Mrs. Hattie: Do I look like I speak Spanish?
Gru: You have a face... como un burro.note
A hidden message in a foreign language. This ostensibly makes these messages available only to bilingual and international audiences. The extra can be anything from a plot-relevant point to additional dialogue (often used to demonstrate that they've Shown Their Work with the language) to a random gag. The opposite of As Long as It Sounds Foreign (where a foreign language is used carelessly on the hopes no one will notice and sounds ridiculous or implausible if a viewer can understand the tongue).
As you may have guessed, this can be a very clever way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. In fact, Hollywood censors once demanded English translations of any part of a screenplay written in a foreign language (whether that language was real or made-up) precisely to thwart this, since subtitles traditionally weren't used in American films even when a character was speaking a language other than English.
If the word still makes sense in another way then it's also a Multiple Reference Pun.
This, of course, not only applies to actual languages, but also the various fictional languages that have full-blown lexicons and can technically be translated Quenya and Sindarin, Klingon, D'ni from the Myst verse, et cetera. Contrast Bilingual Backfire.
- Discover Card's "Peggy" campaign featured a Romanian-born actor as Peggy. The opening of the "Please Hold" commercial has Peggy speaking in rapid-fire Romanian. He is apparently saying something along the lines of "te cauta pe tine nenicule", which translates roughly to "is looking/calling for you, dude." Peggy provides poor customer service at a call center.
- In episode 10 of the second season of CLANNAD, the protagonist Tomoya wears a sweatshirt with the german caption Neue Wellenote . May be an example of foreshadowing, since he'll name his daughter later Ushio, which translates into tides.
- Cowboy Bebop has plenty of those, from texts in foreign languages all over the place to Eds fathers name being "Excuse me, check please" in Turkish.
- The English dub of Hellsing Ultimate has once instance of this: in the 3rd episode when Seras is escorting the Japanese tourists, the tourists have been redubbed in Japanese, and are apparently saying very rude things about the English staff working on the episode.
- At one point in Genshiken, Angela and Ohno are talking about an explicit scene in a Yaoi manga in English. The Japanese subs are censored but their dialogue is not.
- Many of the character names in Gundam Wing are or are derived from numbers in German, French, Latin or Chinese. These include (but are not limited to) Colonel "Treize" ("13" in French), "Quatre" ("Four" in French), Colonel "Zechs" (homophone for "6" in German), Lady Une (similar to the French or Latin "One"), and "Wu" Fei ("5" in Chinese), among a great many others.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- In the North American dub, Asuka holds an entire telephone conversation in German in the background of one scene; there are allegedly several in-jokes in her dialogue for German speakers who ignore the foreground action to concentrate on her.
- The title itself is an example. It is possible to predict the ending. Word for word, it translates to "New Beginning Gospel", or it can be re-arranged slightly to become "Gospel of the New Beginning".
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has German phrases ridden all over the episodes. Most of it are quotes of Goethe's Faust.
- Kyubey's gloating reveal that Magical Girls become Witches makes a lot more sense in the Japanese version: the Japanese term for 'Magical Girl' (Mahou Shoujo) can be also translated as 'Young Witch', the word for 'Witch' being Majo. The English attempt at this reveal comes across as a little clumsy as a result: "On this planet, you call females who have yet to become adults 'girls'. It makes sense then that since you'll eventually become witches, you should be called 'magical girls'."
- The pre-opening credits sequence in Slayers Revolution has a pun on the Japanese possessive particle no (の in hiragana) and the English and Spanish word no: the captions on the wanted poster for Lina are "AKUMA NO MIMI"note , "AKUMA NO KUCHI"note , and "NO BUST".
- In episode 11 of Sunday Without God, a newspaper article in French reveals that Alice was the student who died, which Ai doesn't learn until the next episode.
- In Welcome to the N.H.K. the main character prances through half the series wearing sweatshirts with the mysterious letters XYN a corruption of Cyrillic ХУЙ (huĭ), which happens to be one of the few absolutely taboo words in Russian, literally the male penis, but also ranging in meaning from "fuck off" to "cunt" (the insult, not the matching organ) depending on context.
- Sgt. Frog: In the Japanese version, Tamama is filled with 嫉妬/しっと, pronounced "shitto" and meaning jealousy/envy. He makes some sort of energy ball with his feelings and shooting it towards someone who angered him. The ball never reaches its destination though, and usually returns..
- The Castle of Cagliostro features the unusual case of a bilingual bonus based on English in a foreign film. Miyazaki apparently used gooto (Gothic) as an adjective for the counterfeit bills and the lettering on Clarice's ring in conjunction with the goat as an Arc Symbol relating to the Cagliostro royal family as a stealth pun on "goat"an English word that sounded absolutely nothing like the Japanese word for goat, "yagi." Since puns don't translate well, this led to "Gothic" getting Lost in Translation as early translations of the movie called them "Goat bills" and "Goat lettering" (or "Capran" in the dub).
- In Seven Mortal Sins, the Demon Lord Leviathan controls several demonic versions of sea creatures, including a flying whale. Leviathan means Whale in Hebrew.
- Possibly doubling as a Stealth Pun, Yusuke Urameshi's Spirit Gun is called "Rei Gun" in the original Japanese, and pronounced the same way as "ray gun".
- In Tokyo Shinobi Squad, En has a habit of greeting people in his native Thai and Jin slips into one of the 23 other languages he knows when he's feeling flippant with his superiors.
- The Lamput episode "Martial Art" has a scene where, right before Lamput fights Fat Doc and Slim Doc martial arts film-style, Fat Doc speaks a line of his usual gibberish which is accompanied by Chinese subtitles. The subtitles translate to "We're talking gibberish".
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The wolves' Chinese names end in "太狼" ("Tàiláng"). This is a pun on the Japanese language. "太狼" ("Tàiláng") and "太郎" ("Tàiláng") are homophones in the Chinese language, and "太郎" is also the Japanese name Tarō, meaning "the first son". Japanese names can appear aggressive in the Chinese language, and this fits the evil wolves.
- Eddie Izzard, being fluent in a few languages, does an entire section on the Definite Article DVD about learning foreign languages by tape cassette. He even ends the sections by promising it's hilarious if you're bi-lingual.
- Gabriel Iglesias has a routine about authentic and non-authentic Hawaiian luaus. When describing the non-authentic one, he describes a tour guide who is actually from Oregon and a bus driver who actually is from Hawaii, who calls her "my little punanny". Punanny means "vagina" in Jamaican patois.
- Bill Bailey also invokes this through a discussion about foreign ambulance sirens. Needless to say, he abuses the opportunity to hide some things in it:
Attention! Nous sommes blessés! note
Nous avons un homme; il s'appelle Jean-Michel, sa jambe est cassé. note
Avec une jeune fille; elle s'appelle Gisèle. C'est si belle. note
Ils ont montés dans un arbre pour faire lamour. Il a adopté la position misionnaire; c'est populaire. note
Il est tombé. Sa jambe est cassé. Attention! note
- Richard Jeni had a bit where he talked about late night commercials, especially for lawyers. He calls the lawyer in his bit Marvin A Gonif. Gonif is a Yiddish word for a crook/cheat/dishonest person, adding an extra layer onto the joke.
- Fantastic Four #542 includes Ben Grimm's adventures in France (his response to the super hero Civil War) as well as his attempts at speaking the French language (specifically, trying to say "It's clobberin' time" in French. He's less than successful).
Thing: That just means il est temps de foutre!note
Anais: You said "foutre". I think you meant to say, "Il est temps de battre!" note
Thing: Oh. I guess I got excited.
Anais: Apparently so.
- French comic Nelson has a few panels involving dog food called "Doggy style". Yeah, really. Most French just know what "dog" means.
- Zombilenium has an in-universe Latin case. While blessing a dead woman who was actually turned into a vampire, the priest (who helps covering The Masquerade) says "free us from eternal death" in Latin. The vampire director laughs and translates for the reader.
- In Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Spidey is in Germany, heading to the Berlin Wall, and spots a couple of German police and doesn't understand them.
Spider-Man: [thinking] Shop talk. Counting the number of people they've shot trying to go over the wall!
Guard 1: <I told her she's crazy! My mother's strudel got an award! It's fantastic! My old lady can't bake. Mankind would be better off without her strudel.>
Guard 2: <Fritz, I would just tell her.>
- As well as the costume he wears in Germany labeled "Die Spinne"
- The Dark Horse Comics Star Wars one-shot "Horse Fiction" has the menu that Yoda is reading written in Trade Federation Basic. The translation is noted below:
IF YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO TRANSLATE THIS ENTIRE MENU PLEASE TRY TO DEVOTE AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF TIME TO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE EXERCISE OR GOOD CONVERSATIONS AMONG FRIENDS OR LOOKING AT SUNSETS OR TELLING THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM. THIS MESSAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WRITER THE CHILDRENS [sic] TELEVISION WORKSHOP AND THE LETTER O. BY THE WAY MICHELLE AND DREA AND SHELLY AND CHRIS AND EVINRUDE I LOVE YOU ALL. WRITER KEVIN MARANGONnote SOCIALIST KARL MARX.
- The alien language that the moonies speak in Saga is actually Esperanto.
- In the English translation of Asterix, all the French wordplay is replaced with equivalent English wordplay, but all the Latin wordplay remains in Latin. One of the main joke templates involves three recently defeated characters each making a pun on the situation, with one usually in Latin.
- A Viz character named "Sweary Mary" was challenged to get an obscenity on the front cover of the comic. She managed this by arranging the bunting for a village fete, including a set of unusual flags. In the final frame, everyone seems happy except for a passing sailor who is slapping his head in horrified disbelief, as he is the only one (apart from Mary) to be aware that a string of pretty flags are spelling out an obscene phrase note . Fortunately for those without naval training, a feature further inside the comic explained the signal-flag alphabet.
- In Lucky Luke album Le Grand Duc, the gratuitous-looking Cyrillic script is actually real Russian, and contains meaningful sentences. For example, the anarchist assassin is heard to yell Неудача! (Fail!) every time his evil plots go pear-shaped.
- The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): While most langues get translated into English the French is left as is.
- From the Ask Crapplejack blog: When Applejack arrives in Falkath with the Merchant from Perseth, he approaches the customs agent at the docks claiming to sell 3,000 metaunits of concentrated malus domestica, to which the agent replies "What a vile fluid, however legal." Malus Domestica is actually the name for the common apple.
- In the Alternate Tail Series, the spells of Holy Scriopture, the magic that Levy gains halfway through Part 1 are written in Irish Gaelic. Even the second part of the magic's name is Irish for "Scripture."
- In Pokéumans, transformees often go into a coma and wake up once their transformation has completed a week later. In one of the Recursive Fanfiction spinoffs, this effect was given the medical name "Metamorphic Comatose", or "Segnis scriptor" — which means "lazy author".
- Menburen no Tsuinzu, a Christmas crossover video between Kingdom Hearts and Ratchet & Clank, has its official name in Japanese, which is translated as "Twins of the Membrane". It does have an alternate name in English, called Twinsane in the Membrane.
- "To Absent Friends": The USS Bajor's Pretentious Latin Motto, "Morituri Nolumus Mori"? Not so pretentious. It's a Discworld reference: "We who are about to die don't want to."
- The Big Bad in Sluagh is The Diabhal Dubh, explained In-Story to mean 'The Black Devil' in Gaelic. What isn't explained is that Dubh can also mean several other things, including 'Hidden'. Given his nature, this is very appropriate.
- In King of the Monsters, one of Godzilla's many titles is the "Jaeger von Jaegers", which is (grammatically incorrect) German for "Hunter of Hunters" (It should read something like '(Der) Jäger der Jäger' instead). It's doubly meaningful, considering that it is a Fusion Fic between Godzilla and Pacific Rim.
- Inglorious Bosh'tets (a Mass Effect fanfic) has a lot of them, all in Finnish. There's an alcoholic quarian named Juodaan'Viina ("let's drink booze"), a ship called the Kamala Kohtalo ("horrible fate"), a mineral scanner named the Perkele5000 ("perkele" means "devil", and is generally used as a profanity)...and the list goes on.
- In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, many chapter titles are Latin legal phrases, and pony magistrate Lexy Fori's name is derived from law of the forum.
- Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction by lordMartiya often have Lila utter phrases in Italian (first language of both her and the author) when frustrated, usually for comedic effect but once, in Lila and the Anger Management Class, to reveal her actual opinion of someone-and of course that's the one time one of the presents understand Italian.
- The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Multiple characters have a tendency to slip into their native language — Spanish/Burroñeso, Greek, and on one occasion, German/Hosstrian. Translations are provided on the subpage.
- All Guardsmen Party: The named Space Marines in Tyranid Acquisition Experts are named Rubram, Gravis, and Rebus — loosely translated from Latin into "Red", "Serious" and "Matters", or more colloquially, "Ruddy Serious Business".
- With the expectation that the shuttle pilot would be used, he was named Tunicae — so that the Marines (Gravis and Rebus) meant "Serious Business", and the Scouts (Rubram and Tunicae) meant "Red Shirt."
- There is so much Dutch used in the Pokémon fanfic Pokémon × Nimja: Play the Game that can only be understood by people who actually know or speak Dutch. But then again, it's no wonder, as the fanfic is based on the hypnosis files of Nimja, who is Dutch and speaks both Dutch and English fluently. Among the much more notable examples:
- The very first words spoken by the tragic Mewtwo antagonist HyPN0se towards anyone are "Dus... jij bent degene die ze Nimja noemen?" (So... you are the one they call Nimja?) Nimja responds that yes, he is, and then asks (also in Dutch) if Dutch is the only language he speaks.
- HyPN0se in general has dialogue consisting of about 50% English and 50% Dutch, though it's not until later that we find out it's because his mother forbade him from ever speaking English in her household (according to her, it is "de taal van de barbaren" — the language of the barbarians — and should not be spoken).
