Woolseyism: Live-Action TV

  • The German dub of Hogan's Heroes gives Sgt. Schultz and Col. Klink Bavarian and Saxon accents respectively; the original was not specific.
    • Klink's speeches go even further as he occasionally uses terms and mannerisms that no sane German would (but no one said Klink is sane). He even calls his superiors names that would get him in trouble. General Burkhalter (who got a clear Vienna accent like the other two named above) is repeatedly called things (to his face) like "Sacherfriedhof" which literally means "cake cemetery" (Sacher is a special cake from Vienna). This sometimes leads to a Hurricane of Puns from Klink. Also notable is, this is the second German Dub under "Ein Käfig voller Helden" (engl. "a cage full of heroes"). The first one was pretty lame and only the first season was dubbed and abandoned later.
    • A specific example: Hochstetter has found a button marked "US" on the ground outside the camp, indicating American spies in the area. He shows it to Klink triumphantly—Klink first reads it as "oos!" and when his attention is drawn to the fact that it's actually two letters reads it as "unterseeboot" (submarine). (Which doesn't make any sense either since the only correct shortening would be UB.)
  • Power Rangers varies from time to time on how close it resembles Super Sentai, sometimes for the better. A good example would be how Denji Sentai Megaranger was turned into Power Rangers in Space. Megaranger showed ships flying through space and in preparing for the next season, the production team ended Power Rangers Turbo with a change of scenery to space. What they discovered was that Megaranger was a virtual reality/ gadget based series, never an outer space setting. So they mixed and matched the Megaranger footage with original American scripts and footage. What was originally just another Super Sentai series became one of the most popular seasons of Power Rangers and Growing the Beard for the entire franchise.
    • Its successor, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, similarly. The next sentai's name comes out to Starbeast Squadron Galaxyman, so naturally... it's about nature and takes place in a forest. The mecha and villains are from space-based but that's about it. PRLG utterly jettisons that idea. Taking place on a space station with several Earthlike environments, we say adios to Earth in the first episode and take off on a spacefaring adventure like nothing either franchise has ever done before or since even as sentai footage battles that still take place in downtown Tokyo or Japan's version of the BBC Quarry haven't gone anywhere. Zordon died at the end of PRIS so the Zordon-like talking tree mentor from Ginga isn't kept, but good old Alpha fits seamlessly into the role of his talking acorn sidekick.
    • Power Rangers RPM seems to be doing a similar thing — taking the Lighter and Softer Engine Sentai Go-onger, about heroes fighting with sentient talking car/aircraft/train toys that can be transformed into giant talking cars/trains/aircraft and robots, and turning it into a series set After the End in a Crapsack World where, in the wake of an attack by a computer virus and the robot army it constructs, humanity only survives in a doomed domed city called Corinth, protected by a small but elite team of Rangers, and even those Rangers are in dire straits when the series begins, forced to recruit two new Rangers, one of which they're not sure if they can trust and the other of who is, at best, a bit shy of the skills necessary for the job.
    • A mix of this trope and Bowdlerisation can be found in Power Rangers S.P.D. with its treatment of the annual criminals. In Dekaranger, its Sentai brother, they were judged, found guilty, and then promptly Executed. Disney apparently considered showing the police explode perps in a massive fireball and posing over it wouldn't be a good idea, and filmed new footage of them being nonfatally arrested, a la Time Force. It went nicely with the other homages/similarities to TF that were already there.
    • Fans were shocked to see the unedited "Zandar Thunder" text in Power Rangers Dino Charge as a part of the Gold Ranger's finishing move. However rather than being just a pun on thunder like the original was, they worked "Zandar" in the story in a better way than they did with Gosei and Tensou's names in Megaforce, using it's the name of the Kingdom that the Gold Ranger is from. Hence his finisher is the Thunder from the Knight of Zandar.
  • In the French dub of The A-Team, B.A. Baracus becomes Barracuda.
    • The Italian dub renamed him P.E. Baracus, with P.E. being perfect for the lip-sync and standing for "Pessimo Elemento", more or less "Nasty Guy".
