Have you ever eaten words before? The answer can be “Yes” for some voice-over artists that have worked for the highest selling video game manufacturing companies, making funny mistakes that have caused big problems for these companies. As a result, the voice-over in the localization industry needs a lot of expertise to correctly translate an audio content suitable for the target market. So, if you want to assure the best level of voice-over in the localization industry, you can pass through several steps starting from reading the references carefully- game concepts, translating it to the other language, adapting the translated content, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes and finally checking the narration of the content. Occasionally, we can find funny mistakes in the voice-over after the localization process for some old video games that can evoke your smile while they have really caused big problems to game manufacturing companies. Let’s shed the light on some of them:
1.“Kill Russians” While translating the game “Modern Warfare 2” from English to Japanese, translators have created a big mistake during the localization stage that has led to confusion of the voice-over in some audio lines in the game. Where we can find a character saying: “Kill them; they are Russians” instead of “Remember, no Russians”. Actually, if the Japanese translators had read more of the context, they would have understood that Russians weren’t the target in this part of the game. Consequently, the gamers got confused and started shooting the wrong targets.
2.“From medicine to German dog” In the most sold video game “Blue Stinger”, this survival horror game for the Sega Dreamcast, we can find in the audio lines of this game a clear example of poor voice-over art after localization of the game. For example, at one point, the player is sent on a quest to get a medicine called “doxsin”, unfortunately, the voice-over artist pronounced it like “dachshund” (a German dog). That for sure has led to changing the meaning which has caused confusion to the players of the game.
3.“A trap devised by Satan” At times, we can find the bad effect of literal translation on the voice-over in the localization industry and that’s what we can notice clearly at the original Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins game on Nintendo’s first ever console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Once the gamers have finished a certain level, they are addressed with the words: “This room is an illusion and is a trap devised by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progress!” Through these sentences, we can notice that the Japanese language is different from the English language, so literal translation sarcastically made the game funnier. Moreover, the gamers are addressed with these hilarious words: “This story is happy end. Thank you” after completing the game.
4.“Can you speak Engrish?” Of course, the English language for any person needs a lot of effort to learn and to speak fluently, but what about dolphins? In the nineties, “Aero Fighters 2”, a plane arcade shooter game was released in 1994. The game featured an amazing cast of plane pilots, from a one-year-old infant to a dolphin known as “Spanky”, has been memorized genially for a line from Spanky himself. The character states: “I never thought I’d be frying over a jungle”, it’s obvious the replacing of the “R” with an “L” in “flying”, making the fact that this sentence stated by a talking dolphin had hilariously added more the popularity of the game. The strangest thing about this mistranslation is that it has been roundly ridiculed on the internet for two decades.
5.“All your base are belong to us” Another obvious example of the funniest voice-over that has ever been done in the localization industry history for top-selling video games is “Zero Wing”, an arcade game originally released in 1989. The game was subjected to irony for lines like “All your base are belong to us,” “We get signal,” or “Somebody set up us the bomb”. These funny quotes have been remembered as templates for many generations and have been sarcastically used throughout the Internet for many decades.
After showcasing these ludicrous examples, it is easy to notice that voice-over art in localization industry isn’t an easy process and it needs a lot of accuracy and proficiency in each stage starting from the localization and ending by the voice-over in order to assure the best level of it. Worth mentioning, it’s rare nowadays to find any mistakes thanks to the advanced technology besides human efforts. Have you noticed any funny mistakes in the games you have played? Leave your comment below.