Home > Uncategorized > Top Ten Funniest Video Game Translation Mistakes

Top Ten Funniest Video Game Translation Mistakes

It’s no secret that Imperial Warfare, being the North American localization of Suzhou Snail Electronic Co.’s 帝国文明, is translated from Chinese. But perhaps it is not as known that just a few months ago, its text was full of mistranslations and grammatical ambiguities that added not only frustration but also a certain artistic quality to the game.

But it’s not alone in this circumstance. Hardly limited to Zero Wing’s classic “all your base are belong to us,” awkward and hilarious English translations abound in video game history. Let’s take a look at some of these classic translation and localization boo-boos (admittedly, mostly translated from Japanese, not Chinese) and then talk a bit about Imperial Warfare’s own translation jewels:

1. “Your fists of evil are about to meet my steel wall of niceness.”

Fatal Fury Special. Hope you’re wearing some thick gloves; you know how bad that niceness can burn.

Credit/Photo: gamewad.com/

2. “Defeat the Metroid of the Planet Zebeth and destroy the mother brain the mechanical life vein.”

Spoken to Samus Aran by mission command at the beginning of the original Metroid.

Credit: alsintl.com

Photo: thelegionofdestiny.wordpress.com

3. “Somebody set up us the bomb.”

Another Zero Wing classic.

Credit/Photo: tvtropes.org

4. Gradius

Apparently everyone’s favorite space shooter was originally supposed to be called Gladius, after the Latin word for sword. Oops.

Credit/Photo: tvtropes.org

5. “Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes!”

Spoken to the player upon completion of Ghostbusters. Oh, the omission of that bothersome r/l distinction puts even the publishers of Gradius to shame.

Credit/Photo: masterofhyrule.wordpress.com

6. “Parental Advisoly.”

Metal Slug 2. Still another r/l mixup. The last. I promise.

Credit/Photo: gamewad.com/

7. “A winner is you”

To the victor in Pro Wrestling.

Credit/Photo: masterofhyrule.wordpress.com

8. “A year has passed since Bimmy and Jimmy defeated the shadow warriors.”

Cut scene in Double Dragon. The first character’s name is actually “Billy,” but maybe the localizers were aspiring poets.

Credit/Photo: masterofhyrule.wordpress.com

9. “Don’t underestimate the power of dolphin.”

I bet Ecco agrees with this nugget of wisdom from Super Chase.

Credit/Photo: gamewad.com/

10. “The barrier privates me from going there.”

Megaman 8. Not tonight, honey; Megaman’s wearing chastity pants.


Credit/Link: gamewad.com/

Photo: snesorama.us

From the name itself (帝国文明 literally translates to “Empire Civilization”) to archaic word usage (“Peltasts,” a specific type of ancient Greek foot soldier, was the original word for the general “Footmen”), Imperial Warfare has certainly seen its share of translation downturns.

But by far my favorite bit of old translation genius was spoken by one of the villagers that randomly wandered player Cities before the expansion, way before our localization team got its paws on the game:

And, of course, all your Neutral Area (CZ for you Ministry of War people) are belong to us.

And now it’s your turn, dear readers. What’s your favorite video game text error?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my site?

  2. August 26, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Hey, Tierra! Of course! Just make sure you include the original content links, since a lot of this post came, in turn, from other sites. I’d also appreciate if you could credit this blog as well :-). Thanks for your interest!

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