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Bilingual Bonus
The text on her kimono says: "I’m not wearing any underwear."

Sometimes one will find that in a work where the Translation Convention is otherwise in effect or which offers translations of the important information will either suspend the convention or omit translation for the sake of including messages "hidden in plain view" by being expressed or written in another language. This ostensibly makes said messages available only to bilingual and international audiences. The extra can be anything from a plot-relevant point to additional dialogue (often used to demonstrate that they've Shown Their Work with the language) to a random gag.

As you may have guessed, this can be a very clever way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. In fact, Hollywood censors once demanded English translations of any part of a screenplay written in a foreign language (whether that language was real or made-up) precisely to thwart this, since subtitles traditionally weren't used in American films even when a character was speaking a language other than English.

If the word still makes sense in another way then it's also a Multiple Reference Pun.

This, of course, not only applies to actual languages, but also the various fictional languages that have full-blown lexicons and can technically be translated — Quenya and Sindarin, Klingon, D'ni from the Myst verse, et cetera.

This trope is not "This work happens to have a foreign language in it" or "This character speaks a foreign language." It is "Hidden message in foreign language that is different from what might normally be expected in the context."


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop has plenty of those, from texts in foreign languages all over the place to Ed’s father’s name being ‘Excuse me, check please’ in Turkish.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: in the North American dub, Asuka holds an entire telephone conversation in German in the background of one scene; there are allegedly several in-jokes in her dialogue for German speakers who ignore the foreground action to concentrate on her.
  • In Welcome to the NHK the main character prances through half the series wearing sweatshirts with the mysterious letters XYN – actually, a corruption of Russian "хуй" (spells out "huj" pronouned 'hui' in Cyrillic). This just happens to be one of the few absolutely taboo words in the Russian language, literally the male penis, but also ranging in meaning from "fuck off" to "cunt" (the insult, not the matching organ) depending on context.
  • The three Zentradi spies from Super Dimension Fortress Macross are named Warera, Loli, and Conda, which put together reads as, "We have a Lolita Complex" in Japanese... whether or not they actually do is open to debate. In the Robotech version they are called Bron, Rico, and Konda instead.
  • The English dub of Hellsing Ultimate has once instance of this: in the 3rd episode when Seras is escorting the Japanese tourists, the tourists have been redubbed in Japanese, and are apparently saying very rude things about the English staff working on the episode.
  • The pre-opening credits sequence in Slayers Revolution has a pun on the Japanese possessive particle, "no" ("の" in hiragana) and the English and Spanish word, "no": the captions on the wanted poster for Lina are "AKUMA NO MIMI"note , "AKUMA NO KUCHI"note , and "NO BUST".
  • In Nabari No Ou, when Raimei and Raikou fight for the first time, Gau is listening to Strauss’s “Unter Donner und Blitz", which is German for “Under Thunder and Lightning”. Incidentally, Raimei's name means "thunder", while Raikou's name means "lightning". And what happens "under" thunder and lightning is a rain shower... in other words, Gau.
  • At one point in Genshiken, Angela and Ohno are talking about an explicit scene in a Yaoi manga in English. The Japanese subs are censored but their dialogue is not.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four #542 includes Ben Grimm's adventures in France (his response to the super hero Civil War) as well as his attempts at speaking the French language (specifically, trying to say "It's clobberin' time" in French. He's less than successful).
    Thing: That just means il est temps de foutre!note 
    Anais: Pardon?
    Thing: What?
    Anais: You said "foutre". I think you meant to say, "Il est temps de battre!"
    Thing: Oh. I guess I got excited.
  • French comic Nelson has a few panels involving dog food called "Doggy style". Yeah, really. Most French just know what "dog" means.
  • Zombilenium has an in-universe Latin case. While blessing a dead woman who was actually turned into a vampire, the priest (who helps covering The Masquerade) says "free us from eternal death" in Latin. The vampire director laughs and translates for the reader.
  • In Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Spidey is in Germany, heading to the Berlin Wall, and spots a couple of German police and doesn't understand them.
    Spider-Man: [thinking] Shop talk. Counting the number of people they've shot trying to go over the wall!
    Guard 1: <I told her she's crazy! My mother's strudel got an award! It's fantastic! My old lady can't bake. Mankind would be better off without her strudel.>
    Guard 2: <Fritz, I would just tell her.>
    • As well as the costume he wears in Germany labeled "Die Spinne"
  • The Dark Horse Comics Star Wars one-shot "Force Fiction" has the menu that Yoda is reading written in Trade Federation Basic. The translation is noted below:
    IF YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO TRANSLATE THIS ENTIRE MENU PLEASE TRY TO DEVOTE AND EQUAL AMOUNT OF TIME TO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE EXCERCISE OR GOOD CONVERSATIONS AMONG FRIENDS OR LOOKING AT SUNSETS OR TELLING THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM" . "THIS MESSAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WRITER THE CHILDRENS ''[sic]'' TELEVISION WORKSHOP AND THE LETTER O". "BY THE WAY MICHELLE AND DREA AND SHELLY AND CHRIS AND EVINRUDE I LOVE YOU ALL" . "WRITER KEVIN MARANGONnote  SOCIALIST KARL MARX.
  • A recurring character in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is the surgeon Dr. Hundtkinder. The name can be translated as "dog child"... or "son of a bitch". Larry Hama really likes these kinds of puns and bonuses.
  • In the English translation of Astérix, all the French wordplay is replaced with equivalent English wordplay, but all the Latin wordplay remains in Latin. One of the main joke templates involves three recently defeated characters each making a pun on the situation, with one usually in Latin.
    • One diminutive, villainous Roman is named "Caligula Minus". Obviously 'Minus' means lesser and 'Caligula' is the nickname of the legendary ancient Roman tyrant, but 'Caligula' literally means 'little boots', fitting how extremely small he is.
  • A Viz character named "Sweary Mary" was challenged to get an obscenity on the front cover of the comic. She managed this by arranging the bunting for a village fete, including a set of unusual flags. In the final frame, everyone seems happy except for a passing sailor who is slapping his head in horrified disbelief, as he is the only one (apart from Mary) to be aware that a string of pretty flags are spelling out the words "Fucking Cunt". Fortunately for those without naval training, a feature further inside the comic explained the signal-flag alphabet.

