lord Fire Squad" in almost every instance.
- There's a bootleg of the first Spider-Man movie that's full of horrible subtitles, but the most inexplicable was when Osborn's line "Forty thousand years of evolution and we've barely even tapped the vastness of human potential" was translated simply as the word "Change."
- Speaking of Spider-Man, there's also this bootleg of Spider-Man 3 with such characters as Peter Pa Gram and Admire Rui. "You is really a papaya," indeed.
- And he seems to want someone to take Zhao somewhere...
- And the cheering crowd saying "How do you do."
- "You are personal residue." "At once fuck off."
- "You of the clothes hurriedly take off."
- And of course, "Peter wants to kill us."
- Speaking of Spider-Man, there's also this bootleg of Spider-Man 3 with such characters as Peter Pa Gram and Admire Rui. "You is really a papaya," indeed.
- This subtitle script of Home Alone 4. It seems almost Shakespearian.
- A bootleg copy of the musical Chicago had rather odd subtitles, such as "I will be a loaf" and "Some guys just can't hold their ass in it".
- In a Japanese edition of Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki (otherwise known in the West as Yo-Yo Girl Cop) the English subtitles seem to have been generated by attempting to translate the individual words directly into English, including the names. The seemingly meaningless phrase "of temple" keeps recurring in the dialogue—as a translation of Asamiya, the heroine's family name.
- One bootleg of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom contained subtitling errors that, while pretty minor compared to other examples on this list, are still pretty amusing. For instance, the vase the Indy finds at the start of the film is referred to as being from "Mong's Dynasty," Short Round became "Shoot Ground" and the Kali-worshiping Thuggees became the "Sacky Cult," who we are told made human sacrifices in the name of "Colly."
- Screenshots from a Japanese bootleg of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Or, should we say, Harry Potter and Zahafuburaddopurinsu. The name "Hedwig" is always translated as "Angry Inch".
- And an equally hilarious Chinese bootleg of Goblet of Fire, featuring such oddly named characters as Khalifa, 61516, and Lunduidu Sha MA Maxim. And this one of Order of the Phoenix, likely from the same people. Both translate Azkaban as "marriage". Al Bundy would approve. The Phoenix one manages to translate "I" as either "France" or "the French" and "it" as "hypothermia", resulting in the line "Hypothermia should be fun."
- The Prisoner of Azkaban ended up with a perfectly accurate subtitle script... for the Dolph Lundgren movie Detention.
- Screenshots from a bootleg version of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets have popped up. In addition to butchering everyone's names horribly, the bootleg inexplicably renders the word "Muggle" as "Melon" and "Petrified" as "Stoned".
- In a Chinese bootleg of the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children are on a raft whilst leeches are approaching. However, the Chinese subs have them screaming "The Lychee Trees are coming!"
- A Chinese bootleg DVD of Ip Man 2 is flooded with subtitle errors, some of which are ridiculously bad. A few notable ones include calling Ip Man "Leaf Question" (The characters are "葉問" and do translate literally as such), and another scene where the subbers apparently just stopped caring and substituted "fubu fu" for another line. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
- A Chinese bootleg of The Princess and the Frog, while not too bad compared to others, had difficulties with the accents of various characters - Ray's 'Y'all from Shreveport?' was subtitled as '1, 2, 3, 4'.
- A simple search of dialog online turned up a copy of X-Men 2 made much more introspective by adding the subtitles to Amelie.
Limbness on the Darkness (Literature)
- Pedro Carolino's English As She Is Spoke. For those who have never heard of it, it's a Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that was written by someone who did not speak English, using a Portuguese-to-French phrasebook and a French-to-English dictionary. The result, needless to say, is quite unintelligible, and hilarious to English speakers.
- Actually, it's a bit funnier than that even. Not only did he translate from Portuguese to English by way of French, while not knowing English; he apparently had an extremely limited knowledge of French, as well.
- There is a book for sale on Amazon entitled How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?. The only intelligible English in it is the stunned responses from the author's equally word-blender Usenet posts.
