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Translators’ Hall of Shame: Part VI
June 12, 2017 - By: - In: In the News / Awards - Comments Off on Translators’ Hall of Shame: Part VI

It’s time for another roundup of really awful translation because tragically bad translation and loopy localization never let up. Today we have three contenders for this edition’s “Bad Translation” award. Pick the worst and you could win a translation from Responsive Translation.

The Men Came Back, Maybe

First up, we have a Thai-language translation of a movie poster promoting the film “Dunkirk,” which is based on a real-life event from World War II. The original poster reads: “400,000 men were stranded in Dunkirk. 700 civilian boats came for them.” However, the Thai translation inadvertently changed the plot of the film – and the fate of the men with this ominous message: “400,000 men were stranded in Dunkirk. Only 700 returned by boat.”

Random Guessing Game

Persona 5 is a role-playing videogame for Playstation from the Japanese company Atlus, but Americans have been scratching their heads at some of the game’s choices for the American market. In one challenge, players are supposed to guess the meaning of some Japanese board game pieces written in kanji. However, unless you are familiar with this particular Japanese game and read Japanese, the task is impossible to complete. So who’s up for a round of random guessing?

Court Interpreter Mangles Witness’ Statements

Today’s most serious offender of bad translation was singled out in an opinion piece in The Japan Times. At the recent trial of a former member of the extremist group called the Japanese Red Army, a court interpreter was brought in to interpret the testimony of Indonesian witnesses. However, this interpreter did a remarkably bad job, changing the meaning of many witness’ statements. As a result, The Japan Times is urging a better system for preparing court interpreters in Japan. And we wholeheartedly agree.

Bad Translation, Good Translation

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