Misused: Bilingual Bonus

Total posts: [94]
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This trope is, to put it kindly, a huge friggin' mess.

Issue #1: The definition. The first paragraph is much less specific than the last paragraph (bolded warning) which is quite different from the laconic.

Issue #2: The usage is all over the place. Using the most restrictive definition (the one in the bolded warning) as "correct," here is the results of a wick check of 50 (out of 4700+):


Easter Egg in a foreign language (sometimes stretching the definition of "Easter Egg"; in many cases, it's simply the ability to get extra dialogue or context):

Meaningful Name in a foreign language:

This work or person uses a foreign language, usually untranslated:

I have no idea/Miscellaneous misuse:

  • Street Fighter III: Not sure; it merely asserts that Twelve's win quotes, which are in binary, make actual sense.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Used in conjunction with a British brand name not known in America — misuse so out there it's not even funny.
  • Mouse Guard: "If you could understand the language the other animals speak, it would be a Bilingual Bonus." Only it wouldn't be, without any indication that the dialogue would've been out of context.
  • Teen Wolf: Claims this for the Title Drop. Have no idea what it means, but I doubt it's correct.

So yeah. Even if you're generous and use "Easter Egg in a foreign language" as correct, there is still a LOT of misuse. So what do we do about it?

edited 23rd Sep '13 1:12:30 PM by Leaper

2 Larkmarn23rd Sep 2013 01:14:15 PM , Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Yes, I see a LOT of use on the site as "untranslated foreign language."
3 Madrugada23rd Sep 2013 03:18:51 PM , Relationship Status: In season
My inclination is to expand the definition to "Untranslated foreign language is used, in a way that means that only someone who knows that language will understand what has been said."

So a if character identified as French or French-speaking says "Merci" to someone else who's just handed them something isn't a Bilingual Bonus — even if you know virtually no French, you can guess that it means "Thank You". Not just a vague "That was probably something nice" but "Oh, they said 'Thank you'."

By contrast, in this exchange between two characters in Margin Play:
"Got anything else to say?" His voice was hot.

"Yeah," I said. "You hit like a pidoras."

the context makes it clear that what was being said wasn't friendly or nice, but only someone with more than a passing acquaintance with Russian (or a translator program/site that does Russian slang and invective) will know what a pidoras is and why he reacts the way he does. It is a Bilingual Bonus. People who are Bilingual — Russian in this case — get a bonus bit out of the scene that people who don't, won't.

edited 23rd Sep '13 3:40:45 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Here's my big question: is Meaningful Name in a foreign language distinct enough from just plain Meaningful Name?

Actually, second big question: is the name encouraging all this misuse? Obviously, it would take a huge yes to change it, which is why it's probably better to see what misuse can be turned into correct usage.
5 Madrugada23rd Sep 2013 06:10:53 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I'd say that the name of Bilingual Bonus is encouraging the misuse — or at least a sizable part of it. The name sounds straightforward and fairly broad: Audience members who are bilingual, at least to a degree) get a "bonus". The definition requires that the "bonus" be something that has no context in the work, like the lettering on the girl's kimono in the page image, which says "I'm not wearing any underwear" — a complete non sequitur.

A tortured analogy would be naming a trope "Ham and Cheese Sandwich", then specifying in the definition that it only applies to "grilled ham and cheese sandwiches made with rye bread and cheddar cheese" and wondering why people are mistakenly using it to cover non-grilled sandwiches made with white bread and Swiss cheese, too.

edited 23rd Sep '13 6:12:24 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
6 AnotherDuck23rd Sep 2013 09:51:52 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I call Missing Super Trope Syndrome and wider name than trope. Question is whether the subtrope is sufficiently tropish on its own.

This trope should probably cover any bonuses, and not just non sequiturs.

I think Meaningful Name covers different languages. I'd say most names aren't used in the same language they're constructed from, whether it's because the language isn't the same anymore or because it's a different language all together.

edited 23rd Sep '13 9:52:08 PM by AnotherDuck

Check out my fanfiction!
7 SeptimusHeap23rd Sep 2013 09:54:18 PM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Does the current misusage cover only names? I don't think so.

