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The Japanese title is Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru with subtitle My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as Expected. The subtitle already pretty much translate the Japanese title. So, what is the SNAFU in its English name? How did it get there?

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    Are you asking for a definition to the word? If so, your question can be considered off-topic. Similar to asking "what does "canon" mean?" – кяαzєя Jul 8 '15 at 8:04
  • I don't know how did it get but the word SNAFU means Situation Normal: All F**ked/Fouled Up. – mirroroftruth Jul 8 '15 at 8:05
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    The subtitle is basically a literal translation of the Japanese title. The "snafu" part of the English title has no analogue in the Japanese title. I've only seen the first episode of Oregairu but it wouldn't surprise me if the English translators just tossed that in because they thought it sounded good, and there was no event in the series that "snafu" was supposed to refer to. This sort of thing used to be very common among English translators of anime, though it's thankfully become less and less common. – Torisuda Jul 8 '15 at 8:16
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Here, the word for wrong - "machigatteiru" - is being changed into "snafu," which, according to the dictionary is "a badly confused or muddled situation"

When translating literally, we could just use "wrong" (as in the subtitle you mention). However, an important thing to note about anime is that translations are almost never exact. Whether it's just the dialogue, or the entire anime name, many things can be changed to suit a western audience.

For instance, consider the title "chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai" (Literally: Chuunibyou, but I want to do love) which in English is officially titled "Love, Chuunibyou, and Other Delusions." A much more marketable title.

Similarly, with Oregairu, the English licencing company likely decided that using a more "interesting" word like "snafu" would make the show more intriguing to western consumers, thus improving sales.

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  • As a quick follow up that isn't exactly on topic - lots of things besides dialogue and show names can be changed to target a western audience (though I believe this is done a bit less these days). For instance: replacing onigiri with hamburgers, and even changing character names. – anonymous Jul 8 '15 at 14:48
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I suspect that whoever decided to use the "SNAFU" translation for the title was going for the original military acronym "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up", rather than the contemporary non-military meaning of "something that has gone wrong".

Why? Well, the title in Japanese is "yahari... machigatteru", which means "...wrong, as one would expect". If that isn't a borderline literal (if less vulgar) equivalent of "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up", I don't know what is.

(This is also, in my >opinion, a better translation choice than "...is wrong as expected", which is relatively unnatural and pretty obviously directly calqued from Japanese.)

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