    Fanfiction 
  • Kalash93 knows four languages. Naturally, this lends itself to rather frequent usage of this trope. A large amount of depth, complexity, and foreshadowing, is hidden in bilingual bonuses, providing a richer experience to multilingual readers.
  • Company0051 is a Fan Webcomic about the Master Chief struggling through a forced retirement. Quite fittingly, the planet that he's stationed on, Noiosi, is Italian for "boring."
  • Slide, a Mega Crossover starring only literary characters, is set in the city of Irudimena (Basque for "imagination"), specifically in Logotechnia (Greek for "literature") and Antzerkia (Basque for "theatre"). People who live in Antzerkia are literary characters from books adapted to movies.
  • Many, many examples in The Lion King Adventures. The names of animals and objects are all Swahili, each with a meaning to them.
    • Haiba means "charming".
    • Pori means "wild".
    • Vimelea means "parasite".
    • Muerto means "dead" in Spanish.
    • Hekima means "wisdom".
    • Aibu means "shame".
    • Virusi means "virus".
    • Tuhuma means "suspicious".
    • Mjanja means "sneaky".
    • Nyoka means "snake".
    • Wazimu Mwanasayansi means "mad scientist".
    • Amri means "command".
    • And many more...
  • In Divided Rainbow, the song Lyra Heartstrings sings to Rarity is much more meaningful if you know Italian.
    • Plus, the language of the Fae in its spinoff, Into The Hedge, for Irish speakers.
  • In Pokeumans, transformees often go into a coma and wake up once their transformation has completed a week later. In one of the Recursive Fanfiction spinoffs, this was given a name - "Metamorphic Comatose", or "Segnis scriptor". 'Segnis scriptor' means 'lazy author'.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mulan
    • Mulan has to give a male name when she joins the army. Stressed by the situation, the only thing she can come up with is "Ping." It means "peace." Furthermore, she is registered under her real family name "Hua", so her full name (Hua Ping) translate to "flowerpot", slang for a homosexual man or a useless prettyboy. It might also be the Chinese word for "soldier" (Bing in Pinyin, but pronounced Ping), which would be logical given that Mulan was panicking and picked the first word she could think of after looking around.
    • Chi Fu's name is a pun on the Chinese word for "to bully."
    • Chien Po's chant while trying to calm Yao down is a Buddhist prayer.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Hindi Movie Housfull 2, the lady playing Anarkali for JD says, "I love fools!" when she receives a flower from him. If you know Hindi, you'll understand flower = phool, which is commonly said as "fool". Therefore, "I love fools!" = "I love flowers!"
    • Though JD is surprised by that sentence too.
    • This is a common trope in most Bollywood films, which are largely in the Hindi language, but have plenty of English lines mixed in them. That goes even further when random lines in regional languages get mixed in.
  • Towards the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka reads off a legal contract to Charlie and Grampa Joe, attempting to explain why they supposedly didn't get the prize. Part of the contract is in Latin (presumably an Affectionate Parody of all the Latin in real legal jargon), and it reads: "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum... memo bis punitor delicatum." This translates roughly as: "To cultivate the burning torch of the mind... mentioned twice for the punisher's pleasure."
  • In Euro Trip, at least one German singer in the background belts out a song whose only lyric is "Du kannst mich nichts verstehen," or "You can't understand me." Which is true, if you don't speak German. There's also a kind of subversion on the ladies' nude beach in France – two girls are talking and when one answers "Oui" (French for "yes") they translate it with "Let's make out".
  • Johnny English has one scene in a sushi restaurant. Johnny toasts with "May your daughters have tiny penises." The American subtitle translation reads, "May all of your daughters be born with three bottoms."
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Fetchez la vache" (Go fetch the cow, in Franglais).note  What the monks are chanting throughout is a quotation from Dies Irae (from the 13th century, another anachronism) and translates to "Merciful [or Pious] Lord Jesus, grant them rest."note 
  • A Fish Called Wanda contains several funerals for small yapping dogs, featuring a choir that sings "Lord have mercy, the dog is dead" in Latin. Also, the Russian that Archie uses to arouse Wanda is a poem about the glory of the worker that children in the Soviet Union learned by rote.
  • The Black Cat, features a stock-phrase-derived satanic invocation offering unintended laughs for anyone who understands Latin. Cum grano salis indeed! For those who don't speak Latin: it means "with a grain of salt."
  • One of the short films in Chillerama, "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein", is in German. However, the actor playing Hitler is speaking entirely in gibberish (except for one line), adding to some extra humor for viewers who can understand the difference between German and random sounds. The one straight line is when he says in unsubtitled German, "I'm just an actor!" There's actually some Fridge Horror/Brilliance here. The film breaks the fourth wall multiple times. It gets to the point where you can feel like you're not watching a movie, but rather you're watching people making a movie. So when Hitler says "I'm just an actor," he's serious. The actor is actually trying to get out of the scene and is killed anyway. As are all the other actors.
  • In the Jackie Chan version of Around the World in Eighty Days, the Chinese man tied up in the "jail" is actually yelling "my butt really itches!" in Chinese.
  • In The Mission, the locals were given free rein to say whatever they wanted in their own language. Apparently they hardly ever kept to the script and kept throwing out funny non-sequiturs or just cursing up a storm.
  • In The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming, there are obviously many joking lines spoken by the Russian soldiers. One example of this is, when the Russians are in an American garage, one thinks a bag is filled with grain and offers it to another. The other tastes it and proceeds to exclaim "This is SHIT!"
  • The farce Top Secret! is set mostly in East Germany, and has a lot of fun with characters speaking "German". Mostly they're actually speaking in either gibberish or irrelevant Yiddish curses, although there is some German as well, including this classic exchange between villain and henchman:
    Streck: Make sure they leave no marks.
    von Horst: (severely) Ich liebe dich, mein Schatz.note 
  • The Mexican restaurant in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is called "Escupimos en su Alimento," which is Spanish for "we spit in your food." In the same vein, LA Story includes restaurants called "El Pollo Del Mar" (Chicken of the Sea, "pollo" pronounced to rhyme with "Apollo" of course) and "L'Idiot" (The Idiot, but from the way it's pronounced it's not obvious until you see it).
  • Deaf people often laughed when they watched silent movies. They had the Bilingual Bonus of being able to read lips. The actors often did deliberate mismatches. (A particularly famous example is a passionate embrace and kiss on screen, with the actress making it clear what will happen if the actor drops her.) This may have inspired a moment in Singin' in the Rain where silent actors (Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen) are insulting each other while in the middle of a love scene.
  • An unintentional example occurs with the majority of Yiddish cinema. Yiddish as a language is very rant-friendly, with characters in Yiddish theatre and film often adding entire tirades onto simple sentences for extra laughs. Unfortunately, when Yiddish cinema is subtitled into English it is usually done through dynamic equivalence at its most bare-bones level, only expressing the minimum of what each character is saying. Have fun going to a Jewish film festival and watching an old classic Yiddish film with a bunch of older Ashkenazi folk, and marvel at how a simple sentence like "I won't let you marry my daughter" (in English) brings the house down by those who can understand the original Yiddish.
  • Similarly, Cheyenne Autumn featured cast members from the Navajo Nation. While the lines are subtitled for a serious conversation, they're actually making various ribald and obscene jokes about the director, crew, and various non-Navajo cast members. Navajo theater patrons cracked up.
  • Heathers has J.D. telling Veronica that the bullets they intend to shoot Kurt and Ram with are German "ich lüge" bullets, which are supposedly non-fatal, so that she will go along with the shooting. "Ich lüge" means "I am lying" in German.
  • In-universe example The 40-Year-Old Virgin, when Paula, the store manager, reminisces about the time when she lost her virginity to a Hispanic boy, she remembers that he used to sing her a song, which he told her was a "traditional lullaby." Turns out that the lyrics are nowhere as romantic as she actually thinks they are. It translates to: "When I get to my room, I can't find anything. Where are you going in such a rush? To the soccer game."
  • According to Urban Legend, the Zulu warrior in Zulu who falls dying before his chief, and who makes a heartfelt declaration of loyalty as he does so, is actually saying something along the lines of "I have an enormous penis" in Swahilinote .
    • A similar one relates to a Tarzan movie. Supposedly someone who knew both English and Swahili was asked to write an urgent-sounding message for the actor to learn by rote. For Swahili speaking people in the audience, high drama turns to high comedy when the messenger comes in, panting and gasping and says "I do not think I am being paid enough for this part!"
  • Iron Man 1: If you speak Urdu, you know Stane was behind Tony's kidnapping an hour before Pepper translates the ransom tape.
    • In Iron Man 2 when Tony Stark asks Natasha if she actually speaks Latin, she responds with the phrase "Fallaces sunt rerum species," a quote from Lucio Anneo Seneca meaning "The appearances of things are deceptive."
    • Also when Vanko tells Hammer that the drones at the show won't be fully capable, he adds that they will be able to "make salute." But in Russian, salyut means fireworks. The Stark Expo turns into one hell of a fireworks show.
  • John Carpenter's The Thing (1982): The Norwegian screaming at the Americans in the beginning of the film is explaining that the dog is a shapeshifting alien, which the Americans don't figure out until halfway through the film.
  • Dead Man uses Cree and Blackfoot. There's something insulting in Cree.
  • The "Chinese" Viet Cong child in Black Dynamite tells Black Dynamite that he's full of shit.
  • In Cannibal The Musical, the "Indians" (who are clearly Japanese) call their tribe The Nihonjin – "Nihonjin" is Japanese for "Japanese people". Some of their dialogue is this too – apparently there's a line that loosely translates to "this movie is really stupid!". And then there's bilingual bonus for those who know sign language: Humphrey makes some strange hand gestures while claiming to translate for the "Indians" at one point, and these gestures actually mean "Jesus Christ is dead".
  • In Serenity the codephrase Simon uses to "turn off" his rampaging sister River, Eto kuram na smeh, is Russian for "That is laughter for chickens" or, more literally, "this is for the chickens to laugh at", an idiom meaning "That's ridiculous."
    • This would seem to indicate that there aren't many Russians in the Alliance space, as the idiom is pretty common in everyday speech. Not something you'd want your assassin to hear in the middle of a mission by accident.
  • In Kentucky Fried Movie's "Fistful of Yen" segment, the leader of the evil clan is played by a Korean actor. When he's shouting orders in Korean, he's actually apologizing for his Korean fans that he's in the movie, and telling them that the director just told him to say something in Korean.
  • In Austin Powers, Dr. Evil says that the French would say that something has a certain "Je ne sais quoi, which means... I don't know what." Dr. Evil is admitting that he doesn't know what the French phrase means, but it actually means exactly that: "I don't know what."
    • Or maybe he does. He was raised by "frickin'" Belgians, after all.
  • In From Paris with Love, Charlie and James go to a Chinese restaurant in Paris that is stowing cocaine in the ceiling. The restaurant's name is "Le Lotus des Neiges", which means "The Snow Lotus" in French.
  • The SyFy channel adaptation of Riverworld has an airship inexplicably called "Herumfurzen", which means "farting around" in German.
    • In English, one of the slightly more polite expressions for farting is "passing gas", and airships are generally filled with gas...
  • ¡Three Amigos! has a scene where Dusty, Lucky and Ned freeze to hide from two Mexican guards, one of whom is describing to the other a recipe in Spanish.
  • In Confessions of a Shopaholic, main character Rebecca Bloomwood spices up her resume by claiming, falsely, that she's fluent in Finnish. After she gets the job, her skills are put to test in a cocktail party with an actual Finnish person. Not ready to admit the truth, Rebecca solves the situation by slapping the man in front of everybody and claiming that men like him are the reason she left Finland. What the man was actually saying is not exactly abusive: "Hi! So nice to meet another Finn in here! Ever since I've been here in Americ—" *slap*
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen we have a witch doctor at Alan's funeral. The man is busy chanting in Zulu. His chants are (translated) him saying: "Arise, son of man. Arise child. It is not yet time to rest.".
  • The Place Beyond The Pines: It's not mentioned in the film, but the setting, Schenectady, NY, takes its name from the Mohawk word that means "beyond the pine plains".
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when Greasy encounters the bear trap in Jessica's Victoria's Secret Compartment, he shrieks what sounds like gibberish. Spanish speakers who've seen this scene claim he's actually shouting "la mierda mi chingada la mano", which means "Shit, my fucking hand!"
  • Man of Steel: Zod's "You Are Not Alone" message has the phrase flash by in several languages, including English, Chinese, Portuguese and Klingon.
  • In Pacific Rim, all the Japanese lines are given subtitles... except one. Mako saying "I love you" to Stacker right before he dies.
    • Jaeger is the German word for hunter.
    • "Scunner" is a Scottish word that basically means "scumbag".
    • "Pentecost" is the feast celebrating the power of God (the holy spirit) coming to man.
    • Otachi is Japanese for "big sword."
  • In The Wolverine, Yashida's sword, the one he tries to pass on to Logan, is inscribed with Kanji characters that mean "never grow old, never die".
    • Also Logan being consistently called "Kuzuri" by Yashida (and Mariko picking up on it). "Kuzuri" literally means "wolverine" in Japanese.
  • In Cube 2: Hypercube, the true identity of the hacker "Alex Trusk" is hinted at for anyone familiar with how Slavic diminutive names work, since Alex is actually Sasha, a female character whose name is the diminutive form of Alexander/Alexandra.

