One character has a peculiar way of speaking that may be hard for other characters ([[ExpospeakGag and the audience]]) to understand.

There are any number of reasons this could be: Maybe the IntellectualAnimal can [[PokemonSpeak only say their own name]], or [[TheUnintelligible mumbles everything they say]]. Maybe TheSmartGuy plunges into {{Technobabble}} and SesquipedalianLoquaciousness when they get excited. Maybe the {{Cloudcuckoolander}} is just too crazy for the average person to understand. There's also a good chance you've been thrown into a CrypticConversation.

No matter why they're hard to understand, this would ordinarily limit their ability to function both in universe and as a character. Thankfully, however, this character has a friend who will interpret what he's saying. This friend is the Translator Buddy.

This is a common way to show that two characters are close friends, as only the "interpreter" understands his friend so well. Whether they're distilling ten minutes of technobabble to two sentences in LaymansTerms, explaining what all those beeps and whistles the robot is making mean, or playing charades with their squirrel AnimalCompanion to get the scoop on the enemy's campsite, they can generally be counted on to clue to the rest of us in on what their buddy is trying to say. {{Hilarity|Ensues}} and [[PoorCommunicationKills drama]] frequently ensue [[EvenTheSubtitlerIsStumped when even the Translator Buddy is stumped]].

A frequent lampshade is to have the person being interpreted respond with a befuddled "That's what I just said: {brief recap of technobabble explanation/phrase in an incoherently thick accent/PoirotSpeak gag}"

This is one of the responsibilities of a CloudcuckoolandersMinder. Compare MouthOfSauron and VoiceForTheVoiceless.

* In the ''{{Anime/Pokemon}}'' anime, Meowth of Team Rocket translates for all the other Pokémon, especially in episodes or shorts where the trainers aren't around for the day or where Ash and friends are forced to cooperate with the Team Rocket trio. Most of the time, though, he translates for the Rocket trio's other Pokémon.
* Kaname can understand whatever Sosuke is saying in his Bonta-Kun suit in ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'', despite the voice box glitch that makes everything comes out as "Fumoffu!". (In the anime, at least, this is explicitly due to a radio earpiece - she's not actually translating the "Fumo-fumoff-offu" nonsense.)
* In ''Manga/YuruYuri'', Nishigaki-sensei does this for Rise Matsumoto, who moves her mouth but can't be heard. Nishigaki-sensei will then tell the other characters what she said, or if they're by themselves will comment on whatever discussion they're having at the time.
* Chamber of ''Anime/GargantiaOnTheVerdurousPlanet'' analyzes the Earth people's language within a few hours, and begins acting as a translator for Ledo. This continues for most of the show, but slowly drops off as Ledo himself becomes more competent with the language.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhCapsuleMonsters'', Solomon Muto is able to translate the hieroglyphic tablets the group runs across.
* The second arc of ''{{Anime/Shirobako}}'' gives this role to Ema Yasuhara for her [[SempaiKohai junior]] Ai Kunogi, who is generally [[ShrinkingViolet too shy to get past the first syllable of her sentences.]]
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', Rock acts as a translator when Balalaika is speaking to a Yakuza head.

%%* Ben Grimm/the Thing is this to Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour''.
* Freckles Friendly is this to his little brother Peewee who is TheVoiceless in the ''ComicBook/RichieRich'' comics. Freckles always knows what his little brother wants, seemingly "translating" a mere MeaningfulLook.
* The children's educational magazine ''Muse'' had a talking crow who somehow interpreted a completely mute character.

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* Both Spike and Fluttershy act as this for Chirp, [[spoiler: a mute human, who communicates only by whistling]], in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fic ''Fanfic/SilentKnight''.
* ''Webcomic/{{Pawnstuck}}'' has Matchsticks for Quarters's bird speak.
* [[Wrestling/TheNastyBoys Bryan Knobbs]] fills this role for Wrestling/DustyRhodes on [[ Episode 39]] of ''Fanfic/TheJWL'', albeit much [[NoIndoorVoice louder]] than someone usually in such a role.
* Due to C.C.'s speaking only in AntiquatedLinguistics and Shakespeare quotes in ''FanFic/AColdCalculus'', most characters find it difficult to understand her until Kallen, Milly or Euphie translate for them.

