The Mexican dub of King of the Hill had the title translated as Los Reyes de la Colina, changing the family's name to Reyes, a real Hispanic name, while still preserving the pun on the phrase "king of the hill." For example, Hank Hill's name was changed to Hector Reyes.
The Hungarian dub attempted this, though how successful it was is questionable. Essentially, they rewrote every line of dialog to sound more "realistic" — by packing them chock full of swear words, especially Boomhauer's speeches. This is a common tactic, and the dubs of South Park and Family Guy also made use of it (more like abused it), but unlike those, King of the Hill had morning and afternoon timeslots, when children could watch it. Another unique change they made was giving Hank a very gruff redneck voice. Beginning from season 7, the dub became a straight translation of the original, abandoning the profanities.
Transformers series sometimes translate the meaningful names of the characters along with the dialogue. For example, Starscream sometimes becomes Gwiazdowrzask (literally "Starscream") in the Polish dub.
In the German translation of Transformers Animated, the garbage-loving Wreck-Gar's name is Wreck-sauger. It's a play on the German word "staubsauger", which means "vacuum cleaner".
In the Hungarian dub of the live-action film, Starscream became Üstökös ("Comet").
Though he has had a number of other names in different series. In Armada, he is called Csillagsikoly (Starscream, literally), sometimes abbreviated to Csillag (Star); and his Energon (re-)incarnation was christened Surranó (Sneaker, which is what he does at his first appearance). Both dubs of the '86 movie refer to him as Starscream, however the delivery at times makes it sound like "Szarszkrém" (Shitscream).
According to the Transformers Wiki the otherwise atrocious G1 English dub by Omni Productions (a Hong Kong-based company) renamed Blurr, a transformer known for his superspeed movement and speech, to "Wally". No, really.
Drawn Together, as translated into Russian by TNT (later by 2x2). Most jokes specific to American culture that wouldn't make sense to a Russian audience were replaced with Russian-specific ones. In a particularly Anvilicious moment, Foxxy and Spanky recite the names of Russian reality show participants, like "This is for Olga!", in the first season finale.
The Latino dub of Duck Man did the same, not only giving the characters specific Latin American accents (Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, etc.) but also changing the jokes and the names of the celebrities to Latin American references.
When The Magic Roundabout made the transition from France to the United Kingdom, the plot for each episode was completely rewritten and narrated by Eric Thompson. Although the show's creator, Serge Danot, expressed concern over these changes, Thompson's thoroughly British revamp of the animations gained cult status.
Eric in fact wrote the scripts without looking at the original French ones; he based it entirely off the film.
Then there's the strange case of the 2005 computer-animated movie... It was made as a joint French-British effort, and had a voice cast from each country. Then it had a separate American dub, which is just considered terrible in of itself.
When The Flintstones was translated to Spanish, nearly all of the characters' names were changed: Fred Flintstone became "Pedro Picapiedra" (Peter Stonecutter), Barney Rubble became "Pablo Marmol" (Paul Marble) and so on. In addition, the voice actors (who, by and large, do not sound like the originals) apparently ad-libbed most of the jokes. This helped to make the series a big hit in Latin America.
In Swedish, they got to keep their first names, but their last names were changed from Flintstone to "Flinta" (Flint) and from Rubble to "Granit" (Granite).
In fact, many Hanna-Barbera series were given this treatment, to great success and increased funny.
Pretty much all cartoons dubbed in Mexico before the 1970s got this treatment to a bigger or lesser degree. For instance, in the Spanish dub of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Penelope Pitstop became "Penélope Glamour", and Sylvester Sneekly became "Silvestre Dos Caras" (Sylvester Two Faces).
That's Frank mocking an old "psycho gay roommate" who lived with him while in Puerto Rico. Said psycho gay roommate was obsessed with the Flintstones, but it's a good question whether "Paco" instead of "Pedro" is due to Frank or the psycho gay roommate.
The Quebec French dub did much the same, featuring prominent Québécois comedians for the voice acting, changing all the names to appropriately French-sounding names: Fred Flintstone became "Fred Caillou" (Fred Rock), for example. All external signs were also translated in still-frame images. Even Mr. Slate was renamed "Mr. Miroc", a reference to the Mira stone quarry company that existed in Quebec at the time.
Even the No Celebrities Were Harmed and Expy cameos were re-written with a more local color, adding more local appeal and moving away from American references that French Canadians might otherwise not get (it was a time with no Internet and only four television channels, after all).