    Literature 
  • JRR Tolkien, who was fluent in a dozen or so languages himself, probably deserves his own page. A few examples:
    • In-universe, the name of Saruman's tower Orthanc is said to mean "Cunning Mind" in the language of the Rohirrim, but "Mount Fang" in Elvish.
    • The title of "longest buildup to a pun that isn't even translated in the story itself" belongs to Akallabêth ("The Downfallen" in Adûnaic), the story of the sinking of Númenor, a large island in the middle of a sea. Translating Akallabêth into High Elvish yields Atalantë, which is suspiciously close to the name of a famous mythological island which also sank. (Fridge Brilliance: Middle-earth is Europe some five millenia ago, and some of Tolkien's posthumous writings hint very strongly that Atlantis and Númenor are one and the same. Atalantë could have been the source of the name Atlantis.)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events has some of Sunny's comments, such as her arigato in the Slippery Slope, or her saying Aubergine to mean that she is making a plot with this eggplant. Others are a mishmash of English ("Kicbucit?" for "Is he dead?") and a couple are plain old Hebrew ("Yomhuledet!" which is translated as "Surprise" but means "birthday" and "Yomhashoah" which is translated as "Never again" but means "Holocaust Memorial Day"). The children also make pasta Puttanesca, an Italian dish translating as "whore's sauce."
  • The 1961 novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller features the aptly named character Lieutenant Scheissekopf, which is a German calque of "shithead" (The word itself doesn't exist in the German language, but they'd certainly understand it). At one point his superior snarls at him, "Scheissekopf, you shithead!"
  • The infamous 1955 novel Lolita was written by Vladimir Nabokov, who spoke English, French, and Russian fluently. The English edition contains numerous sentences, remarks, and pet names in French - it approaches superfluous. The narrator, being a multilingual scholar, is the primary reason for this - at one point, an entire paragraph of dramatic emotional professions is written in French.
  • Terry Pratchett occasionally includes a few of these, though several of them are explained or translated later. Some of them are not, however – for example, in Soul Music, the main character Imp y Celyn talks about and later plays a song he wrote himself, titled "Sioni Bod Da." Since Soul Music is almost in its entirety a completely awesome Discworldization of the entire rock music movement in general, it should come as no surprise that there's a couple of hidden reference there. One is indirectly explained: "Imp" means Bud and "Celyn" means Holly, hence "Bud y Holly." On the other hand, Sioni Bod Da is mostly unexplained: It's Welsh for Johnny Be Good. (Read: Johnny B. Goode.)
    • In the French version, Patrick Couton translated the pun in Breton: Imp y Celyn became Kreskenn Kelen and his song was called Yannick Bez Mad.
    • A scene from Lordsand Ladies Nanny Ogg's observation at dinner with Casanunda is an example of this trope. "She peered at the label. 'Chateau Maison? Chat-eau... that's foreign for cat's water, you know, but that's only their way, I know it ain't real cat's water." Chateau is French for "castle" (or something similar), chat is French for "cat" and eau is French for "water."
    • A Discworld example from Making Money: "Jikan no Muda", the Discworld equivalent of Sudoku, translates in Japanese to "Waste of Time".
      • This is a multilingual bonus in Croatian. Muda is slang for balls. Jikan (written Đikan) is pejorative for an urban hick with delusions of superiority. "Jikan no Muda" is a "Waste of Time" for "Neutered Morons".
    • Recurring example: The Sto Plains. "Sto" is "hundred" in Polish. Thus there is the town of Sto Lat, which translates to "a hundred years". Sto Lat is also the name of the Polish equivalent of "Happy Birthday to You." ("May (s)he live a hundred years").
      • And in Russian, Sto Lat means "a hundred plate mails".
      • A hundred place mails it is, indeed, for Slovak too.
    • Don't forget "Liber Paginarum Fulvarum" the proper name of the Necrotelicomnicon (Essentially a phonebook for the dead) which translates, loosely as "The Yellow Pages".
    • Also see the motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc" — which the narrator translates as "to protect and serve", but which would more accurately translate to "make my day, punk", with some leeway on pvnc and punk (and in the verb form).
      • Interesting fact: "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc" is actually all that remains to the battered Watch sign, which at one point read in full "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter," which means in Latatian "Make the day, the moments pass quickly."
      • There's another, more subtle, level to this one. With a somewhat nerdier level of knowledge it is also possible to read "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" as "Built in the year dot", which given the preceding description of the manky ancient building is highly appropriate.
    • In Feet of Clay, several of the Golems (golems originally stemming from Hebrew stories) have Yiddish names. One golem's name was "Crazy" and one's was "Cloth used for cleaning."
    • Pratchett slipped a subversion of this trope into a Monstrous Regiment footnote, involving the language of birds. It points out that the beauty of birdsong can lose its luster for ornithologists, who know for a fact that they're overhearing birds dissing and/or making passes at one another.
    • In Mort at one point Albert says "Sodomy non sapiens". Mort asks what does that mean, Albert answers "Buggered if I know". While this is (effectively) the correct translation of the first phrase, many readers wrongly assumed Albert doesn't know what "Sodomy non sapiens" means.
    • In Maskerade, the Pedlar's Song from the opera Lohenshaak'' begins "Schneide meinen eigenen Hals..." which is German for "Cut my own throat".
    • The mottos on the guild coat of arms tend to be in pig-latin, and one of them "Art brought forth the light" is not only a somewhat sad pun on the name of the candle-maker ("Arthur"), but also a bilingual bonus as well as an important plot point. the latin translation would be "Ars enixa est candelam". Vimes had been shown the coat of arms and the motto right at the beginning of the story and then was busy for more than half of the book trying to figure out how the Patrician was being poisoned. You guess.
    • Expect lots of this in German whenever Uberwald and/or philosophy are being mentioned. Überwald is German (the inhabitants of Discworld prefer to avoid the diacretic points because they'll just roll off and cause unnecessary punctuation) and literally translates into "over forest" or "beyond forest". Or in Latin: Transylvania.
    • The Dutch translator of Equal Rites had an easy time of it with Granny Weatherwax: she became Ouma Wedersmeer. He was stumped in trying to translate her broomstick being the equivalent of an elderly Morris Minor: the reference is to a clunky ugly British car that while mechanically sound didn't want to go very fast. This concept would not directly translate into Dutch. Then he realized a kind of old, ugly, slow but reliable bike in Holland is nicknamed the "Granny Wagon". Bingo...
  • A number of 19th-century Russian novels, such as Anna Karenina, include random bursts of French from certain characters. Learning French was considered part of a "respectable" education for the Russian nobility at the time, so it was a marker of status for people to be able to converse freely in French. In particular, it's used when well-off characters discuss things they don't want the servants to know.
  • Just a minor one, but Darkness Visible has an exchange in French during a scene in St Petersburg which is never translated. Also a sort of Genius Bonus – Not everyone knows that the language of high society in Russia at that time was French, not Russian.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Butler reveals his first name to Artemis when he thinks he's going to die. His name is Domovoi, which is the name of a household guardian spirit in Russian. Definitely very apt for him.
  • In Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus, this doubles as Fridge Brilliance. Frank Zhang's grandmother calls him "Fai", also spelled as "Fei" (Riordan seems to be using the Taiwanese spelling rather than the mainland Chinese spelling), making his Chinese name "Zhang Fei". In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a book that every Chinese person knows, Zhang Fei was known for two things: being not particularly good looking, and being a superb warrior, capable of scaring off entire armies by himself.
  • Philip K. Dick's VALIS provides us with blatant Author Avatar Horselover Fat, which a student of languages will tell you is "Philip Dick", in that "Philip" comes from Greek Phillipos, "Lover of horses" note , and "Dick" is German for "fat", as in "thick". Subverted, in that Dick admits this in all of this in about three pages... and in relatively short order introduces Philip K. Dick as a character.
  • Letters Back to Ancient China has many. One example: The German unions are mentioned, which are all named "IG ...". This abbreviation can be pronounced like Mandarin for "give once", but Kao-tai writes that they rather should be named "take ten thousand times".
  • In Isaac Asimov's novel The Gods Themselves, the three protagonists from the parallel universe are Odeen, Dua and Tritt. The triad's names correspond roughly to the Russian for "one", "two" and "three".
  • In Harry Harrison's novel Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers the phrase "Ich möchte ein Einzelzimmer mit Bad im ersten Stock!" is translated in a footnote as "I spotted a door behind the throne, so grab onto me and we can escape that way.". The real meaning is "I want a single room with a bath on the first floor". Harrison is very fond of bilingual trickery.
  • In Gulliver's Travels,the flying city of Laputa is a harsh allegory of England and its colonial dominion over Ireland; the name means "the whore" in Spanish.
  • In-universe example: In the Rivers of London series, Peter finds some writing on a magical booby-trap left behind by the Faceless Man. After it's defused, he recognizes the writing as Tolkien's Quenya, and puts a copy of it on the internet, where LotR fans quickly translate it as:
    "If you can read this, you are not only a nerd but probably dead."
  • In Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, Doremus asks Lorinda about translating German. She replies that the only German she knows is a phrase Buck taught her: "God bless you" (Verfluchter Schweinehund). Verfluchter Schweinehund actually means "damned pig-dog".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, Kryptonian symbols and sentences are everywhere for those who could read them.
  • In episode 8 of Band of Brothers, the translator tells some German POWs (in German, of course) "be good, and you will get a cookie!"
  • Catalina, the Latina maid in My Name Is Earl, occasionally goes into what sounds like an angry stream of Spanish, which is taken by non-Spanish-speakers to be a blistering insult (usually aimed at Joy). In fact, she is speaking directly to the audience and has on different occasions thanked Latino viewers for tuning in, congratulated non-Latinos on learning a new language, explained that a more expensive scene had been cut, bid farewell for the end of the season, and apologised for continuity errors in that night's show.
  • Dr. Radek Zelenka in Stargate Atlantis is known for making humorous asides in Czech, including a case of No Fourth Wall where he commented "I can't work with these actors".
    • The Russian dialogue between sailors on a Russian submarine in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Small Victories" slid into No Fourth Wall as well, referring to "these bugs from the first episode". Allegedly, the actors were asked to just say anything in Russian. The Russian dub overwrote it with sane dialogue.
      • Apparently the actors added a little deadpan snark into it, the dialog consists of something along the lines of "What is inside?" "Maybe those bugs from the last episode" and later "What are those creatures?".
    • In the German dub, the actors are apparently voiced by (probably) native speakers and the sailor answer the question on what in the torpedo tube with "probably the body of our sacked captain".
  • When the Dalek ships are revealed towards the end of the Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf," the soundtrack features a male choir chanting. Apparently they are singing "What is happening?" in Hebrew.
    • When the Tenth Doctor is slowly succumbing to the radiation poisoning at the end of The End of Time (Part 2), the Ood, led by Ood Sigma, sing to the Doctor. Their words to him: "Vale Decem" which is Latin for "Farewell Ten"
  • iCarly's iGo to Japan movie is even funnier when you know that the reason the Japanese security guard slapped Spencer is that he called his mother fat. In the episode iGo Nuclear, a bonus joke for Russian speakers is that Cal's case of illegal uranium is actually labeled plutonium.
  • Inspector Morse features an example in Morse code (of course) – the opening bars of the theme music are supposed to spell out MORSE, but some fans argue that the gap in the middle of the M (two dashes) is slightly too long and so it actually spells TTORSE (T is a single dash). Also the opening theme sometimes tells you who the murderer is, but it has been known to lie.
  • Similarly, Morse code in the opening of each episode of Jericho gives a clue or spoiler about the episode.
  • The French comedy duo Kad and Olivier had a recurring sketch about an American sheriff having to solve road infractions caused by well known people (Superman, Robert Smith, etc etc...). Of course, during the whole sketch, they were talking English with a (sometimes less than faithful) French translation running over what they were saying... Except one tiny message that was running on the radio:
    Car one to control: can I eat my wife and fuck my dog, please?
  • There's a certain minor character from 24 whose name is Marcos Al-Zacar. His last name is roughly Arabic for "The Dick". The name was probably trying to offend the character.
  • The Leverage episode "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" has an aerosol can very descriptively titled "Олій".note 
  • In Bottom, the German (bad grammar) instructions for the VCR apparently say "Stecken dein Kopf in deinen Arsch.".
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Icarus Factor" has Riker and his dad duking it out on a platform with the kanji for the Eastern elements of Fire, Wind, Water, Air, Void, but also Urusai Yatsura, Lum, Ataru, and Yuri.
  • In The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret , Todd makes up some sign language while speaking to a group of deaf people, who throw things at him in response. His sign language translates to something offensive.
  • Ricky Ricardo's Spanish rants about Lucy/at Lucy/about Lucy's schemes on I Love Lucy were clearly implied to be colorful profanity, but Spanish speakers will know that most of what he said was fairly mild ("What is this woman thinking?", etc), just said in an overly excited tone.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The episode Beneath You has a Cold Open involving a woman in Germany being chased by assassins in a club. A techno piece blares on the score, with the only lyrics being "Von der Tiefe verschlingt es" - German for "From the depth it devours", which of course mirrors the Arc Words "from beneath you it devours".
    • Spells are almost always done in another language; often a dead one like Latin, although Giles also manages quite respectable German.
    • While discussing the newly-found scythe in Season 7, one name comes up: "M question-mark." Giles points out that the "question mark" (ʔ) is actually a glottal stop in the International Phonetic Alphabet. What does "mʔ" sound like? The English word would be "gulp."
  • In Bones episode The Truth in the Lye, Agent Booth is seen at the end wearing a T-shirt that says "ファック・ザ・世界 / モルフィーンジェネレーション", which is "Fuck the World / Morphine Generation" in (mostly-transliterated) Japanese.
  • Several examples of this trope happen in JAG; in German, Farsi and Russian; courtesy of in-house polyglot Mac.
  • Joss Whedon's Firefly has a plethora of fun phrases in Chinese, which when translated, give us gems like: "the explosive diarrhea of an elephant" and "frog humping son of a bitch."
  • In Season 2, Episode 11 of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon eats "off-brand Mexican Cheetos" called "El Sabor de Soledad" while discussing an ex-boyfriend. In Spanish, this means "The Taste of Loneliness"
  • You might be able to figure this one out on looks alone (also placing it in Visual Pun territory), but in a Babylon 5 episode concerning an Underground Railroad, there is a Russian-language poster in Ivanova's quarters at the end. It's a Soviet-era poster advertising the subway.
  • Deadwood has an example that doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny if you understand it. Swearengen, who speaks only English, is talking to Mr. Wu, who speaks only Chinese and maybe a dozen words of English. In trying to convey that Swearengen and another man are hostile towards each other, Swearengen invokes a Chinese term he's heard Wu use to describe enemies, saying that he and Hearst are "baak gwai lo." Little does he realize he's just said that both of them are "white devils." And very appropriately for both him and Hearst.
  • Frasier: If the viewer happens to speak French, they can catch the deliberately uppity yet nonsensical names of the restaurants that Frasier and Niles frequent, such as Le Cigare Volant (The Flying Cigar), Le Petit Oiseau (The Little Bird), Le Petit Bistro and, arguably the best example, Quelquechose meaning literally "Something."
    • There's also the episode where Frasier and Niles have a conversation in French to confuse Eddie.