    • At least those cases make sense; the Latino Spanish name was changed to Mario Baracus for no discernible reason.
  • The Persuaders! with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore is remembered much more fondly in Germany (where it was called Die Zwei (The Two)) because of the extremely creative dub that consisted almost entirely of crazy made-up 70s slang. Some of the phrases from the dub have become memes in Germany, for example the Gratuitous English One-Liner "Sleep well in your Bettgestell" ("Bettgestell" means "bed stead" but rhymes with "well"). Then there's "Hände hoch - ich bin Achselfetischist!" ("Hands up - I'm an armpit fetishist!").
    • The same translator gives us M*A*S*H*. Even folks that normally see movies and serials in the original English like the German better.
    • The same thing happened in France, the show (there known as Amicalement VôtreFriendly Yours) being very fondly remembered for its dub and inspired choice of voice actors.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! got a Woolseyism in its very title in Sweden. Since it was a spoof of Secret Army (Hemliga Armén in Swedish), its Swedish title became 'Emliga Armén, which sounds like it's pronounced with a French accent while at the same time referencing the dialect word emliga, "lame".
  • In the BBC Sherlock series, a grammatically-challenged British prisoner in Belarus complains about going to get 'hung', which Sherlock denies - he is, however, going to get 'hanged'. In the German dub, the prisoner has correct grammar in this last instance, but Sherlock corrects him by saying he's going to get shot, which is the actual Belarusian execution method.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The French dub of Doctor Who managed to translate TARDIS by keeping both the acronym and the almost exact meaning, as "Temps Avec Relativité Dimensionnelle Inter-Spatiale", or "Time With Inter-Space Dimensional Relativity". Not bad given the litteral translation of TARDIS would be "Temps et dimensions relatifs dans l'espace".
    • A rather nice one was done in Voyage of the Damned, where a badly misinformed alien explains that English declare war on Turkey each Christmas then eat them. In the translation, Turkey was replaced by "les gens d'Inde" (people from India), which sounds like "les gens dindes" (turkey people).
    • River Song's catchphrase "Spoilers" became "C'est pas l'heure" (it's not time yet) in the French dub, which sounds almost like "spoiler" (which has no easy translation in French).
    • In the Japanese dub of "School Reunion", there's a funny bit where the Tenth Doctor babbles some Motor Mouthed nonsense about how much he likes saying "allons-y" and how he wishes he could meet someone called Alonso so he could say "allons-y, Alonso". The Japanese dub changed this to a reference to one of the Victim of the Week schoolboys in the episode, who conveniently was named Milo, which sounds identical in a Japanese accent to "mairô", the Japanese equivalent of "allons-y", and so he ends up babbling about how he hopes he can say "mairô" to "Milo".
  • The Tokusatsu fansubbing group Over-Time is well-known for doing this, a sharp contrast to their biggest competitor TV-Nihon. They are regularly criticised for translating proper nouns, leading to things such as "Voltasaur Team" and "Spec Ops Cell", at one point translating "Go-Buster-Oh" to "Go-Buster King", which backfired on them when an actual Go-Buster King happened, meaning they wrote its name as..."Go-Buster Oh".
    • They have, been (mostly) praised in how they handle the Blue Ranger in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger by adapting all of his constant bad jokes into equally bad English equivalents.
    • The previous year, they did the same thing with a villainous Rakugo performer in Kamen Rider Fourze. Everything he says, practically, is some sort of wordplay and they really had to go the distance to make English equivalents while still getting his meaning across. In one instance, he refers to Kamen Rider Meteor as a 'Planetarium man' (Meteor's attacks are based on planets), Over-Time changed this to 'Captain Planetarium', both preserving the reference and adding one for the English audience.
    • Also, Satorakura from Ninpu Sentai Hurricanger, when he popped up in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. When he surprises you (bikkuri), he turns you into a chestnut (kuri). This becomes a situation where he can drive you "nuts," literally. Satorakura is pretty much just like the Fourze character - same level of translator's nightmare.