The Hungarian dub of The Flintstones went further than that: The dialog has been rewritten to rhymed prose by a writer/poet, József Romhányi. It gained a lot of puns and wordplay in the process. Even the Hungarian title (Frédi és Béni, a két kőkorszaki szaki) has a rhyme in it.
In Latin America The Jetsons had a similar treatment in dubbing the names. The family name was change to Los Supersónicos (The Supersonic) though the name was use only in the title as in-universe the family name was just Sónico. Thus George Jetson became Súper Sónico, Jane Jeston became Ultra Sónico, Judy Jetson is Lucero (morning star) Sónico, Elroy Jetson turned to Cometín (little comet) Sónico, Rosie is Robotina and Mr. Spacely is "Señor Espacial" (which is a literal translation), and in some version is called Sr. Júpiter (Mr Jupiter). Only Astro remains the same name.
Guilherme Briggs is a famous Brazilian dubber. Most of the fame comes from the exceptional voices he makes for incredibly different characters (he dubs Superman from the Justice League and Cosmo from The Fairly Oddparents, as well as Jim Carrey in his movies), but few know that Briggs also largely improvises on his more comedic personas with jokes easily understood by Brazilians. In fact, many consider his version of most of these characters to be superior to the originals. For instance, he dubbed Hank for the Sealab 2021, managing to make this above average cartoon into comedy gold singlehanded.
Briggs was the dubbing director, too, so, it helped a lot. His work on Mewtwo in the Pokémon movie made a cute pokemon clone that happened to be wicked into a wicked clone monster that happened to be a cute pokemon. And it was adapted from the 4Kids version.
Nowadays, Briggs could very well be considered the Ensemble Dark Horse of voice acting in Brazil. Almost every work he had a hand in, and definetely every single one where he was the director, were very acclaimed in Brazil, where the Fan Dumb simply loves to bash any kind of dub even before actually hearing it. Even they only have good things to say about Briggs's works.
Count Duckula's Latin American dub, also produced in Mexico, inserted rapid-fire references to Mexican culture (pop and otherwise) that make it one of the most beloved cartoons in the country's history. Such as "patolín" (how Nanny refers to Duckula in Spanish instead of "Ducky-Boos") wanting tortillas made from Maseca-Seca for lunch; or how he almost never refers to Nanny as such, preferring to use "Gordis" or "La Gorda" (think "fatty/fatso" as a very affectionate term of endearment) and "Gorda de la caridad!" when especially irritated with her.
The ending of "Hardluck Hotel" in the German dub changed the line from, "Nanny... you're a ninny, Nanny" to "Emma... ich bin auf Dilemma, Emma."
Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat, which originally consisted of only 30 episodes and which wasn't so successful in the United States, was dubbed into Latin American Spanish with the names of all the characters altered to fit. But what really took the cake was that every cat spoke in a different accent, which is what made the series so wildly successful in Mexico. The same 30 episodes have been rerun over and over in mainstream Mexican TV for about 30 years.
The same can be said about The Smurfs (know as Los Pitufos in Latin America). Not only were the names changed changed very liberally (Brainy Smurf, for example, became Pitufo Filósofo or Philosopher Smurf), they also gave each Smurf a particular accent.
The Real Ghostbusters had a Dutch dub which featured the characters talking over the end credits, practically turning this into a show-within-a-show as they introduced bizarre, made-up back stories (such as frequent mention of Egon's days in the "Sea Explorers", a scouting group), cracked jokes about the events featured in the episode and even referred to the hosts of the Saturday Morning Kids Show it was part of.
The Polish version of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers changed the name of character "Monterey Jack" (a name of American cheese) to "Rockfor" (which is "Roquefort", a name of French cheese, written phonetically). Also, the "RR" in the title was translated as "Risky Rescue Brigade" (which, also, was the Polish title of the show).
Actually, the show's title is just "Chip and Dale", because at the time it debuted (January 1991), the shorts weren't airing regularly on Polish television. That "Risky Rescue Brigade" undertitle was added for home video usage and airings on commercial TV channels in Poland.
The Swedish dub of the series changed nearly all the character names, as well as the title, due to the fact that the originals doesnt translate into very dynamic names. Chip and Dale were given the same names as they had in the original translated shorts, Piff and Puff, while the show itself became "Räddningspatrullen/Rescue Patrol". Monterey Jack, who is named after a cheese that is almost unknown in Sweden, had his name changed to the somewhat generic name "Oscar". Gadgets name would translate into "Prylen" or "Maskinen", so it became "Pärlan/Pearl". Fat Cat's name was changed to "Svinpäls", which is an old slang for villain or jerk.
