Follow TV Tropes


Blind Idiot Translation / Live-Action TV

Go To

Internal message of the television-group of the phase (Live Action TV)

Languages in general

  • Any time a deaf character uses American Sign Language, and the show employs English subtitles, it appears the the actor has made an ad hoc translation of the script, but the subtitles have been taken literally from the script. Sometimes the signing looks right, and is appropriate for the situation, while a closer translation is just not something a person using ASL spontaneously would ever say. However, by the time the show comes together, the script is not a very good translation of what is being signed.
    • For example, in an episode of Switched at Birth, a character's sign was subtitled "stay around". There is a way of signing "stay around" almost literally, but the actor said something that would better have been translated "stick around", (or in a more formal context, "persevere"). The actor's choice was more appropriate to the flow of the conversation, but by then the subtitle looked wrong.
    • Advertisement:
    • In another example, from something a long time ago, the word in the subtitle was "defenestrate". The Deaf actress signed literally, "open-window, throw-out". So, "throw out the window" would have been much better than "defenestrate". Unless a Deaf person spelled out D-E-F-E-N-E-S-T-R-A-T-E, that subtitle would almost never be right.
    • This is discussed in a segment on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee about the Deaf community's relationship with law enforcement. The segment shows a clip of an officer providing sign language interpretation to another officer's parole rights explanation, and the signer interprets "If you have an address and you live in a house" as "If you have an aggressive house in house". The segment even shows an untrained sign language interpreter translating a local emergency evacuation broadcast for Hurricane Irma in Manatee County, Florida.
  • Advertisement:
  • The now defunct Danish TV station tvdanmark was notorious for poorly translated subtitles. A famous example was a discussion of hereditary diseases in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Loud As a Whisper", where "haemophillia" became "homophilia" in the translation. Other classics were a fantasy series with "A forest full of goblins, trolls and killer whales (orcs/orcas)" and turning Seattle's "Space Needle" into a "Space Shuttle".
  • In cultures where most people speak fluent English as a second language, "Blind Idiot" Translation can be used to create easy, deliberate comedy. For example, one of the most famous sketches by the Finnish comedy troupe Kummeli involves a band (Kornit Murot, which in itself is a "Blind Idiot" Translation of "corn flakes" into "corny cereal") taking the lyrics to Every Breath You Take and blind-idiot translating them into Finnish (the seminal ending line "I'll be watching you" becomes "Mä tuun kellottaan sua", or "I'll come and clock you").
  • Hebrew subtitles are too numerous to list. A few examples contain "Mass driver" in an episode of Babylon 5 translated as "A lot of (car) drivers", confusing "Stuff" and "A staff" in Xena: Warrior Princess, translating "Tissue" as "paper towels" when refering to human tissues in The Sentinel and "I've got another barrel" as "I've got another cask" from a guy who just fired one shot from a two barreled shotgun.
    • Quite infamously (having achieved meme status), a character in the show Rude Awakening said he "had to chase Christian Slater down the street" and the subtitles translated it literally into "chase a slate mason who is a Christian".
  • As of late, Norwegian subs of Live-Action TV have become this. TV2 Zebra and TV6 are the worst offenders with outright not subbing the scientific words in CSI on TV6, and subbing 'deep fried' in MacGyver as dypfryst, which means the exact opposite (frozen solid), on TV2 Zebra.
  • Chinese Series on YouTube and other video sites such as Viki are infamous for having bad English subtitles. Sometimes they fall victim to awkward phrasing and overly-literal translations. Sometimes they're utterly incomprehensible. The most infamous example is the subtitlers of The Untamed choosing to translate "公子/gōng zǐ" as "Childe". Yes, "Childe" is an English title, but it's such an archaic one that most people don't know what it means. What makes this especially infuriating is 公子 already has a perfectly good English translation: "young master".


  • Alias:
    • The episode "Parity" has a security room in Madrid announcing lockdown (which is an American idiom itself) as Bloqueo Abajo - "Blocked Below".
    • "A Missing Link" translates "night room service" literally as servicio nocturno de cuarto (the right idiom is servicio nocturno de habitaciones) and "robbery" as robero, which isn't even a word (robo is).
  • Angel:
    • In the episode War Zone, David Nabbit asks Angel "are you familiar with Dungeons & Dragons", which was translated as "did you see Underground prisons and demons" in Swedish, suggesting it's the name of a movie (which it isn't).
  • The Latin American dub of The Big Bang Theory translated "Facebook" as "Pagina de la cara" (Face page).