[[folder: Film]]
* In ''Film/{{Dogma}}'', [[MouthOfSauron Metatron is this to God]], who is TheVoiceless. Well, he has his own voice present but it causes all humans' head and hearts to explode[[note]]it took them several Adams to figure this one out[[/note]]. Thus the Metatron is the voice of god.
-->''Everyone here who isn't dead or from another plane of existence would to their best to cover their ears right about... now''
* Ditto for Jay to [[TheVoiceless Silent Bob]] in ''Film/TheViewAskewniverse''. Jay usually just speaks for both of them, but often he will "translate" Bob's more subtle hand gestures. It's worth noting that Silent Bob can speak... He just doesn't want to.
* [=C3PO=] does it for R2-D2, who is TheUnintelligible in ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** Worth noting that Han is not this to Chewbacca: He tends to talk to him by holding normal conversations, and generally everyone acts as if they understood Chewie, there's never some translating going on - mostly because everyone seems to understand Chewie fine.
*** This continues into the ExpandedUniverse where Chewie and other Wookies rarely (if ever) have spoken dialogue and are described as merely grunting or barking their half of the conversation and you're only able to figure out what they're saying by paying attention to how others respond. There are exceptions, however, like ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' where the Shiiriwook language is rendered in subtitles.
** The two alien thugs in the Cantina in ''Star Wars: A New Hope'' (i.e. "he says he doesn't like you!").
*** [[ Obi-Wan cuts off poor Ponda's arm when things go south, even though all he wanted was to befriend Luke]].
** In several novels, Luke claims he has spent so much time with R2-D2 that he can understand most of his beeps.
* Police Constable Bob Walker of the Sandford Police Service in ''Film/HotFuzz'' speaks with such a thick rural accent that Nicolas Angel needs other villagers to translate him - a task usually handled by Danny. However, isolated country folk are unintelligible to everyone but Bob, forcing a translation chain. Interestingly, as Angel gets more familiar with the town, Bob's dialogue becomes more intelligible.
* There's a member of RobinHood's band in ''Film/TimeBandits'' who speaks only in growled gibberish. Whenever he says something, Robin turns to the guy's buddy for a translation.
* In the Creator/MarxBrothers' films, Chico translated for Harpo.
* Toyed with in ''Film/FourWeddingsAndAFuneral'', with Charles and his deafmute brother David. The time he has to translate what David says, it's when [[spoiler: he acts as Charles's best man during his wedding to Henrietta... ''and objects to the union in sign language''.]] [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Predictably]], HilarityEnsues.
* Pseudolous, ButtMonkey and LoveInterest of the Gymnasia in ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''. After meeting for the first time his love intest ''Gymnasia the Silent'', a towering blonde amazon incapable of speech and expressing herself in oddly mismatched pantomimes, he reveals that her gestures are actually an highly organized form of sign language, and he's the only character of screen able to grasp it. Everyone else thought Gymnasia as incapable of expressing at all.
* Used in ''Film/LovePotionNumberNine''. When the female lead, Diane, gets a sample of the Love Potion no. 8, she receives the power of a CompellingVoice, of a sexual nature and working only with the opposite sex. Upon entrancing a rich mook, to avoid [[BlessedWithSuck the potential hassles of being chased, harassed or desired by every single man at her speaking distance]], she cleverly puts the mook under the assumption she just enjoys [[CuteMute "play the mute game"]], that is using a simplified form of [[HandSignals sign language while in public]], and letting him graciously act as her mouthpiece.
* Played with in Creator/CheechAndChong's ''Film/NiceDreams''.
-->'''Lab Technician:''' "This, smoke no. This, smoke yes."
-->'''Noodles:''' "Never mind that technical talk, Fu. He means that anyone who smokes that stuff will turn into one of these lizards."
* Mr. Cotton's parrot in ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'' is something like this, even though Mr. Cotton himself doesn't speak at all (because his tongue has been cut out). Played for laughs in that the parrot speaks entirely in stereotypical pirate phrases like "Pieces Of Eight" and Cotton's expression never changes.
-->'''Jack:''' Mr. Cotton's... parrot. Same question.
-->'''Cotton's Parrot:''' ''Rawk!'' Wind in the sails! Wind in the sails!
-->'''Gibbs:''' Mostly we figure that means "yes."
* In ''Film/InstructionsNotIncluded'', Valentin relies on his daughter to translate for him, as he is from Mexico and doesn't speak English. This causes problems when the school authorities notice that she is missing school too often.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': Despite that Groot communicates exclusively through grunts and the phrase [[VerbalTicName "I am Groot"]], Rocket has no trouble understanding him.
* Richard and Joe do this for each other in MusicWithin. Richard who is partially deaf, can understand Joe but has difficulty hearing anyone else. Joe, who has cerebral palsy, can hear just fine, but other people find him hard to understand.
* Kyra in ''Film/SinbadOfTheSevenSeas'' has to translate her father Nadir's gibberish for Sinbad
* ''Film/LifeAnimated'' is about someone with HighFunctioningAutism who uses the DisneyAnimatedCanon as this to understand the world.