The name of Roquefort a.k.a. Rocky was also left in the Russian dub, with some additional changes like Gadget becoming Guyka (Nut, although not this kind of nuts you may think about first) and Fatcat becoming Tolstopuz (Fatbelly).
In fact, the Russian dubs of most of the classic Disney animated shows are notorious for their "liberal" approach to character names that ended up mostly working and themselves became iconic. For example, in DuckTales, the names of the triplets Huey, Dewey and Louie, which sound silly to a Russian audience (invoking a slang word for penis), were changed to Billy, Willy and Dilly — which ironically works the same way to an English audience.
The Hungarian dub of Chip and Dale translates the show title as "Csipet csapat" (literally "Tiny team"), Monterey Jack is renamed Kvarg Lipi (a pun on Quargel cheese), Gadget becomes Sziporka ("spark") and Fat Cat is called Pukkandúr (combining "pukkan" (to pop) and "kandúr" (tomcat)).
The Italian dub renames Fat Cat to Gattolardo, which not only has the same meaning (gatto "cat" + lardo "lard"), but also sounds like Il Gattopardo aka The Leopard, a novel about a Sicilian nobleman, an apt choice for a refined crime boss. The same dub renames Prof. Nimnul to Dr. Pan De Monium.
A very clever, multifaceted example: In the German dub of the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Born Again Krabs," when the Flying Dutchman comes after Mr. Krabs, the fake Line-of-Sight Name he gives after looking at the flower on the end table is "Benjamin Blümchen," rather than "Harold Flower" in the English version. It's still a Line-of-Sight Name because "Blümchen" is a diminutive of the German word for "flower", but it's also a Woolseyism because it references Benjamin Blümchen, the elephant from the popular German children's audio-stories and cartoons. In addition, it's also an Actor Allusion, because Mr. Krabs' German VA is Jürgen Kluckert, who has been the voice of Benjamin Blümchen since 1994.
Krabs' voice actor even changes his voice to the much calmer, softer tone he uses for said pachyderm.
The German dub had fun with giving Squidward (locally changed to Thaddäus Tentakel) various nicknames like Thaddel, Thaddelchen and at one point "Thaddäuuuh".
The dub of Cephalopod Lodge also added in more audible muffled screaming in both cases (when Thaddäus had landed in the dirt with his head sticking into the ground, and when he'd been kidnapped by Spongebob and Patrick).
In the Latin American dub for "Krusty Krab Training Video", the acronym "P.O.O.P." (People Order Our Patties) became the similar "C.A.C.A.", which stands for "Clientes adoran comer aquí", meaning "Customers enjoy eating here".
The title in the German dub, Spongebob Schwammkopf in general, which is a pun on "Schwamm" (Sponge) and "Schwachkopf" (Idiot).
The Italian dub of Futurama has replaced most English swear words not with their direct Italian equivalent, but with words which have a similar sound and whose meaning can be linked to the character who uttered it. For example, in one episode Zoidberg's "the hell" is rendered in Italian with "cozza" (Italian for "mussel"), which is extremely similar to "cazzo" (Italian for "dick").
Another example: The acronym F.A.R.T. (Fathers Against Rude Television) was rendered as P.U.Z.Z.A., or Padri Uniti Zittiscono Zotici Attori (United Fathers Hush Coarse Actors). "Puzza" has essentially the same meaning as "fart".
The Brazilian dub of South Park tends to go to the other side of the scale, since it was made in an amateur studio with amateur actors. Nevertheless, one entire-episoded joke got a surprisingly creative treatment in the episode "Jared has Aides". Since the portuguese word for "aides" ("ajudante" or "assistente") doesn't sound at all like "AIDS" (or "SIDA"), the joke got a slight remake - Jared keeps telling everyone that he has "H&V". Which sounds exactly the same as "HIV", but he says that "H&V" stand for "Hector and Victor", his aides. Sure, there were still some issues with grammar (especially verbal conjugation) due to the change, but still managed to get the joke across competently.
The German version handles this rather creatively, too, by having Jared talking about A.I.D.S as an acronym for "Assistenten im Diätsystem" (diet system assistants).
The Swedish subtitles, too, make A.I.D.S. an acronym.
The Hungarian dubbing likewise used HIV, pronounced the same as the word "hív", meaning "fan" or "supporter". The grammar wasn't perfect, seeing as "hív" refers to a single person, but at least the joke still worked.
To intensify the mystery on Mysterion, because he is an expy of Rorschach and presumably because they had the chance, Mysterion in the German dub is voiced like Rorschach by the German voice actor of the original Rorschach.
Which makes an extremly stark contrast when he speaks up with his unmuffled voice in the scene where the kids research Cthulhu, because he is voiced by a woman when not speaking as Mysterion.
