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Dub-Induced Plot Hole

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"Darien? Serena? I've never heard these names before. What is it that you want?"
Prince Darien, Sailor Moon, "Last Resort" (DiC dub version)

So you're translating and/or adapting an ongoing story from another country, and for whatever reason — maybe your boss ordered you to tone things down to appease Moral Guardians or commercial sponsors, or etc. — you've made significant changes to the original content. But then additional material from the original source comes in, and there's something in there that just doesn't work with the alterations you've already made (in a worst-case scenario, the new material explicitly contradicts your changes); maybe it's a Japan-centered story where a change in honorifics occurs but you cut them all out for ease of flow,†  or a character whose death you censored has to come Back from the Dead, or you excised content that later turns out to have had a major impact on the story's plot.

What do you do? Well, there are three options. The first is to ignore changes in the source and just keep adapting the story as you always have, hoping that the series won't collapse under the weight of its own contradictions; this is high-risk because there is a point where no amount of editing or rewriting can change what's in front of you. The second option is to try and explain the discrepancies away using the best leaps of logic and (if applicable) technobabble you can, which runs the risk of making your viewers aware of the changes (which is never a good thing). The third option is to just completely blow it off! Just pretend the last change you made never happened and adapt the source as-is. So what if you just took a two by four to the plot? Who cares if your dialogue doesn't make any sense? Send that script out the door, and let the fans deal with it. If you even assume that the fans are smart enough, particularly given their age, to notice.

Yes, sometimes the guys working on a script, having written themselves into a corner, will completely blow off the changes they already made and start adapting something completely literally, even if the resulting script makes no sense, even in the context of itself. Sometimes they'll even adapt a cultural custom with zero explanation – and nobody in the show will act surprised. The resulting disconnect creates a big giant plot hole and the only recourse of the fan is to just look up the original version, or just ignore it themselves.

This trope is specifically for localization of a work in its own medium. If this is caused through adaptation of a work to a different medium, it's an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole.

Compare Inconsistent Dub, when something in a translation keeps zigzagging between two different changes and/or between changes and the original because the translators don't keep things straight; this happens mostly with names or pronunciations, but can happen with plot points, where it would overlap with this trope. Lost in Translation frequently overlaps with this, but merely causes an element in the work to be missed by the viewer (e.g. a Punny Name that doesn't translate), while this trope is when the element being gone causes the plot to actively not make sense.


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    Comic Books 
  • Tintin comics were translated into English out-of-sequence. Translators altered the dialogue to try to give a sense of continuity to the "new" sequence, leading to problems such as characters the heroes already "knew" being introduced.
  • Asterix:
    • The Once per Episode phrase explaining Obelix's permanent Super-Strength is translated as "he fell into a cauldron of magic potion when he was a baby", probably to play on the old cliché about falling on one's head as a baby. The original phrase is more ambiguous and literally means "he fell into a cauldron of magic potion when he was small". This caused some problem when a book explaining the story of how Obelix fell into the potion was released, showing him as a child of about four or five years old. The translation just pushed past this and titled the book How Obelix Fell into the Magic Potion When He Was a Little Boy.
    • In The Big Fight, Obelix and Asterix sing a punny song while carrying a fallen tree. The English translation turned this into a parody of "John Brown's Body", with them singing "Pompey's body lies a-mouldering in the grave" (this seems reasonable, as the comic also shows Julius Caesar as Dictator, suggesting Pompey is dead by this point). Many years later in Asterix and the Actress, Pompey is a very important character, as his attempts to gather supporters to take on Caesar are the whole reason the story happens. He is, of course, alive.
    • In Asterix and Obelix's Birthday we see a crossword that joins up ASTERIX and OBELIX with IDEFIX (between the I of Asterix and the X of Obelix). The dog's name was changed to Dogmatix in English, so it was impossible to change the drawing. The clue section is changed to read "Dog's idea" riffing off the literal meaning of "dogmatics" and "idée fixe", but it's incredibly tenuous. It would be an excellent cryptic crossword clue in a general setting, though. (It should be noted the English translator was the daughter of a cryptic crossword designer.)
    • Also in Birthday a short story involves Getafix teaching Obelix how to read, and showing what the letters stand for: A pour âne (donkey) and B pour biche (doe). While "âne" is perfectly translated as "ass", "biche" is translated as "buck", as neither "doe" nor "deer" begin with a B. The drawing still shows an obviously female deer, even though it could have easily been changed by the addition of antlers.
    • In the English translation of Asterix the Gladiator, the pirates remark after their ship sinks that the Gauls never miss the boat, even though this is the first time the pirates appear in the series, and clearly have not met Asterix and Obelix before since they eagerly attacked a ship with them in plain sight.
  • Many English translations of Valérian were made decades after the comic was originally released, but the translators try to present the 20th-century Earth segments as if they are taking place in the present day, resulting in bizarre anachronisms, like Euros being used as a currency while the Cold War is still going on.