- An entire chapter ends up being a huge example of this trope. Said chapter, "The Night Comes Down," involves the main core group of Nimja, OGiNiM, HyDrO, and Slang visiting a creepy-looking house inhabited by a group of people referred to only as The Spoken; the name was apparently given because they are not seen, but they are talked about. Upon further examination, however, the group realizes the real reason for the title: the "people" are actually ghosts that haunt the house. The word for "ghosts" in Dutch? Spoken. The entire thing was derived from one of Nimja's live files in which he relates a story about a book containing the same pun. As Nimja himself states in the chapter when he gets his Eureka Moment:
Nimja: How could I have forgotten the pun of my childhood?
- In the Kantai Collection story Blizzard of the Red Castle, almost every single chapter name is a pun based on the English translation of the key characters' involved Japanese names. The title itself also hides the source of the fic's tension. In Japanese, the fic's title would be "Akagi no Fubuki."
- While most of Asuka's German in Going Another Way is subtitled, some is not. Translating it manually can give some interesting insights.
- The Danny Phantom and Kim Possible crossover, A Possible Encounter for a Phantom features a Prehistoric Monster called a Terakon. It's name is a merge of two Greek words, Teras and Drakon, respectively meaning "monster" and "dragon". It's a fitting name.
- As the page quote shows, Gru of Despicable Me tries to woo the orphanage lady by telling her she has a face "Como un burro." And it works... until the next time they see each other and she's bought a dictionary. She proceeds to hit him with it. For those who don't get it, he said she has a face like a donkey. (In the Mexican dub instead he says she looks like a tololoche.)
- Frozen: During Elsa's coronation, the bishop gives a speech in Icelandic:
Bishop: Sem hón heldr inum helgum eignum ok krýnd í þessum helga stað ek té fram fyrir yðr... translation Queen Elsa of Arendelle.
- A more subtle one appears in Hercules: Phil tells Hercules "Two words: I! Am! Retired!" At first this seems like just a simple miscounting gag, but if you translate the phrase "I am retired" into Greek (the film being set in Greece), it becomes Είμαι συνταξιούχος, which is two words.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: "Hellfire", Frollo's show stopping song of guiltless condemnation, is counterpointed by Ominous Latin Chanting — specifically, as anyone familiar with Catholic mass might know, the Act of Contrition.
- The LEGO Movie has a small but clever bilingual pun. Lord Business' doomsday device is called the Tentacle Arm Kragle Outside Sprayer, or TAKOS (the 'S' is silent), which looks like a bunch of giant tentacles. "Tako" in Japanese means "octopus".
- Mulan has to give a male name when she joins the army. Stressed by the situation, the only thing she can come up with is "Ping". It means "peace". Furthermore, she is registered under her real family name "Hua", so her full name (Hua Ping) translates to "flowerpot", slang for a homosexual man or a useless prettyboy. It might also be the Chinese word for "soldier" (Bing in Pinyin, but pronounced Ping), which would be logical given that Mulan was panicking and picked the first word she could think of after looking around.
- Chi Fu's name is a pun on the Chinese word for "to bully".
- Chien Po's chant while trying to calm Yao down is a Buddhist prayer.
- When the hawk drops the bottle with Rango inside and it lands on Rock-Eye the Toad, he yells "Madre de Dios!" which translates to "Mother of God". This is not particularly noteworthy — until he follows it up by yelling "I'm going to strangle your huevos!" (huevos being literally eggs but also slang for testicles.
- The mariachi owls talking about how Rango will lose his "cojones". Also his nuts.
- When Peter Jackson redid King Kong (2005), just before reaching Skull Island, SS Venture captain Englehorn intercepts a coded message calling for the arrest of Carl Denham (Jack Black). Yet the audible code does not actually say anything about an arrest and instead reads: Show me the monkey!
- In Easy A, Olive Penderghast is reading The Scarlet Letter in school, and acknowledging that her life is slowly turning into the novel. At one point she goes to see a foreign film, but can't read the German title, so she has no idea what movie she's about to see. The title is Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe, which of course means The Scarlet Letter.
- In the Hindi movie Housfull 2, the lady playing Anarkali for JD says, "I love fools!" when she receives a flower from him. If you know Hindi, you'll understand flower = phool, which is commonly said as "fool". Therefore, "I love fools!" = "I love flowers!"
- Towards the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka reads off a legal contract to Charlie and Grampa Joe, attempting to explain why they supposedly didn't get the prize. Part of the contract is in Latin (presumably an Affectionate Parody of all the Latin in real legal jargon), and it reads: "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum... memo bis punitor delicatum." This translates roughly as: "To cultivate the burning torch of the mind... mentioned twice for the punisher's pleasure."
- In Euro Trip, at least one German singer in the background belts out a song whose only lyric is "Du kannst mich nichts verstehen" ("You can't understand me). Which is true, if you don't speak German. There's also a kind of subversion on the ladies' nude beach in France two girls are talking and when one answers "Oui" (French for "yes") they translate it with "Let's make out".
- Johnny English has one scene in a sushi restaurant. Johnny toasts with "May your daughters have tiny penises." The American subtitle translation reads, "May all of your daughters be born with three bottoms."
- In Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Fetchez la vache" (Go fetch the cow, in Franglais).note What the monks are chanting throughout is a quotation from Dies Irae (from the 13th century, another anachronism) and translates to "Merciful [or Pious] Lord Jesus, grant them rest."note
- A Fish Called Wanda contains several funerals for small yapping dogs, featuring a choir that sings "Lord have mercy, the dog is dead" in Latin. Also, the Russian that Archie uses to arouse Wanda is a poem about the glory of the worker that children in the Soviet Union learned by rote.
- The Black Cat, features a stock-phrase-derived satanic invocation offering unintended laughs for anyone who understands Latin. Cum grano salis indeed! For those who don't speak Latin: it means "with a grain of salt."
- One of the short films in Chillerama, "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein", is in German. However, the actor playing Hitler is speaking entirely in gibberish (except for one line), adding to some extra humor for viewers who can understand the difference between German and random sounds. The one straight line is when he says in unsubtitled German, "I'm just an actor!" There's actually some Fridge Horror/Brilliance here. The film breaks the fourth wall multiple times. It gets to the point where you can feel like you're not watching a movie, but rather you're watching people making a movie. So when Hitler says "I'm just an actor," he's serious. The actor is actually trying to get out of the scene and is killed anyway. As are all the other actors.
- In the Jackie Chan version of Around the World in 80 Days, the Chinese man tied up in the "jail" is actually yelling "my butt really itches!" in Chinese.
- In The Mission, the locals were given free rein to say whatever they wanted in their own language. Apparently they hardly ever kept to the script and kept throwing out funny non-sequiturs or just cursing up a storm.
- In The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, there are obviously many joking lines spoken by the Russian soldiers. One example of this is, when the Russians are in an American garage, one thinks a bag is filled with grain and offers it to another. The other tastes it and proceeds to exclaim "This is SHIT!"
- The farce Top Secret! is set mostly in East Germany, and has a lot of fun with characters speaking "German". Mostly they're actually speaking in either gibberish or irrelevant Yiddish curses, although there is some German as well, including this classic exchange between villain and henchman:
Streck: Make sure they leave no marks.
von Horst: (severely) Ich liebe dich, mein Schatz.note
- The Mexican restaurant in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is called "Escupimos en su Alimento," which is Spanish for "we spit in your food."
- L.A. Story includes restaurants called "El Pollo Del Mar" (Chicken of the Sea, "pollo" mispronounced to rhyme with "Apollo" of course) and "L'Idiot" (The Idiot, but from the way it's pronounced it's not obvious until you see it).
- In Love in the Afternoon, a Japanese newspaper is supposedly commenting on Frank Flannagan's love life. However, the article does not actually mention him, but rather reads "The great newspaper king Kane dies". This is the same article used in the montage in Citizen Kane, with the name and picture of Frank Flannagan added in.
- Similarly, Cheyenne Autumn featured cast members from the Navajo Nation. While the lines are subtitled for a serious conversation, they're actually making various ribald and obscene jokes about the director, crew, and various non-Navajo cast members. Navajo theater patrons cracked up.
- Heathers has J.D. telling Veronica that the bullets they intend to shoot Kurt and Ram with are German "ich lüge" bullets, which are supposedly non-fatal, so that she will go along with the shooting. Ich lüge means "I am lying" in German.
- In-universe example in The 40-Year-Old Virgin: when Paula, the store manager, reminisces about the time when she lost her virginity to a Hispanic boy, she remembers that he used to sing her a song, which he told her was a "traditional lullaby." Turns out that the lyrics are nowhere as romantic as she actually thinks they are. It translates to: "When I get to my room, I can't find anything. Where are you going in such a rush? To the soccer game."
- According to Urban Legend, the Zulu warrior in Zulu who falls dying before his chief, and who makes a heartfelt declaration of loyalty as he does so, is actually saying something along the lines of "I have an enormous penis" in Swahilinote .
- Iron Man: If you speak Urdu, you know Stane was behind Tony's kidnapping an hour before Pepper translates the ransom tape.
- Iron Man 2:
- When Tony Stark asks Natasha if she actually speaks Latin, she responds with the phrase "Fallaces sunt rerum species," a quote from Lucio Anneo Seneca meaning "The appearances of things are deceptive."
- When Vanko tells Hammer that the drones at the show won't be fully capable, he adds that they will be able to "make salute." But in Russian, salyut means fireworks. The Stark Expo turns into one hell of a fireworks show.
- And the Russian dub simply translated it ignoring the joke.
- John Carpenter's The Thing (1982): The Norwegian screaming at the Americans in the beginning of the film is explaining that the dog is a shapeshifting alien, which the Americans don't figure out until halfway through the film. Faced by what appears to be a madman shooting at them, the base commander guns him down.
- Dead Man uses Cree and Blackfoot. There's something insulting in Cree.
- The "Chinese" Viet Cong child in Black Dynamite tells Black Dynamite that he's full of shit.
- In Cannibal! The Musical, the "Indians" (who are clearly Japanese) call their tribe The Nihonjin "Nihonjin" is Japanese for "Japanese people". Some of their dialogue is this too apparently there's a line that loosely translates to "this movie is really stupid!". And then there's bilingual bonus for those who know sign language: Humphrey makes some strange hand gestures while claiming to translate for the "Indians" at one point, and these gestures actually mean "Jesus Christ is dead".
- In Serenity the codephrase Simon uses to "turn off" his rampaging sister River, Eto kuram na smeh, is Russian for "That is laughter for chickens" or, more literally, "this is for the chickens to laugh at", an idiom meaning "That's ridiculous."
- In The Kentucky Fried Movie's "Fistful of Yen" segment, the leader of the evil clan is played by a Korean actor. When he's shouting orders in Korean, he's actually apologizing for his Korean fans that he's in the movie, and telling them that the director just told him to say something in Korean.
- In Austin Powers, Dr. Evil says that the French would say that something has a certain "I don't know what." Dr. Evil is admitting that he doesn't know what the French phrase is, but the phrase he's trying to use, "Je ne sais quoi", actually means exactly that: "I don't know what."
- In From Paris with Love, Charlie and James go to a Chinese restaurant in Paris that is stowing cocaine in the ceiling. The restaurant's name is "Le Lotus des Neiges", which means "The Snow Lotus" in French.
- The Syfy adaptation of Riverworld has an airship inexplicably called "Herumfurzen", which means "farting around" in German.
- ¡Three Amigos! has a scene where Dusty, Lucky and Ned freeze to hide from two Mexican guards, one of whom is describing to the other a recipe in Spanish.
- In Confessions of a Shopaholic, main character Rebecca Bloomwood spices up her resume by claiming, falsely, that she's fluent in Finnish. After she gets the job, her skills are put to test in a cocktail party with an actual Finnish person. Not ready to admit the truth, Rebecca solves the situation by slapping the man in front of everybody and claiming that men like him are the reason she left Finland. What the man was actually saying is not exactly abusive: "Hi! So nice to meet another Finn in here! Ever since I've been here in Americ—" *slap*
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen we have a witch doctor at Alan's funeral. The man is busy chanting in Zulu. His chants are (translated) him saying: "Arise, son of man. Arise child. It is not yet time to rest."
- In Pacific Rim, all the Japanese lines are given subtitles... except one. Mako saying "I love you" to Stacker right before he dies.
- In Cube 2: Hypercube, the true identity of the hacker "Alex Trusk" is hinted at for anyone familiar with Slavic diminutive names, since Alex is actually Sasha, a female character whose name is the diminutive form of Alexander/Alexandra.
- Borat is an English hidden-camera film about a fictional Kazakh reporter and his producer filming what the public thinks is a "documentary", and they frequently converse with each other in Kazakh; however, no actual Kazakh language is heard in the film, since Borat's actor is speaking Hebrew and his producer Armenian. All the text in the film is in Russian and even then occasionally mis-spelled.
- In Godzilla (2014), the title of the Kaiju movie whose poster is in young Ford's room is "Let Them Fight."
- X-Men Film Series:
- X-Men: First Class: The Soviet Captain refers to an officer on the bridge as "tovarishch zampolit", which is (incompletely) subtitled simply as "comrade." While the word "tovarishch" does mean "comrade," the enthusiasm with which the crew later drag him off to the brig becomes understandable if one knows that zampolit is how Soviet political officers were addressed.
- The Wolverine: Yashida's sword, the one he tries to pass on to Logan, is inscribed with kanji characters that mean "never grow old, never die."
- In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, ASL speakers got an added bonus as the ASL-speaking Avox Pollux is signing to his brother Castor. After meeting Katniss, Cressida explains to Katniss that Pollux can't speak because the Capitol cut out his tongue. He turns to his brother and signs, "She's pretty, don't you think?" and his brother signs a very enthusiastic "Yes". Considering that ASL takes facial expression into account quite a bit, the conversation could be translated as "She's really hot, isn't she?" "YEAH SHE IS."
