Mistranslation in The Legend of Zelda

KyleDecember 22nd, 2012 by Kyle

In the early days of video games, translations were iffy at best. As Zelda fans, we know this well, especially when you consider how cryptic the clues in The Legend of Zelda were. “10th ENEMY HAS THE BOMB” anyone? But one mistranslation in particular may surprise you. Hit the jump to see what it is.

The folks at Official Nintendo Magazine recently did a story on Classic Gaming Mistakes, and several of these were from the Zelda series. You can expect to see more posts about those. While the sketchy (and sometimes downright misleading) clues and other misspellings like “Gannon” from the first game are well-known, one thing that many overlook is the fact that Shigeru Miyamoto is credited as “S. Miyahon” in the credits of the game. Don’t believe us? See for yourself! (And if that picture isn’t good enough for you, replay The Legend of Zelda and wait for the credits to roll!)

As the article explains, Miyamoto’s name is made up of two kanji. The one that we read as “moto” is context-sensitive, and can also be translated as “hon.” An understandable mistake, but one that certainly wouldn’t fly today. Oddly enough, this error is one of the things to remain unfixed even after Nintendo has cleaned up the game somewhat. In newer versions, such as the GBA re-release, the intro scroll is bereft of “Gannon” and “8 units” and the like, but the clues remain as incomprehensible as ever, and Miyamoto remains Miyahon.

Why do you think this is? Leave a comment!

Source: Official Nintendo Magazine

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allen-Wang/100000793429557 Allen Wang

    also the “I AM SEGFAULT”

    • itsameluigi1290

      It’s not SEGA’s fault!

      Oh wait.

  • itsameluigi1290

    “…replay The Legend of Zelda and wait for the credits to roll!”

    If I could get past the second flippin’ dungeon…

    • Weegee

      Well, I’m not very at the game, but I can make it to Level 6 or 7. If it helps, try using ZDungeon’s guide.

      • Tehlul

        I remember watching the first walkthrough for that game and thinking
        Wow. You’ve done more in 7 minutes than I could in 7 years

      • itsameluigi1290

        It’s not the puzzles, it’s the fighting :|

        • firecrb

          I’m on the 7 dungeon very annoying

          • Triforce

            Rupees are so hard to get……

          • itsameluigi1290

            I can imagine. *Shudders*

    • zeldafan

      i cant even find the second dungeon i just wander around forever looking for it

      • itsameluigi1290

        Me too! omg we’re so alike :O

      • Caleb Lauth

        I can’t find the second dungeon on the MASTER QUEST.

    • nicholasgbarbera

      At least you got past the first dungeon. I just ran around dying and killing every thing I could.

      • CanadianZeldaFan8787

        The you suck too.

        • itsameluigi1290

          Oh come on, so we’re bad at one Zelda game, it doesn’t mean we’re bad at EVERY Zelda game! For example, on my first run of TWW, I only died once :P

      • itsameluigi1290

        LOL, me too.

      • Dark Majora

        i beat the game LIKE A BOSS

      • hcpaki95

        Haha :)
        I beat the game, but dammnnnn the last dungeon is hard!

    • CanadianZeldaFan8787

      If you cannot get past the Second Dungeon in the First Quest of the game, there is something seriously wrong with you. A trained monkey can comlete it.

      • itsameluigi1290

        I’m not good at retro games. I wasn’t born when the game came out, so I’ve only been playing it for a year or two.

        And BTW, I would love to see a monkey beat Zelda 1, no joke :P

      • Caleb Lauth

        When I first played The Legend of Zelda, I died 184 times. But then I got better. The original Zelda was my first Zelda game.

      • hcpaki95

        Haha don’t hate :P I beat the first Zelda, and I agree that the second dungeon was…….. pretty easy…………. but still, some people aren’t good at these older games haha :D I wasn’t born when it came out either, but played it pretty early on since my dad was a fan and did play it when it came out.

    • anonymous

      i tried playing it online, but apparently it doesn’t exist online…

      • itsameluigi1290

        Like, with an emulator?

  • firecrb

    This may be off topic but one of my friends says that ONLY in my opinion that ocarina of time is one of the best games made, and only because I’m a zelda fan.

    • Ghoti

      Your friend needs to play Ocarina of Time through. It’s not my favorite, but it’s far better than most games out there.

      • itsameluigi1290

        What is your favorite? Mine’s TWW :P

        • firecrb

          mines between ss and ph, why? ph was my first LOZ game

          • L Lawliet

            ORIGINAL Legend of Zelda for me! Boo-yeah!