    Films — Animation 
  • When The Brave Little Toaster was shown on Polish television, some scenes that were kept in the original release were removed. One of them was the forest scene, which was one of the most crucial ones. It was most likely cut for the possibility of scaring younger audience; in the TV release it just cuts to the waterfall scene without explaining at all why Lampy's bulb is broken. Other scenes edited out from the TV version include the Air Conditioner's exploding rage and the appliances catching the "On Sale" sign. For some reason, they also omitted the scene where Lampy tries to think of ways they could try and get out of the house to find the Master. All of these scenes remain intact on the Polish DVD release.
  • Naturally, this is the case when My Little Pony: Equestria Girls received a Japanese dub that was released on Netflix. Japanese viewers may be confused as to where Twilight suddenly got wings from, and why she suddenly has a crown and is a princess. Of course, since Season 3 of Friendship Is Magic had yet to air in Japan, which explains everything, this left a major plot hole in Equestria Girls' Japanese Dub.
  • BIONICLE: The German dub of Web of Shadows cut nearly 10 minutes to meet German age restriction guidelines, including a line that explains the villains' plan. When Sidorak asks Roodaka what she wants for proof of the Toa's deaths, she demands their bodies. In the dub, the scene abruptly cuts after Sidorak asks the question. Strangely, Roodaka does talk about the Toa's bodies being brought to her in a later scene, but the fact that she deliberately requested them isn't clear. The movie also cuts the Toa mutating and bursting from their cocoons, meaning they suddenly appear looking completely different and falling to their apparent doom without a reason — their mutation is at least explained later.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub of The Addams Family, the joke about Fester's name meaning "rot" is kept even though his name has been changed to Lucas.
  • In the Russian dub of RoboCop, the plot-relevant line "You're fired" (which leaves the Big Bad unprotected by the Robocop's directives) was translated as, approximately, "You've got burned up".
  • Godzilla:
    • The original American dub for King Kong vs. Godzilla seems to try and set it up as a Continuity Reboot without relation to the prior Godzilla movies, treating it as the first Godzilla has ever appeared, but this creates significant Continuity Snarl in the process. When Godzilla breaks free from the iceberg (which he was trapped in at the end of Godzilla Raids Again), the helicopter pilots that witness his emergence immediately identify him even though they wouldn't have seen him before, and the rest of movie contains references to prior monsters even though the dub considers this the first monster encounter. There is also a cut subplot where Fujita is running experiments on his tensile strength wire aboard a ship, departing at Nemuro shortly before Godzilla destroys the same ship off screen. A plane crash is what motivates Fumiko to look for him in Hokkaido in the English script, even though the newspaper she's reading clearly shows a ship.
    • Inconsistencies arise between the English dubs of the Kiryu dualogy, the only two closely linked entries in the Millennium series. In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, the English dub states that Mothra was killed during her first appearance on Japanese soil in 1961. Though this contradicts the events of the original film, this particular entry makes use of plenty of past Toho kaiju movies in its canon while altering small details, such as Godzilla's skeleton being left intact by the Oxygen Destroyer. However, Mothra makes an appearance in the next film, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., which is directly tied to the previous film in terms of continuity. Though it's never explicitly stated that this is the same Mothra that appeared in 1961, the dub has everyone talking as if it is, and no reference or explanation is made regarding the previous dub's unambiguous statement that that Mothra was killed. No such inconsistency exists in the Japanese version, suggesting that the Hong Kong company responsible for dubbing these films didn't especially care for either accurate translations (though this is hardly the most egregious example of that) or preserving continuity between films. A smaller issue is that while in the former film, Mechagodzilla is more of a nickname for the Godzilla's robotic arch-rival, while the name "Kiryu" ("metal dragon") is used for the vast majority of references to it. This is the case in both the Japanese and English versions of the film. However, in the dub of the latter film, the superweapon is only referred to as Mechagodzilla, or "Mecha G" for short. No explanation is ever given, nor is the name change ever acknowledge. Again, the Japanese dialogue contains no such contradictions.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • According to the Hungarian dub of the first movie, Saruman apparently perfected fighting against the Uruk-Hai. The dub contained a handful of such bloopers (not all of which got corrected for the DVD), ditto for the second movie, but by the third, the translator finally got just about everything right.