    Music 
  • BECK's song Hotwax has the following chorus: Yo soy disco quebrado / Yo tengo chicle en el cerebro. It translates to "I am a broken record / I have bubblegum in my brain."
    • Similarly, the song Loser, which contains the line Soy un perdidor It translates "I am a loser".
  • The Clash song Spanish Bombs which contain refrain Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito, oh, te quiero, oh mí corazon (Spanish bombs, I love you infinitely, oh, I love you, oh my heart).
  • "The Macaronic Carol" by Shari Ajemian and Sarah Newcomb alternates between lines in English and Latin. The English lines are all about how much fun it is to carol gaily in fields of snow; the Latin lines are things like "my feet hurt", "it's cold", and "I want to go home".
  • Knorkator, another German metal band, has one song entirely in Thai. However, the lyrics are entirely about Alf Ator's then girlfriend and now wife telling how she was asked to write a song in her native Thai and she has no idea what that song should be about. But it doesn't really matter since nobody in the band or the audience will understand it anyway.
  • Cheech Marin's rapid stream of Spanish in the middle of "Taco Grande" by "Weird Al" Yankovic translates approximately to: "Good evening, sir. Welcome to Enrico's Casa de Salsa. We have many delicious entrees. If I might recommend the Burning Hell Chicken, very delicious. Your eyes will burn up, your stomach will be on fire, you'll be in the bathroom for a week, do you understand what I'm saying, stupid silly gringo?!"
  • The song "Die Eier Von Satan" by Tool features German lyrics delivered in an angry tirade over a cheering audience and grinding industrial music. The translated lyrics are actually a simple recipe for hash brownies. The lyrics also feature a German pun. The name of the brownies are "The eggs of Satan," with "eggs" being German slang for "testicles." The recipe, as the speaker repeatedly proclaims to massive cheers, includes no actual eggs.
  • The first album by the Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese is titled "Elio samaga hukapan kariyana turu", which means "Let's all merrily fart and cum with Elio" in Tamil. The title of their later album "Italyan, rum casusu čikti" was taken from the headlines of a newspaper from Cyprus and means "It turned out that the 'Italian' was a Greek spy".
  • There's some unexpected and untranslated French toward the end of Judas Priest's 1977 song "Saints in Hell": "Abbatoir! Abbatoir! Mon Dieu, quelle horreur!" ("Slaughterhouse! Slaughterhouse! My God, what horror!")
  • A Russian phrase (Я сошла с ума - "I have lost my mind") is in the chorus of "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u.
    • Their song "Gomenasai" (Japanese for "I'm Sorry") has the word, well, "Gomenasai" in it (it's misspelled on purpose). An English song with a Japanese title by a Russian band.
    • When the song "Зачем я" ("Why do I...") was adapted for the band's first international album and given the new name "Stars", it still kept its verses in Russian.
  • Cracker's "What You're Missing" has a couple of untranslated Spanish phrases in the background vocals. First there's "con pelirroja", which would roughly be "with (a) redhead" - the phrase comes up just before red-haired bassist and backing vocalist Brandy Wood gets to Step Up to the Microphone for a verse. Later in the same song there's "protegido por monos", meaning "guarded by monkeys"; the phrase "guarded by monkeys" is sort of a Running Gag cropping up multiple times on the album Forever.
  • While Brazilian singer Falcão did an intentionally broken English translation of a cheesy and popular song about a black VW Beetle, he named it "Black People Car" - because difficulties in translating the local name of the car (Fusca) made him seek what Volkswagen meant in German, and it was "people's car".
  • The Poxy Boggards' "I Wear No Pants" contains a Trilingual bonus. It switches from English to Italian to German, before going back to English. The non-English verses (besides the obvious translation of "I wear no pants" in each verse) translate roughly to:
    Italian:
    Look at my balls!
    Look at my balls!
    Look at my balls!
    (It's) not old macaroni!
    German:
    (It's) striking to look at!
    Striking to look at!
    Striking to look at!
    My big prick!
  • The song "Fiesta" by The Pogues, about partying in Spain, has lyrics in English with inserted Spanish phrases. The last verse is entirely in (rough) Spanish (with one Italian line). It contains enigmatic mentions of one "Cait O'Riordan" and an "Costello el rey del America". O'Riordan was The Pogues' first bassist, until she ran off to marry Elvis ("The king of America") Costello.
  • The Beatles' "Michelle" has the line "These are words that go together well" resang two lines later in French: "Son les mots qui von tres bien ensemble."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Believe it or not, there was actually a feud based around the Bilingual Bonus; there was a brief period of time where WWE Divas champion Maryse (from Montreal, Quebec, Canada) would come up to Gail Kim and talk about how great a wrestler she is and how she respects her, etc., and then say something in French. This went on for a few weeks until Kim attacked Maryse, revealed she was fluent in French and that she had known the entire time that Maryse was trash-talking her to her face.
    • There's a possible variation in this Ring of Honor promo preceding a Montreal show, as Colt Cabana requests the help of Kevin Steen (also from Quebec) in translating "I can't wait to party with everybody in Montreal, ROH style" — what Kevin tells him is "j'ai couché avec ma mère hier" ("I slept with my mom yesterday"). Colt seemingly acts oblivious to the joke other than saying 'sa' instead of 'ma', but Kevin immediately realizes that Colt just switced "my" with "his".