[[folder: Jokes]]
* A musician joke:
--> '''[[NobodyLovesTheBassist Why do bands have bassists?]]'''
--> [[DumbAndDrummer To translate for the drummer.]]

* In ''[[Literature/EnchantedForestChronicles The Enchanted Forest Chronicles]],'' there's a magician named Telemain who speaks almost entirely in {{Magibabble}}, so Mendanbar, the King of the Enchanted Forest, often winds up having to "translate".
-->"It's a self-sustaining barrier produced by a recirculation of the initial power input," Telemain explained. "Because of the rotation effect, most physical substances cannot pass through the shield in either direction. Unlike the majority of spells, this one needs no exterior energy source, so the usual procedure for dismantling such sorceries would be completely ineffective."
-->"What does that mean?" Cimorene demanded.
-->"The spell keeps itself up, we can't get in or out, and we don't have any way of getting rid of it," Mendanbar translated.
* In ''The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler'' by Gene Kemp, twelve-year-olds Tyke and Danny are best friends. Danny has a speech impediment which makes most of his words begin with a D-sound and gets worse when he's upset. Tyke frequently has to translate his speech so others can understand it.
* Although they weren't friends, the [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame dwarves]] acted as this during [[Literature/DarkLordOfDerkholm Year of the Griffin]]. Headmaster Corkoran was entertaining a delegation of [[UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire Roman senators]] and visiting dwarves at the same time, and the Senators' speech was so [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness eloquent and convoluted]] that Corkoran couldn't follow a word of it until the dwarves translated.
-->"And now he's offering you a bribe to snuff her," Dworkin said with a chuckle.
-->"That is highly inelegant," Antoninus remarked.
-->"But mostly accurate," Empodicles added.
* A running gag in ''Literature/JeevesAndWooster'' is that Bertie has to translate whatever Jeeves is saying for the benefit of one of his "pals", most of whom are fellow {{Upper Class Twit}}s.
--> "[[ZanyScheme The scheme I would suggest]] cannot fail of success, but it has what may seem to you a drawback, sir, in that it requires a certain financial outlay."
--> "He means," I translated to Corky, "that [[LaymansTerms he has got a pippin of an idea, but it's going to cost a bit]]."
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': The goblins never speak like the other characters and yet Rufus can understand them.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' the giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun speaks only a few words of the common tongue of Westeros, so he needs wildlings who speak the old tongue to translate for him, usually Leathers.
* ''LightNovel/MagicalGirlRaisingProject'':
** Lapis Lazuline in the ''Restart'' arc is the only one who can easily understand Melville's slurred speech.
** Pythie Frederica in the ''Limited'' arc is the only member of her team that can speak Japanese, as the others speak English. She is the one that handles communicating with other groups when necessary.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'': Trini, is this to Billy. After Trini left the show, Billy lost the need for this, with the writers toning done his SesquipedalianLoquaciousness along with his general nerdness. He did the same for her, too. She presented a plate of squares from her gourmet cooking class, calling them by their given name. He instantly realized the snack contained snails.
* Officers Smitty and Hoppy, a black and white cop team, played this role for each other on ''Sanford and Son'':
-->'''Lamont''' (to Smitty): What's this dude look like?
-->'''Smitty''' (to Hoppy): Do we have a make on the suspect?
-->'''Hoppy''' (to Smitty): The suspect is a male Caucasian with no distinguishing marks or features.
-->'''Smitty''' (to Lamont): He's a white dude.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode ''Loud As A Whisper'', Riva, a famous negotiator, is born deaf and mute (as are all members of his race's royal family). He has what he calls a chorus, three telepaths who speak for him, each one representing an aspect of his personality: Scholar/Artist, Passion/Warrior, and Harmony/Wisdom. When his chorus is killed, he is forced to speak by sign language. Data then takes on the role, due to his ability to learn and master 5 sign languages in a few seconds.
** Also in ''Star Trek: The Next Generation'': Geordi is sometimes the {{Technobabble}} translator for Data, less often it's the other way around. Worth noting with the Geordi/Data interaction in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' is that Geordi translates the Technobabble that Data gives to the rest of the crew and also explains the meaning behind various human behaviors and idioms to Data, which might as well be a foreign language to Data due to him being an android. Geordi essentially does double-duty in this role.
* In ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', Leonard spends much of his time translating Sheldon's sayings (and explaining his habits) to Penny and other strangers.
** Also, in a way, there's Howard repeating out loud everything Raj whispers in his ears when there's a girl around, since he's unable to talk to girls.
* In ''Series/TheTenthKingdom'', Tony is the only one who can understand what Wendell (who was turned into a dog) is saying.
* In ''Series/CriminalMinds'', Morgan sometimes acts as this to Reid when he slips into SesquipedalianLoquaciousness:
-->'''Cop''': You really think this was only one guy?
-->'''Reid''': The level of overkill indicates an [=UnSub=] in a psychotic break. Multiple Unsubs in violent psychotic breaks operating in the exact same location is exceedingly unlikely.
-->'''Morgan''': Yeah. It's probably one guy.
* Daphne (who signs, reads lips, and speaks) somewhat operates as this literally for Emmett (who signs, apparently does read lips, but doesn't speak) on ''Series/SwitchedAtBirth''.
* The comedy/magic duo Rebo & Zooty in ''Series/BabylonFive'', played by the RealLife comedians/magicians Creator/PennAndTeller. Zooty doesn't speak but wears a machine that they claim translates his thoughts. Rebo usually interprets for him.
** The Lumati Ambassador's assistant performs a similar role, speaking to Commander Ivanova on his behalf, because the ambassador would suffer an unimaginable loss of face if he spoke to an inferior directly. He begins speaking to Ivanova directly once he feels she has proven herself his equal, and it is implied that his assistant is the more savvy of the two.
* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', translating whatever Walter says into something that other people can understand is one of Peter's responsibilities as his father's caretaker/minder.
* ''{{Series/Sherlock}}'': John does this ''a lot'' when he's with Sherlock. [[OnlySaneMan Oi. No wonder the guy's normal. His friend is - well, weird.]]
* ''Series/KeyAndPeele'' has the recurring sketch of UsefulNotes/BarackObama (played by Peele) and his "anger translator" [[AngryBlackMan Luther]] (played by Key), with the former saying things in the President's famous mild-mannered professorese and the latter clearly and loudly expressing the anger and frustration behind the measured rhetoric. Luther eventually [[AscendedMeme ascended]] and made an appearance with the ''real'' Barack Obama at the [[ 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner]].
* [=McGee=] is sometimes this for Gibbs on ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' whenever they have to deal with people speaking {{Technobabble}}. [=McGee=] also does the speaking for Tony when the latter is too hungover to put together coherent sentences.
-->'''Tony:''' [=McGee=]...say words...

