Ossu! Doragon Boru Zetto in Engrish, ne?


When a game is translated from Japanese to English, you better hope that the staff know their English well, or that an outside source overseas takes upon themselves to translate it. Back in the day Nintendo had problems with translation since they gave small pieces of in-game texts to overseas translators with little to no information of context and very strict bureaucracy as to how to perform the task and how the result should be communicated. I’d think it was part of a business strategy to protect Nintendo and its work, but it led to poorly translated games, and when they didn’t get outside help the translation would get even worse with Engrish as a result.

In the early 2000’s one would think that poorly translated games would no longer be as prominent, but we have Monkey Puncher and Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors as prime examples of that such practice still was present. While Monkey Puncher seems to have been translated using a dictionary, Legendary Super Warriors seems to have been translated by someone with little to no knowledge about Dragon Ball, which is required to translate some of the more obscure terms from the manga. Both of the games are mentioned at the site where I got the image at the top.

Let’s take a look at some immediate weird choices of wording and translation that I stumbled upon at the beginning of the game.
DBZ Namekans

First there’s the mistranslation of Namekian into “Namekan”. Didn’t it fit or didn’t they know better? In English translations they use the ending “-ian” much like in Martian, as in “The Martian Oddity“, but here they’ve missed an “i”. If this was made by the Japanese staff and they used a dictionary, one would imagine they’d write “Namek people”, as they’re called “Namek-jin”, where “jin” means “people”, very much like Saiyans who are called “Saiya-jin”. I’d like to point out though that Majin isn’t comprised of those words, but rather “Ma”, which means bad, or evil, and “Djinn” which is a word derived from Hindi and stands for something in the lines of “spirit”, meaning that Majin means “Evil Spirit”, as in Majin Boo, Majin Dabura or Majin Vegeta. And the word “Ma” is used for Piccolo when he’s called “Ma Jr.” during the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai, meaning “Evil Junior”.

DBZ 5000 powerThen there’s this image when they say that someone of 5000 Power will arrive. I’ll say, the Spanish translation trumps this one by far. They must mean that “someone with a “Power level” of 5000 will arrive” but I can see that it won’t fit. In the manga, by this time, they know it’s Goku that’ll arrive, and they could’ve written:

“Goku is arriving with a power of 5000!”

There’s approximately space for 38 letters, including space, on both lines combined, and this’d work perfectly. Adding “level” would add 6 letters too many, but while writing it the way I presented you’d be more correct and make the use of “power” make more sense. Also, there’s no way that Goku had a power level of 5000 already by then, he hadn’t arrived and powered up yet…

That’s why I think someone overseas translated this one into English, and they didn’t know jack about Dragon Ball when doing so. At least the Spaniards were much better at it.


Before ending this post I’d like to add a link to the source of the image above and a very good resource page for Dragon Ball Z: Legendary Super Warriors:




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