In Spanish, almost everyone (even the Mexicans) hated the Mexican dub of South Park, which was restrained and tried to cover the profanity with slang from Mexico City. It soon was replaced by the more successful Venezuelan dub, which was more faithful in its graphic nature.
Similar to the King of the Hill examples above, the Québec dub of The Simpsons replaces many U.S. pop-culture references with local ones, and even implied that the show was set in Québec (despite no Dub Name Changes), thought the later stopped with the increased politicization of the recent seasons.
Yet that makes it more annoying as the show keeps throwing those local Québec references, including Burt Reynolds and a Québecois celebrity talking to each other in a Québec-made awards ceremony!!! Head, meet wall.
Played with on occasion. In one recent episode, Homer ended up in Canada by accident. This wasn't changed in the Quebec dub, but the roles of an English and a French Canadian were reversed in one scene, with French being the language that Homer understood rather than English.
During the 1990s, the Mexican dub for The Simpsons was always two steps behind the general public pop culture, the most notorious example being the Krusty Gets Kancelled episode, featuring Krusty's "half-brother", Luke Perry. Well, the translators thought no one in Mexico would know who Perry was, so they translated Luke Perry as Robert Redford (!!) even though the character looked nothing like Redford, and the Mexican target audience back then probably knew Perry much better than Redford.
The German dub of The Simpsons has vastly deteriorated over the years (not only owing to the deaths of some of the principal characters' voice actors). Initially, it was very good and contained several Woolseyisms in the dialog and the acting.
One example is when Milhouse jumps from a dam in a parody of The Fugitive and loses his glasses. The German dub adds a timing gag, giving the audience one second of silence to assume that Milhouse died before his "My glasses!" line.
In general, the fact that there are more voice actors to portray the more important characters than in the original leads to a more facetted portrayal of the individual characters with a broader range of expression as the actors don't have to strain their voices to achieve yet another distinct funny voice.
In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis says he's from Canada, and Tallulah points out that he must mean North Montana since it hasn't been called Canada for years. In Swedish, Lewis says he's from Denmark and Tallulah says that he must mean Southwest Scania (Scania, or "Skåne" in Swedish, being a province in southern Sweden).
It is similar to this in the German dub as well. Lewis says he comes from Switzerland and Tallulah corrects him by calling it West Austria.
The Norwegian dub of the Shrek movies often takes very American jokes and gives them a unique Norwegian spin, and sometimes adds a unique Norwegian joke in scenes or dialogue lines that are joke-less in the original. Donkey (voiced by Norwegian actor/stand-up comedian Thomas Giertsen) gets the majority of new jokes, but others have their moments as well. Highlights include:
The scene where Farquaad interrogates Gingy, turning both characters into Cloudcuckoolanders, when the "Muffin Man" dialogue ends up with them quoting a popular Norwegian children's song about a baker for absolutely no reason, acting as if "he bakes big cakes, he bakes small cakes, he bakes cakes sprinkled with sugar" are huge, terrible secrets.
Shrek, when asked by Fiona what kind of knight he is, alluding to his dub voice actor (children's show host Asgeir Borgermoen, who'd jokingly refer to himself as "boss over all bosses") and claiming to be "knight over all knights".
In the second movie, when Shrek, Fiona and Donkey drive to Far Far Away, instead of singing Rawhide, Donkey begins singing an old Norwegian song of the "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall" type, about how many people it takes to pull a root out of the ground. The song fades out with the scene, and then fades back in again, with Donkey having gotten to several hundred people when he messes up the lyrics and forgets where he was in the song. "Oh well," he says cheerfully. "I'll take it from the top!" Shrek's annoyance with him is really easy to sympathize with at that point.
Shrek is a troll in the Norwegian, dub not a ogre. Probably because most of the troll mythology is from Norway and most the Norwegians don't know what a ogre is. Similarily, he's called a "swamp troll" in the Swedish dub.
Likewise the Polish dub of Shrek. Bilingual people often remark that they find the Polish version funnier. The translator himself made enough of a name on Shrek that he is now listed alongside voice actors on posters.
The Mexican dub of Shrek was widely liked due to a number of factors, including Donkey being dubbed by then popular comedian Eugenio Derbez, who ad-libbed most jokes (including having Donkey sing La mesa que mas aplauda, an Ascended Meme song from the time the movie was released) and switching the mostly unknown Muffin Man song for a very known one: Pinpon es un muñeco.