- As an aside, "Avox" literally means "voiceless."
- Ex Machina:
- The title is Latin for "From/out of the machine." It is also from the phrase "Deus ex Machina", literally "god from the machine".
- The alcohol bottle labels, of all things. Nathan drinks "Keikaku" beer, which fans of a certain anime series would recognize as meaning "plan" in Japanese. And he also drinks "Koros" vodka, Koros being the Greek demon of disdain and surfeit (disgust brought about by overindulgence).
- In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, during the T-Rex's climatic rampage through San Diego, one sees a group of Japanese business men amongst the crowd fleeing. If you know Japanese, you'll find that one of them is shouting "I left Japan to get away from this!"
- The Gods Must Be Crazy: N!xau, who plays Xi the main Nambian bushman, was not given anything specific to say for any of his lines because the narrator always explains what his character means. Consequently, many of his lines are wry complaints or commentaries about the film rather than lines appropriate for his character. For example, during his character's triumphant homecoming, he starts berating the people playing his fellow tribesmen for not all rushing out to greet him as they would be doing if this were real.
- The Brothers Bloom: Diamond Dog compares the Blooms' lives to navigating the labyrinth. In the next scene, the large neon sign in Cyrillic script behind him reveals that the bar they were drinking in was called "The Labyrinth."
- (500) Days of Summer: When Tom and Summer are riding in a car and Tom asks Summer what they are doing (i.e. where their relationship is going) a song in French is playing on the radio, "Quelqu'un m'a dit" by Carla Bruni. The chorus of this song is Quelqu'un m'a dit que tu m'aimait encore, Somebody told me that you still loved me. During a lull in the conversation what is heard of the song translates to "somebody told me that destiny doesn't care about us. That it gives us nothing and promises us everything. It's said that happiness is within reach so we reach out our hand and found ourselves fools"
- Star Wars: Vader means father in Dutch.
- In Hunger, longtime Irish republican prisoner Gerry Campbell attempts to converse with his new cellmate Davey Gillen in Irish, but it becomes quickly apparent that Gillen has no knowledge of the language. Campbell asks "Cad é mar atá tú?" (How are you?) and says "Bí réidh, anois!" (Get ready, now!) when he hears riot police approaching their cell.
- In Rampage, the head primatologist, played by Dwayne Johnson, is unsurprisingly fluent in American Sign Language. His name sign is Rock.
- In The Windmill Massacre, all of Takashi's dialogue is in untranslated Japanese. Much of it was improvised by the actor who then provided the director a translation of what he had said.
- Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: "Ostberg" comes from Swedish and means "East Hill". Guess why it's "Gleahan of Eastvale."
- Shaun of the Dead manages to play this for both laughs and drama. At two points in the film, the titular main character makes a walk to his local convenience store to buy some snacks; one point before the Zombie Apocalypse, and one point afterwards (somehow without him noticing). The second time, the cheerful music on the radio that usually greets him is suddenly cut off and replaced by a rather frantic-voiced man urgently broadcasting a news update that Shaun might want to pay attention to... except the radio station is Indian and, unfortunately for Shaun, the news update is in unsubtitled, untranslated Hindi.
- In one scene, The Big Lebowski prominently features a cover of Hotel California performed by the Gipsy Kings in Spanish. If you actually know Spanish, youll find the translation is hilariously awful; it tries so hard to be literal that it ends up making the already surreal lyrics incomprehensible in other words, its pretty much a microcosm of the movie itself.
- In A Brother's Price the ex-husband of the princesses is called "Keifer". "Keifen" is German vor "to nag".
- J. R. R. Tolkien, who was fluent in a dozen or so languages himself, probably deserves his own page. But one example: The title of "longest buildup to a pun that isn't even translated in the story itself" belongs to Akallabêth ("The Downfallen" in Adûnaic), the story of the sinking of the island Númenor. Translating Akallabêth into High Elvish yields Atalantë, which is suspiciously close to the name of a famous mythological island which also sank. Atlantis in Greek comes from a root meaning 'uplifted', which adds another layer.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events has some of Sunny's comments, such as her "arigato" in the Slippery Slope, or her saying "Aubergine" to mean that she is making a plot with this eggplant. Others are a mishmash of English ("Kicbucit?" for "Is he dead?") and a couple are plain old Hebrew ("Yomhuledet!" which is translated as "Surprise" but means "birthday" and "Yomhashoah" which is translated as "Never again" but means "Holocaust Memorial Day"). The children also make pasta Puttanesca, an Italian dish translating as "whore's sauce."
- The infamous 1955 novel Lolita was written by Vladimir Nabokov, who spoke English, French, and Russian fluently. The English edition contains numerous sentences, remarks, and pet names in French — it approaches superfluous. The narrator, being a multilingual scholar, is the primary reason for this — at one point, an entire paragraph of dramatic emotional professions is written in French.
- Terry Pratchett occasionally includes a few of these, though several of them are explained or translated later. Some of them are not, however for example, in Soul Music, the main character Imp y Celyn talks about and later plays a song he wrote himself, titled "Sioni Bod Da." Since Soul Music is almost in its entirety a completely awesome Discworldization of the entire rock music movement in general, it should come as no surprise that there's a couple of hidden reference there. One is indirectly explained: "Imp" means Bud and "Celyn" means Holly, hence "Bud y Holly." On the other hand, Sioni Bod Da is mostly unexplained: It's Welsh for Johnny Be Good. (Read: Johnny B. Goode.)
- In the French version, Patrick Couton translated the pun in Breton: Imp y Celyn became Kreskenn Kelen and his song was called Yannick Bez Mad.
- A scene from Lords and Ladies Nanny Ogg's observation at dinner with Casanunda is an example of this trope. "She peered at the label. 'Chateau Maison? Chat-eau... that's foreign for cat's water, you know, but that's only their way, I know it ain't real cat's water." Chateau is French for "castle" (or something similar), chat is French for "cat" and eau is French for "water."
- From Making Money: "Jikan no Muda", the Discworld equivalent of Sudoku, is Japanese for "Waste of Time".
- Recurring example: The Sto Plains. "Sto" is "hundred" in Polish. Thus there is the town of Sto Lat, which translates to "a hundred years". Sto Lat is also the name of the Polish equivalent of "Happy Birthday to You." ("May (s)he live a hundred years").
- And in Russian or Slovak, Sto Lat means "a hundred plate mails".
- Liber Paginarum Fulvarum, the proper name of the Necrotelicomnicon (essentially a phonebook for the dead): Latin for The Book of Yellow Pages.
- The motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc" which the narrator translates as "to protect and serve", but which would more accurately translate to "make my day, punk", with some leeway on pvnc and punk (and in the verb form).
- Interesting fact: "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc" is actually all that remains to the battered Watch sign, which at one point read in full "Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter," which means in Latatian "Make the day, the moments pass quickly."
- There's another, more subtle, level to this one. With a somewhat nerdier level of knowledge it is also possible to read "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" as "Built in the year dot", which given the preceding description of the manky ancient building is highly appropriate.
- In Feet of Clay, several of the golems have Yiddish names, befitting the Semitic origin of the golem legend. One golem's name was "Meshugah", meaning "Crazy" or "Insane". It certainly lives up to its moniker, being driven insane by all the rules imposed on it by its creators.
- Pratchett slipped a subversion of this trope into a Monstrous Regiment footnote, involving the language of birds. It points out that the beauty of birdsong can lose its luster for ornithologists, who know for a fact that they're overhearing birds dissing and/or making passes at one another.
- In Mort at one point Albert says "Sodomy non sapiens". Mort asks what does that mean, Albert answers "Buggered if I know". While this is (effectively) the correct translation of the first phrase, many readers wrongly assumed Albert doesn't know what "Sodomy non sapiens" means.
- In Maskerade, the Pedlar's Song from the opera Lohenshaak begins "Schneide meinen eigenen Hals..." which is German for "Cut my own throat".
- In the same book, the Brindisian opera singer Enrico Basilica, who is secretly the Morporkian Henry Slugg, is singing "Show Me The Way To Go Home" in the bath, when the maid comes in and he instantly switches to Brindisian opera ... which is actually "Show Me the Way to Go Home" in Italian.
- And in the same book again, the opera Il Truccatore (the Discworld counterpart to Il Trovatore) — according to Salzella it means "the Master of Disguise" or "the Man of a Thousand Faces", but it's more literally "the make-up artist". It also doubles as a Shout-Out to Lon Chaney in a plot that riffs on his most famous role.
- The mottos on the guild coat of arms tend to be in Dog Latin, and the only one of them that isn't — "Art brought forth the light" — is not only a somewhat sad pun on the name of the candle-maker (Arthur Carry), but also a bilingual bonus as well as an important plot point. The Latatian translation would be "Ars enixa est candelam". Vimes had been shown the coat of arms and the motto right at the beginning of the story and then was busy for more than half of the book trying to figure out how the Patrician was being poisoned. You fill in the blanks.
- Expect lots of this in German whenever Uberwald and/or philosophy are being mentioned. Überwald is German (the inhabitants of Discworld prefer to avoid the diacretic points because they'll just roll off and cause unnecessary punctuation) and literally translates into "over forest" or "beyond forest". Or in Latin: Transylvania.
- The Dutch translator of Equal Rites had an easy time of it with Granny Weatherwax: she became Ouma Wedersmeer. He was stumped in trying to translate her broomstick being the equivalent of an elderly Morris Minor: the reference is to a clunky ugly British car that while mechanically sound didn't want to go very fast. This concept would not directly translate into Dutch. Then he realized a kind of old, ugly, slow but reliable bike in Holland is nicknamed the "Granny Wagon". Bingo...
- Witches Abroad drops hints to all sorts of plot developments if you're paying close attention, but one in particular requires some knowledge of French: Lilith is currently using the alias "de Tempscire"; "temps cire" can be translated to "weather wax."
- A number of 19th-century Russian novels, such as Anna Karenina, include random bursts of French from certain characters. Learning French was considered part of a "respectable" education for the Russian nobility at the time, so it was a marker of status for people to be able to converse freely in French. In particular, it's used when well-off characters discuss things they don't want the servants to know.
- "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" has The Vitalizer put on a heron documentary for him and his captive Clockpunk to watch. "Heron" happens to be what her last name Garza means.
- Fellow superhero Purple Quetzal also asks her if she's awake in Spanish earlier in the story.
- Just a minor one, but Darkness Visible has an exchange in French during a scene in St Petersburg which is never translated. Also a sort of Genius Bonus Not everyone knows that the language of high society in Russia at that time was French, not Russian.
- Philip K. Dick's VALIS provides us with blatant Author Avatar Horselover Fat, which a student of languages will tell you is "Philip Dick", in that "Philip" comes from Greek Phillipos, "Lover of horses" note , and "Dick" is German for "fat", as in "thick". Subverted, in that Dick admits this in all of this in about three pages... and in relatively short order introduces Philip K. Dick as a character.
- Letters Back to Ancient China has many. One example: The German unions are mentioned, which are all named "IG ...". This abbreviation can be pronounced like Mandarin for "give once", but Kao-tai writes that they rather should be named "take ten thousand times".
- In Harry Harrison's novel Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers the phrase "Ich möchte ein Einzelzimmer mit Bad im ersten Stock!" is translated in a footnote as "I spotted a door behind the throne, so grab onto me and we can escape that way." The real meaning is "I want a single room with a bath on the first floor".
- In Gulliver's Travels, the flying city of Laputa is a harsh allegory of England and its colonial dominion over Ireland; the name means "the whore" in Spanish.
- In-universe example: In the Rivers of London series, Peter finds some writing on a magical booby-trap left behind by the Faceless Man. After it's defused, he recognizes the writing as Tolkien's Quenya, and puts a copy of it on the internet, where LotR fans quickly translate it as:
"If you can read this, you are not only a nerd but probably dead."
- In Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, Doremus asks Lorinda about translating German. She replies that the only German she knows is a phrase Buck taught her: "God bless you" (Verfluchter Schweinehund). Verfluchter Schweinehund actually means "damned pig-dog".
- In The Realm Of Albion, several characters who derive from medieval romances and originally had anachronistic non-Celtic names have been renamed... mostly with direct Welsh equivalents of the actual meaning of their original names.
- In A Wolf In The Soul, several characters' names have hidden meanings when their names are translated.
- A minor character in 1634: The Bavarian Crisis is called Michel l'Esclavon, duc d'Espehar, marquis de Choses-sans-Valeur, vicomte de Lavion, seigneur de l'Haleur, chevalier Sanscourage de Contre-Ours,which, in English, comes to Michael the Slavic, Duke of Hope, Marquis of Things-without-Value, Viscount of the Airplane, Lord of Haulers, knight Without Courage of Opposing Bears.
- One of the short stories features two Swedish nobles named Harvärja and Stolpeskott. Both are at first glance concievable as "new" nobility names. "Harvärja", a combination of the words for "hare" and "rapier", is also a part of the idiom "take to the hare's rapier", meaning to run away. "Stolpeskott" combines the words for the heraldic figure "pale", and "shot", but stolpe can also mean "post", as in "goalpost", and "stolpskott" (literally a shot that hits the goal post) has also entered the vernacular as a term for disappointing failure.
- In Der Stechlin educated characters occasionally use French (also Italian and English) phrases, while the members of the rural lower classes (agricultural labourers, workers at the glass factory in Neuglobsow, many of Dubslav's servants, etc.) speak in the Brandenburg dialect of Low German.
- A recurrent trope in MARZENA Transhuman Ambrosia, with everything being spelled funetikally of course, and not to mention the consistant uses of either German, Dutch or French/Russian Quotation marks. Note that whenever German quotation marks are used that every noun becomes capitalized as it is done according to proper German grammar.
- Marian and Geni (Marian's Digital Copy) will seldom utter random Russian slurs like "Pochemu ti mala sewka! Ya budu bit tebya na smyerts!" (Why you little Bitch! I will beat you to death!) or "Bllin da ladna ooja?!" (Darn back already?!).