    • The Latin American sub also translated "String Theory" to "Teoría de Primavera" (Spring theory, as in the season).
    • The dub was awful bad, things like "The Big Bran Hypothesis" to "La Hipotesis del Gran cerebro" (Big Brain Hypothesis), "transgendered" to "transgesores" (transgressors), it seemed like they rushed making the translation and never checked if it was accurate.
    • The Italian dub of the first episode of the series was done on a rush according to the director, and many lines were translated badly. In the most blatant example, the whole thing of Sheldon and Leonard playing Klingon Boggle all night and having no company becomes "playing Risk all night and having a lot of people around in the house, hosting giant tournaments of Scrabble".
    • In another episode, when Sheldon and the others are talking about The Legend of Zelda, they translated all the titles into Italian. There are two obvious problems with this: first, the titles of the Zelda games were never translated into Italian. Second, Twilight Princess was translated as "La principessa di Twilight"... as in "The princess of Twilight", rather then "La principessa del crepuscolo", which is the proper translation of the moniker used in the Italian translation of the game itself.
    • Also happened in universe.
      Sheldon: Why do you have the Chinese character for "soup" tattooed on your right buttock?
      Penny: It's not "soup", it's "courage".
      Sheldon: No it isn't. But I suppose it does take courage to demonstrate that kind of commitment to soup.
    • In a season three episode, Sheldon is telling Leonard about zombies and saying "You can't kill me even if I turn." In the Norwegian subtitles, the translator apparently didn't get that "turn" in that context means into a zombie and translated it to "You can't kill me even if I turn around."
    • Another instance appeared to be more a case of the translator not listening, but Leonard meets Sheldon's sister in a season one episode and fumbles his words, saying "Nice to meet well... also." The latter words in Norwegian got translated to "You smell awesome."
    • Another episode featured a paper in Russian entitled "Examinations of a Super-Asymmetric Model of the Universe", or as Google Translate put it, "Examinations of Moose Chowder in Lemon Parachutes."
    Raj: Yeah, okay, now I know why this app is free.
  • In Breaking Bad, Gus Fring runs a fast food restaurant chain called "Los Pollos Hermanos", which translates as "The Chicken Brothers" - not brothers who cook chicken, as was intended, but brothers who actually are chickens. Given the logo, it seems this was an intentional move, as "Los Pollos Hermanos" is catchier and easier to remember than the grammatically correct "Los Hermanos Pollos".
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Faith, Hope and Trick", Mr. Trick says "It's the modern vampire who sees the big picture". The Latin-American Spanish translators misheard the word "vampire" and the meaning of "big picture". So the dubbed Mr. Trick said: "Es por el... 'Imperio Moderno'. Es una buena película". (translated: "Its because of the 'Modern Empire'. It's a good movie".)
    • The Latino translations of Buffy are pretty hit and miss in general. Xander's "Shoot me. Stuff me. Mount me." in The Pack becomes "Mátame. Relléname. Disécame." (Kill me. Stuff me. Stuff me." (The first means to fill something, the second is specific to taxidermy; stuff an animal or dissect a cadaver).
    • And in one episode Xander says he wants to use a wire (as in hidden microphone) and the dubbing translated it as “Quiero usar un cable”, wire can mean both cable and microphone but the context makes it clear is the latter.
    • In Where the Wild Things Are, Giles tells Xander and Anya to "back off" at a safe distance so he, Willow and Tara can perform a spell. The Swedish subtitler translated it as "Lägg dig inte i", meaning "Stay out of this", making Giles sound angry for no apparent reason.
    • Another one can be found in the final episode of the seventh season where Buffy slices Caleb in half and jokingly proclaims that he "had to split" before cracking up at her own pun. The Swedish subtitles says "He had to leave", which not only ruined the pun but made it look like she is laughing at the sight of the dead priest instead.
  • The first few seasons of Charmed and Smallville in Hungarian were shockingly badly translated. Allegedly, episodes of Charmed had to be dubbed under a day due to the rushed TV schedule, so the script was essentially a strict word-for-word translation of the original. Sentences rarely made sense, even the names of the characters got mixed up. Later seasons topped this off with a severe case of Inconsistent Dub. Smalville's official dubbing script was meanwhile a shoddy Fansub that the translator got a hold of. Besides the amateurish translation work (that often left out plot-important details to boot), the dub also had some spelling goof-ups. The most infamous incident was the word "takarodó" (curfew) being misspoken as "takaród" (your blanket).