Long Gasping Afrongs (Live Action TV)
- This rather hilarious collection of screen caps from a Stargate Atlantis bootleg. "Defendoofs"!
- An infamous one in the tokusatsu fandom is the Hong Kong subs of Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger The Movie: Full Blast Action, which rendered a villainess' "Scorpion Whip" attack as "Scorpion Penis". The phrase instantly became a minor meme within the fandom.
- On this subject, the HK subs for Hurricaneger vs. Gaoranger translated the name of Gao Red's Gao Mane Buster as "Gao Main Bastard". It's become a joking insult in the fandom.
- An HK sub of Kamen Rider Black RX has the villains searching for "the strongest queer guy" and the eponymous Rider referred to as "Black Superman."
- And nearly a decade later, we had Coolguy!
- Really, when it comes to tokusatsu, and especially Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, HK subs can always be counted on to provide enough laughs and Drinking Games to last for years.
- One of the episodes of the 1994 season of Catchphrase when it airs on Challenge airs with a subtitle track taken from another episode. As you can imagine, none of the answers match up, as well as the subtitles being horribly out of place with the actual dialogue.
Mars Riding Cocks (Merchandise)
- If you know where to look, you can buy 150 Yu-Gi-Oh!! CCG cards, including rare ones, for around $1.50. Unfortunately, the Winged Dragon of Ra might read "Magic Dragon with Wings [Legend beast junta] Fairy is sing. Powerful strength is charging the world that means all the life, ghost so much as skeleton." And let's not forget "Black cows magician" instead of "Magician of Black Chaos".
- You tend to get this all the time with counterfeit cards, which is surprising, considering most of the cards you'd get were translated to English anyway. Of course, who's complaining when you find a limb of Exodia named "Sealed Leet Feet"?
- As anyone who watches Ashens' bootleg knockoff stuff can probably tell you that this happens a lot with Shoddy Knockoff Products, whether on the product itself or in instructions for use.
Malnutrition Longing (Music)
- The Engrish Eurobeat cover of TM Revolution's "Hot Limit". As with most English-language covers of J-Pop.
- The Japanese vinyl of the single "Stranger In a Strange Land" by Iron Maiden has hilarious translation errors on the lyric sheet, especially the rap part of "The Sherriff of Huddersfield".
Vark Long New Sex (Video Games)
- Keitai Denjuu Telefang was only ever released in English as a pair of bootleg games known as Pokémon Diamond (not to be confused with the authentic Pokémon game called Pokémon Diamond released alongside Pokémon Pearl) and Pokémon Jade. The translation leaves quite a bit to be desired. For just two examples:
- One character, apropos of nothing, shouts out "It must be sedge!" in the midst of a dialogue due to the translator confusing sugei (awesome) with suge (sedge).
- A character originally known as "T-Fanger" is translated into "T-Mildew"; the translator apparently having mistaken "fanger" for "fungus".
- There is evidence that Telefang was first bootlegged from Japanese to Chinese first, then from Chinese to English, which accounts for the horrid translation.
- Final Fantasy Tactics skirts on this trope, especially in the tutorials: "Select the Job command that bundles up the Action Ability by the Job in the unit's sub-command". It also introduces creatures named "Cuar" (coeurl) and a dance named "Wiznaibus" (with knives).
- Dragons attacking with "Fire Bracelet" deserve a mention.
- "I didn't think the God made holy stones but... more evil... well... Lucavi made them to land in this world." Sorry, what?
- "No DRG for party, camp spot site with 30 dmg, but is it for 20 like 30 dmg when you no hit be it for dd, for 30 dmg instead? or half is 10 for 20 dmg?" This question was asked on an English Final Fantasy XI forum by a presumably Japanese poster, years ago. It has since taken on a life of its own, with recurring parodies and even short movies around the catch-phrase. (DRG is the abbreviation of the Dragoon job, but the rest makes no sense.)
- This LP of a bootleg version of Pokemon Crystal. Eggie receive drug!
- "Volcano Bakemeat"
- Hugeball bag fuck
- This translation of Pokemon Green:
Aochider: It's our first meeting! Welcome to the world of pocket monster! My name is Aochider I was called. Dr PET was loved and esteemed by us all!