- And there's Livia tendency to insert random Dutch words in her sentence like Tsehr Maar/Vett ü vel (Ya know).
- The zombies while Kristen and Lauren are inside Dr. Samir's head will chant seemingly random gibberish which are actually Russian, "Shtobo mola jit" (for little life), "Myorvt shtobo jit" (Dying to Live), and "Mogsgi, Mogsgi, Mogsgi" (Brains, Brains, Brains).
- While in the Saarland, Gorski and the TAR Kernel converse a bit in German. Gorski tells the Kernel that "Fer-tseihung Kernel aber man moos bay-eilen, vo shtecks Yoan?" (Forgiveness Kernel, but one must hurry, where is Yoan?" and the Kernel tells him that he's in the basement, "Bringen zie hin zu him," translates roughly to Bring her in to him.
- Also Private Thomas, "Ich bin kein Artz, Ich bin Zoldat." (I am no Doctor, I am Soldier).
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: The in-universe editor of the novel that the book is about (yeah, it's that kind of book) provides translations for most of them and complains about it, especially since most have nothing to do with what's being talked about.
- In The Hunger Games, 'Panem', the name of the country this story is set in, means 'bread' in Latin. This revealed to be a reference to "panem et circenses" — when a government appeases people with food and spectacle to maintain power, which is exactly what the Capitol does. The mute servants in the Capitol are called the Avox, which means 'without voice' in Greek and Latin.note 'Katniss' is the name of a family of plants, also known as 'Sagittaria' — Latin for 'archer'.
- Autobiography of Red has a sneaky one in the form of a volcano called Icchantikas. The name sounds like Mayincatec gibberish, but actually comes from a Sanskrit term used in Mahayana Buddhism to refer to someone who is incapable of achieving enlightenment.
- The protagonist's name in Dork Diaries is Nikki, which is also the Japanese word for "diary".
- In Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Simon's email persona is named Jacques. It's derived from the French saying "Jacques a dit", which is the French equivalent to the game "Simon Says". It's also how Blue figures out who Simon is offline.
- Smaller & Smaller Circles: Several of Joanna's phrases (in French, when speaking with Fr. Saenz) and thought processes (in Italian) are left untranslated. The 2015 edition re-releases them in English.
- In Reamde by Neal Stephenson Richard's castle in Canada is always referred to by its German name of "Schloss Hundschüttler" (or just Schloss for short) which translates as "Castle Dogshaker".
- Jason Matthews's novel Red Sparrow is generally quite accommodating to non-Russian speakers, by translating a lot of Russian words and phrases into English immediately after mentioning the word, or making them decipherable in context. He leaves a couple of lewd remarks by Dominika untranslated, however: Tranhi menya ("fuck me") and Yob tvoyu mat ("motherfuckers").
- Tom Sharpe wrote two Take That! novels after being deported from South Africa in The Apartheid Era. Indecent Exposure and Riotous Assembly both feature a demented and racist secret policeman dedicated to the dream of a White South Africa. He is liutnant Verkramp. In Afrikaans, verkramp is a word meaning, variably, constipated, crazy, toxic, bigoted...
- In Nine Goblins, one of the goblins is named Algol, which is an Arabic word for a kind of monster that can be translated as "ghoul", or possibly "goblin".
- The French comedy duo Kad and Olivier had a recurring sketch about an American sheriff having to solve road infractions caused by well known people (Superman, Robert Smith, etc etc...). Of course, during the whole sketch, they were talking English with a (sometimes less than faithful) French translation running over what they were saying... Except one tiny message that was running on the radio:
Car one to control: Can I eat my wife and fuck my dog, please?
- There's a certain minor character from 24 whose name is Marcos Al-Zacar. His last name is roughly Arabic for "The Dick". The name was probably trying to offend the character.
- 24 (India): It's officially a Hindi-language show, but plenty of English lines are spoken, including Jai Singh Rathore (this version of Jack Bauer) shouting out, "Who are you working for?" at Nikita (this version of Nina).
- In Season 2, Episode 11 of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon eats "off-brand Mexican Cheetos" called "El Sabor de Soledad" while discussing an ex-boyfriend; these later become a Running Gag. In Spanish, this means "The Taste of Loneliness". Also, one of their advertising lines:
¡Ahora con más semen de toro! note
- You might be able to figure this one out on looks alone (also placing it in Visual Pun territory), but in a Babylon 5 episode concerning an Underground Railroad, there is a Russian-language poster in Ivanova's quarters at the end. It's a Soviet-era poster advertising the subway.
- In episode 8 of Band of Brothers, David Webster tells some German POWs (in German, of course) "be good, and you will get a cookie!"
- The first episode of Black Books has Fran trying to figure out exactly what her new knick knack is. But if you can read Japanese katakana, you would see the boxes say "ライター", revealing their identity as lighters long before Manny demonstrates.
- In Bones episode "The Truth in the Lye", Agent Booth is seen at the end wearing a T-shirt that says "ファック・ザ・世界 / モルフィーンジェネレーション", which is "Fuck the World / Morphine Generation" in (mostly-transliterated) Japanese.
- In Bottom, the German (bad grammar) instructions for the VCR apparently say "Stecken dein Kopf in deinen Arsch."
- The Breaking Bad episode title "Caballo sin Nombre" means "horse with no name" in Spanish, so it probably was no surprise that the America song of the same (English) name was featured in the episode.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The episode Beneath You has a Cold Open involving a woman in Germany being chased by assassins in a club. A techno piece blares on the score, with the only lyrics being "Von der Tiefe verschlingt es" — German for "From the depth it devours", which of course mirrors the Arc Words "from beneath you it devours".
- Spells are almost always done in another language; often a dead one like Latin, although Giles also manages quite respectable German. The Latin is sometimes accurate, sometimes gibberish (as in Sunnydale High School's motto).
- While discussing the newly-found scythe in Season 7, one name comes up: "M question-mark". Giles points out that the "question mark" (ʔ) is actually a glottal stop in the International Phonetic Alphabet. What does "mʔ" sound like? The English word would be "gulp".
- Daredevil (2015):
- Anyone fluent in the languages that the gangsters use in season 1 can tell that James Wesley often declines to quite translate them accurately. Also, the Russian used by Vladimir and Anatoly is very colloquial (and somewhat broken), whereas the subtitles are more straightforward.
- The Japanese characters written over the block of tenements on Nobu's map read "kuro sora" literally, "black sky".
- As the FBI starts dismantling Fisk's organization, we hear the aria "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. The final word of the aria is a triumphant "Vincero!" repeated three times. "Vincero" translates into "I Will Win", and at this point the heroes seem to be victorious. Fisk, of course, still has one last play to make.
- When Wilson Fisk bombs the Russians' hideouts, Elena rushes into the living room and shouts, "The heavens are opening up again!" in Spanish.
- Deadwood has an example. Swearengen, who speaks only English, is talking to Mr. Wu, who speaks only Chinese and maybe a dozen words of English. In trying to convey that Swearengen and another man are hostile towards each other, Swearengen invokes a Chinese term he's heard Wu use to describe enemies, saying that he and Hearst are "baak gwai lo." Little does he realize he's just said that both of them are "white devils." And very appropriately for both him and Hearst.
- Doctor Who:
- "Inferno" features the Third Doctor getting trapped in a parallel universe where Britain is a fascist state. The ranks of the Republican Security Forces are actually SS ranks translated into English.
- "Bad Wolf": When the Dalek ships are revealed towards the end, the soundtrack features a male choir chanting. The constantly repeating lyrics ("Oh mah koreh") mean "What is happening?" in Hebrew.
- "The Fires of Pompeii" has the villainous character Lucius Petrus Dextrus. "Lucius" is just a regular Roman name (though it comes from "lux" i.e. light, which could refer to Vesuvius). "Petrus Dextrus", however, means "stone right", which refers to his stone right arm.
- When the Daleks end up in Germany in "Journey's End", they shout pretty much the same thing they do in English. However, German-speaking viewers will notice that they use "Sie", the formal version of "you". Who knew Daleks could be polite...
- "Planet of the Dead": When the Tenth Doctor uses his (French) catchphrase, Lady Christina responds in kind:
The Doctor: Allons-y! [Let's go!]
Christina: Oui, mais pas si nous allons vers un cauchemar! [Yes, but not if we're going towards a nightmare!]
- "The End of Time": When the Tenth Doctor is slowly succumbing to the radiation poisoning at the end, the Ood, led by Ood Sigma, sing to him. Their words to him: "Vale Decem", Latin for "Farewell Ten".
- "The Vampires of Venice": The name "Calvierri" is reminiscent of calvaria, Latin for "skull".
- "Twice Upon a Time": The Captain faces off against an enemy soldier in a crater. He tells his counterpart that he doesn't want to shoot, only for the enemy soldier to start babbling back in German, leading him to lament that he really wished either of them spoke the same language. German-speaking viewers will get another tug at the heartstrings, as the German soldier is begging the Captain to leave, seeing as he doesn't want to shoot either.
- Dr. Ken averts this. Ken occasionally starts speaking in what most viewers would assume to be Korean. It's just mumbled gibberish.
- In Everybody Loves Raymond, in the opening credits to Series 3 onwards, Ludwig van Beethoven's Song to Joy is playing while Debra and Ray frantically try to pretend they're not in. A well-thrown missile switches off the stereo, reducing the line Alle menschen Brüder werden... to chaotic electrical crackle and noise halfway through. As the line means All men shall be as brothers, it sums up the Barone brothers' dynamic perfectly...
- Joss Whedon's Firefly has a plethora of fun phrases in Chinese, which when translated, give us gems like: "the explosive diarrhea of an elephant" and "frog humping son of a bitch."
- If the viewer happens to speak French, they can catch the deliberately uppity yet nonsensical names of the restaurants that Frasier and Niles frequent, such as Le Cigare Volant (The Flying Cigar), Le Petit Oiseau (The Little Bird), Le Petit Bistro and, arguably the best example, Quelquechose meaning literally "Something".
- In "An Affair to Forget", any viewers who speak either Spanish or German will get the punchline of the last scene about ten minutes early.
- Game of Thrones:
- In "Breaker of Chains," when the Meereenese rider challenges Dany, he is not going on about man parts and Dany's army's lack thereof, as Missandei would have us believe. Instead, he is shouting a Valyrian translation of the French taunter scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- "Orel" means "Eagle" in several Slavic languages, a fitting name for a warg who uses an eagle.
- GoGo Sentai Boukenger: High Bishop Gajah, one of the series' Big Bads. Gajah happens to mean bishop or rook in archaic Indonesian.
- Green Acres: Eva Gabor speaks actual Hungarian on occasion. It doesn't always match up with the captions sometimes provided. In "The Road", Lisa is misquoted as saying "That darn road". What she's actually saying is "Things like this never happened in Hungary!".
- Grimm has an episode called "Bad Teeth" which features a monster resembling a saber-toothed tiger called a "Mauvais Dent" which literally means "bad tooth." It's descriptive and laughably simple.
- Individual character Theme Naming also fits into this, like a goat-man named Capra, Latin for goat, and a bee-woman named Melissa, Greek for honeybee.
- In one episode of Happy Days, Richie, Potsie and Ralph come up with an idea to impress girls: pretend to be foreigners. None of them speak a foreign language, but Ralph's grandma taught him to count to five in "Indian", so they bluff by shuffling those words. They are in fact the words for one through five in Chinook Jargon.
- The makers of Homeland hired people to add some graffiti in Arabic to some of their sets, for added realism. The graffiti artist decided to use it for commentary and Arabic readers could see the show depicting lines such as "Homeland is racist". Stephen Colbert did a bit on The Late Show.
- iCarly's iGo to Japan movie is even funnier when you know why the Japanese security guard slapped Spencer: he called his mother fat. In the episode iGo Nuclear, a bonus joke for Russian speakers is that Cal's case of illegal uranium is actually labeled plutonium.
- In The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret , Todd makes up some sign language while speaking to a group of deaf people, who throw things at him in response. His sign language translates to something offensive.
- Ricky Ricardo's Spanish rants about Lucy/at Lucy/about Lucy's schemes on I Love Lucy were clearly implied to be colorful profanity, but Spanish speakers will know that most of what he said was fairly mild ("What is this woman thinking?", etc), just said in an overly excited tone.
- Inspector Morse features an example in Morse code (of course) the opening bars of the theme music are supposed to spell out MORSE, but some fans argue that the gap in the middle of the M (two dashes) is slightly too long and so it actually spells TTORSE (T is a single dash). Also the opening theme sometimes tells you who the murderer is, but it has been known to lie.
- Several examples of this trope happen in JAG; in German, Farsi and Russian; courtesy of in-house polyglot Mac.
- Similarly, Morse code in the opening of each episode of Jericho gives a clue or spoiler about the episode.
- Toward the end of Living Single Max gets a dog that takes orders in German. She seems to believe that schnell means something like stop or heel, but it actually means fast. So it comes as no surprise to German speakers that the dog takes off running every time.
- In the M*A*S*H episode named "Hawkeye", the character Hawkeye is the only member of the main cast to appear. The only other speaking rolls in the episode are members of a Korean family, who speak only Korean. While Hawkeye cannot understand them, the majority of what they say is insulting him and telling each other what a buffoon he is. For example, just before they have dinner, the father remarks "Would you close your mouth finally so we can eat?" However, several other episodes exhibit As Long as It Sounds Foreign, when the "Korean" the actors are speaking (who are themselves frequently non-Korean Asians) is either pure gibberish or another non-Korean Asian language.
- Catalina, the Latina maid in My Name Is Earl, occasionally goes into an angry-seeming stream of Spanish, which is taken by non-Spanish-speakers to be a blistering insult (usually aimed at Joy). In fact, she is speaking directly to the audience and has on different occasions thanked Latino viewers for tuning in, congratulated non-Latinos on learning a new language, explained that a more expensive scene had been cut, bid farewell for the end of the season, and apologised for continuity errors in that episode.