    • The European Spanish dub, at least for the first movie, has a couple of minor ones. For example, when Frodo says Strider would "look fairer and feel fouler" if he was an enemy, the translator seemed to understand "feel fooler". Or Isildur referring to the Ring as "precious to him", echoing Gollum's "my precious"... which was Woolseyized, losing that reference.
  • Prince of Space wasn't immune to enemy weapon fire in the original Japanese, but picked this up sometime during the conversion to English. Neatly explains why he keeps dodging. And why Phantom of Krankor keeps ordering his men to shoot him anyway.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a Decepticon attack separates Optimus Prime from his trailer/weapon cache/flight gear. He exasperatedly demands his flight tech back. In the Hungarian dub, however, he calls for a technician. Yet Que, the Autobot technician, is standing right there! And in the final scene of the movie, when he tries to offer an alliance, Megatron calls Optimus Prime Sentinel Prime. This change of names isn't only erroneous, translating the dialog word-for-word would've been enough — since in the original, Megatron just says "Prime". The context made it clear which Prime he was referring to... not the one he had just shot down, but the one he was facing.
  • Blue Streak has a If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten! scene where Deacon asks Logan to shoot a guy, and Logan complies by shooting him in the shoulder. Deacon then complains because Logan was supposed to kill him. The Polish dub makes the scene nonsensical because the word Deacon uses ("postrzel") specifically means "shoot non-lethally" (as opposed to "zastrzel" which always means "shoot to kill") so Deacon has no reason to complain when Logan didn't kill the guy.
  • In the German dub of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the brief scene reveal with the fifth golden ticket being a fake was cut out, mainly due to how the picture used of the Paraguayan gambler was one of Martin Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellory, and Adolf Hitler's private secretary (intending to be a riff on former Nazis fleeing to South America). Furthermore, Wonka's explanation towards the end was somewhat confusing, considering that he intended to send out the golden tickets only to children (as he explains that "a grown-up would want to do everything his own way"). Likewise, the former scene remains in English on the DVD release.
  • In the fourth Bibi & Tina movie, Bibi and Tina meet a new character who asks their names. They respond by singing a slight variation of their theme song, beginning Wir sind Bibi und Tina... (We are Bibi and Tina). However, the English version translated the theme song to "Here come Bibi and Tina...", making the response sound very strange.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Russian dub of The Last Jedi in the scene when Rose explains business matters of Canto Bight to Finn, the latter guesses that it’s "ore" makes people this rich (instead of original "war"), making it look like an unexplained plot point. In the same dub Yoda’s lines: "We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters" was translated as "We are whom we grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters", leaving the viewers to wonder about meaning and future ramifications of the Master's ever puzzling insights.
    • Some countries had problem translating the line in Solo that shows Han Solo being called like that because an imperial recruiter officer realized he was, well, solo (albeit not in the case of Spanish as "Solo" means "alone").
  • The European cut of Dawn of the Dead (1978) was overseen by Dario Argento, who heavily tightened up the film's pacing and removed most of the humor in order to make it a more action-packed thrill ride. Considerable debate exists among fans over which version is the best, and defenders of George A. Romero's American cut (including Romero himself, who found the Argento cut to be too fast-paced and too serious) often argue that Argento's removal of a number of dialogue scenes made the story harder to follow. Lots of Character Development is trimmed down, particularly Stephen's fraught relationship with Fran and his feelings of inferiority towards Peter and Roger, meaning that his Senseless Sacrifice at the end doesn't feel like an attempt to finally be a hero that it does in the original cut.
  • During Neo's training program in The Matrix, Morpheus explains that Agents have the ability to "move in and out of any software still hardwired to their system" (i.e. they can possess Matrix inhabitants like ghosts and leave their bodies once they're dead or just no longer of any use). In Polish version of the movie, instead of merely getting properly translated, that line was replaced by completely imaginary, random sentence claiming that Agents are supposedly "controlled by separate processor". This not only totally contradicts the very nature of the Agents (who are sentient programs, not "controlled" by anything), but deprives the viewer of explanation how they actually work, setting up for major confusion later in the movie.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: At the end of the book, Gryffindor wins the House Cup by 10 points which Dumbledore granted Neville by saying "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends", as a few hours before Neville had actually tried to stop his friends from leaving the common room at night in order to stop Gryffindor from losing more points. However, in the Latin American Spanish version, the phrase is translated as "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up for our friends", which is exactly the opposite of what Neville did, so Dumbledore giving him any points for it makes no sense.