Otherwise, I see no merits on keeping the current definition. Burn it and replace it.
8 Madrugada23rd Sep 2013 10:05:00 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I agree that the name "Bilingual Bonus" implies that it's a very broad supertrope, rather than a narrow subcategory. Genius Bonus doesn't refer only to things that requires a particular type of knowledge — it can cover equally a reference to an obscure Jabobean Revenge Tragedy, or the inner workings of a particular machine, or a bit of geo-political history, or, well... whatever. Any kind of specialized knowledge counts as a Genius Bonus. Parental Bonus is also equally broad — it's anything that's put into a kid's show with the expectation that the kids won't get it; it's there for the adults who may watch. It doesn't have to be of a specific nature.

So we've got a naming convention: <X> Bonus, meaning a broad category of content that's there as a bonus for a particular part of the audience: Parents/adults or smart people. Then we have this very narrowly defined thing, that uses the same naming convention, even though it's defined as being limited to a very specific type of content, as well as a part of the audience.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Yeah, I don't see why "out of context" has to be part of the definition. That might be worth a subtrope, but I think the solution to this situation is to broaden the definition, not prune examples and wicks.
In that case, perhaps one step that needs to be taken is to figure out which meanings should be included? Given that I checked 50 wicks, I think the ones I have in my OP are the major ones. Anyone seen any others that are common that I missed?
11 SeptimusHeap29th Sep 2013 03:57:14 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
OK, going with 52 random wicks:

Additional meaning in another language.

—> "Se til helvete å kom dere vekk. Det er ikke en bikkje. Det er en slags ting! Den imiterer en bikkje! Den er ikke virkelig! ...kom dere vekk, idioter!", which, translated, means "Get the hell away. It's not a dog/mutt. It's a thing! It's imitating a dog/mutt! It's not real! ...get away, idiots!"

Foreign language.