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/PlayboyBuddyRose would play this role in promos for Ed Wiskoski, due to the latter's tendencies toward SesquipedalianLoquaciousness.
* The reason ICW and then IWA Mid-South paired Wrestling/DaizeeHaze up with her till then long time enemy, [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]], was that she could understand him.
* Alex Shelley to [[Wrestling/LondonAndKendrick Brian Kendrick]] in Wrestling/{{TNA}}, who seemed to be heavily medicated or something.

* Matoro from Toys/{{BIONICLE}} acts as one for Turaga Nuju, who only speaks in the [[AnimalTalk language of birds]].

* In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'', Poet Omar only speaks in poetry verses. He has an assistant that will "translate" for him when you talk to him, explaining what he means. [[spoiler:When Omar is unveiled to be the Sultan Harun al-Rashid, the man doing this turns out to be his majordomo, who also speaks in his name during court. Al-Rashid ''can'' speak normally, he choses not to as part of the Omar persona.]]
* [[GenkiGirl Misha]] in ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'' can and will translate everything to and from sign language when her best friend, the deaf-mute [[StudentCouncilPresident Shizune]] is around. And [[CharacterTics sometimes]] when she isn't around.
** Hisao sometimes serves as this in Shizune's route, in which he learns sign language.
* Played straight in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' with Fassad and his interpreter shortly after [[spoiler: the former falls off a building and is thereafter forced to communicate solely through horns]].
** He actually chose to [[spoiler: speak only through horns after his reconstruction, but to the extent that it could be the only way he could communicate]].
* Straynap, the ExpositionFairy in ''VideoGame/NappleTale'', translates the [[StarfishLanguage MIS communication]] that [[{{mon}} Paffets]] use for the heroine's benefit.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', Zaalbar (being a Wookiee) can't speak Basic or Huttese, so he relies on his Twi'lek pal Mission to do most of the talking. He's pleasantly surprised when he realizes the PlayerCharacter can actually understand him.
* An odd case in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' in that the Wookiee smuggler Jakarro has attached the ''head'' of a protocol droid (C8-42) to his chest to act as a translator, but it doesn't stop the droid from trying to smooth over the Wookiee's rough manners, or [[ServileSnarker interjecting some sarcastic commentary]]. When the droid realizes he's talking to people who can ''understand'' Jakarro, he is noticeably perturbed, since it means he ''can't'' try to pretend his master wasn't saying something rude.