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Eddie Izzard, being fluent in a few languages, does an entire section on the Definite Article DVD about learning foreign languages by tape cassette. He even ends the sections by promising it's hilarious if you're bi-lingual.
  • Gabriel Iglesias has a routine about authentic and non-authentic Hawaiian luaus. When describing the non-authentic one, he describes a tour guide who is actually from Oregon and a bus driver who actually is from Hawaii, who calls her "my little punanny". Punanny means "vagina" in Jamaican patois.
  • Bill Bailey also invokes this through a discussion about foreign ambulance sirens. Needless to say, he abuses the opportunity to hide some things in it:
    Attention! Nous sommes blessés! note 
    Nous avons un homme; il s'appelle Jean-Michel, sa jambe est cassé. note 
    Avec une jeune fille; elle s'appelle Gisèle. Cest si belle. note 
    Ils ont montés dans un arbre pour faire l’amour. Il a adopté la position misionnaire; c'est populaire. note 
    Il est tombé. Sa jambe est cassé. Attention! note 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the card game Chez Geek, the flavor text for the card "Caesar's Gallic Wars" says, in Latin, "Gaul is now divided into three parts. I believe Elvis is alive."
  • In one of the d20 Modern adventures (Le Chien de l'Onyx (although in proper french, it would be Le Chien d'Onyx (The Onyx Dog)), a captive NPC you can free is called Delacey Otage (Otage is French for Hostage).