—>Painters: Yo quiero leche de madre!
  • A Wizard in Rhyme: Sir Guy de Toutarien.
  • Blood Bullets: But it's google translate, so it's quite bad. The Germans from Act 1 actually speak German, and Osten means East in German.
  • Busou Shinki: "Murmeltier" is german for "Woodchuck". Because of this, Murmeltier's been given the nickname of "Panzer Voodchuck" by the english-speaking community.
  • Childrin R Skary: The word "bruja" is scrawled on the wall of Casilda's house. "Bruja" is Spanish for "witch".
  • Dagon: English and Spanish are present here.
  • Creator.Diane Kruger: In addition to her mother tongue (German), she speaks French and English fluently and can dub herself in three languages with no accent. Got to show it off in Inglourious Basterds. Apparently, her English was so good that Quentin Tarantino nearly turned her down for Inglourious Basterds because he wanted an "authentically" German actress.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Lady Gaga's song "Bad Romance" features her, after singing most of the bridge in French, sing "I don't wanna be fwiends..." Strangely, this is the only time in that song she comes down with Elmer Fudd Syndrome. The very next repetition of the line is sung normally.
    • This, as well as the Nena example above, may be explained by the use of guttural R in German and French, which can sound like w to an English speaker.
  • Far From Sanity: All of the tech support people (having grown up in random bits of Eastern Europe). Kaedleigh speaks quite a bit of Russian (so that she and Smudge can insult each other without anyone else (apart from the other tech support boys) understand). Ice also appears to speak Spanish fluently, but he might just speak a tiny bit of Spanish, or may have merely been showing off.
  • Gabriel Iglesias: Moves seamlessly between English and Spanish in his shows.
  • Gratuitous Russian:
    • In Planetes manga Leonov's mother speaks to Hachimaki in almost perfect Russian. The only possible flaw is calling her son by last name only. Bilingual Bonus is required to understand it, because nobody cared to translate it. Probably justified by the fact that Hachimaki didn't understand her words too.
    • In Farscape "To Russia with Love", where she and Harm travel to Russia, two female hotel clerks make some crude remarks about him 'being able to afford' a woman like Mac (they are in civvies). Mac steps forward and rattles off a quick, untranslated, reply, then tells Harm not to bother trying to look up what she said in his phrasebook.
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is choke-full with Gratuitous Russian, bordering on Bilingual Bonus. Particularly notable is a dialogue scene late in the game that reveals the Big Bad's motivations and is voiced completely in Russian (with English subtitles).
  • Hostel: Many of the scenes include dialogue spoken in untranslated foreign languages—most notably, a speech delivered by the main character towards his torturer in German.
  • Creator.Matt Groening: In "Futurama" a fictional alien language is used in backgrounds so that fans can decipher it.
  • Characters.Mega Man Zero: "Tretista" roughly means "three-headed" in Italian.
    • "Biblio" roughly means "book" in Greek. Fitting, as his stage is in a library.
  • Minecraft Adventure Maps: Some of the names of people or locations mean something suitable in Chinese or Japanese, others are meaningless beyond sounding Asian.
  • Characters.Pokemon Generation V Victini To Zoroark: Gratuitous Spanish/Bilingual Bonus: Their names are derived from two Spanish words, namely "tortuga" for turtle and "costa" for coast.
  • Pushing Daisies: In "Dim Sum Lose Sum", the spoken Chinese is all real. except for adding details about the speakeasy, Chuck's translation is nearly verbatim.
    • The sign in Emerson's window, supposedly for his PI business, is actually for restaurant that specialises in pork ribs. Also, it's facing inwards. It gets a bit difficult to take Emerson's Film Noir office seriously after a while.
  • Resident Evil 5: If you know Swahili, that is. For instance, Majini means roughly "wicked" or "supernatural." Some of the things the Loudspeaker Majini says include "Uroboros is a gift" and "no one shall find out what happened here!"
  • Speaking Simlish: Done entirely for laughs in Magicka. Every line is recorded individually, but spoken in a combination of English, Swedish, and Gibberish. The result sounds something like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, with lines like "Beware the forest's guardian, Jormungandr!" becoming "Hoop-a-doop-a-derpity-derp-a-Yoor-moon-gon-derrrrrr!"
  • The Time Traveler's Wife: Every few pages. Trilingual, really: English, German, and French.
  • To Be or Not to Be: During the first few minutes, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft actually sing (and then argue) in Polish. (See Translator Convention below.) If you actually speak Polish, they both speak in such ridiculous, over-the-top accents that it might make your ears bleed. They essentially speak the way a British or American person would speak if they were to read a piece of Polish text out loud - except worse.
  • You Don't Mess with the Zohan: Averted, subverted and played straight in the same film. Lots of the stuff said in the film is gibberish (no, there is no such thing as muchentuchen or fizzy bubbelach, and the occasional word uttered in surprised with lots of khkhkh sounds is made up; as a matter of fact, ‘Zohan’ is not even a real Israeli name), Sandler uses few Hebrew words with Yiddish pronunciation, and Ido Mosseri as Oori calls the Walbridge employee a homo in legitimate Hebrew. But the most notable example of this trope (subversion or playing straight, YMMV) is when the Phantom calls Zohan a bastard in Hebrew, which is somewhat of a Crowning Moment of Funny for Israeli viewes.
    • Also, ‘puntakhat’, while it’s not an actual Hebrew word, slang or not, sounds like a corruption of ‘pot’ (vagina) and ‘takhat’ (arse).
  • Characters.Yu Gi Oh Minor Antagonists: He speaks in Latin in the dub before he challenges Rex and Weevil.

Don't know for sure.

  • Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens: Chain combos into Stealth Pun: The Tokustar species is based on Ultraman, a popular Japanese superhero character. The genre of Japanese cinema/television Ultraman belongs to is called Tokusatsu. In other words, Way Big is based on a toku star.
  • Call-and-Response Song: The Villain Song "Hellfire" from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a Call And Response Song with a Bilingual Bonus. While Frollo is insisting that he's not to blame, a chorus sings "Mea Culpa", negating what he says.
  • Pantheon.Crime: Vi, Goddess of Ex-Criminals(The Piltover Enforcer, Force)
  • Deva Series: There are a few, but to the author's credit they are explained.
  • Gender Confusion: Parodied in chapter 58, where Deidara is gagged and Kakashi is the only one that can understand him, because he speaks muffled.
  • Independence Day: Julius Levinson (father of David), who had heretofore not been "on speaking terms with" God, is seen leading a group in the sixteenth benediction of the Shemoneh Esrei near the film's climax.
  • Creator.Julio Cortazar: Present in all his writings.
  • Creator.Matt Groening: Happens regularly in The Simpsons
  • Pantheon.Music: Portfolio: Ominous Russian Chanting, Bilingual Bonus
  • Shortpacked!: Rick's sword makes a "Funana" sound.
  • Swordfish: Sort of. Any Finnish speaker will tell you that the "language" spoken by the Finnish hacker and his legal counsel is most definitely not Finnish (it's actually German, and changed to actual Finish in the German dub, where he said "Haista paska senkin mulkku", which means, "Fuck you, you dick").
  • The Karate Kid: Viewers who knew mandarin would have pegged Meiying's father as a potential source of conflict early on once they heard Cheng and Meiying's first conversation (which didn't show up in the subs).
  • Homestuck.Tropes A-C: Used in an interesting way. The troll alphabet is actually the Daedric Alphabet from The Elder Scrolls, rotated 180 degrees. The first name suggestion translates as "Turdodor Fuckball." The "real" name, however, translates as "Trollplanet", which is obviously just a joke since the real name 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. Much later, we discover that the name of the Fluorcite Octet's ultimate attack translates as "Ancestral Awakening."
    • With the introduction of "Caledfwlch", it is suddenly a good time to be able to speak Welsh (it's the Welsh name for Excalibur, and pronounced "Caledvoolch"). Caliburn, another name for Excalibur, is derived from this, meaning Caliborn's name may or may not be a Meaningful Name.
—-> DAVE: what are welsh things doing in this game —-> DAVESPRITE: thats an awesome question
  • Starting from this page Serenity narrates WV's dream in morse code, and it is not gibberish- actually it's a Call-Back to this scene with Jade. And a bug is involved in both of them.
  • Serenity's giant help message roughly translates to this:
—> Serenity: Help, my friend is stuck inside the big can building. You must hurry. He's not very bright and he doesn't understand when I blink. Are you watching me? Oh no, don't blink me, you don't understand blinking either. How do you people even exchange ideas without luminous rear ends?
  • AdventureTime.Tropes A To C: Anything Lady Rainicorn says, since she speaks in Korean.
    • In "My Two Favorite People," this exchange between Lady Rainicorn and Jake after Jake asks her if she knows a joke:
—>Lady Rainicorn [in Korean]: I can't think of one... but remember the time when we ran naked through that farmer's cabbage patch? (Giggle) He was so offended!
Finn: What's the joke?
Jake: Uh... well, the joke doesn't... translate very well...
  • In "Wizard," the tadpole wizards' name is Bufo. Bufo is Latin for toad.
  • The Japanese symbols on the Fridjitzu Manual literally mean: "ice ninja".
  • Princess Bubblegum speaks German in the episode "What have you done?", which contains a little explanation as to why she faints once everyone is cured:
—->PB: I'm so happy! I could... I could... (attempts to flip bed, then faints.)
  • In the end "From Bad To Worse", Lady Rainicorn reveals that she didn't free the zombified Jake due to Idiot Ball.
—->LR: I wanted you to bite me.
  • The episode title "Morituri te Salutamus" is Latin for "we who are about to die salute you," which is how gladiators would address the Roman Emperor.
    • The gladiators also speak in Latin and actually explain the circumstances of their imprisonment. If only Jake wasn't too busy being awesome to understand Latin.
  • Jake also seems to speak a little Japanese. In the episode where they are trapped in the Nightosphere, Jake encourages Finn with a Japanese line roughly translated as "Do your best very well."
  • Lady's long monologue at the beginning of "Lady & Peebles" was about her recurring dreams about zombies attacking her family and her stress about it.