In the original English Mickey's Christmas Carol, the characters retain their names from the original story, even though they are "played" by familiar Disney characters - Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, or at least Ebenezer Scrooge looking like Scrooge McDuck, etc. In the Finnish dub, their names switched back to the Disney characters, which makes perfect sense since Finnish children would presumably be at a loss with the odd English names they've never heard. This also necessitates a further change: Isabelle/Daisy in Scrooge's past is identified as Goldie O'Gilt, because it would be too odd for Scrooge to be dating her if she was actually named as Daisy Duck. (That all said, the translation also has some serious fumbles, such as "Ghost of Christmas Porridge" and, due to some dropped words of explanation, Scrooge and his fiancée apparently having a financial contract to get married that involves her having to pay him.)
Polish dialoguist Dariusz Dunowski is generally a controversial figure in the dubbing industry, but his translations can be pretty damn clever. Not only does he include a lot of Polish slang, which makes the dialogue incredibly interesting to listen to - there's no stiff sentences or word-to-word translation. He also tends to put in references to the Polish culture, even when there's no reference in the original. Almost always, it makes the dialogue sound funnier while still preserving the original thought. Some examples (all taken from the dubbed version of Fanboy and Chum Chum):
Original: "Hey guys, great session, why don't you take a break? Frosty Freezy Freeze's on me!". Translation: "Hey guys, you're great, Sopot and Opole await you, now get out!" (Sopot and Opole being Polish cities known for music festivals).
Original: "Janitor Poopatine, we will not let you down!". Translation: "You can rely on us like you would on Zawisza!" (Zawisza Czarny was a Polish knight and nobleman living in the 14 - 15th century).
Of particular note is Katara's speech to the Earthbenders trapped on the iron prison ship. The entire speech stole bits out of Irish Colonial poetry (mostly Mo Ghile Mear) about how the Irish had hope of fighting back against the English because Bonny Prince Charlie is coming (if you're not that well up on Irish history, Charlie never did come), but the names were changed around to we have hope of defeating the Fire Nation because the Avatar is coming. Some nearly cried, and as a result found the original to be quite narmish.
Also, the actors all speak a different dialect of Irish depending on where in Ireland they came from. The Fire Nation have Connacht accents (western Ireland). Katara and Sokka have southern tendencies, and the Earth Kingdom has more standardised, academic Irish. Aang seems to have a bit of everything; I suppose he traveled a lot.
The Swedish dub changes The Boulder's name from a wrestling reference to a pun by re-naming him Bum Ling, "bumling" being Swedish for "boulder". Dream!Ozai's line about his "royal parts" is also changed to his "royal jewels".
The Hungarian dubbers of Family Guy evidently had lots of fun working on the show, and gleefully changed many non-visual gags into jokes that the Hungarian audience would be more likely to get, such as referencing House in an episode that had been made before the aforementioned series debuted or at times taking jabs at Hungarian celebrities. If a famous guest star happens to share his or her voice actor/actress with one of the cartoon characters, it tends to get lampshaded as well.
Woody Woodpecker's character Wally Walrus is...well, a walrus, who speaks mostly in a Swedish accent. In Brazil, his accent is Argentinean. The woolseyism is found when you realise that, while Argentina doesn't have any walruses (to be fair, there are no walruses in Sweden, either), it really is (at least in the Far South) very cold, with a climate similar to Sweden, is home to seals (some species of seal are also found in Sweden), and has a soccer rivalry with Brazil.
That's only in the old 50's series. In recent versions he retains his Swedish accent.
In the German and Spanish dubs of Garfield and Friends, the episode titles are changed. For example, "The Picnic Panic" and "Weighty Problem" were changed to "Hormingas cantarinas" and "Sobrepreso" in the Spanish dub, and "Best Of Breed" and "School Daze" were changed to "Meister allen Klassen" and "Eilpacket nach Ahu Dubai" in the German dub.
The Spanish dub would have a voice read over English words, like the "Two Weeks Later" card in "Temp Trouble" and the episode title cards. The same is true for the Hungarian dub.
The Chinese dub of the series made the voice actors speak instead of sing during the songs, almost like the original English version of "What Harm Can It Do?".
Speaking of that song, many foreign dubs had Wade speak most of the song rather than sing, but the Hungarian dub has him sing it entirely!
In the German version of "Peace and Quiet", a random voice says "Binky The Clown" for no reason.
The German version of the U.S. Acres segment "Fortune Kooky" has the "Is the puma gone?" conversation removed from the song, and the "Don't let it get the best of you!" part from the end removed. Many German kids might have been wondering why Orson and Wade's lips were moving when there was no singing or talking!