    Theater 
  • In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, as part of the finale, the characters recap the entire show, including one who sings a verse in Filipino. The next singer's verse, appropriately, is "For those of you who speak Filipino, you know that things ended up the way they should."
  • The French class scene in The History Boys. It's completely untranslated unless they decide to put something in the programme, and dear lord, it's hysterical. Particularly when Dakin drops his trousers for reasons entirely incomprehensible to an audience that doesn't understand French...
  • Older Than Steam: Princess Katherine's language lesson and the courting scene in Shakespeare's Henry V both contain untranslated French. The latter is funny mostly for King Henry's unsubtle mangling of the language. The former is basically a scene-long build-up to two predictable and filthy sound puns.

    Video Games 
  • The FPS Medal of Honor features some funny conversation between enemies. They are spoken in German without subtitles. One of them features a meta-joke in which a soldier wonders aloud whether he is real or a character in a work of fiction.
  • Max Payne 3 is a great example, considering the game takes place in Brazil and there are no subtitles for the Portuguese. The Bilingual Bonus comes from all kinds of things, like understanding the soundtrack (beautifully made) and dialogue between other characters. Not forgetting the good laughs for the way Max pronounce "Crachá Preto".
    • Coxinhas is a kind of a dish quite popular in Brazil but it also happens to be a nickname for "police". Guess what do you find in the police office? Coxinhas.
  • In World of Warcraft, Hostile Troll NPCs in the Dwarvish starting area will shout out "Don't be stealin my weed" in Trollish.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley has a bit of Spanish dialogue. The Spanish translates to "You are using the translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual."
    • This even goes so far as to make it a Bilingual Bonus when playing the game in Spanish by saying the phrase in English. Team Fortress 2 does the same with Spy's lines spoken in French; if the player is playing with the French language on, his French lines are spoken in English.
    • Also, in the credits, the turret song is apparently just a pun, but the lyrics, in Italian, are extremely appropriate.
  • The arcade game Metal Slug 2 starts out in a Middle-Eastern desert town filled with Arabic signs. At the end of the level, where the first boss is fought, two massive banners dominate the street in the background, stating (in Arabic) "I have diarrhea" and "I need medicine."
  • Freedom Fighters had some odd and/or awkward Russian-to-English moments. "First Hitting Brigade, GO!" being probably the champion. The funniest, however, was probably a poster, in parody of the famous Uncle Sam Wants You posters, stating that "The Red Army offers you wonderful opportunity." Small Cyrillic print in the bottom left corner of said poster revealed that said opportunity mainly consists of "Russian vodka".
  • The Commander Keen computer games featured a language named the "Standard Galactic Alphabet" that was just coded symbols corresponding to English letters. In the first game, you'd run across signs that, when decoded, said things like "This is neat" and "Behold the holy pogo stick". The coded alphabet remained consistent throughout the entire series.
  • Hitman: Blood Money has newspapers reporting on your deeds after each level, many in foreign languages. The foreign ones are full of jokes. For instance, in Spanish one says "No tengo ninguna pista que ha escrito", which is incorrect grammar for "I have no clue what I've written." (It should be "No tengo ni idea de lo que acabo de escribir.") Another, oddly, says "Read a book or play outside; to play a game will only make you dumber."
  • Just Cause 2. Many names of locales in Panau are rooted in Indonesian or Malay. Most appear to be mundane and crude translations, but a handful of names were obviously conceived for comedic effect, such as the "Awan Cendawan Power Plant" or "Kem Gunung Belakang Patah".
  • While the baddies in Resident Evil 4 and 5 mostly just employ Enemy Chatter in other languages, there is one instance in 4 that counts a bilingual bonus: some Zealots in Salazar's castle will wander around muttering the word "Cerebros" over and over, which is a cheeky Shout-Out to zombie flicks like Return of the Living Dead, since it means "Brains" in English.
  • Jade Empire features a pair of guard golems who can be disabled if you use the correct password. The password is 'xiaohua', which, if spoken with the correct tones, simply means 'joke' in Mandarin Chinese.
  • The later Elder Scrolls games contain a book called "N'Gasta Kvata Kvakis", which is found in many Necromancers' lairs. The book appears to be gibberish. In reality, it's slightly modified Esperanto. The translation is just the description of an Esperanto newsletter.
  • In Sam and Max: Reality 2.0 Bosco revealed the name of his "safe" bank as bancolavadero.com, in Spanish "lavadero" is a water sink used to wash clothes and the popular name for shady businesses which do money laundering.
  • Thanks to its setting, the Monkey Island series is rife with this. Just to give an example, one of the central antagonists in Tales of Monkey Island is named Marquis De Singe ('singe' being French for 'monkey', which Guybrush lampshades by calling him "De Monkey" in the fourth chapter).
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, the female PC is a princess, in a peach colored kimono. Her name, Momohime, means 'Peach Princess'. Peach Princess, eh?.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, in the Picus Montreal offices, you can find several e-mails written in French, with no in-game translation (unlike the accurately-accented Mandarin Chinese conversations in Hengsha). They deal with Picus' role in manipulating the truth and public opinion (with one Picus employee having doubts about if he's doing the right thing)... and a guy who wants his chair back.
  • Splinter Cell Chaos Theory has a Japanese gang with a name that translates to "Red Herring", thus hinting at the later developments.
    [After Sam asks for a translation]
    Civilian: It's a kind of fish. A small, silvery fish.
    Sam: You mean a herring?
    Civilian: Yes! YES! That's it! That's the word! Red Herring!
  • "Liberi Fatali," the opening theme of Final Fantasy VIII, includes Ominous Latin Chanting which subtly foreshadows the plot of the game, namely that the Gardens were founded specifically to train the Legendary SeeD who will defeat Ultimecia.
  • In The Wonderful 101, all of the GEATHJERK federation have rather oddball names, but by the time you get to the multi-headed dragon called 'Ohrowchee', you'll realize that all of their names are meant to invoke Japanese words. They continue in a similar pattern until the final boss, who calls Earth 'CHI-Q', pronouncing each letter separately. Read as a single word, it sounds similar to and echos 'chikyuu', the Japanese word for Earth.
  • In Xenoblade, the symbols that appear on the Monado are Chinese characters that correspond with whatever power the wielder is using at the moment. Initially, the symbol that appears the most in cutscenes is "Machine," referring to the blade's abiltiy to pierce Mechon armor. Later symbols include "Man," when Zanza upgrades the Monado to be able to damage organic beings as well in order to counter the Faced Mechon, and "God," when Shulk acquires the True Monado at the end of the game and wields it against Zanza himself.
  • In the game Xenosaga, Albedo refers to MOMO with the term "Ma belle pêche"; which literally translates into "My beautiful/lovely peach", since MOMO means "peach" in Japanese.
  • A more bittersweet one in Mass Effect: the Quarian homeworld, Rannoch, orbits a star named Tikkun, which is Hebrew for "repair". And sure enough, in Mass Effect 3, you get to repair relations between the quarians and the geth.
  • Every character in the Wii version of Punch-Out!! speaks in the language of their country, creating a lot of opportunities for this (including one Getting Crap Past the Radar moment when Great Tiger tells Mac to go suck on his mother's teat in Hindu.)
  • Since Cold Fear takes place on a Russian tanker, all the signs are in Russian. If you look at a plot-relevant sign in first person the main character will give an abridged translation, but if you can actually can read Russian yourself a lot of the ignored signs give huge hints to you.
  • In the background of the main menu of Star Wars: Jedi Academy, text in the cypher of Aurebesh scrolls past. Translating it yields an advertisement for the game, ending with, "And yes, this really does say something if you translate it."