- The New Girl episode "Micro" has Schmidt's face on a Korean billboard. He believes it's a real modeling job (for Korean Jew relations), when it's actually the result of a failed prank by Winston and Cece. The Korean on the billboard translates to "I'm a model".
- Israeli satire show Nikui Rosh featured a skit named The Goldfather, parodying a notorious case of corruption from the time involving the Israel Corporation. In the skit, an unnamed mob boss threatens then-chairman Michael Tsurs likeness Don Tsurleone that if he doesnt return the money that Jewish businessman Tibor Rosenbaum gambled away, he will be killed.
Mob Boss: Capito?note Non capito (Holds up a teaspoonnote )—sakino!note (Draws a switchblade and holds it against Tsurleones face.)
- The OA features many cryptic messages in Braille written in assorted locations throughout the show, including on Khatun's face.
- Quantum Leap has at least two instance where foreign languages are not translated for the viewer—a scene where a deaf woman essentially "yells" at Sam via ASL (her facial expressions and rapid signing make it obvious that she's angry with him), and another where Sam speaks Japanese to his Japanese wife, leaving the dialogue understandable only to those who know the languages.
- Stargate Atlantis: Dr. Radek Zelenka (played by Czech-born Canadian actor David Nykl) is known for making humorous asides in Czech, including a case of No Fourth Wall where he commented "I can't work with these actors".
- The Russian dialogue between sailors on a Russian submarine in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Small Victories" slid into No Fourth Wall as well, referring to "these bugs from the first episode". Allegedly, the actors were asked to just say anything in Russian. The Russian dub overwrote it with sane dialogue. Apparently the actors added a little deadpan snark into it, the dialog consists of something along the lines of "What is inside?" "Maybe those bugs from the last episode" and later "What are those creatures?"
- In the German dub, the actors are apparently voiced by (probably) native speakers and the sailor answers the question on what in the torpedo tube with "probably the body of our sacked captain".
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- The episode "The Icarus Factor" has Riker and his dad duking it out on a platform with the kanji for the Eastern elements of Fire, Wind, Water, Air, Void, but also Urusei Yatsura, Lum, Ataru, and Yuri.
- "Time's Arrow Part 1": When Data says he's French, one of the gamblers speaks to him in it, and Data replies. Both of their dialogue is left untranslated. What the gambler says is his parents came from Burgundy, while he was born in New Orleans. Data then comments that they're almost brothers, and he is new in town.
- Vida: There's a lot of Spanish in the series that's untranslated.
- Song "Hotwax" from Odelay has the following chorus: Yo soy disco quebrado / Yo tengo chicle en el cerebro. It translates to "I am a broken record / I have bubblegum in my brain."
- The song "Loser", which contains the repeated line Soy un perdedor ("I am a loser").
- La Belle's Lady Marmalade includes the question "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?note " in the chorus. note
- Since Charles Aznavour can sing in eight separate languagesnote being multilingual is sometimes necessary to enjoy his work, particularly when he gets creative and composes a song made up of more than one language. One particularly delightful example is the song "For me Formidable" which alternates between French and English and uses a lot of clever wordplay between the two.
You are the one for me, for me, formidable
But how can you see me, see me, si minable?
- The Clash song Spanish Bombs which contain refrain Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito, oh, te quiero, oh mí corazón (Spanish bombs, I love you infinitely, oh, I love you, oh my heart).
- "The Macaronic Carol" by Shari Ajemian and Sarah Newcomb alternates between lines in English and Latin. The English lines are all about how much fun it is to carol gaily in fields of snow; the Latin lines are things like "my feet hurt", "it's cold", and "I want to go home".
- Knorkator, another German metal band, has one song entirely in Thai. However, the lyrics are entirely about Alf Ator's then girlfriend and now wife telling how she was asked to write a song in her native Thai and she has no idea what that song should be about. But it doesn't really matter since nobody in the band or the audience will understand it anyway.
- Cheech Marin's rapid stream of Spanish in the middle of "Taco Grande" by "Weird Al" Yankovic translates approximately to: "Good evening, sir. Welcome to Enrico's Casa de Salsa. We have many delicious entrees. If I might recommend the Burning Hell Chicken, very delicious. Your eyes will burn up, your stomach will be on fire, you'll be in the bathroom for a week, do you understand what I'm saying, stupid silly gringo?!"
- The song "Die Eier Von Satan" by Tool features German lyrics delivered in an angry tirade over a cheering audience and grinding industrial music. The translated lyrics are actually a simple recipe for hash brownies. The lyrics also feature a German pun. The name of the brownies are "The eggs of Satan," with "eggs" being German slang for "testicles." The recipe, as the speaker repeatedly proclaims to massive cheers, includes no actual eggs.
- The first album by the Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese is titled "Elio samaga hukapan kariyana turu", which means "Let's all merrily fart and cum with Elio" in Tamil. The title of their later album "Italyan, rum casusu čikti" was taken from the headlines of a newspaper from Cyprus and means "It turned out that the 'Italian' was a Greek spy".
- There's some unexpected and untranslated French toward the end of Judas Priest's 1977 song "Saints in Hell": "Abbatoir! Abbatoir! Mon Dieu, quelle horreur!" ("Slaughterhouse! Slaughterhouse! My God, what horror!")
- A Russian phrase (Я сошла с ума — "I have lost my mind") is in the chorus of "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u.
- Their song "Gomenasai" (Japanese for "I'm Sorry") has the word, well, Gomenasai in it (it's misspelled on purpose). An English song with a Japanese title by a Russian band.
- When the song "Зачем я" ("Why do I...") was adapted for the band's first international album and given the new name "Stars", it still kept its verses in Russian.
- Cracker's "What You're Missing" has a couple of untranslated Spanish phrases in the background vocals. First there's "con pelirroja", which would roughly be "with (a) redhead" — the phrase comes up just before red-haired bassist and backing vocalist Brandy Wood gets to Step Up to the Microphone for a verse. Later in the same song there's "protegido por monos", meaning "guarded by monkeys"; the phrase "guarded by monkeys" is sort of a Running Gag cropping up multiple times on the album Forever.
- While Brazilian singer Falcão did an intentionally broken English translation of a cheesy and popular song about a black VW Beetle, he named it "Black People Car" — because difficulties in translating the local name of the car (Fusca) made him seek what Volkswagen meant in German, and it was "people's car".
- Red Hot Chili Peppers have "Cabron" from By the Way, which contributes to quite a bit of Lyrical Dissonance since it's a quite upbeat, peppy track with the title meaning "motherfucker".
- The Poxy Boggards' "I Wear No Pants" contains a Trilingual bonus. It switches from English to Italian to German, before going back to English. The non-English verses (besides the obvious translation of "I wear no pants" in each verse) translate roughly to:
Italian:Look at my balls!
Look at my balls!
Look at my balls!
(It's) not old macaroni!German:(It's) striking to look at!
Striking to look at!
Striking to look at!
My big prick!
- The Pogues: "Fiesta", about partying in Spain, has lyrics in English with inserted Spanish phrases. The last verse is entirely in (rough) Spanish (with one Italian line). It contains enigmatic mentions of one "Cait O'Riordan" and an "Costello el rey del America". O'Riordan was The Pogues' first bassist, until she ran off to marry Elvis ("The king of America") Costello.
- The Beatles' "Michelle" has the line "These are words that go together well" resung two lines later in French: "Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble."
- Acid Bath has two songs with titles written in Cajun French (a dialect spoken in very specific parts of their home state of Louisiana) — "Diäb Soulé" and "Toubabo Koomi", which respectively mean "Drunken Devil" and "Land of White Cannibals".
- The Evillious Chronicles's Sloth song, "Gift From The Princess That Brought Sleep," appears to have a Gratuitous English word, "gift," repeated over and over. It turns out that it's actually Gratuitous German, as "gift" in German means "poison."
- The Beach Boys "Vege-Tables" includes a bilingual pun: The line "Cart off and sell my vegetables" is a pun on "kartoffel", which is German for "potato".
- Mogwai's "Dial: Revenge", with Welsh lyrics written and sung by guest vocalist Gruff Rhys, is based around a pun you have to be familiar with both English and Welsh to understand. Certain types of payphones show the word "dial" on the LCD screen when you pick up the receiver, and "dial" (pronounced "dee-all") happens to mean "revenge" in Welsh — hence one of the lyrics translating to "every time I pick up the phone, it says 'revenge'".
- Possibly unintentional (though knowing the artist...), but MARETU's "マエガミスト (Maegamist)" has a cross-language pun in the title. "前髪 (まえがみ maegami)" is the Japanese word for bangs (the hair type), which come up as a central symbol in the song. Thus, when literally translated using that, the song's title is pretty much "Banger", slang for a really catchy song in English.
- Voltaire was raised by a bilingual mother, so he slips in this trope. In "Day of the Dead" there is a English version with a verse in Spanish, and a Spanish version with an English verse.
- The title of Welsh band Super Furry Animals' EP Moog Droog: English-speaking listeners may get the combined Shout-Out to Moog synthesizers and A Clockwork Orange (where "droog" is Nadsat for "friend") note ... But "moog droog" also sort of sounds like "mwg drwg", which is Welsh slang for marijuana (literally "naughty smoke", but the English equivalent would be "wacky tobacky").
- Welcome to Night Vale: After returning from his mysterious disappearance, the Apache Tracker is only able to speak Russian. Translating his lines provides some plot foreshadowing.
- The opening theme of Fat, French and Fabulous begins with a clip from the Canadian public access television show Téléfrançais, which features a talking pineapple that lives in a dump.
"Je suis un ananas!"
- Believe it or not, there was actually a feud based around the Bilingual Bonus; there was a brief period of time where WWE Divas champion Maryse (from Montreal, Quebec, Canada) would come up to Gail Kim and talk about how great a wrestler she is and how she respects her, etc., and then say something in French. This went on for a few weeks until Kim attacked Maryse, revealed she was fluent in French and that she had known the entire time that Maryse was trash-talking her to her face.
- There's a possible variation in this Ring of Honor promo preceding a Montreal show, as Colt Cabana requests the help of Kevin Steen (also from Quebec) in translating "I can't wait to party with everybody in Montreal, ROH style" what Kevin tells him is "j'ai couché avec ma mère hier" ("I slept with my mom yesterday"). Colt seemingly acts oblivious to the joke other than saying 'sa' instead of 'ma', but Kevin immediately realizes that Colt just switched "my" with "his".
- In one of the d20 Modern adventures (Le Chien de l'Onyx (although in proper french, it would be Le Chien d'Onyx (The Onyx Dog)), a captive NPC you can free is called Delacey Otage (Otage is French for Hostage).
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle:
- Bretonnia is full of references to French.
- The city of L'Anguille has a name that literally translates to "the eel". Guess which fish are common in the river that runs through the City, and which features prominently on the city's coat of arms.
- The Empire has more than its fair share of Germanities.
- There was also a villain in one of the adventure modules named Zahnarzt. Yes, just so you would understand how evil he was, they named him "dentist". The same adventure also prominently featured a clerk named Kugelschreiber (ballpoint pen).
- Bretonnia is full of references to French.
- The Dresden Files: The illustration of Eldest Gruff shows him carrying a staff engraved with Norse runes. Translating them into Latin letters yield the phrase "Donuts are tasty". Similarly, the runes on Harry's staff usually spell "Matrix".
- Shadowrun: The Genova-Milano-Torino sprawl — one of several "feral cites" where law and order have completely broken down, Mega Corps do as they please, resources are scarce and life nasty, brutish and short — is typically referred to as GeMiTo for short. In Italian, a gemito is a moan or a groan such as one made by someone in fear, pain or despair.
- In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, as part of the finale, the characters recap the entire show, including one who sings a verse in Filipino. The next singer's verse, appropriately, is "For those of you who speak Filipino, you know that things ended up the way they should."
- Older Than Steam: Princess Katherine's language lesson and the courting scene in Shakespeare's Henry V both contain untranslated French. The latter is funny mostly for King Henry's unsubtle mangling of the language. The former is basically a scene-long build-up to two predictable and filthy sound puns.
- 1916 - Der Unbekannte Krieg: All of the letters and messages in the game are written in German to emulate the feeling of being in the trenches during World War I.
- The FPS Medal of Honor features some funny conversation between enemies. They are spoken in German without subtitles. One of them features a meta-joke in which a soldier wonders aloud whether he is real or a character in a work of fiction.
- Max Payne 3 is a great example, considering the game takes place in Brazil and there are no subtitles for the Portuguese. The Bilingual Bonus comes from all kinds of things the dev team did to Show Their Work, from understanding the soundtrack (beautifully made) and dialogue between other characters to noticing visual details like the coxinhas in police stations (coxinhas is a kind of a dish quite popular in Brazil but also happens to be a nickname for "police"; it's also a common on-the-job dish for police in São Paulo, where Max Payne 3 takes place, the Brazilian equivalent of Donut Mess with a Cop).
- In-universe in World of Warcraft, Hostile Troll NPCs in the Dwarvish starting area will shout out in Trollish against enemies. If a player with a troll goes to the area they'll see they are yelling "Don't be stealin my weed".
- In Portal 2, Wheatley has a bit of Spanish dialogue. The Spanish translates to "You are using the translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual." If you set the language to Spanish, he'll say the line in English.
- The arcade game Metal Slug 2 starts out in a Middle-Eastern desert town filled with Arabic signs. At the end of the level, where the first boss is fought, two massive banners dominate the street in the background, stating (in Arabic) "I have diarrhea" and "I need medicine."
- Freedom Fighters had some odd and/or awkward Russian-to-English moments. "First Hitting Brigade, GO!" being probably the champion. The funniest, however, was probably a poster, in parody of the famous Uncle Sam Wants You posters, stating that "The Red Army offers you wonderful opportunity." Small Cyrillic print in the bottom left corner of said poster revealed that said opportunity mainly consists of "Russian vodka".