In the Spanish version of "Temp Trouble", Aloysius' catchphrase is changes from "That's not right!" to "That's not correct!", Wade says "Oh my god!" in the duck pox scene, the "Do you know where your children are?" blurb was not used and Aloysius screams when his mom takes him away.
Aloysius' scream is a running gag in said dub.
In the Spanish version of the U.S. Acres episode "Kiddie Korner", this happens. For example, "Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet" became "La pequeña Lou, se sentó en su poo".
In Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves, Lanolin talks in a cute voice when offering Wade the poison apple, and openly states it's poison. In the Spanish version, she talks in what seems to be an Italian accent and doesn't tell him the apple is poison.
Many foreign dub of the Looney Tunes shorts does this with many of the characters' names and and their catchphrases:
In the Mexican dub, Daffy Duck is renamed as Pato Lucas (Lucas the Duck). Lucas, besides being a common Spanish name, is also a Mexican slang for crazy or insane, quite fitting, due of his personality. His catchphrase, You are despicable! is translated as Eres despreciable (You're Disgusting).
On the other hand, in the Japanese dub, while keeping his original English name, his catchphrase becomes お前って、サイテーnote Omaette, Saitee (Roughly translated as You're the Worst).
In the Mexican dub, Tweety Bird becomes Piolin, which is diminutive form of Pio, the Spanish onomatopeia for Tweet. His catchphrase "I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" becomes Me Pareció Ver a un Lindo Gatito (I Think I Saw a Cute Little Kitty).
In a similar way, in the Japanese dub, his catchphrase becomes 見た、見た、ネコたん!note Mita, Mita, Neko-tan! or in older dubs, ネコたん、見たでしゅnote Neko-tan, Mitadeshu, a very slurred way to pronounce Mitadeshou. (Translated as Look, Look, a Kitty! or in older dubs I Shaw a Kitty! in a slurred way.)
In the Italian dub, Sylvester's Sufferin' Saccotash! becomes Sinfonia di Sogliole Siamesi! (Symphony of Siamese Soles!)
The Big Knights was released on German TV as Die Retter-Ritter ("The Rescuer Knights").
In Mexico, DickDastardly is known as "Pierre Nodoyuna," the last name translating as "I always lose."
The Japanese dub is positively bursting with them. It turns out that the show translates extremely well to Japanese anime conventions.
In the English version, Spike has trouble writing the letter because he can't spell some of the words. In the Japanese dub, this is changed to him misinterpreting Twilight's "kiki wo semaru (a crisis draws near)" as "mimi ga tsumaru (my ears are clogged)".
In the first episode, Rarity was complaining about Twilight Sparkle's mane being messy after meeting Rainbow Dash. In the Japanese version, this was changed into Rarity congratulating Twilight for her mane instead (albeit in a very sarcastic way), due to Rarity using Tatemae on Twilight.
In the Japanese dub, Applejack's Element is named "Element of Trust" rather than "Element of Honesty". This is arguably more fitting since "trust" is more applicable to the theme of friendship while still being connected to the trait of "honesty".
Much of the dialogue for Applebuck Season is of Applejack misinterpreting what others have said due to mishearing things. Naturally, a few things have been changed around: Applejack mishears hanashigashitai ("needing to talk") as hawomigashitai ("needing to brush your teeth" ) and tasuke (help) as shiitake (as in the mushroom). During the baking scene, Applejack mishears komugiko no ichikappu ("one cup of flour") as kiiroi no ichikappu ("one cup of yellow") and the confusion between "wheat germ" and "wheat worms" became one between bakuga ("malt powder") and ga ("moths"). The "baked bads" joke was also changed to a pun on keeki (cake) and higeiki (tragedy).
In the Japanese dub version of "Dragonshy", Rarity's "talk about getting your beauty sleep" remark is changed to one complaining that 100 years of smoky skies over Equestria can't be good for the skin.
A lot of the wordplay in "Bridle Gossip" had to be changed. The exchange "She's a zebra"/"A what?" becomes a play on shimauma (Japanese for "zebra") and umashima ("meaningless"). Spike's new nicknames for the cursed ponies include "Mojarity" (from mojamoja, meaning "hairy"), "Tsubaki Pie" (Japanese for "spit"), "Garagara Shy" (Japanese for "raspy-voiced"), and "Twilight Funyafunya" (Japanese for "limp").
They also had to change Pinkie Pie's wordplay in "Fall Weather Friends". Her joke on the phrase "What's up?" becomes a play on genki, which literally means "cheery" but can also be used to ask "How are you doing?" The "grudge/fudge" banter becomes a play on "marathon" and "maracas", and the "catch up/ketchup" joke becomes a play on kecchaku ("to settle") and kecchappu ("ketchup").