  • Cinderella Chef: The YouTube subtitles fall victim to grammatical errors and strange phrasing, like "how dare you are" and "I must revenge". The most blatant (and hilarious) mistake is translating "干爹" (godfather) as... sugar daddy.
  • The Colbert Report had Colbert mocking senator Marco Rubio's painfully awkward rebuttal to Obama's State of the Union address. Then he showed off ABC's mistranslation of the closed captioning on the Spanish version, which had such hilarious examples like "I'm at the body in the homeless in August to pay thugs and be asked what's the Hamas, you've got the April not because I was of them, I'll get paneling and soaps."
    Stephen: Wow. What a beautiful language... when it's being phonetically transcribed by a computer that evidently thinks it's English. I mean, the Spanish phrase "Buenos noches suoy Marco Rubio" goes right over my head, but I totally understand him when he says, "When an auction said Michael Mr. Into".
  • The Spanish dub of the 4th season of Criminal Minds translated The Boston Reaper as "La Parca de Boston" ("The Boston Grim Reaper"). Not bad. However, they mistook "Reaper" for "Ripper" in the Season 5 premiere, and translated accordingly as "El Destripador".
  • The people who do the Swedish subtitles for the Discovery Channel programs must not have access to dictionaries or to the Internet while they work. Nor does it look like they ever actually read what they have written to see if it makes logical sense in context. One particularly hilarious example was from a program on the Battle of Britain - the RAF vs. the Luftwaffe. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, right? Well, for one thing, you could choose to translate the word "dogfight" literally, and let your viewers picture for themselves actual dogs zooming through the skies over the English Channel.
    • A common mistake that often appears in the American show MythBusters, the expressions "turn on" and "turn off" is "tänd"/"släck" (eg. lights) "sätt på"/"stäng av" (eg. tools), but the translators makes up new expressions like the most common "stäng på" (shutting on the tool) and mixing all the words differently.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Latin American translations of the series 1 DVD boxes — namely, the episode synopses — are remarkably unbelievable... because their blatantly automated means of translation is incapable of modifying proper nouns. Giving them a read may lead you to believe that there is a villain named "Earth"!
    • The German dub of series 1 took blind idiot translation literally and made the new regenerated Doctor say "Blaue Zähne? Das ist merkwürdig" ("Blue Teeth? That's weird.") making no sense whatsoever because he had no blue teeth visually and how could he even be aware of this without ever having seen his new self in a mirror? The original phrase was "New teeth? That's weird," which might just mean that the translator misheard "new" as "blue".
    • Speaking of the German DVD boxes of Series 1, on the English edition we find a point in the menu called "Destruction of the Lair". The German translator was obviously looking for a typo where there wasn't one and had no clue whatsoever what a "lair" was, so he/she went with the next best idea s/he had and translated it as "Den Lügner entlarven" (How to reveal the liar).
    • The writers of the German subtitles also seem to be deaf and/or clueless. In "The Empty Child", Captain Jack Harkness says something among the lines of "a sailor carries love into every port." The German subtitles read as follows: "Ein Seeman trägt Liebe in jede Pore." ("A sailor carries love into every PORE".)
    • In the Hungarian dub the "Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels" line had become "Lenyűgöző verseny a Síró Angyalok". The problem is the "race" word means same as "verseny", but as "competition", "contest" or "tournament", while the correct translation would be "faj"note  or "teremtmény"note . Due to their nature, it boggles the mind what a "Weeping Angel race" would entail.
    • Poor translation in the original English version: in "The Doctor Dances" a German bomb is labelled "Schlechter Wolf", which is an attempt to translate "Bad Wolf" into German. "Schlechter" means "bad" as in "poor-quality" or "mouldy", the correct German translation would be "Böser Wolf". Then again, the Arc Words were planted throughout by a working-class Reality Warper who was not a native German-speaker.
      • It happened in Norwegian in "Doomsday": A location's name is given in Norwegian as "Dårlig Ulv Stranden", which is translated into English as "Bad Wolf Bay". "Dårlig", like "Schlechter" before it, means "bad" in the sense of "faulty" or "broken". And "Stranden" means "beach", one that's easy to cut some slack for seeing as that is a beach. It would be hard to mishear "Ond" as "Dalek", as the Doctor does "Dårlig".
    • The "Doctor Who?" questions are usually translated in the French dub as "Docteur Qui ?", which loses the original joke since the show is still called "Doctor Who", and sounds rather weird in French (a French person would rather ask "Docteur Comment ?"note  or "Docteur Quoi ?"note ).