- The plot of Front Mission 4 opens with unknown military party attacking German base, and good guys attempting to find out who it actually was. But even though status screen obscures enemy pilots' names, any Russian-speaking player will uncover the mystery long before their characters do — since hostile wanzer model types aren't obscured, and they read "Zhelanie" and "Vyzov", which are obviously transliterated from Russian "Desire" and "Challenge".
- The Commander Keen computer games featured a language named the "Standard Galactic Alphabet" that was just coded symbols corresponding to English letters. In the first game, you'd run across signs that, when decoded, said things like "This is neat" and "Behold the holy pogo stick". The coded alphabet remained consistent throughout the entire series.
- Hidden in one of the levels in Commander Keen 2note is a misspelled Precision F-Strike, written in SGA, made of yellow platforms in a field of red platforms. "FUCL" (rhymes with "buckle") has since become a meme in the Commander Keen community.
- A handy SGA-to-English cipher was offered in the secret level of Commander Keen 3. Upon its discovery many a game of Commander Keen 1 and 2 was replayed, and many a comprehension was made.
- Hitman: Blood Money has newspapers reporting on your deeds after each level, many in foreign languages. The foreign ones are full of jokes. For instance, in Spanish one says "No tengo ninguna pista que ha escrito", which is incorrect grammar for "I have no clue what I've written." (It should be "No tengo ni idea de lo que acabo de escribir.") Another, oddly, says "Read a book or play outside; to play a game will only make you dumber."
- Just Cause 2. Many names of locales in Panau are rooted in Indonesian or Malay. Most appear to be mundane and crude translations, but a handful of names were obviously conceived for comedic effect, such as the "Awan Cendawan Power Plant" or "Kem Gunung Belakang Patah".
- While the baddies in Resident Evil 4 and 5 mostly just employ Enemy Chatter in other languages, there is one instance in 4 that counts a bilingual bonus: some Zealots in Salazar's castle will wander around muttering the word "Cerebros" over and over, which is a cheeky Shout-Out to zombie flicks like The Return of the Living Dead, since it means "Brains" in English.
- There's another one which can even give a bilingual player an advantage: When the Ganado sneak up behind Leon, they generally say "¡Detrás de ti, imbécil!" (Behind you, you idiot!), giving the player enough time to either get out of the way or counterattack.
- Jade Empire features a pair of guard golems who can be disabled if you use the correct password. The password is 'xiaohua', which, if spoken with the correct tones, simply means 'joke' in Mandarin Chinese.
- The later Elder Scrolls games contain a book called "N'Gasta Kvata Kvakis", which is found in many Necromancers' lairs. The book appears to be gibberish. In reality, it's slightly modified Esperanto. The translation is just the description of an Esperanto newsletter.
- In Sam and Max: Reality 2.0 Bosco revealed the name of his "safe" bank as bancolavadero.com, in Spanish "lavadero" is a water sink used to wash clothes and the popular name for shady businesses which do money laundering.
- Thanks to its setting, the Monkey Island series is rife with this. Just to give an example, one of the central antagonists in Tales of Monkey Island is named Marquis De Singe ('singe' being French for 'monkey', which Guybrush lampshades by calling him "De Monkey" in the fourth chapter)
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, in the Picus Montreal offices, you can find several e-mails written in French, with no in-game translation (unlike the accurately-accented Mandarin Chinese conversations in Hengsha). They deal with Picus' role in manipulating the truth and public opinion (with one Picus employee having doubts about if he's doing the right thing)... and a guy who wants his chair back.
- Also occurs in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, particularly with Czech in the hub world of Prague.
- Splatoon 2 has the Octo Expansion, which stars a playable Octoling named Agent 8, and features the number eight as its Arc Number. The heavy use of the number eight throughout the expansion serves as a Genius Bonus to most audiences, as "octa" is 8 in Latin. Most of the "bonus", however, is Lost in Translation in the English version; unlike most languages, the English word for octopus already comes from the Latin "octa", making the joke rather obvious.
- Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has a Japanese gang with a name that translates to "Red Herring", thus hinting at the later developments.
[After Sam asks for a translation]Civilian: It's a kind of fish. A small, silvery fish.Sam: You mean a herring?Civilian: Yes! YES! That's it! That's the word! Red Herring!
- It's also worth noting that, in order to cater to the non-Japanese, a rare interrogation spells it out clearly for those who missed the reference:
- In Xenoblade, the symbols that appear on the Monado are Chinese characters/Kanji that correspond with whatever power the wielder is using at the moment. Initially, the symbol that appears the most in cutscenes is "Machine," referring to the blade's ability to pierce Mechon armor. Later symbols include "Man," when Zanza upgrades the Monado to be able to damage organic beings as well in order to counter the Faced Mechon, and "God," when Shulk acquires the True Monado at the end of the game and wields it against Zanza himself.
- In the game Xenosaga, Albedo refers to MOMO with the term "Ma belle pêche"; which literally translates into "My beautiful/lovely peach", since "momo" means "peach" in Japanese.
- Mass Effect:
- In Mass Effect, shutting down the Rogue VI on Luna causes a message to pop up in binary. If you can read it, it translates to HELP. Especially poignant since it's revealed two games later that the "rogue VI" was recovered by Cerberus and eventually became EDI.
- A bittersweet one: the quarian homeworld, Rannoch, orbits a star named Tikkun, which is Hebrew for "repair". And sure enough, in Mass Effect 3, you get to repair relations between the quarians and the geth.
- Every character in the Wii version of Punch-Out!! speaks in the language of their home country, creating a lot of opportunities for this (including one Getting Crap Past the Radar moment when Great Tiger tells Mac to go suck on his mother's teat in Hindi.)
- Since Cold Fear takes place on a Russian tanker, all the signs are in Russian. If you look at a plot-relevant sign in first person the main character will give an abridged translation, but if you can actually can read Russian yourself a lot of the ignored signs give huge hints to you.
- In the background of the main menu of Star Wars: Jedi Academy, text in the cypher of Aurebesh scrolls past. Translating it yields an advertisement for the game, ending with, "And yes, this really does say something if you translate it."
- Aurebesh shows up in other Star Wars games, mostly as a way of Shown Their Work. Posters and background text in Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic are textbook-perfect. One particularly good one in the Czerka Core Meltdown flashpoint has two signs leading to a boss at each; the Aurebesh signs are explanations of the contents of the exhibits (the bosses you're going to fight) and give hints on how to kill said bosses. The Blood Hunt flashpoint gives all the bosses names in Mando'a, which reveals the identity and affiliation of the final boss, the future Mandalore the Avenger.
- In the NES game Samurai Zombie Nation, you control a giant samurai head destroying everything. The samurai's name is Namakubi, which is Japanese for a freshly severed head.
- One level in Psychonauts has a giant neon-pink bull named El Odio. "El Odio" translates from Spanish to "The Hatred", since the bull is an embodiment of the hateful obsession of the character whose mind he manifests in.
- Battlefield 4 has three for Mandarin speakers:
- When Chang-loyalist Chinese operatives come upon the incapacitated Tombstone team, Tombstone's liaison Hannahnote does what she can for the team: pretend to be another Chang-loyalist and claim that Pac is already dead, so that the Chang-loyalist operatives only carry off Recker and Irish, leaving Pac presumably uncaptured in case she, Recker, and Irish can't escape.
- While mostly accurate, the subtitles of the China Rising DLC trailer contain two inaccuracies. Firstly, the opening is inaccurately subtitled "Confucius says: Never give a sword to a man who can't dance", but the narration begins with "Yuewang Goujian", as in Goujian, King of Yue, the Chinese Ur-Example for the accurately-subtitled "enduring their condescension and biding our time". Secondly, the last bit of dialogue spoken by the narrator is subtitled "Let's dance!", which seems to be a callback to the first inaccurate subtitle. However, the narrator actually says "Let us roar".
- Most of the names in Rodina originate from Slavic words. The planets and star are all named after Slavic gods, and the name of the game means "Family" in Slovak.
- The original Mercenaries offered a twist on this: Members of three of the quest-givers (the South Koreans, the Peoples' Liberation Army, and the Russian Mafia) will occasionally speak in their respective languages when you visit them. Normally it's subtitled as "[Speaks in (Korean/Chinese/Russian)]", but each of the three playable mercs is fluent in one of those languagesnote , and for them, the subtitles provide a full English translation. The dialog ranges from serious (the Chinese talking about how they plan on manipulating you) to silly (the head of the Mafia demanding that his Beleaguered Assistant get him a pet monkey).
- Hey, remember that infamously awful scene from the Tomb Raider (2013) reboot where that cultist, the one who ends up being Lara's first kill, tries to rape her? The whole scene descends into even worse levels of Squick if you happen to understand Russian:
You're pretty, aren't you? *touches her face* You remind me of my sister.
- Some items from Diablo II:
- "Bec-de-corbin", a polearm which is Old French for "raven's beak".
- "Martel-de-fer", a maul, which is "hammer of iron" in French.
- Sylvanian Families: Only present in the Japanese version of the franchise. Mainly due to the use to Gratuitous English on some of the playsets involving shops and restaurants.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the main villains salute by crossing their arms in front of them, which is the same as the Japanese "wrong"/"no good" gesture◊.
- Borderlands 2 has several bilingual bonus items:
- Players who know Russian may appreciate names of some Vladof rifles that are named in Nadsat. The markings inside Vladof scopes is in Russian as well.
- Jakobs sniper rifles are named in the Chinook language.
- Likewise, the brand Anshin literally means peace of mind in Japanese (kanji: 安心). This is why they only make defensive/healing products like shields and the health packs.
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age: The main town on the continent that roughly occupies South America's place on Weyard's map is called Contigo in every version except Spanish, where it is instead called Mitdir, a German word with an identical meaning. If you know what that meaning is, consider yourself foreshadowed as to a major plot point that happens in that town.
- In Fallout 4, there exists a noodle shop run by a robot named Takahashi. He only speaks Japanese, and a software bug results in him only able to say one phrase ("Nan-ni shimasho-ka?") regardless of what anyone else says to him. Roughly, it means "What would you like (to eat)?" In addition, your companions all have unique reactions to Takahashi, although Curie, a multi-lingual Miss Nanny robot, will attempt to speak Japanese to him and say "Watashi wa Curie desu" (My name is Curie).
- "Sieger" is a game of the Angry Birds variety. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, you do a siege on a fortress. If you are wondering that nobody would normally verb that noun: "Sieger" is "winner" in German.
- Dead Space: The name of the ship the game takes place on, the Ishimura, is Japanese for "rock-village", which is rather appropriate for a mining ship. Amongst all the graffiti on the walls in the game, there is a single case of Japanese writing as well: 石村は死んだ, which reads "The Ishimura is dead".
- In the Halo 2 level "Outskirts" (set in Mombasa, Kenya), there are several announcements made in untranslated Swahili over the intercom; these range from public service announcements to random proverbs. There's also one that translates to "Warning! Old Man Martynote , who we used to respect, is actually a con man. He will be beaten with a stick tomorrow morning."
- In Halo: Reach Jorge, Sara Sorvad, and a few other colonists speak un-subtitled Hungarian.
- In Halo 5: Guardians, there's a miner in the level "Meridian Station" who speaks nothing but Portuguese. There's another miner trying to translate for him, but it's obvious that the "translator" barely knows any Portuguese; this is probably because the Portuguese miner actually spoils several of the game's plot points.
- In Nioh, William's companion Saoirse only speaks in Irish. It's subtitled, but as Irish is a very idiomatic language, what's spoken doesn't always match up exactly with the literal translation.
- The playable heroes in FPS Overwatch are from an international organization made up of soldiers and researchers from a variety of backgrounds. Most heroes have numerous voice lines for their abilities in both English and in their native languages, which they will call out randomly. This actually features quite importantly into the gameplay: if you hear a character yelling their Ult line in a foreign language, you know it's coming from someone on the enemy team, which is usually your cue to retreat. When an ally activates their ultimate, their teammates typically hear a variation of the same line spoken in English, giving them the cue to push forward as a team.
- If you hear angry Japanese shouting, start running.
- When Twelve of Street Fighter III wins a match, his quote is just a string of 0's and 1's separated by periods. If you can work out binary, you'll see they're very short text strings, such as "01011.01111" meaning "KO".
- In Braid, the flags shown at the end of levels are actually nautical flags, which have meanings pertaining to the level and to the overall plot/themes of the game. In order:
- World 2: N ("Negative")
- World 3: U ("You are running into danger")
- World 4: L ("You should stop your vessel instantly" or "The ship is quarantined")
- World 5: X ("Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals")
- World 6: K ("I wish to communicate with you")
- Epilogue: Q ("My vessel is 'healthy' and I request free pratique")
- Beam NG.drive features a few examples in its fictional names:
- Gavril, an automaker name, is one of the versions of the name Gabriel, which is what the lead vehicle deasigner is called,
- "Civetta Bolide", the name of an Italian supercar, means "Owl Fireball" in Italian,
- "Miramar", the name of a 60s Japanese sedan, is Spanish for "sea view".
- "Pessima", which is what a line of 80s and 90s Japanese midsize sedans is called, stands for "sad" in Italian.
- A piano's model name is "Musica Ficta". "Musica ficta" means "fake music" in Latin, and is also a term for any pitches added during a live musical performance.
- In The Sexy Brutale, Aurum Runes is a goldsmith, and "aurum" is Latin for "gold."
- The Modern Warfare trilogy has quite a few examples, given its worldwide setting. The most notable is in the second game's level "The Enemy Of My Enemy" where Nikolai suddenly launches into a tirade in Russian about how he's not paid enough for his job. Given that he was at the moment in a cargo plane being hounded by SA Ms and attack helicopters, his frustration is partially understandable.
- In Crackdown, the gang general who makes money fro the gang by making and selling drugs is named Guerranote .
