When someone mentions the Lost Woods in English, you usually know they are referring to the iconic location in the Zelda series. However, it seems the name is not nearly as unique in the Japanese version of the game. In fact, there are many video games in Japan that share the name with one another!
Clyde Mandelin, professional translator and author of Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda, has an interesting new article on the topic. Known as the 迷いの森 (mayoi no mori) in Japanese, the name “Lost Woods” has had several different translations in video games due to the various definitions the phrase holds. Generally speaking, it can mean getting lost, mental confusion, spiritual confusion, indecision, hesitation, illusion, or delusion. For example, while A Link to the Past‘s まよいの森 (mayoi no mori) is dubbed the “Lost Woods,” Super Mario World’s まよいのもり (mayoi no mori) is the “Forest of Illusion.”
You can see a few more examples below with Final Fantasy VI and Pokémon Black/White.
It’s interesting that a single phrase can be deciphered in so many ways. If you’d like to see some more examples, be sure to check out the entirety of Legend of Localization’s findings.