Mother: Oh yes!...Boys should go out to travel whenever he likes! H'm! It is said in TV! Dr. Aochider living in next door came to call you!
- A Taiwanese unlicensed developer known as Vast Fame made some surprisingly good, if obscure, bootleg games for Game Boy. Unfortunately, though their programming may have been good, their English proficiency left much to be desired, as is evident in the following:
- Digimon Sapphire (GBC)
- "Want to do not be this imbecile to can't harm you also to is stayed come down."
- "I and Chiar is from small grow up together of greengage bamboo hobby horse!"
- Pokemon Ruby (GBC):
- "However become a basic term that grow the teacher, Is to acquire incumbent grow the approbation of the teacher"
- "My Simuda reachsed to enjoy your this type of person most. However light meeting top the hero is nothing doing!" (said by Simuda)
- Digimon Ruby (GBA):
- "Live in the human and digimon of this place to support mutually, each other it have no power, did war, to us, the figures world probably to is we many the year make track forto look for of fantasy paradise!"
- "What select inside of child I regardless!! Do you have method let me can return the original world??"
- Digimon Sapphire (GBC)
- Advance Guardian Heroes is wrought with odd and overly literal translations. The opening, in particular, will make absolutely no sense to anyone who hadn't played the original.
- Pathologic has a notoriously bad Russian to English translation, but the one for the game itself doesn't rise to the level of this trope. It can be confusing and bizarrely worded, but you can make out enough to play and at least somewhat follow the story; moreso for the Bachelor than the other two, but you still won't be utterly lost. The one for the manual on the other hand... well, the first paragraph is :
According to the world statistics quantity of population on the planet comes to 6 bln. It witnesses of an extreme density of population and as a result of natural resources shortage. At critical point there turn on natural mechanism of population limitation. Natural cataclysms and outrages of new, unknown before diseases prove the said above.
- It doesn't get any better from there.
- "How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us." Zero Wing was revived from obscurity by its incredibly Engrishy intro Cutscene (which can be seen on the game's page), creating some persistent gaming catchphrases and still benefiting form the Watch It for the Meme effect. For Great Justice!
- Pump It Up NX Absolute's World Max mode. For example:
Select the biggest Velocity at last and Do Not step the Misses more than 10.
- Go buy a POP Station. Check the manual. Either this or Blind Idiot Translation is guaranteed.
- Dr. Ashens reviewed a particularly hilarious and incomprehensible Popstation game called "Retieval Mankind's Batman."
- A fairly ugly Ace Attorney eroge doujin game, Phoenix Drive, received very bad translation that it's so bad some people play it to see every dialogue rather than sex.
Oh snap!!! I do not hear such a truth!?
I will beat a rod till...a tank empties.
- The Spanish localization of Final Fantasy VII seems to have been done by people who had never seen a Spanish word in their lives before, using Babelfish. It includes awkward cut-and-paste translations from English ("partido" for "party" instead of the correct word, "equipo"), stupid censoring (Tifa owns a "storage room" instead of a pub), brain-melting statements ("Flowers don't grow in Midgar, but, for some reason, flowers do"), grammar errors a 5-year-old wouldn't make (such as simultaneously referring to Aeris as a boy AND a girl- "eres una niño muy especial") and plain They Just Didn't Care spelling errors ("menç" instead of "menú"). And no, it's not a fan translation, it's the one Sony officially sold in Spain. Screenshots can be seen here.
- SNK's Arcade Game Athena had a flyer with both Japanese and English text. The one complicated sentence was garbled into English as: "Knock down Cat's paw of Monarch Dante with weapons appearing one after another."
- The Vita version of Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment got an English release... of sorts. Very little of it is remotely comprehensible. What few lines are comprehensible don't work in context (Asking if a man in black is harassing a maid becomes asking if that "black man" is sexually harassing the maid). Thankfully the PS4/PC version has an entirely new translation.