- The globe-trotting Uncharted series features a number of this in each installment.
- Ittle Dew and its sequel each have a boss that says a line or two in Swedish. One line in the first game, "Det är dags att förvirra översättarna!" translates to "It's time to confuse the translators!"
- There are numerous instances of these in Persona 3:
- Most of the vocal themes on the soundtrack are in English, making them an example for the original Japanese version.
- The Shirt of Chivalry becomes one in the English version. The characters on the back of each character are fairly descriptive or ironic in Shinjiro's case. The main character's "honourable man," Blood Knight Akihiko's is "fight," Ken's is grudge, Junpei's is color, but more likely "dirty minded", and Shinjiro's is "life."
- "Kimi no Kioku", the ending theme song, which elaborates on the game's ending sequence and foreshadows Aigis and the rest of the team's emotional development during "The Answer"). Since the song is in Japanese and there are no subtitles, English-speaking players have to find out what the song's about on their own.
- Strega means "witch" in Italian. One could argue that the Dark Hour is The Witching Hour.
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor has a boss whose name in the Japanese version is "Cheng Long Lee", which means "Jackie Chan" in Chinese.
- In Planescape: Torment, Fall-from-Grace asks Morte (a floating skull) what he is. He responds that hes le petit morte, French for the little death. If you dont get the joke, in France thats a euphemism for the word orgasm.
- The Metro series has a lot of Easter Eggs that only appear in the Russian dub or are written in Russian throughout the environment.
- A certain guard at Riga station in Metro 2033 will break the fourth wall in the Russian dub commenting on the player's persistence after he or she tries to talk to him several times in a row. "No, seriously, what do you expect to hear from an ordinary guard on this station? Do you really have to click on EVERYONE? But for your persistence I will grant you three wishes. Miracles happen, man. You don't believe in that? Too bad. Scram already."
- In the same area, giving a beggar a military round will have him say "May the force be with you." in Russian.
- In Metro: Last Light, a broken truck on the Bridge level has a slogan written on the side that says "Доставка хрени к вам домой", which literally means "Delivering crap to your home".
- In Mordhau, the Raider voice pack includes the line Buaidh no bás! as a warcry, Scottish Gaelic for Victory or death!
- Super Smash Bros. has Marth, Roy, and Cloud all speak in Japanese. For Marth and Roy, it's due to the lack of an official English voice actor (which would get rectified come Ultimate, where they finally speak English), while Cloud's a case of legal issues.
- Control has Ahti, a Finnish janitor who sometimes slips back into his native language.
- SC2VN uses Korean titles and slang in dialogue. It also has Korean characters in a couple of the backgrounds.
- Wingman DX features French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese in addition to English. Much of the non-English text references the fact that many players won't be able to translate it, reveals future plot elements (including one character's ending), and contains other untranslated jokes.
- This strip of Irregular Webcomic! for Quebecois French speakers is ostensibly an extended joke about a mountie, a lumberjack etc etc etc walk into a bar. The second panel actually reads "This comic's author doesn't speak French. He just asked a volunteer from Internet forums to translate a few lines of dialogue for him"—Of course, part of the joke is that the French in question is riddled with obvious mistakes—and the fourth panel reads "Next time you want someone to translate your stupid jokes, please offer me something for my efforts, [expletive!]
- Unshelved used Braille once. The characters in the strip comment that whatever it being said is gross and that you can't say that in a webcomic. It actually translates to "soon the full text of every overdue comic strip will be available on our website so that everybody can enjoy them." note
- Stand Still, Stay Silent is generally in English, but sometimes characters (all Scandinavians) speak in their native tongues. It's sometimes funny, and sometimes it's hidden Nightmare Fuel.
- Tuuri and Lalli's conversation in Finnish roughly translates to "I see some mountains... and more mountains... and a funny rock... and mountains".
- Lalli's plead to Moon Goddes is written in Finnish so that it'd keep Kalevala's rhythm. Minna wrote in The Rant what it's about, but only Finnish fans can admire entire version (at least until they translated it for others).
- The Black Speech radio in chapter two. Swedish speakers can see phrases "who am (I)", "sorry", "beware" and repeating "no no no".
- Troll that attacks the Dalhalsen says "help me" in Swedish, which told readers that victims of Rash Illness are still conscious.
- Rock Paper Cynic contains a strip that, according to the author, contrasts black humour with infantile joy by exploiting the Language Barrier between French and English. The strip has two separate scripts, running side by side, one in each language. The English is innocent and fairy tale like, while the French veers into darker territory.
- Specifically, the French story goes: "Bertrand was a blueberry. He was suspicious of the English-speaking population. He was a bit racist. He prayed to the gods to massacre his enemies, and one day... he saw them all die."
- Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki has this as well. The runes on Yuuki's belt? A contraceptive spell. Just remember that Yuuki is a gender changed, magical girl who gets into more "situations"" than the average person, and this could manifest as Fridge Brilliance.
- Homestuck has an interesting case with The Troll alphabet. It's actually upside-down Daedric Alphabet from The Elder Scrolls. The first name suggestion translates as "Turdodor Fuckball." The "real" name, however, translates as "Trollplanet" which is an accurate description of the world... but which makes the caption a blatant lie, because it claims the guess was exactly right... and that the name of the world is Alternia. The attempted insulting name for Karkat translates as "Bulgereek Nookstain". During their fight scenes, the word "GRIEF" appears instead of the kids' STRIFE.
- With the introduction of Damara Megido, who speaks mostly Japanese (albeit Google Translated-Japanese) and little English, Homestuck now has Bilingual Bonus with an Earth language.
- In Kidd Commander: The Tain speak in some kind of other language. It's a custom font the author made just for this, and shows up a bit for some confusing foreshadowing and commentary. For those who want an easier time deciphering it, the Extras page is gracious enough to have four phrases, with all 26 letters of the alphabet used in them, for a complete translation key. Of course, that doesn't mean the text in the comic itself is any easier to read, sometimes going behind things like characters or edges of panels, or the text circles around so if you're trying to read it you have to turn either your screen or your head upside down.
- The planet Dërt in Wizard and Giant is a play on how "Earth" can mean this planet, but it can also mean, well, dirt. The Bilingual Bonus comes in because Earth is "here" while dort is German for "there" or "that place" and dërt is Turkish for "pain," or "sorrow," and it certainly is a place of hardship.
- This xkcd has a Bilingual Bonus in the alt-text in Lojban. It roughly translates as "Fedora man is going to conquer the world." Roughly, though, since you know how imprecise English is. It actually roughly means that he's teasing, but can we still be friends?
- In the beginning of Issue #12 of The Dreamer, Benjamin Tallmadge says to Nathan Hale in Latin, "Poena absentiae non excusandae probatio collegii dies quinque et admonitio publica est. Decem pro furciferis Linoniae."note
- In this strip of Penny Arcade, the Mandalorian roughly translates to: Train your sons to be strong, but your daughters to be stronger, learn mandoa fool. Now hands up how many had to use Google translate or similar to get that?
- A minor one, but in this Darths & Droids comic, the title is in binary. When translated to ascii, it reads "Sunset."
- Which is hilarious because Tatooine is a binary star system. It really is a binary sunset.
- In this strip of Ctrl+Alt+Del, Lucas' binary quote translates to "get lost, fucktard".
- In a strip of Chopping Block, Butch meets a French speaker who he thinks is either telling him to kill for Beelzebub, or asking where the bathroom is — he opts for the first to be safe. If you understand the French, it turns out that, against all odds and logic, Butch actually guessed right..
- Toki No Tanaka presents all of its background text (signs, etc.) in untranslated Japanese, so this is a common occurrence. Translating the school signs in this page, for example, reveals one to be called "Snow Wood Boarding School" and the other "Tinkle Elementary".
- in This Strip. of Unreality, Dominic and Sarah are speaking perfect Japanese for no discernible reason. The translation is as follows:
Dominic: Sarah-Chan, I want to have sex with you!
Sarah:note I REFUSE!
Dominic: I am sorry! I was just kidding!
Sarah: Dominic-Kun, I still love you, but you need to stop that!
Dominic: Yare Yare, it's so bizarre, having a girlfriend who's so cute but also so tough...
- "Rosa Amarilla" is Spanish for "yellow rose," which is in turn a symbol for friendship. In Zombie Ranch, Suzie's mistrust for Rosa during their first meeting is doubly compounded when you know that Rosa just gave a potential business partner an obviously false name calculated specifically to inspire trust.
- In Harbourmaster, the "Pulp" storyline features a Fish out of Temporal Water, Richard Stevenson, who doesn't know Standard but does know a little bit of French — a language which the protagonist, Governor Tal Monteblanc, speaks fluently. When the story switches from Richard's viewpoint to the locals', the author drops the Translation Convention for a few pages ... and in the words of one fluent-in-French commenter:
aahahahaha, oh man, I started at Richard's speech bubble
I had to reread it three times before getting it
I'm not criticising just deeply amused: you weren't kidding when you said he was supposed to be bad
- In the Tricks Of The Trade issue of Spying with Lana, the man on Lana's escape yacht was singing parts of La donna è mobile (The woman is fickle in Italian), the Duke of Mantua's canzone from the beginning of act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto. Interestingly, while the song was an ironic one in the original play (the duke being the "fickle" one), it is appropriate here as Lana is indeed the "fickle woman".
- Planet of Hats, a Star Trek: The Original Series recap comic:
Whaler 1: Missä helvetissä me olemme? Tämä ei näytä Itämereltä.
- In the episode "The Changeling", Uhura's mind is wiped, and Nurse Chapel retrains her in English with Dick and Jane books. Uhura says, "Je, mimi kupata nje ya hii kuku samadi outfit?", which is Swahili for "How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?"
- In the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the whalers in the Sea of Alaska get the following dialogue:
Whaler 2: Sanoinhan, että meidän olisi pitänyt kääntyä Alpukerkin kohdalla vasempaan!
- This is Finnish, and translates to: "Where the hell are we? This doesn't look like the Baltic Sea." "I told you we should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!"
- In the Maddie series and its spin-off Outsiders, Ebony Larsson is demonstrated to be proficient in both English and Danish, and can switch between the two easily. It is revealed in flashbacks that Ebony's native tongue is Danish, and that she struggled with English at a young age; preferring instead to stay silent. It was only after her future girlfriend Siobhan Pattinson moved to Ebony's island home that she was able to start learning to speak English properly.
Ebony: I... I don't speak much. English is not good with me.
Maddie: Mein Freund Andy ist ein fantastischer Koch. Aber er hat wilde Haare und fährt wie ein Verrückter!Andy: I hope you're not making fun of me in that language of yours!
- In Maddie On The Island Hue, Maddie is revealed to be fluent in both English and German. This is due to her grandfather, a soldier in the British Army of the Rhine in West Germany married a local girl and thus her German lingual heritage has been handed down.
- Record Wisdom Bonus Yield has Blake revert to Japanese on occasion, usually when she's snarking at the other characters.
- That Deaf Guy: While most strips have the hand gestures matching up with some of the speech bubbles, in #577, Desmond's response in the last panel isn't translated (he's saying, "hahaha, okay, I'll go get some").
- In the Whateley Universe, the story "Quoth the Ninja, Nevermore!" has a Bilingual Bonus. The superpowered ninjas raiding the school (as a Yama Dojo graduation exercise) form a Five-Man Band, and their names are all jokes in Japanese. Their given names are all types of food, as in tons of anime, while their last names all have hidden meanings.
- While RAKSA of Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors-RAKSA is the nickname of Rakion Kalsa, Malay speakers can tell that this novel revolves around mercury.
- Froge from Froghand's occasional and arbitrary foray into French, such as the "The Froge Festivities" from "Le Fêtes Du Froge". Even mentioned at the bottom of the page as "Gratuitous French".
- In The With Voices Project, the title for Episode 2 of Undertale With Voices: Pacifist, Les Freres Sans Peau, translates to "The Brothers Without Skin."
- Inverted in Hitler Rants, not only understanding German wouldn't have you know anything extra, it takes away the fun of it immediately.
- H+ has several characters who speak Finnish, then there is a lot of Italian going around, both of which, if you understand the language, gives you an idea of things going on in the background.
- In Demo Reel, Rebecca's Italian bosses call her a "stunad", which she happily thinks is their language word for "bright". In context, it really means "bimbo who'll take the fall when they get found out".
- Hila from H3h3productions has used her Isreali Hebrew to interpret snippets of videos.
- In The Time... Guys, Dr. Chronos is very bad at Spanish, as seen in "Dinner... TIME".
Doc: Ah, mi hijo! How was your español testículo? [Translation: Ah, my son! How was your testicle Spanish?]
- In The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Last Airbender, the Japanese in the intro parody reads "This movie sucks."
- Filthy Frank does this often with Japanese. For instance, in one of his dwellings, he has a parchment on the wall which says "Niggas in Paris" in katakana. He often uses Japanese in his videos and puts subtitles on the screen to translate it, and while his Japanese 101 videos always have valid subtitles, his other videos often include lines which are deliberately translated as something else.
Subtitles: Are you ready to have some fun? I sure am!
Frank: [in Japanese] There are two Jews in my closet. They're both dead.
- Ninjabridge has Haku, who does the same as above, all the time no less.note
Subtitles: NOW where is he?!
Haku: [in Japanese] Big boobs are good!
- The disclaimer for Episode 7 was supposedly read out by Haku, although in reality he was reading the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in Japanese.
- The Roybertito's add from Dr. Tran is mostly in spanish. As such, english speakers may miss things like the narrator expressing surprise that people "realmente se comen esa mierda" (are actually eating that shit).
- In SF Debris' review of "The Naked Now", he makes a quip mistaking the Cyrillic letter З on the Tsiolkovsky's dedication plaque for the Arabic numeral 3. Then in a Brick Joke, he correctly uses it in place of the Latin Z when calling Wesley a "spaz — S, P, A, three, spaz!".
