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Pirate Pokémon translations are pirate Pokémon games that have been unofficially translated by bootleggers for distribution in foreign regions. They usually only edit the text of the dialogue, the menu and items, as well as the names of the Pokémon, along with replacing the original title screen with a custom one in the translated language. The other assets of the games are typically left untouched. Due to their common origin of Taiwan and China, the translations are often very poor with tons of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes to the point of unintelligibility.

Consoles and Background[]

Most pirate translations of Pokémon games were made during the first three generations, from Pokémon Red/Blue to Pokémon Emerald, on the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance due to the wealth of tools accessible to edit such ROMs and translate the texts without much of a technical hurdle. The immense popularity of Pokémon and the potential for great financial gain during this era was a contributing factor that drew in many pirate companies. Some, but not all, pirate Pokémon translations were released ahead of Nintendo's official release to drive sales. For the same reason they were also translated into languages not officially supported by Nintendo. With the release of the Nintendo DS and the advent of flash carts that read ROMs from an SD card, and the newer hardware pirate companies had to adapt to, hacked translations became far less prominent and instead pirate companies would load multiple different localizations of the same game onto the SD card flash carts.

List of Pirate Pokémon Translations[]

Pokémon Green / Pocket Monsters Green[]

PokemonGreen final battle

Blue's reaction to losing the final battle against the player.

Pokémon Green is a bootleg translation for the Game Boy of the Japanese version of the same game supposedly released in 1999[1] by an unknown company. If the date is accurate, this translation would have been published after the official release of Pokémon Red/Blue in North America in September 1998. It's notable for the heavy use of broken English and nonsensical sentences while the rest of the content seems to be untouched and directly taken from the Japanese release.

Pokémon Gold (Pikachu inc.)[]

PokemonGold(Pikachi inc) title screen

The title screen of Pokémon Gold

Pokémon Gold for the Game Boy is a pirate translation of Pocket Monsters: Gold released in the year 2000, most likely ahead of the North American release in October of that year[2].

Its developer is unknown but it frequently appears on multicarts by Ka Sheng, JY[3], and Game USA[4], while there is no evidence of a stand-alone release. The hack starts with a custom splash screen reading "Pokémon World" before the Gamefreak logo screen, which has been replaced with a Pikachu sprite and "PIKACHU Presents" instead of "Gamefreak Presents". The game then jumps to the official title sequence but the Japanese text on the title screen has been changed to "Pokémon GOLD - Pocket Monsters" and Game Freak's copyright has been replaced with "(c)2000 PiKACHU inc.". The translation includes many small grammatical mistakes and minor spelling errors typical of that of a non-native speaker but the text is intelligible. The names of the second-generation Pokémon aren't the official ones, as is the case with the towns and new characters. The game however uses the correct names for the first 151 Pokémon. Another detail is that Pokémon names are limited to five characters leading to names like "Pdgey" (Pidgey) and "Metap" (Metapod).

Pocket Monsters Crystal Version (Vietnamese Crystal)[]

Pocket Monsters Crystal Version Title screen

The title screen of Pocket Monsters Crystal Version.

Pocket Monsters Crystal Version, popularly known as "Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal", is an English pirate translation of the Japanese version of Pokémon Crystal by an unknown company. The game was released sometime in the year 2000 before the official North American release in July of 2001 as indicated by the copyright on the title screen which follows the Japanese layout but has been translated into English. It is notorious for the extremely poor quality of the translation with grammatical errors in virtually every "sentence" and many spelling errors. The names of the Pokémon are completely off from their official ones and other aspects of the game have also been mistranslated, such as items, types and attacks. The game was released on stand-alone cartridges as well as on multicarts.

Pokémon Sapphire[]

Pokémon Sapphire is a pirate hack translation of the Japanese version of the official Pokémon Sapphire into English for the Gameboy Advance. It was published sometime between November 2002 and March 2003, after Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire came out in Japan and before they were released in North America, by an unknown company.

The gameplay is very typical for a pirate translation. The developers didn't change much about the actual game and instead merely translated the Japanese text into broken English with many typos. As such, the title screen follows the layout of the Japanese games though they now feature English text and all the Pokémon names are limited to five characters as in the Japanese release.

口袋怪兽 火红版/绿叶版 (Pocket Monsters Fire Red/Leaf Green)[]

Pocket Monsters Fire Red/Leaf Green, alternatively Pocket Monsters Fire Red/Leaf Green 386, are Chinese translations of the Japanese version of the same game released sometime between 2004 and 2006[5]. They were fan-made due to the lack of an official localization by Nintendo, however, they did find their way onto pirate cartridges for the Chinese market.

Pokémon Leaf Green[]

Pokémon Leaf Green is an English pirate translation of the Japanese version Pocket Monsters Leaf Green made by an unknown company presumably ahead of the North American release in September 2004. The game uses a custom title screen replacing the Japanese text with Pokémon Leaf Green following the layout of the Japanese version. As usual, the quality of the translation is very poor with awkward sounding sentences due to a wrong use of grammar as well as frequent spelling errors. In addition, many names of Pokémon and moves or items are truncated to the Japanese character limit that doesn't allow displaying most English words in full.

Pocket Monsters Leaf Green LGTR[]

Pocket Monsters Leaf Green LGTR[6] is a pirate translation of the Japanese version of Pokémon Leaf Green made by an unknown company. It was likely released in 2004 and appears to be a standard hack translation of questionable quality.


  1. Pokémon Green (Game Boy)
  2. Evidenced by: - the copyright. - 1st gen Pokémon having their official names, 2nd gen Pokémon don't. - newly introduced items being mistranslated (Berries → Nuts) while gen 1 item aren't (Potion → Potion)
  4. 100-in-1 game usa color advance

See also[]