- Mato, the professional translator behind the Mother 3 translation, spent far too much time playing and analyzing the Vita version. He observed that not only are there errors all over the place, there are multiple styles of errors, clearly the work of multiple translators. For example the main character's title and its formatting (It's shown with no quotation marks, Japanese quotation marks, and western quotation marks in addition to other variations) is translated at least half a dozen different ways. Some of these range from vaguely comprehensible to outright broken (as in doesn't display). Multiple translators isn't too odd for larger games, but changing translators within the same dialog box is unheard of. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's indication at least one was translating from the Chinese translation.
Cowboys Moving Hardcore (Western Animation)
- Surprisingly, this is infamous enough to have been parodied: the 2007 Adult Swim April Fool's Day gag involved 'bootleg' versions of several Adult Swim shows.
- The Swedish subtitles of Family Guy often descended into Blind Idiot Translation, but when the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" aired, it had the subtitles for the next episode ("Holy Crap") instead.
- To illustrate the level of idiocy that went into making the Swedish Family Guy subtitles: the chorus of the title song; "Lucky there's a family guy..." was rendered as "Lucky is a family guy..."
- One excerpt of Legends of Metru Nui has some humorous "translations" which are equal parts Blind Idiot Translation and Mondegreen. The use of a "plate launcher" becomes more amusing when you realize the film's rendition of Kanoka disks look somewhat like dinner plates.
Top is Table Doing Sex (Tabletop Games)
Ordinal Fabrication (Other)
- The sketch 'A Wicked Deception' by blamsocietyfilms makes fun of this to hilarious effect.
- The comic strip Bloom County had an arc based on an in-universe example. Oliver Wendell Jones hacked into Pravda's computers to change the front page headline to "Gorbachev urges disarmament: Global! Unilateral!" Since Oliver is less than fluent in Russian, what the headline ends up saying is "Gorbachev sings tractors: Turnip! Buttocks!"
- Sinfest has a Scandinavian fan site for Monique. What exactly they had to say about her remained on the other side of the web-translator.
Living Blood Real Long Time (Real Life)
- Ever used an online translator such as Babelfish to translate a web page or large block of text between two languages with very different grammatical structures, that also include slang or figures of speech? Yeah. Good luck dissecting the result, because while most of it may be accurate enough to make sense of with some effort, there will be many bits of complete and total gobbledegook that will leave you absolutely baffled.
- For extra fun, try translating the same piece back and forth several times. A few iterations will usually be enough to reduce it to complete nonsense. There's a web site called Translation Party that does exactly this, via Japanese. It's quite hilarious.
- Latin is very often one of the first languages to go horribly and irreparably wrong. It is very obvious to teachers if you have been using translation software on it. For example, the English sentence "I went home and I lay down on the couch to happily read poems, drink wine, and eat grapes." Is properly translated into Latin as "Ivi ad domo et recumbi supra lecto ut laeta legem poemas, ut bibem vinum, et ut edem uvas." Google translate gives the Latin as "Domum meam pono toro feliciter legant et carmina vino et comede uvas." This in English comes out as "My house I place for couch luckily they lay and songs for wine and comedy grapes." The grammar isn't even remotely correct.
- Frustrated fans of Japanese-only visual novels sometimes make use of automated tools to extract the text from the game and feed it into babelfish like translators. Good luck making any sense of the results.
- The English word "Does", when used in a question ("Does this work?"), is translated into Hebrew as "Ha'im". Another Hebrew word, "Ha'em", is spelled exactly the same way and means "the mother". This once caused an international incident.
- Fire extinguisher sign says "Hand Grenade"
- Thanks to the United States' large Hispanic minority and membership in NAFTA, it is common to find Spanish translations of English text in products, government forms, signs, etc. However, the quality of the translations varies drastically. An example: the packaging for a set of name-brand computer speakers translates "crisp and realistic sound reproduction" as "la patata frita y la reproducción sano práctica"—that is, "potato chip and practical healthy reproduction". Oh, and with the wrong gender on "healthy".
- Bootleg toys suffer from this, as demonstrated by this Digimon knockoff.