  • In the E-Ring episode "The General", it is obvious that the ransom note was translated by a computer from English to Spanish, rather than written by a Spanish speaker, as it includes multiple conjunctions out of place and an inconsistent use of the singular and plural forms of verbs. The most glaring error is the translation of the verb "wire" as alambre, which is only used as a noun (the verb is enviar, or envíen in the imperative verb temp used in the text). To make it even worse, "alambre" is only used for uncovered wire, such as fencing wire, while a covered communication wire is a "cable".
  • The Eternal Love: The YouTube subtitles have frequent grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as sometimes ignoring the "Xiao" part of Xiao Tan's name and referring to her as "Tan".
  • The German dub of Firefly had some mistakes, but one of the more amusing ones is Wash suggesting to circumvent the Zäune and sell the stolen medicine directly to the people. Yes, Zäune means fences - but fences as in "garden fences" rather than "people who buy stolen goods". The same episode botched Wash's "Hey, I've been in a firefight before. [Pauses] Well, I was in a fire. [Pauses] Actually, I was fired, from a fry cook opportunity." Deflationary Dialogue.
  • The German translation of FlashForward has numerous examples. "We're simulating the Big Bang" turns into "Wir simulieren den Mega-Wumms." (roughly: "We're simulating the huge kaboom." The Big Bang is called "Urknall" in German.) Other examples include turning the meaning of certain sentences into their opposite, and misunderstanding 78 % as 87 % (a common mistake: in German, the tens are always mentioned last).
  • A Spanish dub of Forensic Files translated "the French and Indian War" as "the War Between The French And The Indians".
  • The Hungarian dub of Friends received notoriety among translation nitpickers because of things like "my bad" being translated as "that's my bed" or "paramedics" becoming "a para-phenomenon".
  • ''Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Fugitive Alien Several dials/meters on the Bacchus 3 are labeled hilarious things, such as: Space Speed, Cabin Air Presser, Tenperature, Sunny Side, and Other Side, while members of the Bacchus 3 wearing jumpsuits emblazoned with the badge "Security Guard". The computer actually shows a shipping manifest!
    Servo: Hey, that truck is going to Utah!
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The German dub translates crone (one of the Seven) as Krone - e.g., crown.
    • Every now and then the Spanish (Spain) translation of Game of Thrones will make some unexplained mistake that will render the otherwise great voice acting useless:
      • Translating Stannis' line about always giving traitors "their just desserts" literally, even though the idiom does not exist in Spanish. Is Stannis a pastry enthusiast?
      • Using "Lysenne" as if it was the name of a place, rather than someone from there, in the second and third seasons, when Lys had already been mentioned correctly in the first season.
      • Bronn calling Littlefinger "Lord Twatbeard". In English. Viewers might as well think that it was actually some new lord we had not met yet.
      • Calling Yara Asha (like in the book) in the second season, then using Yara in the third.
      • Translating Meereenese as "Merinense" in the second season and "Mireno" in the third (the books even use a third version, "Merinés").
      • Changing Ramsay's line about his mother teaching him to "not throw stones at cripples" to the idiom no hacer leña del árbol caído ("not make firewood of an already fallen tree"), which more or less means the same, but then keeping the second line "but my father told me to aim for the head!" intact, even though it now comes out of nowhere.
      • Changing Sansa's line during the siege of King's Landing from "Stannis will not harm me" to "Stannis would kill me". She's supposed to refuse an escape offer from King's Landing before Stannis takes it.
      • Confusing Daenerys' "Horde?" before the gates of Qarth with "Hold?", and rendering it as "Do we wait?"
      • Possibly the last straw that broke the camel's back regarding this was during season 8 episode 3 when Daenerys does not see the signs from Ser Davos from the ground, which she asks him to set fire to the trenches with her dragon. In the original English, Davos says "She can't see us", but in the European Spanish dub, the voice actor, which doesn't know English to check the mistake, pronounced the phrase mostly phonetically from English as "Sicansios". Not only the whole thing turned into a Memetic Mutation in Spain (and beyond), it also affected the voice actor's career and also cause an intense discussion about the working conditions in the voice acting industry in Spain.
  • In an episode of Gilmore Girls, Chris asked his daughter "What are you doing, Pupu?" This was translated to Hebrew, completely out of sync with the context and tone of the show, as "What are you doing, defecating?"
  • Goodbye My Princess: The YouTube subtitles fall victim to grammatical errors, strange phrasing, and frequently confuse "your Majesty" with "your Highness".
