League of Legends is the most popular PC game in China. And while League‘s 118 champions have official, transliterated Chinese names, those names are just a series of quasi-random Chinese sounds that are similar to the champions’ English names. That makes them difficult to remember. So instead of using the official names, Chinese LoL players tend to refer to champions by unofficial, community-generated nicknames.
Some of them are funny, some of them are obvious, and a few of them are somewhat offensive. Check out what your favorite champions are nicknamed in Chinese.
Notes, comments, and the nitty-gritty
First off, as is obvious from the chart above, not everyone agrees on a champion’s nickname, and some of them have more than one. I collected names from here, here, and here but there are certainly other nicknames out there for some of these champions as well. You probably also noticed that a few champions don’t have translated nicknames. That’s because either I couldn’t find one, or the nicknames I did find were just transliterations of the champion’s name and thus not interesting.
Secondly, while this is not the work of Google translate (which might as well be called Google Gibberish when it comes to Chinese), I have varied my translations somewhat by what I think sounds the most interesting in English, so for example I have translated 女 variously as “female”, “lady”, and “woman” depending on the champion.
As noted on the chart itself, nicknames with a single asterisk are nicknames that have some untranslatable aspect like a pun, a play on words, or some other twist based on the sounds of Mandarin Chinese that can’t be communicated in English. For example, while Yasuo’s nickname “Jesus” may be in part an editorial comment about his balance in the game, it’s also because Yasuo and Jesus (Yesu) sound pretty similar in Mandarin.
Nicknames with double asterisks are cultural references. The first, Fizz’s nickname Sister Feng, is a joke about the appearance of this woman, who went viral on China’s web a few years ago. The other, Xin Zhao’s nickname Zhao Yun, is a reference to the famous Three-Kingdoms-era general Zhao Yun, who Xin Zhao resembles in some ways.
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