Mistranslations Ruining Gamers’ Lives: Defeat Sheng Long or You Shall not Win

Street Fighter II, an all-time classic in the video gaming world, was translated from Japanese into English but, apparently, the translators in charge were not 100% sure of what was happening in the game. Either that, or they were purposefully trying to upset young gamers.

One of the characters in the English game stated that winning was impossible unless players defeated Sheng Long. The problem was that there was no Sheng Long, neither in the English nor the Japanese version of the game. Sheng Long was just a character accidentally created by the translators in charge: When they saw the original statement in Japanese, they failed to interpret that the game’s character was talking about the “Rising Dragon Punch”. The original instructions of the game were telling gamers they could not win unless the Rising Dragon Punch was overcome, but translators misinterpreted “rising dragon” and thought that a new character was being introduced in the game.

At Day Translations we understand the importance of being familiar with the background of each one of our translations. Without the appropriate context, mistranslations such as the one mentioned above take place and, although sometimes they turn out to have a humorous outcome with no major consequences, they can severely affect people’s lives, companies’ reputations and impede communication in general. In this case, an appropriate understanding of the game, the combat moves and the characters would have saved hundreds of gamers hours of nerve-wrecking attempts to achieve the impossible.

Taking the Joke Further

Needless to say, hundreds of Street Fighter fans spent hours trying to figure out who was the mysterious Sheng Long character, and Electronic Gaming Monthly, an American video game magazine published twice a month, decided to take advantage of it. On April Fool’s Day of 1992, to make matters worse, they published a very elaborate method to find Sheng Long, which was nearly impossible to execute, and because they were apparently having too good a time, they kept up with the joke for eight full months.

So now you know… If you are in need of an accurate, context-appropriate, fail-proof translation, always contact professional translators, just like the ones we work with at Day Translations, Inc. Are you one of the gamers affected by this brutal mistake? Have you been involved in a similar situation before? Feel free to comment below with your experiences and anecdotes!

Image credit: Sheng Long from Street Fighter wiki.

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