- In a Foil, Arms and Hog sketch. The extra dialogue at the end of Ceoil agus Ól probably wouldnt have gotten past YouTubes filters if not for the fact that it was in Irish.
- JourneyQuest: In Episode 1, "Skald" is the Orcish translation for "Bard", and Skald is the Old Norse translation for "Bard".
- Adventure Time:
- Lady Rainicorn, Jake and Finn are sitting together, and telling jokes. There is a significant problem here, as Rainicorn speaks only Korean. Rainicorn is asked to tell a joke. Her reply causes Jake to blush, and he quickly makes the excuse that there is a translation barrier. Her 'joke', translated, is "Remember when we ran naked through that field? That farmer was so offended!" Which is funny, because Jake and Lady Rainicorn never wear clothes.
- Runs in the episode Into the Nightosphere, where at one point Jake randomly belts out "Jouzu de Ganbate ne," which is loosely Japanese for "You try your best very well."
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Countdown", Gumball and Darwin are messing around with time and ended up in a timeline where everyone speaks angrily in German. The German sentences, however, doesn't mean what the angered tone suggests.
Sarah: Ich geh gern ins Diskothek! (I like to go to the disco!)
Tobias: Keine Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung auf der Autobahn! (No speed limit on the freeway!)
- In one episode of American Dad!, Steve is deceived by Roger to think he has been accepted in Hogwarts really Roger just sent him with drug dealers, one of them told Steve "Lavate las manos" which he believed to be a spell, actually was "Wash your hands" in Spanish.
- Another episode features a running gag involving a fictional Spanish-speaking singer named Cilantro. One of Cilantro's songs plays during an action sequence and the song consists of Seth MacFarlane spouting phrases such as "The cat is the devil" in Spanish, over and over again.
- Literally, the song goes, The dog, the dog, is my heart, the cat, the cat, the cat is not good. Cilantro dances a lot, Cilantro is very famous, Cilantro is the man with the cheese of the devil.
- As a matter of fact "cilantro", in Spanish, can refer to the entire plant, generally called "coriander" in English, whereas in English, the word "cilantro" generally refers to the leaves of the plant.
- Another episode features a running gag involving a fictional Spanish-speaking singer named Cilantro. One of Cilantro's songs plays during an action sequence and the song consists of Seth MacFarlane spouting phrases such as "The cat is the devil" in Spanish, over and over again.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel The Legend of Korra:
- Both series use Chinese characters for all in-universe writing. Typically everything said on them is read aloud by the characters, but some which aren't can give insight to the story, if translated.
- Zuko, hiding in the Earth Kingdom, gives his uncle the alias "Mushi", to which Iroh reacts in irritation. "Mushi" is Japanese for "insect", so it's understandable why Iroh wouldn't like that name.
- In Korra, one of the new Airbenders is named "Otaku". This is Japanese for "geek" or "nerd" (though more extreme and derogatory in meaning than those words). Fittingly, he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Air Nomad culture.
- Beast Wars has Cybertronix, a simple substitution cypher. Sometimes it's used for gibberish, sometimes it's plot relevant, and sometimes it's just used for in-jokes and Getting Crap Past the Radar. For example this◊ actually translates to "If you can read this seek help".
- In The Critic, Vlada's restaurant is named L'ane Riche, which is French for "The Wealthy Jackass."
- Family Guy episode "McStroke" has an Italian guy tells Peter he is crazy for faking Italian.
- All the signs in Asiantown are nonsense. The "Chinese Takeout" has the exact same English words written below it in Japanese letters, and one street sign says "I love you". Other store signs say "1234567" or "Monday"
- In Halloween on Spooner Street, the line Quagmire says his Japanese grandfather used to say translates to "As long as a man has pearls between his toes, he will never be poor."
- During a scenario where Hitler has a talk show, the phone number includes Hitler screaming "DU WERDEST EINE KRANKENSCHWESTER BRAUCHEN!" note , which translates to "You will need a nurse."
- During a trip through Germany, Brian annoys a German tourist guide and he belts out "SIE WERDEN NICHT BELEIDIGUNG DEUTSCHLAND!" note , meaning that "You will not insult Germany!".
- When Amy Wong gets mad, she will often speak Chinese in a tone implying that she's swearing. However, she's actually saying very innocuous phrases and just using an angry tone.
- Binary code is also used with Bender here and there; among other things, his apartment in "I, Brobot" reads '$', and a binary message in blood in "The Honking" is the number 666.
- In one episode of the new (2010) series, the crew travels in time and Prof. Farnsworth takes a stop to kill Adolf Hitler. Just before Farnsworth's death ray blows him up, Hitler is yelling in an official speech: "Betrachten Sie meinen Schnurrbart!" "Observe my moustache!"
- Gravity Falls:
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
- In the episode "Here There Be Dwarves", the dwarves shout "Lave sus Manos!" ("Wash your hands") as a battle cry, rather than "Vaya con Dios!" ("Go with God").
- In the episode "My Peeps", while Grim is zapping Billy's eyes to try and fix them, Billy briefly sees Grim and Mandy in an Animesque style, and Mandy says "His eyes aren't fixed yet" in Japanese.
- Hector's House was originally a French animation series that later became famous through the English dubbed version, however, all writing that appears on the screen is still in French so any French speakers will read it instantly. For any that don't, the characters read out what they've written in English to translate, but it comes off to the audience as a different writing style that only the characters in their universe have.
- There's one overlapping with Meaningful Name in an episode of Inspector Gadget, with a character named Iji Waruda-san who is the Japanese counterpart of Doctor Claw. Iji Waruda sounds like a plausible Japanese name to the uninitiated, but it's simply a rearranging of the phrase "Ijiwaru Da", which can be translated to English as the blatantly appropriate "I am malicious."
- One episode of King of the Hill revolves around Enrique and his marital problems. When Hank takes Enrique to confront his wife, Yolanda, they start arguing in Spanish. They say some pretty amusing things, like Yolanda complaining that Enrique was always going on about how great Hank is. "*makes kissy noises* Hank is strong, Hank is fun!"
- Madeline regularly had untranslated French peppered throughout the dialogue, meaning that viewers could sometimes pick up little extras if they knew some French. The movie Lost in Paris was especially heavy with this.
- In Miraculous Ladybug, our heroine Marinette Dupain-Cheng lives in a bakery run by her parents. "Du pain" means "of bread" in French, and "cheng" means "to make" in Chinese, so her last name roughly translates as "maker of bread".
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "The Cutie Pox", one of the cutie marks Apple Bloom gets makes her compulsively speak French. The first thing out of her mouth translates as "Darn it, more cutie marks! What is this? I'm speaking French!"
- In "Pinkie Pride", Pinkie Pie sings a brief bit of Spanish while dancing atop a giant piñata, a traditional Mexican song about trying to break open a piñata.
Dale, dale, dale
No pierdas el tino
Por que si los pierdes
Pierdes el camino!translation
- In one episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit plays a highwayman known by the name El Conejo during a fantasy sequence at the start.
- Perfect Hair Forever: In the final episode, Young Man brings out a scroll with a nude image of Brenda on it to tell Gerald that her name is really Margaret. The Japanese text on it actually translates to "Supernude Brenda," meaning that his own evidence disproves him.
- Phineas and Ferb: The show's creator voices the Not-German character Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and knows German himself, which has actually led to them getting to say, "Perry the Platypus, you scared the shit out of me!" in German.
- In Summer Belongs to You!, Jeremy goes to Paris and stays at an Hotel called "La Poubelle", which is french for "The Trash Can".
- An episode of Rocko's Modern Life had Rocko, Heffer and Filbert watching a Spanish soap opera in which a man is tearfully telling a woman something that translates into "Maria, this book is late, I am going to the library."
- In the episode of The Simpsons where they go to Japan, the family goes on a sadistic game show and the host (George Takei) says that the next question is about Japan. Homer asks "Is the answer 'Japan'?", causing the host to see that that is indeed the answer and then yell at someone offstage. He says "Bakayarou! Dare ga kotau yattanda?", which translates to "You morons! Who came up with that answer?"
- In the same episode, Bart and Homer speak subtitled Japanese after spending time in a Japanese prison and learning the language. After Homer inadvertently loses the last of their money, he exclaims "Shimatta, baka ni!" which translates as (roughly) "Dammit, I'm such an idiot!" The subtitles read "D'oh!"
- In Samurai Jack, the Scotsman works some Scots into his insulting tirades directed at Jack and others. Some words are quite archaic, but others are commonly used in modern Scotland.
Scotsman: Whaddaya think of that, Mr. Pyjama-wearing, basket face, slipper wieldin', clype-dreep-bachle (bad-mannered, dissapointing old shoe), gether uping blate maw (little mommy's boy), bleathering gomreil (idle-chatting idiot), jessie oaf-looking scooner (effeminate, stupid nuisance), nyaff plookie shan (bad-looking pimple-faced coward), milk drinkin', soy-faced shilpit (weakling), mim-moothed (pretentious) snivelin', worm-eyed, hotten-blaugh (sickly-looking), vile-stoochie (small, poor fighter), cally-breek-tattie (fool, lit. "trousered potato")?
- South Park:
- When the Antichrist, the Son of Satan, is enrolled at South Park Elementary, his appearances are heralded by a latin choir ominously voicing a sinister chant (a Shout-Out to The Omen). However, the words are Rectum! Domine!, which is Canis Latinicus for "Lord of the Anal Sphincter", or Assmeister.
- In the episode "Good Times With Weapons" the kids are playing with the weapons and imagine themselves as anime characters, complete with a song in Japanese made by Trey Parker (who speaks fluent Japanese), "Let's Fighting Love". The song also has several odd statements in Gratuitous English (including the titular line), and most of the song is profane (but grammatically correct) nonsense and the singer admitting how bad the song and his English are. (You can find a translation here.)
- Japanese jokes aplenty in "Chinpokomon" Chinpoko is Japanese for "very small penis."
- Several episodes feature a fictional video game console, the Okama Gamesphere. "okama" being Japanese slang for a Camp Gay man.
- In "Chickenlover", the alphabet poster above the school blackboard reads "DiOsMiOhAnMaTaDoHaKeNnYbAsTaRdOs", which is Spanish for "Oh my God, they killed Kenny, you bastards".
- The stop sign that Barbrady sees is 멍청이, Korean for idiot.
- Also in Pinkeye, the button the Cosmonauts accidentally press to crash the Mir space station is labelled "hoopsie" in Cyrillic script— a possible transliteration of either "oopsie" or "whoopsie".
- The running commentary of Butters crossing the border in "Last of the Meheecans" refers to Cartman primarily as "gordo" ("the fat one").
- 'Mantequilla', Butters' pseudonym in the episode, is Spanish for 'butter'.
- In a Mysterio episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, he is chanting in Latin to summon various spells/illusions. Translated, he is saying things that make sense for the sleep and lightning spells, but for the disappearing spell he chants "Thank you for not smoking", then "I believe that Elvis is still alive" for the dragon-summoning spell, and "I can't get no satisfaction" for the Homunculi-summoning spell.
- Teen Titans:
- Some of the sillier episodes use a version of the theme song in Japanese. Rather than a straight translation, the lyrics are a Surreal Theme Tune about how the Titans are prepared for things like curfews and mothers' diets. The karaoke version of theme sung in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is actually a loose translation of the Japanese version into English.
- The twins Más and Menos speak purely in Spanish (save for the time that Control Freak was able to force them to speak English by changing their language settings with his remote), and their dialogue is not subtitled. The language barrier between them and the rest of the cast is usually played for laughs, but it does complicate things near the end of the last season when Menos and most of the rest of the Titans around the world are captured by the Brotherhood of Evil, leaving Más largely unable to communicate with Beast Boy and the few remaining Titans in their rescue mission.
Más and Menos: [together] ¡Más y Menos, sí podemos! (Plus and Minus, yes we can!)
- Total Drama: World Tour:
- Alejandro's last name, Burromuerto, is Spanish for dead donkey. "Mal" translates to "Bad" or "Evil" in Latin, Spanish, Italian, and French. In the case of the former, Chris eventually points out the former.
- In the episode "Planes, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles", after Cody stole first place in the race, the scene cuts to Alejandro cursing in the confessional.
- One of the characters introduced in season 3 of Voltron: Legendary Defender is named Acxa. Her name may sound weird and unusual but it is an actual word in Esperanto, which when translated into English, it means "dreadful", as in episode six of the season, Acxa accidentally blows up the cargo ship with the shot originally intended to aim at Voltron (though Voltron was planning to blow up the cargo ship anyway in order to stop Lotor's forces from using it), which resulted in Lotor disappointed in her doing so, implying that she was dreadful at following his orders to destroy Voltron in order to stop it from destroying the cargo ship.
- The Other Wiki has this.
- Francis E. Dec often added short phrases of broken Polish to his rants, usually expressing his love for the place he has been to only once in his life. He would also, despite being a staunch anti-Semite, curse in Yiddish.
- During the Iranian hostage crisis (1979-80), one of the U.S. Marine embassy guards wrote patriotic and anti-Iranian slogans on the walls of his cell, in Spanish. His captors could not read them, and it did not occur to them to ask what the words meant.
- A letter published in the notoriously left-wing British Newspaper, The Guardian, bemoaned the tendency of the rich English to buy second homes in Wales, thus pricing local Welsh people out of the housing market. It purported to be from a church minister who gave his address as the hamlet of Pobsaes Twlldyn. It was later pointed out to the newspaper that pob saes twll dyn is Welsh for All the English are arseholes. The newspaper now insists all correspondents give a genuine checkable address.
- At the 91st annual Academy Award ceremony, during Trevor Noah's speech presenting the Best Picture nomination of Black Panther (2018), he said:
"Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T'Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase. He says 'abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka' — which means 'In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.' "
- Everyone recognized the South Africa-born Noah's claim of being born in Wakanda as a joke, but only speakers of Xhosa realized what he actually said in that language was "White people don't know I'm lying".