edited 29th Sep '13 3:57:46 AM by SeptimusHeap

12 SeptimusHeap5th Oct 2013 02:09:31 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Any comment on ^?
So that's more Easter Egg in a foreign language, more Meaningful Name in a foreign language, and more instances of "uses an untranslated foreign language," which the trope specifically says it is not (and I'm not even sure it's tropeable).

I think the name is definitely a problem, at least for the trope it claims to be.

edited 5th Oct '13 2:17:36 AM by Leaper

14 SeptimusHeap5th Oct 2013 02:33:18 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I think it's tropeable if the untranslated language carries additional information.

And after seeing the wick report, I am definitively down with broadening the trope.
15 Madrugada5th Oct 2013 07:12:59 AM , Relationship Status: In season
As am I. Although I do think that "this actor is bi- or multi-lingual" shouldn't count.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Is a crowner needed/desired to figure out which misuses should be included in the new definition?
OK, there are a few issues in play here:

  • Is a rename needed?

  • Is a redefinition needed?

  • If so, what misuse should the redefinition cover?

So my question is, what should the first crowner ask?
18 Odd124th Oct 2013 11:50:01 PM from Nowhere Land , Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Still just awesome like that
The first crowner should ask which of those are needed.

(Seriously, though, the first crowner should ask which of those are needed.)
Insert witty 'n clever quip here.

My music.

Webby is my homie & also my hubby.
Okay, then, crowner made. Hollering for attachment.
20 Willbyr25th Oct 2013 06:33:44 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Crowner's hooked.
It seems like Easter Egg in a foreign language is what the definition is talking about, and that surely is tropeable. The definition has, in bold type no less, a very clear message stating that this trope is only about hidden information in a foreign language, not simply any instance where a foreign language is untranslated.

Don't see why a redefinition is necessary, as the definition is clear. A rename doesn't seem necessary to me but wouldn't hurt anything. The one thing that definitely needs to be done is to cull examples that are nothing more than instances of untranslated foreign languages.
Wait, there's a crowner option that says to redefine with specific definition to be determined? Bad idea...
[up][up] Actually, it's about hidden information in a foreign language where the context indicates a certain amount of fourth wall breaking. That's pretty different from either the laconic or everything that came before the last sentence of the description. For example, it would specifically exclude the part in the Iron Man film where knowledge of a foreign language hints at a future major plot point, because in-context, it makes perfect sense.

[up] It's there because there are several specific ways, already suggested in this thread, for the definition to possibly expand (ie ways in which the trope is misused), and a second crowner would determine which of those specific ways should be included.

edited 25th Oct '13 5:30:20 PM by Leaper

24 Madrugada25th Oct 2013 05:37:52 PM , Relationship Status: In season
Yes, it is a bad idea. And since this crowner is brand new, only having been added today, I'm locking it and will make one that includes the redefinitions that have been suggested in the thread instead of a vague TBD on two of the options.

And no, Leaper, don't count on using another crowner to pick the definition. Put the proposed definitions in. If that means you make three or four options that are all "Redefine to..." and differ in what the proposed redefinition is, that's what you do.

edited 25th Oct '13 5:48:48 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Does Easter Egg include plot-sensitive or important information, such as the terrorist dialogue in the Iron Man movie? If not, should that be an additional option?

Also, Meaningful Name in a foreign language is a common enough misuse that I think it may be proper to have it as an option all its own, separate from the "include any use of untranslated foreign language" option. [tup]? [tdown]?

edited 25th Oct '13 6:35:30 PM by Leaper

Page Action: Bilingual Bonustake 2
25th Oct '13 5:39:58 PM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:

Total posts: 94
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