- Nobody's really sure if it was a troll or a spam bot or some poor sap with a bad translator, but a now famous post from the 4chan imageboard consisted of "LOL at the screenshot! Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?" The thread was instantly derailed.
- People think he meant "Has anyone else really decided to go that far in wanting to be more like", or "Has any other company gone this far to make a game look realistic?"
- Not a translation per se, but YouTube's "Transcribe Audio" function currently[when?] only seems able to generate Transcription Train Wrecks, with some rare occasions of being correct. Your Mileage May Vary, depending on the audio chosen to be transcribed.
- Raocow's Let's Play videos are wonderful examples. He's already a Cloudcuckoolander with an accent, but once the subtitles try to transcribe it, it's like you get two videos in one.
- Turn on the transcribed captions on the video version of Quarter-Life: Halfway to Destruction, and the line "Bad guy from the game said" becomes "John McCain said". You laugh, you lose.
- Thickly-accented, fast-talking, slightly lisping Irish comedian Dara O'Briain produces some interesting ones, too. his voice is understandable to any English speaker, but seems to confound speech recognition software.
- James May: "This is the Ferrari 458 Italia" becomes "this is a lot of poets the ferrari four fourty-five exam".
- Seeing Chris-Chan singing his "parody" of Girlfriend with the train wreck translation of the captions makes the video 10 times funnier.
- Watching this video of someone getting a strike in Mario Party somehow got out "what really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really". In a part where there was no speaking whatsoever.
- Similarly, an acapella cover of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, which really consists of "do do do" over and over again, results in "he hasn't been hispanic data tennis player bloom", "institution international terrorists all right thanks ralph" and "status tuesday national champions".
- This website holds some great transcription train wrecks.
- You'd think using transcribe audio would allow you to understand what The Ultimate Warrior says. Wrong.
- A class in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was once given in English as "Assyrian sawmills in Nepal". The intention was "Prisms of Ashurbanipal". Why? Prism and Sawmill are spelled the same way in Hebrew, and the name of the king Ashurbanipal could, if you split it into two words (and why would you?), read "Ashur" (Assyria) "b-Nepal" (in Nepal).
- A Toyota billboard read (in Spanish) "The only one that looks good with everything and brakes [noun]." The hypothesis is that it was mistranslated from (English) "...goes with everything, and brakes [verb]," losing a pun in the process.
- It refers to Braces of Orthodontic Overkill, as in a girl that looks good even with braces.
- The back of this DVD's description of Family Guy found in Vietnam (although it might have been made in China) hod olmost ovory word spolt with on "O" instood of corroct vowels like "A", "E", and "I". Also, here's a few gems from this:
- Or moybe if wos mode by Woll Smoth. Excopt thot Petor's ond stowie's eys ond moths are tho wrong soze.
- Hanzi Smatter is a wonderful website tearing apart people who attempt their own translations into Asian languages, and then having the results tattooed onto them. At best, you have something tattooed on backwards (Which itself can change the meaning. 信 means honesty, 訃 means news of death). At worst, you find out that languages don't have a 1:1 mapping when the intended "hot ass" translated word for word is actually Chinese for "raging diarrhoea". Much lulz therein.
- This happens all the time to speakers of different dialects of the same language. A speaker of Parisian French may be very confused as to why this girl from Quebec is talking about how she'll heat his chariot, when she's really talking about driving his car.
Parisian French: Chauffer ton char. (Heat your chariot.)
Quebecois: Chauffer ton char. (Drive your car.)
- The high-IQ group Mensa was started in England, and no one knew how big it would eventually be. They chose "Mensa" because it means "table" in Latin - and symbolizing the coming together of equals, possibly not even realizing there would eventually be a Mexican chapter of Mensa... and "Mensa" loosely means "idiot" in Mexican Spanish. "Estas mensa?" is "Are you dumb?"
- Lois, the doting mother who can't figure out why her baby son keeps trying to kill her.
- Chris, the beefy 13-year-old who wouldn't hurt a fly, unless it landed on his hot dog. Stewie[...]
- And Brian, the sarcastic dog with a wit as dry as the martinis he drinks.