    • Also, the monster names in Kyoryuger are typically one or two letters off of the thing they're based on in Japanese, are translated similarly, which was adored by some people, and hated by everyone who'd rather names remain untranslated.
  • Æsir's fansubs of Kamen Rider Gaim do this with the Overlord dialogue. Similar to the Grongi of Kamen Rider Kuuga, the monsters have their own language. It's a substitution cypher of normal Japanese that can be decoded if you're of a mind to. The folks at Æsir decoded it, translated it, and gives us a substitution cypher of English that you can work out if you so choose. Beware of spoilers, though.
    • They also did this with Kamen Rider Gridon, changing his name to Ornac to emphasize that it's supposed to be a really dorky and uncool name, both being anagrams of "acorn" in their native languages. Instead of having him say "You're an acorn, so Gridon!" with a TL note about how "Donguri=Acorn so Gridon is just flipping it" his name was changed to preserve the pun. This drew complaints from people who didn't want the name of only one in over a hundred Kamen Riders to be translated, especially as said term literally appeared no-where but in the subs, the critics of this decision being far more numerous than those who supported it.
    • And for the hat trick, they also changed the name of the show's Transformation Trinket. Its original name is Sengoku Driver, as in the Sengoku (Warring States) Era of Japanese history, but with the Kanji for "state" replaced with the homophonic "extreme". Æsir chose to render this in English as Wärring Driver, saying that the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut was the best way they could come up with to express extreme-ness. Pretty early on, though, it's revealed that the belts are named for their creator, Professor Ryoma Sengoku, but Æsir stuck to their guns and renamed him Ryoma Wärring. Hilarious in Hindsight when you remember that the staff at Æsir actually had a rant about TV-Nihon for NOT translating it, despite later admitting they made a mistake.
  • Referenced in Qi, in the episode "Highs and Lows". Discussing the traditional Burns' Night Haggis, Fred MacAuley mentioned the tradition of Addressing the Haggis, reciting a Scots poem that contains the line "Great chieftain of the pudding race". He then mentions that the text for the Address was translated into German for a Burns' Night celebration there, and translated back into English. "Proud chieftain of the pudding race" became "Mighty Fuhrer of the sausage people".
  • Thanks to Executive Meddling, the Mexican dub of the 60s Batman TV series changed the names of the characters in order to make them more Latino-sounding. For example, Bruce Wayne was changed into Bruno Diaz, Dick Grayson into Ricardo Tapia, Commissioner Gordon into Comisionado Fiero and even the city itself, Gotham, became Ciudad Gótica (Gothic City). The villains' names were also changed, although this makes much more sense considering the nature of their names. For example, The Riddler became El Acertijo, The Penguin became El Pinguino, The Joker became El Guasón, and Catwoman became Gatúbela. With the exception of Catwoman (the correct translation would be “Mujer Gata”), the rest of the villains' names are a literal translation from English to Spanish (in the case of the word Guasón, even though it effectively means “Joker” in Spanish, it is now so associated with the character that is rarely used in any other context).
    • Due to the fact that the Mexican dub was also used for most of Latin America, the names were kept by other dubs. For example, the same names were used (with the exception of Gordon) in the dub of Batman: The Animated Series, even when the dubbing team was Chilean, and it has also been used in the translation of some comics, the dubbing/subtitling of some of the live-action films, and most of the DCUA shows and movies. This wasn’t so common for other superheroes, as for example Superman was always Clark Kent for the Spanish-speaking audiences (However, Lois Lane was changed into the more Latino-sounding Luisa Lane in some dubs).
    • In Spain, The Riddler is known as Enigma, and in Brazil as The Sphinx.
    • In Latin America, The Incredible Hulk was dubbed as El Hombre Increible (The Incredible Man) and no mention of the name Hulk was ever made on screen (they used "the Creature" instead of "Hulk"), probably because the Hulk wasn’t very wellknown among Latino audiences at the time, with the exception of a very limited circle of comic enthusiasts.