    Web Comics 
  • This strip of Irregular Webcomic! for Quebecois French speakers is ostensibly an extended joke about a mountie, a lumberjack etc etc etc walk into a bar. The second panel actually reads "This comic's author doesn't speak French. He just asked a volunteer from Internet forums to translate a few lines of dialogue for him"—Of course, part of the joke is that the French in question is riddled with obvious mistakes—and the fourth panel reads "Next time you want someone to translate your stupid jokes, please offer me something for my efforts, [expletive]!"
  • Irregular Webcomic! author David Morgan-Mar and others had a half-baked idea to launch a site dedicated to half-baked ideas called "mezzacotta". Mezza cotta is Italian for half-baked.
  • Unshelved used Braille once. The characters in the strip comment that whatever it being said is gross and that you can't say that in a webcomic. It actually translates to "soon the full text of every overdue comic strip will be available on our website so that everybody can enjoy them." note 
  • Rock Paper Cynic contains a strip that, according to the author, contrasts black humour with infantile joy by exploiting the Language Barrier between French and English. The strip has two separate scripts, running side by side, one in each language. The English is innocent and fairy tale like, while the French veers into darker territory.
    • Specifically, the French story goes: "Bertrand was a blueberry. He was suspicious of the English-speaking population. He was a bit racist. He prayed to the gods to massacre his enemies, and one day... he saw them all die."
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki has this as well. The runes on Yuuki's belt? A contraceptive spell. Just remember that Yuuki is a gender changed, magical girl who gets into more "situations"" than the average person, and this could manifest as Fridge Brilliance.
  • Homestuck has an interesting case with The Troll alphabet. It's actually upside-down Daedric Alphabet from The Elder Scrolls. The first name suggestion translates as "Turdodor Fuckball." The "real" name, however, translates as "Trollplanet" which is an accurate description of the world... but which makes the caption a blatant lie, because it claims the guess was exactly right... and that the name of the world is Alternia. The attempted insulting name for Karkat translates as "Bulgereek Nookstain". During their fight scenes, the word "GRIEF" appears instead of the kids' STRIFE.
    • With the introduction of Damara Megido, who speaks mostly Japanese (albeit Google Translated-Japanese) and little English, Homestuck now has Bilingual Bonus with an Earth language.
  • This xkcd has a Bilingual Bonus in the alt-text in Lojban. It roughly translates as "Fedora man is going to conquer the world." Roughly, though, since you know how imprecise English is. It actually roughly means that he's teasing, but can we still be friends?
  • In the beginning of Issue #12 of The Dreamer, Benjamin Tallmadge says to Nathan Hale in Latin, "Poena absentiae non excusandae probatio collegii dies quinque et admonitio publica est. Decem pro furciferis Linoniae."note 
  • In this strip of Penny Arcade, the Mandalorian roughly translates to: Train your sons to be strong, but your daughters to be stronger, learn mandoa fool. Now hands up how many had to use Google translate or similar to get that?
  • A minor one, but in this Darths & Droids comic, the title is in binary. When translated to ascii, it reads "Sunset."
    • Which is hilarious because Tatooine is a binary star system. It really is a binary sunset.
  • The Wotch gives us the character Ivan Bezdomny. His last name is the Polish or Russian word for homeless.
    • The original Ivan Bezdomny from The Master and Margarita was a parody on contemporary poets and writer: Bedny, Golodny and Gorky — "poor", "hungry" and "bitter".
  • In this strip of Ctrl+Alt+Del, Lucas' binary quote translates to "get lost, fucktard".
  • In a strip of Chopping Block, Butch meets a French speaker who he thinks is either telling him to kill for Beelzebub, or asking where the bathroom is — he opts for the first to be safe. If you understand the French, it turns out that, against all odds and logic, Butch actually guessed right.
  • The Fox Sister: For Korean speakers, Soot Bull's name will reveal a Punny Name.
  • Sturgeon's Law has Pierce mention that he was a formerly as senior vice president at Apate Industries. 'Apate' is Greek for (and the name of the god of) deceit or fraud.
  • Toki No Tanaka presents all of its background text (signs, etc.) in untranslated Japanese, so this is a common occurrence. Translating the school signs in this page, for example, reveals one to be called "Snow Wood Boarding School" and the other "Tinkle Elementary".

    Web Original 
  • In ARCHON, non-human first names tend to be words in another language. Notably elven names are Welsh and orkish names are German. Overlaps with Meaningful Name.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the story "Quoth the Ninja, Nevermore!" has a Bilingual Bonus. The superpowered ninjas raiding the school (as a Yama Dojo graduation exercise) form a Five-Man Band, and their names are all jokes in Japanese. Their given names are all types of food, as in tons of anime, while their last names all have hidden meanings.
  • While RAKSA of Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors-RAKSA is the nickname of Rakion Kalsa, Malay speakers can tell that this novel revolves around mercury.
  • From SCP Foundation, SCP-335 is a set of 150 Magic Floppy Disks, with names written on them. The last one has the Japanese name "Hajime," which means "first."