  • Grimm: Monster names and related terminology are German, resulting in much pain and hilarity for speakers. Starts with simple grammar fail like using adjectives as nouns or wrongly cobbled-together compound words, and ends with completely nonsensical/unintelligible words or horrible dictionary slips (e.g. the supposed "bee queen" is called "bee gay [person]").
    • Partially Justified. While the "bee queen" and similar definitional confusions are clearly errors, many of the grammatical "errors" are intentional. The producers are trying to avoid accidentally naming a monster after something real. By constructing the names in ways that actual German speakers never would, they reduce the risk of unintentional references. In-universe, the concept is that while the names sound like German, they're actually from a language related to German but implied to be much, much older.
      • Although that's a pretty silly concept. Such a language would be just as closely related to English and Dutch as to German. and would sound nothing like German. Almost everything that sounds recognizably German to English speakers comes from innovations in (High) German over the last 500-1500 years.
    • Same thing happened at least once regarding a wesen with a Spanish name; the Sangrienta Manos, probably a google translation of Bloody Hands. Words in Spanish have gender (as in male/female), plurals and singulars should be coincident and nouns always precede the adjectives, so the correct grammar of the name should be: Manos Sangrientas.
  • Guardian: The quality of the YouTube subtitles ranges from "relatively good" to "downright incomprehensible". The first episode alone contains gems like "You must saw the corpse" (intended meaning: "you must have seen the corpse", not "you must cut up the corpse") and "you has already find something useful".
  • While the French dub of the TV adaptation of Hogfather was fairly accurate (apparently relying on the excellent translations of the books), there was a very glaring error in the credits, where "Mucked about by Terry Pratchett" was translated as "'Mucked about' composé par Terry Pratchett", implying that "Mucked about" is a song composed by Terry Pratchett. Apparently the guy translating the credits had no idea who this Pratchett guy was.
  • Home and Away's Norwegian sub is badly stricken with this, when "someone's boyfriend", referring to one of the present character's boyfriends, get changed to "[absent character]'s new friend"... when that character hasn't even mentioned getting any new friends for ages, you really start wondering about whether or not the translators pay any attention to the plot whatsoever, they most likely don't as other horrible, horrible instances will prove to you.
  • In a House episode online with Spanish subtitles, Dr Cameron describes a wound as "pus-y", i.e. oozing pus; the subtitles said the wound was a vagina. While the word is spelled the same ("pussy") and pronounced differently, one would have thought the context would have clued them in.
  • The Spanish (Spain) dub of How I Met Your Mother translated incorrectly Barney's sentence "If you don't laugh, it just seems mean", turning it into "Si no te ríes, no te parecerás a mí" (which translates as "If you don't laugh, you won't be like me").
  • In a How It's Made episode we are shown the production process for tortilla chips, including the adding of lime (as the chalky powder used in masonry, called calce in Italian) to cornmeal in order to obtain nixtamalised masa dough. The Italian translator mistook that for the citrus fruit (which is called lime like in English).
  • During one episode in the Brazilian dubbing of iCarly, the translators didn't translate Spencer's best friend name, Socko (called "Meião", literally "Big Sock", in all other episodes). Carly also used the female article "a" when mentioning him.
  • The Journey of Flower: The YouTube subtitles fall victim to the "overly-literal translation" variety. Case in point: translating a gate's name as "Water Prosperous Gate". Apparently the subtitler translated each character individually without considering whether the result was coherent.
  • Another infamous example by Hong Kong Subs was Kamen Rider Ryuki, in which in one episode, someone said, "Don't Molest the Lawyer". This too became a minor meme within the fandom.
    • A more amusing example from Ryuki is how Hong Kong bootleg DVDs will sometimes give characters new names - Goro, for example, is named Inagaki in these DVDs, presumably because he shares the same nickname, Goro-Chan, with Goro Inagaki of the pop group SMAP. Six years later, Goro Inagaki is an actual Kamen Rider.
  • The King's Woman: The quality of the YouTube subtitles dramatically deteriorates in episodes thirty-five and thirty-six. It's almost incomprehensible, and includes gems like translating "Qin" as "South Korea" and "寡人/guǎ rén"note  as "the widow". Then there are the references to "Prince Edward", which are utterly inexplicable and make you wonder if the translator thought they were subtitling a show about British history.