When Spike opens the door in "Feeling Pinkie Keen", a sound effect plays of a truck backing up as he backs out of the door. The Japanese dub, however, adds a bit of Cultural Translation by having Spike say the voice clip that plays when trucks back up in Japan: "Bakkushimasu, gochuui kudasai (Backing up, please be careful)."
The Japanese dub of "Sonic Rainboom" inserts an added joke where Twilight notes that Rainbow's face is turning blue, to which she points out that she's always been blue.
In "Stare Master", the pun on Rarity "biting off more than [she] can chew" ("But you're not eating anything.") becomes a play on mucha ("excessive") and ocha ("tea"). The Title Drop near the end of the original episode is turned into a Call Back to Fluttershy claiming to be "champion" of the "Ssh" game.
In the original version, "Return of Harmony Part 1" ended with a standard "To Be Continued" title card. The Japanese version, however, spices it up a little by having Discord straight up break the fourth wall by saying "To Be Continued" in Japanese ("Tsuzuku"). Princess Cadance does this as well at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1", but in a more creepy manner.
Discord's line of "I don't turn ponies into stone" is made to sound more menacing in the Japanese version. In the original, he was mocking Princess Celestia's turning him into stone, but in the Japanese dub, he says "Shall I turn these ponies into stone?" as if he were threatening to do the same to Twilight and the others.
Apple Bloom speaks formal Japanese instead of French in the Japanese dub of "The Cutie Pox", which fits better with Applejack's line "My sister's speaking in fancy!", to which Twilight snarks in the Japanese version, "It doesn't suit her."
The Japanese version of "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" changes Mare-Do-Well's name to Dark Mare, which fits better as a homage to Batman, the Dark Knight.
In the Japanese version of "Family Appreciation Day", the Zap Apples are known as "Biribiringo", a portmanteau of biribiri (an onomatopoeia representing electricity) and ringo (the Japanese word for "apple").
The Japanese version of "The Last Roundup" manages to replicate Pinkie mistaking Rainbow Dash's line of getting Applejack to "spill the beans" line for Applejack hogging snacks by having Rainbow say that she's "talking as if something is stuck in her back teeth", which Pinkie interprets as Applejack hogging candy.
The joke that Rainbow tries to tell her roommate in the Japanese version of "Read It and Weep" is changed from "Why did the chicken cross the road?" to a pun on "pan" (bread) and "frying pan".
The old pony that cuts in front of Fluttershy in "Putting Your Hoof Down" mishears Fluttershy's "warakomi" (cutting) as "waraboshi" (wooden chopsticks) in the Japanese dub.
The English version of "MMMMystery on the Friendship Express" parodies the James Bond franchise by referring to Donut Joe as "Mane. Con Mane". The Japanese dub does something similar by referring to him as "00-Pony", a play on "007", James Bond's code number.
In the English version, Pinkie says "who did it" instead of "whodunit". In the Japanese version, she says "annin" (apricot) instead of "hannin" (culprit).
The play on "donuts" and "do-nots" is changed to a play on "donuts" and "dou natten" (what's going on).
Twilight refers to Shining Armor with the abbreviation "anieshin", which is short for "aniki eien shinyuu" (Big Brother Best Friend Forever). It does help it sounds a lot like aniue (Elder brother, used in more polite terms, especially between royal members of a family)
The French dub cleverly changes a lot of the puns and sometimes adds French cultural references as well. With Pinkie's aforementioned "What's up?" joke in "Fall Weather Friends," it turns into "Hé, Spike, ça plane pour toi? Oh, mais c'est moi qui plane!" (Literally, "Hey, Spike, are things flying for you? Oh, I'm the one who's flying!") "Ça plane pour toi?" means "How's it going?" in a colloquial sense, and was made famous in the Anglophone as well as the Francophone world with the song Ça plane pour moi by Plastic Bertrand.
Spike's falling asleep in the punch bowl in "Owl's Well That Ends Well," accompanied by the line "Looks like the punch has been...Spiked!" in the English version, is replaced with a string of fruit-related puns in the French dub: "Et à cause du jus de fruit, il n'a plus la pêche et il est tombé dans les pommes!" (Literally "And because of the punch (fruit juice), he no longer has the peach and has fallen in the apples!", figuratively "And because of the punch (fruit juice), he's run out of energy and has passed out!")