* In ''Webcomic/TheMansionOfE'', history reports that Penelope served as this for her husband, the super-genius Earl of E [[MadScientist Ludwig]].
* In ''Webcomic/LatchkeyKingdom'' Rex Vunderdog apparently understands Inglish perfectly fine but is physically incapable of speaking it, being a dog, so he has a Babel Finch ride on his back and translate his barks and growls.
* The main cast of ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'' may have a complex LanguageBarrier, but gets past part of it via Icelandic being the CommonTongue and the similarities between Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. Lalli, who only speaks Finnish, needs to rely on his multilingual cousin Tuuri to verbally communicate with pretty much everyone else. The problem is that Lalli is also quite quirky and Tuuri has trouble distinguishing between TactfulTranslation and TranslationWithAnAgenda.

* Eleonora plays this role for her brother, Menelaos, in ''Literature/GreekNinja'' as his speech consists mostly of mistranslated Greek.

* In the new ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake'' stories, Blueberry Muffin does this for Longface Caterpillar.
* Scarlett to Snake Eyes, who is TheVoiceless, in ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeRenegades''.
* Raf is the one who interprets Bumblebee for the other kids in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime''. How Raf intuitively understands binary clicks just as well as he does English is not explained.
* Alan is this for his brother [[SesquipedalianLoquaciousness Tom]] on ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingChanAndTheChanClan'':
-->'''Tom:''' One can only surmise that this establishment manufactures prestidigitation equipment.
-->'''Suzie:''' Alan?
-->'''Alan:''' This is where they make magic tricks.
* Zilly, for Klunk, on ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines''.
* Super Chief on ''WesternAnimation/TheFunnyCompany'' speaks in nothing but train horn sounds. His partner, Broken Feather, translates.
* Ruffled Feathers from ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Underdog}} Go Go Gophers]]'' speaks in nothing but gibberish. He's actually the tactician of the group. His partner, Chief Running Board, understands him perfectly and translates for Col. Kit Coyote and Sgt. Oakey Homa.
-->'''Running Board:''' Oopie-doopie! You-um genius!
* In the ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' cartoons, Stooge Villa acted as Mumbles' interpreter. In one short, Mumbles was being tried in court, but since without Stooge his testimony was virtually unintelligible, the case was about to be thrown out. [[EthnicScrappy Go-Go Gomez]] had to find Stooge and bring him in.
* Pinky is this to Chatta in ''WesternAnimation/PinkPantherAndSons''.
* Ray is this to Egon in ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters''. Although Winston and Peter are sometimes able to figure him out.
* On the TV series ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleMermaid'', a deaf/mute mermaid named Gabriela had an octopus friend who interpreted her sign language.
* In Creator/HannaBarbera's animated series of ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleRascals'', only Buckwheat can translate Porky's gibberish.
* On ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', people who aren't used to Kenny's muffled speech will sometimes need one of his friends to explain what he's saying.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Usually Spike's job, but sometimes even he gets baffled by Twilight Sparkle's explanations of things.
* [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness In early episodes of]] ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'', Kaeloo had to translate for Quack Quack, [[TheUnintelligible who can only speak in quacks.]] In later episodes though, everyone else starts to understand him as well.

* Creator/StephenHawking, English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has a motor neurone disease. It has progressed to the point where he had to have a tracheotomy and now can't speak at all. However, in the past he was able to speak but his speech became slurred so that he could be understood only by people who knew him well. He would teach classes and give lectures with someone translating for him.
* Sharon Osbourne frequently turns the shaking, Brummie string of near-incoherent non sequiturs that pass for speech in [[Music/OzzyOsbourne Ozzy]]'s world and translates for the world at large, especially in interviews.
** Ozzy has gotten sober in the last few years and is now perfectly understandable (for the most part).
* Deaf actress Marlee Matlin has an interpreter who accompanies her during public appearances.
* Baby talk. Sometimes nobody understands what a toddler says, except a parent or an older sibling.
* Special needs children can sometimes require their caretakers to translate their speech or signs.
* Music/TheWho's manager Kit Lambert was briefly this to Pete Townshend when he had trouble explaining ''Music/{{Tommy}}'' in a coherent way to...''[[MindScrew anyone]]''.