          • littlemissgleek

            PH was also my first zelda game, glad I’m not the only one! Which is why even though PH isn’t my favourite, it will always be an awesome game that I love. I can’t understand why people hate it :/

          • itsameluigi1290

            That was actually meant for Ghoti, but I do like SS. Can’t say anything about PH though, since I haven’t played it.

        • Dark Majora

          wahat doyou whats your fav zeldas so awesome i cant decide (OoT if i have to)

          • itsameluigi1290

            The Wind Waker, by far. It’s epic :P OoT comes in second, probably.

        • Caleb Lauth

          NO WAY. Same here!

          • itsameluigi1290

            Awesome! :D

    • Weegee

      One of my favorites so far is Twilight Princess. I also really like Link’s Awakening.

    • HylianGirl

      Link to the past ^-^ Also 1st one I’ve played, but I think Nintendo is yet to make a game as refined, I can’t think of anything to complain about it. LA, OoT and MM are close though

    • Mr. Deborah

      *crickets* Are they still your friend?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=724335732 Steve Henderson

    i am still working on the seventh (if i remember correctly) dungeon

  • GOOGLE

    I remember the Legend of Zelda from the nes is the perfect example from mistranslation

  • Rusty Shackleford

    damn asians and their moonspeak. INVENT A NORMAL ALPHABET LIKE THE REST OF US WHY DON’T YOU

    • itsameluigi1290

      Uh… this was back in the ’80s, it’s old. The “normal” alphabet was invented quite long ago. Just sayin’, no need to be racist.

    • bubu

      Japanese has a “normal alphabet” (actually has 2 syllabaries). Korea has one as well. You should really inform yourself before saying anything.

    • Alexandra

      The only way to be completely fluent in Japanese is to be Japanese. I don’t know why it is, but with that in mind, I can forgive a slip here and there.

      • Aaron

        And even then, a Japanese person will never be able to learn every single Japanese kanji. There’s too many for a single person to learn.

        It’s bloody hard learning Japanese. I can definitely understand why mistranslations happen. Not only is Japanese sentence structure completely different to English sentence structure, but most Japanese words tend to have multiple meanings that vary depending on the sentence it appears in. Still…mistranslations like “Conglatulation!” should never happen, since the translator is (presumably) English-native and knows what the word “Congratulations” should look like. But I can understand why Aerith from Final Fantasy VII had her name mistranslated as Aeris. And even then, I’m still not 100% convinced her name wasn’t supposed to be “Earth” because if I was translating “Earisu” I’d translate it as “Earth”, not “Aeris”.

    • Linkfan99

      “Normal” alphabet? The most common spoken language is Mandarin Chinese. Also, Asians have many different languages. In this case, it is Japanese. So stop your ethnocentric bullcrap and GTFO.

  • Chris

    Haha, that’s what happens when you use Google Translate, Nintendo…

    • itsameluigi1290

      Or Bing Translate.

      • therobotchicken

        Babel Fish

        • itsameluigi1290

          Or Bad Translator >:D

        • Norm the Conqueror

          H2G2 Reference!

  • Link Hyrule

    I’m at DM on my Mini mac.

  • Queenie

    “Miyahon” was actually a nickname Mr. Miyamoto had at the time IIRC, so it’s not really a mistranslation.

    • Aaron

      I’ve never heard that rumor, but if it’s true then that means his nickname basically translates to “Book Temple”. lol

      (It’s also worth noting that while “Miya” means temple in Japanese, when “Miya” is used as a person’s name it only refers to girls. lol)

  • zombie_eat_flesh

    Nintendo Gannon-Banned themselves….

  • Emma Mix

    That’s crazy! It’d suck to put that much work into a game, and then those stupid Americans go and totally screw up your name XD

    JK, Americans aren’t stupid! Well… some…. NEVERMIND! :)

  • Ninty

    It would be nice if they went in and fixed the game enough so that the hints are as originally intended and make sense, and of course spelling errors like you mentioned.

  • Kravik

    Glad to see and article on this. I do not think I have ever been stuck in a Zelda game, lest it had something to do with INSANELY crappy translated hints..

    If there is one flaw about this game series, then it is that I do not know the original language.. And had to play a “dubbed”/translated version.. :(

  • hcpaki95

    Oh, The Legend of Zelda…. fond memories :) I would go back and beat it just to see this for myself, but……….. that last dungeon…. ….. xD. Man. It took me forever – I did it without using any help or guides, so I ended having to draw a physical map of allll those identical rooms to keep it straight ^.^