  • In an episode of Law & Order, there was a case being investigated when it links to a kid who got Crash Bandicoot (1996) as a present. (It Makes Sense in Context). Anyway, the Latin-American Spanish translators didn't know the franchise's name. So, in the subtitles, when they say "Crash Bandicoot" it was translated as... "El Canguro que Choca" (literally, "The Crashing Kangaroo"). Let's see just how wrong this is on many levels.
  • The Legend of Mi Yue: The YouTube subtitles start out as just awkwardly-phrased ("with the child" instead of "with child", for example) then become incomprehensible in episode five ("after the audience with Viagra" is the most baffling and hilarious mistranslation).
  • The Legend of Xiao Chuo: The YouTube subtitles are sometimes awkwardly phrased to the point of being incoherent — for example "agitated the destinies of me", which shows up early in the first episode.
  • In the Italian dub of Life on Mars (2006) the idiom he hates your guts got translated literally, as if the detective had issues with the leading character's digestive trait.
  • The Norwegian broadcast of the 2nd seasons finale of Lost has the word "hostiles" translated to "gjestehusene" becauase the translator misheard the word as "hostels".
    • Also from Norway, in the season 1 episode "Hearts and Minds", the translation states that Boone and Shannon are half siblings, instead of step-siblings. This mistake would not be that big of a problem if said step-siblings didn't actually have sex in the very same episode.
  • Love and Redemption: The YouTube subtitles are better than some Cdrama translations, but they include phrases like "You impenitence creature".
  • On one episode of Lovejoy, a certain character had served as Sub-Lieutenant in Royal Navy. The Finnish translation understood the rank as sukellusveneluutnantti (literally "submarine lieutenant") instead of the correct aliluutnantti ("junior lieutenant").
  • In the My Name Is Earl episode "Stole P's HD Cart", the start has Randy tell Earl that the kazoo he just put in his mouth was just inside Ralph's crack, after which Ralph shouts "You're it, stinky lips!" to Earl. The Polish overdub translated the word "crack" as "cocaine", when it was obvious it refered to a buttcrack. The "stinky lips" line is changed to a generic phrase roughly meaning "you've screwed up!".
  • There is a bootleg of the Ninja Sentai Kakuranger movie which translates "Kakurangers" as "Cuckoo Rangers" and contains the line "Go to Sam Hill, Cuckoo Rangers!"
  • The Danish subtitles for Once Upon a Time sometimes refer to "The Author" as "Arthur", for some reason.
  • In season 24, episode 10 of Pointless, Alexander mentions adding 250 pounds to the jackpot. The Norwegian translator thought he was going for the mass unit and translated it as "113 kg". Another episode had "literary Patricias" translated as "literary patriarchs".
  • Pushing Daisies has a particularly awful one in "Robbing Hood". The mysterious Latin phrase orbis pro vox, which has been appearing at crime scenes around town, is supposedly a translation of "ring for rights", the motto of a charity organisation that goes door-to-door ringing bells while making collections. Not only is the Latin incorrectly inflected and therefore nonsensical, it was clearly pulled from Google Translate without any background checks - orbis, quite apart from being incorrectly in the genitive case, refers to a circle (hence, you know, orb), and thus could at a stretch be used to translate "ring", but only as a noun, not a verb. vox would need to be in the ablative case after pro, and either way would once again only barely carry the meaning of the modern concept of rights.
  • Princess Agents: The YouTube subs lag behind the dialogue, sometimes appearing only after a character has finished saying the line they're translating. Worse, the subtitles often fall victim to misspellings, grammar errors, and just plain inexplicable translations. By far the most amusing mistake is misspelling "Duke" as "Duck".
  • The Latin American dubbing for the second incarnation of Ripley's Believe It or Not! had an episode about ultralight planes, referred in general as just "ultralights". That word was translated as "ultraluces", taking the "illumination" sense of "lights".
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: The official translation of Zhi Wei's nickname is the worst offender. As explained here, "小狸猫/xiǎo lí māo" means "little leopard cat". Instead it's translated as "little raccoon" — an especially strange choice, since raccoons aren't native to China.
  • Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace: The YouTube subtitles, although coherent, occasionally sound stilted and unnatural. Example: "I want to spectate with you...".
  • In one episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina says something about stochastics, and Salem comments: "Don't ask me. I was an English major." The German translator didn't get that he was referring to university and had him say he was "englischer Major" – an officer in the English military, which really made no sense in context.
  • As good as the Sanctuary episode "Normandy" was - somebody seriously messed up the German lines. The translations are usually very literal, and when hearing the German text one can only make sense of what they say by translating it back to English. Example: "Bring them/him down!" as in "Shoot them!" was translated as "Bringt ihn/sie herunter", which is technically correct, but doesn't have this meaning in German. Essentially the bad guy told the troops to bring someone downstairs.