A big part of the show is the exposition heavy songs. Dubbing the songs to maintain their meaning while keeping them in time with the music is no easy feat. Now, most of the songs can take some liberties without really affecting the outcome, but what happens when you have to translate a song that drops the title and have no way to translate it? Do what the Latin American team did with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks and alter the meaning. The title song lyrics are originally "As we learn how the rainbow, Rainbow Rocks" but in Spanish it would be too difficult to dub in "El arcoiris es genial" (literal translation), so they changed the lyrics to "Mientras vemos a Rainbow Rockear" which means "As we watch Rainbow Rocking out". It fits, but the meaning changes drastically, as now it seems that Rainbow is the focus of the movie, taking all the glory for herself..
In the The Looney Tunes Show episode To Bowl or Not to Bowl, one of the gags involves Daffy tying to give nicknames to his bowling partners, his own being "Poobah the Grand", of which only the "Poo" part appears on screen. The Hungarian version changed it to "Po the Kung Fu Panda", which of course isn't a perfect solution ("Po" wouldn't give you "Poo"), but it is a successful Actor Allusion, as Daffy (at least in this show) and Po are voiced by the same actor.
The characters in The Animals of Farthing Wood mostly kept their names in the Swedish dub, being named after their own species, which works the same in both English and Swedish. However, Scarface's name was changed into "En-Öga/One-Eye" because his original name translates to "Ärransikte".
The Russian dub of Frozen renamed the Duke of Weselton (not Weaseltown!) to Duke Varavsky (not Vorovsky, meaning, basically, thieving duke). Varavsky also sounds very close to Varshavsky, as in, the Duke of Warsaw.
In the Swedish dub, Kristoff's name is changed to Kristoffer since that, unlike Kristoff, is an actual name in Scandinavia. Anna accidentally calling him Kristoffer is thus changed to accidentally calling him the similar name Kristian.
The Japanese dub of Animaniacs did a small change in Brain's Catch Phrase: Rat? I'm A MOUSE!: In Japanese, the phrase was changed to ねすみ？俺はマウスだ！note Nezumi? Ore wa MOUSE da! The Mouse part was left as it in English rather than using nezumi because in Japanese, both mice and rats are named nezumi for both species, rather than having a specific word for rat.
In the Japanese dub, Mabel's pet pig Waddles is named Yottan, a combination of yororo (the onomatopoeia for waddling) and the diminutive suffix "-tan".
Both the Latin American and Brazilian dubs manage to preserve Candy's joke about giving the members of Sev'ral Timez "several kisses" in "Boyz Crazy".
The Wacky World of Tex Avery: In the German dub, "Sagebrush Sid" was called "Sägeblatt Sid" ("Sawblade Sid"). Sage/Säge? You might easily think this, until you learn that sagebrush indeed has leaves that resemble a saw. (And it keeps true to his villainous character, anyway.)
The Latin American Spanish dub of Sofia the First gave the episode "Great Aunt-venture" the name "Una Aventura Diver-tia", the latter word a pun on the Spanish words for "fun" and "aunt".
The Norwegian dub of Magic Adventures of Mumfie episode "Scarecrowella" has Scarecrow make noises that sound like he's in pain or has the urge to poop when he's waking up from his dream.
The Japanese dub had a lot of these.
Anytime Mumfie hums or whistles, "The Beginning of Things" is the song he will be whistling.
In "Definitely Danger", Mumfie yells "I see an idiot!" instead of "Nonsense!"
The Brazilian dub of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi replaced Kaz's line "These aren't masterpieces! They're messed-up pieces!" for "Essas não são obras-primas! São obras-tias!" ("obra-prima" means "masterpiece" while "prima" means "female cousin" and "tia" means "aunt").
Darkwing Duck'sCatch Phrase "Let's get dangerous" became "Let's risk the feathers" in the Danish dub. "Risking the feathers" is a common Danish euphemism for undertaking a dangerous endeavour.
The dubbing of Darkwing Duck for Latin America kept more or less the same English names, but one of the more interesting exceptions was changing Quakerjack's name for "Cuackguasón" (Quack Joker).
The Venezuelan dubbing team that dubbed Batman: The Animated Series for Latin America choose to keep the already famous Mexican variation of the characters names made popular by the 60s TV series as, for example; Bruce Wayne = Bruno Diaz, Dick Grayson = Ricardo Tapia, Catwoman = Gatúbela, The Joker = El Guasón, Batgirl = Batichica, and Gotham = Ciudad Gótica (they kept James Gordon, thankfully, and not Comisionado Fierro). Also, the names of the Bat-artifacts with the made-up “Bati” prefix were also used, as in Batmobile = Batimóvil and Batcave = Baticueva. This tradition was kept even with the successor series like Batman Beyond.