    Web Video 
  • H+ has several characters who speak Finnish, then there is a lot of Italian going around, both of which, if you understand the language, gives you an idea of things going on in the background.
  • In Demo Reel, Rebecca's Italian bosses call her a "stunad", which she happily thinks is their language word for "bright". In context, it really means "bimbo who'll take the fall when they get found out".
  • In The Time... Guys, Dr. Chronos is very bad at Spanish, as seen in "Dinner... TIME".
    Doc: Ah, mi hijo! How was your español testículo? [Translation: Ah, my son! How was your testicle Spanish?]
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Last Airbender, the Japanese in the intro parody reads "This movie sucks."

    Western Animation 
  • In the same Kim Possible episode Ron has to take care of a sack of flour, the Stoppables adopt a daughter whose name means "flower" in Japanese.
  • Overlapping with Meaningful Name in an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog has a villain of the week with the surname "Zalost", which is Slavic for "Sorrow" or "Sadness".
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Good Times With Weapons" the kids are playing with the weapons and imagine themselves as anime characters, complete with a song in Japanese made by Trey Parker (who speaks fluent Japanese), "Let's Fighting Love". The song also has several odd statements in Gratuitous English (including the titular line), and most of the song is profane (but grammatically correct) nonsense and the singer admitting how bad the song and his English are. (You can find a translation here.)
    • Japanese jokes aplenty in "Chinpokomon" – Chinpoko is Japanese for "very small penis."
    • Several episodes feature a fictional video game console, the Okama Gamesphere. "Okama" being Japanese slang for "gay man."
    • In "Chickenlover", the alphabet poster above the school blackboard reads "DiOsMiOhAnMaTaDoHaKeNnYbAsTaRdOs", which is Spanish for "Oh my God, they killed Kenny, you bastards".
      • The stop sign that Barbrady sees is 멍청이, Korean for idiot.
    • Also in Pinkeye, the button the Cosmonauts accidentally press to crash the Mir space station is labelled "hoopsie" in Cyrillic script— a possible transliteration of either "oopsie" or "whoopsie".
    • The running commentary of Butters crossing the border in "Last of the Meheecans" refers to Cartman primarily as "gordo" ("the fat one").
      • 'Mantequilla', Butters' pseudonym in the episode, is Spanish for 'butter'.
  • In Futurama when Amy Wong gets mad, she will often speak Chinese in a tone implying that she's swearing. However, she's actually saying very innocuous phrases and just using an angry tone.
    • Binary code is also used with Bender here and there; among other things, his apartment in "I, Brobot" reads '$', and a binary message in blood in "The Honking" is the number 666.
    • In one episode of the new (2010) series, the crew travels in time and Prof. Farnsworth takes a stop to kill Adolf Hitler. Just before Farnsworth's death ray blows him up, Hitler is yelling in an official speech: "Betrachten Sie meinen Schnurrbart!" "Look at my moustache!"
  • In Hey Arnold!, Oskar Kokoshka has a Meaningful Name. While kokoshka means "hen" in a number of Slavic languages and is a common surname, kakashka translates to feces or "piece of shit", which precisely describes him.
  • Beast Wars has Cybertronix, a simple substitution cypher. Sometimes it's used for gibberish, sometimes it's plot relevant, and sometimes it's just used for in-jokes and Getting Crap Past the Radar. For example this actually translates to "If you can read this seek help"
  • In the episode "Here There Be Dwarves" of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy the dwarves shout "Lave sus Manos!" as a battle cry. Those who understand Spanish knows it translates to "Wash your hands".
    • In the episode "My Peeps", while Grim is zapping Billy's eyes to try and fix them, Billy briefly sees Grim and Mandy in an Animesque style, and Mandy says "His eyes aren't fixed yet" in Japanese.
  • In The Critic, Vlada's restaurant is named L'ane Riche, which is French for "The Wealthy Jackass."
  • Family Guy episode "McStroke" has an Italian guy tells Peter he is crazy for faking Italian.
    • All the signs in Asiantown are nonsense. The "Chinese Takeout" has the exact same English words written below it in Japanese letters, and one street sign says "I love you". Other store signs say "1234567" or "Monday"
    • In Halloween on Spooner Street, the line Quagmire says his Japanese grandfather used to say translates to "As long as a man has pearls between his toes, he will never be poor."
    • During a scenario where Hitler has a talk show, the phone number includes Hitler screaming "DU WERDEST EINE KRANKENSCHWESTE BRAUCHEN!"; in actuality, this translates to "You will need a nurse."
  • In one episode of American Dad!, Steve is deceived by Roger to think he has been accepted in Hogwarts really Roger just sent him with drug dealers, one of them told Steve "Lavate las manos" which he believed to be a spell, actually was "Wash your hands" in Spanish.
    • Another episode features a running gag involving a fictional Spanish-speaking singer named Cilantro. One of Cilantro's songs plays during an action sequence and the song consists of Seth MacFarlane spouting phrases such as "The cat is the devil" in Spanish, over and over again.
      • Literally, the song goes, The dog, the dog, is my heart, the cat, the cat, the cat is not good. Cilantro dances a lot, Cilantro is very famous, Cilantro is the man with the cheese of the devil.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The show's creator voices the Not-German character Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and knows German himself, which has actually led to them getting to say, "Perry the Platypus, you scared the shit out of me!" in German.
    • In Summer Belongs to You!, Jeremy goes to Paris and stays at an Hotel called "La Poubelle", which is french for "The Trash Can".
  • Done in Adventure Time. Lady Rainicorn, Jake and Finn are sitting together, and telling jokes. There is a significant problem here, as Rainicorn speaks only Korean. Rainicorn is asked to tell a joke. Her reply causes Jake to blush, and he quickly makes the excuse that there is a translation barrier. Her 'joke', translated, is "Remember when we ran naked through that field? That farmer was so offended!"
    • Which is funny, because Jake and Lady Rainicorn never wear clothes.
    • Runs in the episode Into the Nightosphere, where at one point Jake randomly belts out "Jouzu de Ganbate ne," which is loosely Japanese for "You try your best very well."
  • In a Mysterio episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, he is chanting in Latin to summon various spells/illusions. Translated, he is saying things that make sense for the sleep and lightning spells, but for the disappearing spell he chants "Thank you for not smoking", then "I believe that Elvis is still alive" for the dragon-summoning spell, and "I can't get no&#65279; satisfaction" for the Homunculi-summoning spell.
  • One episode of King of the Hill revolves around Enrique and his marital problems. When Hank takes Enrique to confront his wife, Yolanda, they start arguing in Spanish. They say some pretty amusing things, like Yolanda complaining that Enrique was always going on about how great Hank is. "*makes kissy noises* Hank is strong, Hank is fun!"
  • An episode of Rocko's Modern Life had Rocko, Heffer and Filbert watching a Spanish soap opera in which a man is tearfully telling a woman something that translates into "Maria, this book is late, I must go to the library."
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Cutie Pox", one of the cutie marks Apple Bloom gets makes her compulsively speak French. The first thing out of her mouth translates as "Good grief, another cutie mark! What is this, I'm speaking French?!"
  • There's one overlapping with Meaningful Name in an episode of Inspector Gadget, with a character named Iji Waruda-san who is the Japanese counterpart of Doctor Claw. Iji Waruda sounds like a plausible Japanese name to the uninitiated, but it's simply a rearranging of the phrase "Ijiwaru Da", which can be translated to English as the blatantly appropriate "Is a bad person."

    Real Life 
  • The software company Piriform makes freeware cleanup tools, including Recuva, a tool for recovering lost files after you accidentally delete them. Piriform is Latin for "pear-shaped", British slang for Gone Horribly Wrong. (The company logo is also pear-shaped, confirming that this is intentional.)
  • The Other Wiki has this.


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