Translation Errors in Video Games. The translation of video games is characterized by the variety of tasks it requires, since it is not just about translating the textual content of the game, but also about translating marketing content, user manuals, etc. Many say that translation of this type is one of the most complex tasks in the world of linguistic services, requiring a great deal of effort and professionalism. Due to the lack of context, the ideal is for the video game translator to have access to a version of the game that he is translating, but most of the time this is not the case. In addition to the fact that there is often a lack of information about the game and reference material, the texts of video games are full of codes, variables and character restrictions, making the translation process more complex.
When it comes to such complex translations, it is essential to have professional and experienced translators who prevent any mistakes from being made. Video games can be enjoyed by global audiences, if they are translated and localized to meet the needs of each market. Game developers have come to recognize the value of professional translation and localization of text, graphics, sounds, and symbols. But this wasn’t always the case, many early games didn’t incorporate professional translation upon their international release, which resulted in some major bugs.
Street Fighter II
In this video game, what many know as the most controversial and well-known translation error of all occurred. In the win quote for one of the characters it says “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance”. The problem occurred when the fans thought that instead of being a translation error it was a secret character, and all the players tried to discover it. It became worse when a gaming magazine made an article with images that showed the existence of ” Sheng Long” and the requirements to unlock him. In the end they revealed that it was all a joke and that Sheng Long was just a mistranslation of the Japanese word “Shoryuken”.
Retro City Rampage
Retro City Rampage is an action and adventure game developed by Vblank Entertainment, being a parody of retro games from the 80s and 90s. In this example we are dealing with an obvious case of decontextualization on the part of the translator, it is of the explanation of the game buttons, where there are a series of verbs, one of these being “duck”, in Spanish “agacharse”. The translation was done incorrectly since the word “duck” was translated as “pato”, which would be correct if it were a noun, however in the case of the video game, taking into account the context it was a verb.
The Walking Dead
It is said that a lot of people who enjoyed The Walking Dead game were in awe of it, commenting on the great story, good characters, moments of intensity, etc. Spanish-speaking customers had been waiting a long time for the translated game, to meet the demand the company decided to use the fans’ translation as the official one. However, this was not satisfactory at all and the company received harsh criticism for it. The translation of the game was riddled with bugs, severely lacking, and almost impossible to understand.
One of the best-known errors in the world of video games occurred in Zelda II, in which when talking to one of the villagers in a certain town, he says “I am Error”. This person who appears is actually called Errol, and not Error, but due to a translation mistake they changed the l to r. Due to this failure there were several memes and jokes that have harmed the image of the brand.