  • However, the most famous Norwegian example is a translation of the term "makeup sex" in Seinfeld. This was translated as "sminkesex", which means: Having sex while wearing make-up. And no, that's not an actual word.
  • Sherlock:
    • A channel showing it in Norway had such ridiculous translations you'd swear they put a machine translator to the job. An example had Mrs. Hudson referring to Sherlock, saying "Who knows what's going on in his funny, ol' head." which got translated literally, making no sense in Norwegian, unless Mrs. Hudson thought Sherlock literally had the head of an old man. Another had John asking if Sherlock's "had a girlfriend, boyfriend, anything?". In Norwegian, the word for boyfriend/girlfriend is gender neutral, literally translating to "dearest", leading John's sentence to be translated to "Has he had a dearest, dearest, anything?"
    • A bootleg box set of Sherlock had the following description on the back:
      Detective Sherlock! Rejection of 125 years ago, the editors did not think, young doctors of Portsmouth, a detective story written in his spare time, for the history of world literature, dropped a bombshell; two screenwriter did four years ago in the English countryside on the train expected, the Victorian detective moved to London in the 21st century will be such a warm welcome, not to mention two BAFTA and a variety of audience Choice Award; 17 months ago, we did not expect to start in a burst of machine gunfire the story will be in our hearts painted on how gorgeous one. Sherlock Holmes, but always one miracle. Deductive method of the site has been from lack of updates, in 180 countries, millions of viewers hope in their eyes, I do not know the second quarter of Baker Street, Scotland Yard and Whitehall can give us what kind of adventure?
  • The German dub of Stargate SG-1 translated the iconic "Burns as Goa'uld" line literally, as "brennt wie Goa'uld" which means "burning like Goa'uld". Not only is the joke lost, the conversion refers to "animated characters" after it regardless, which of course makes no sense by then.
  • Star Trek:
    • A somewhat legendary Finnish translation interpreted the line "The odds are against us", as if the Odds were a species. That's the whole reason for the existence of the Star Wreck spoofs, which use a lot of the mistranslated terms from this.
    • The Dutch VHS release of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Shattered" translated "A poet and a philosopher? Your intelligence file doesn't do you credit." to "Your IQ test doesn't do you credit."
    • On the Dutch DVD release of Star Trek: Enterprise, we get an... interesting subtitle when T'Pol says "Target the lead vessel." Lead can have two meanings: something that is in charge and something made of lead. Now guess what the translator went with.
    • The German dub of Star Trek: The Next Generation saw a few of those. One of the more interesting ones would be Dr. Crusher, sitting on the bridge on the Enterprise, alone in an empty ship in a shrinking warp-bubble in the episode "Remember Me", asking the computer "What is that mist out there?". This was translated to "Was ist das für ein mist da draussen?", keeping the Word "mist" of the English version, thus having her ask "What kinda manure (/crap) is that out there?". Works in spirit, but is still not quite right. The correct translation for "What is that mist out there" would be "Was ist das für ein Nebel da draussen?"...mist in the sense of "fog" is "Nebel", which is too many syllables to fit into the lip movements. Sometimes its not the translators fault..but just not possible any other way.
    • Oh heck, Star Trek in general when broadcasted in the Netherlands on any of the commercial stations. Extremely convuluted translations for setting specific words were used. While completely correct in both form and context, the translations which appeared on stations RTL5, Net5 and SBS6 were ridiculed among Dutch Trek fans to no end.
      • Examples: "Klingon" became "Klingoon" (why?!), "Warp" became "Krommingssnelheid" (good for scrabble!), among a few of the more memorable idiotic translations.
    • The French dub has its share of dubious translations:
      • "Inhabited planet" is routinely translated as "planète inhabitée", which actually means "Uninhabited planet" ("Inhabité" is a false friend, the correct translation to "inhabited" being "habitée").
      • "Warp" is translated as "Mach" (as in the speed of sound...) at least once in the original series.
      • "Romulans" are sometimes translated as "Romuliens" (which actually makes sense), but other times as "Romulanais" (which would be the translation of "Romulanese").
      • In the original series, "Return fire" is translated at least once as "Retournez le feu", which is the literal translation, and means "Flip the fire over". A better translation would be "Ripostez"(fight back).
      • The crowner is probably the translation for the title of the original series episode "The Empath" as "L'impasse", which means "The impasse" in French. Probably because "Empath" sounds like "impasse".
    • Star Trek sometimes suffers from this even in the original English - regarding the *Klingon* dialogue. The Klingon language is rightly celebrated for being a fairly good attempt at a plausible alien language, as the grammar was devised by an actual linguist, Marc Okrand, who went out of his way to make it very different from Human languages and especially different from English. Unfortunately this meant that later Trek writers have had great difficulty making sense of Okrand's dictionary and have often opted for the "Blind Idiot" Translation option instead. For example translating "you honor me" as SoH batlh jI' (sic), which literally means something more like "I am an honor you are" (the correct Klingon would be choquvmoH). Ronald D. Moore, the writer credited with creating much of the Klingon culture seen in the Next Generation era, has admitted to finding the original Klingon dictionary "cumbersome" and that he preferred to make up words as he went along instead.
    • One 1st season episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had, in the Norwegian subtitles, mistranslated "Worm hole" into "Varmehullet" (i.e., "The warm hole")! Quite apart from the... squicky image, it's funny because almost all Norwegians younger than about 65 are essentially bilingual...
  • It takes The Strain nearly 2 seasons before the viewers get to see the long awaited Occido Lumen. It has an impressive silver binding, beautiful images, a very lovely pseudo-medieval script and sentences like "Sie wurde gesagt, um schwangere Frauen aufmerksam zu beobachten, vor allem, wenn sie in den Arbeitsmarkt ging". The English original would have been something like "She (Lilith) was said to watch pregnant women attentively, especially when they went into labor". The German sentence actually says "... when they went into the job market" (plus some mangled grammar).
  • This happens several times in-universe in Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye when hearing characters try to use ASL and mistake similar signs, such as "sausage" for "shoe." Or the time Randy asked his Deaf date if she wanted to make out.note 
    • Another episode had a father who didn't sign learning just enough sign to give a moving speech to his deaf daughter. He kept trying to say "I just wanted you to join my world", but accidentally used the sign for "Ferris wheel" instead every time.
  • The Hungarian dubbing (or rather voice-over) of Top Gear borders on Translation Train Wreck, with the translator rendering most of the dialog word-for-word. While the car reviews and challenges usually end up at least somewhat incomprehensible, the guest star segments are virtually mangled. What's more, if the translator doesn't know what a word or expression means, he sometimes simply omits it, or worse, actually leaves them in English. Also? He isn't well-versed in this whole car stuff either.
    • Jeremy and James run into this during their film on early examples of vehicle controls. The instruction manual they're given for the DeDion-Boutin, a car built in the 1910s, is so badly translated from the original French that they can barely understand it. This leaves them in a terrifying position when they're heading towards a main road and Jeremy can't find instructions for the brakes.
      Clarkson:[reading] "For making the carriage walking at the first speed, take back the drag of the wheel backward crowbar of the right and take completely and progressively back the crowbar of embrayage to you..."
  • The Hong Kong Subs for Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle seems to have been translated from Japanese into Chinese and then English. All the characters' names (except Rei) were turned into Chinese names, the monster names are all messed up (Kelbeam turned into Jilubo), and the subtitles have ridiculous translation errors ("Who is him?")
  • In White Collar, a character imports dozens of 1944 Spaniard versions of Snow White. The title on the cover is "Blanco Nieves". The real Spanish title is "Blancanieves". No space, and the "White" in female gender because you know, Snow White is a girl. The "and the Seven Dwarfs" part is translated as "y los Siete Enanos". This is the title in Latin America, but in Spain it should be "y los Siete Enanitos" ("and the Seven Little Dwarfs").
  • The Hungarian voiceover of Wipeout (2008) changed its translator after the first few seasons, leading to almost all of the show's verbal humor being lost. For example, John Henson once joked that their obstacle course is "kind of a dump". This was translated as "it's a kind of landfill". Other times, the jokes are even replaced with straightforward, boring commentary.
  • In one episode of The X-Files, the Dutch subtitles translate Cancer Man as "Kreeftman" (Lobster Man). However, this can be considered an Inverted Trope. Although the translation is weird from an English point of view, it's actually a smart translation that keeps cultural differences into account. Calling the man Kanker Man would change the entire setting and feelings about the man, while this translation prevents such confusion: "kanker" (cancer) is used as a swear word in Dutch, one so bad that even the Dutch hesitate to use it. So instead of using "cancer the disease", they used "Cancer the Zodiac sign", which is "kreeft", also meaning "lobster".