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: When Hermione mentions that the 1792 Triwizard Tournament was cancelled because of a cockatrice breaking free and injuring the judges, the Dutch, Russian and Italian editions translate "cockatrice" as "basilisk". But this is impossible, since breeding basilisks has been illegal since medieval times. And they certainly don't want to use one of the most deadly creatures ever in a school tournament — its gaze alone would have killed the entire audience. The terms are generally considered synonymous in the real world, so this was bound to come up in at least one translation.
  • The Dutch translation of The Death Gate Cycle suffered from this. A few added sentences in the later books serve to explain that the characters have simply been using the wrong words. It doesn't help.
  • The Sword of Truth was translated rather badly to Russian. Here are just the examples from the first book: 1) Kahlan scares away a girl by calmly stating she will "deal" with a certain man she's unaware is her friend. The original has her threatening to skin him. 2) Denna orders Richard to eat from a bowl without his hands because he's her "pet". Except in the translation, the word used means "disciple" or "trainee". 3) The translation claims that Darken Rahl can use the Magic of Orden to rule forever. There are several places where he states he needs Kahlan to have a heir. And then there is the matter of multiple uncoordinated translators...
  • Discworld
    • Early Spanish editions used feminine pronouns for Death, since the corresponding word (La Muerte) is female. When Reaper Man came out and unambiguously identified Death as male, the translators had to do some backpedaling.
    • A mild example in the Swedish Discworld translation: one translator translates "the Dungeon Dimensions" as "the Demon Dimensions", presumably because Swedish doesn't have an appropriate alliterative word for "dungeon". While this certainly sounds funny, it obscures the point made in Eric that the Dungeon Dimensions (home of amoral Eldritch Abominations) are distinct from Hell (home of demons who take an active interest in doing evil).
  • The French translation of the Warcraft novel Rise of the Horde combines this with Dub Induced Spoilers (even with the Foregone Conclusion); it is hard to understand why the reveal that warlocks are working with demons is surprising anyone when "warlock" is translated as "demoniste."
  • In the scene in the French The Phantom of the Opera where Erik gives his Scarpia Ultimatum to Christine, he tells her to turn the scorpion figurine on the mantelpiece if she agrees to marry him or turn the grasshopper figurine if she refuses, which he claims will blow the Opera sky-high, killing everyone in it. While referring to the grasshopper, he makes a pun out of the French verb "sauter," which means both "to jump" and "to explode." As there's absolutely no word with the same meanings in English, most English translations end up making the wording awkward at best. One translator solved the problem by turning the grasshopper into a frog, which can "jump" and "croak", thus working in an English pun about dying.
  • The Italian translation of the Hercule Poirot story Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie altered the plot point where the killer tears an "s" off the corner of a letter to change "she" into "he" because this would not work in Italian: instead, the page is ripped so that only the final "i" from "lei" ("she") would be read, so it might as well be "lui" ("he"). Not only is assuming it's about a man a bit of an unjustified leap, but it also makes it obvious that the letter was ripped to begin with.
  • Too many to name in the infamous Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings, due to the translator's insistence on adding in lots of Purple Prose (where Tolkien had been more straightforward) and his stubborn refusal to correct mistakes, even when Tolkien himself called him up and asked him to fix it. Probably the biggest change to the plot is the fact that due to the translation changing a "she" to "he", Merry deals the killing blow to the Witch-King of Angmar, rather than Éowyn doing it as in the original. (Though this was fixed in later editions.)
  • There's one multiple-books-spanning mistake in the Russian translation of The Dresden Files. The character Sanya is a Russian of African lineage; when he is first introduced in Death Masks, he is described as a black man with a Russian accent. But black people are quite rare in Russia, so the translator decided that Sanya is just swarthy, and chose the appropriate word. Several books later, Sanya's skin color and its rarity in Russia becomes a plot point: as a child he often was gawked at, which made him rather unhappy. The translator decided not to correct the mistake: he invented a different origin for Sanya, making him of an unspecified swarthy Southern ethnicity, which, according to this version, invites much hostility in Russia.
  • In the first volume of No Game No Life, Kurami, in an attempt to win a gambling tournament to become ruler of Elkia, enlists the help of an elf, who uses magic to help Kurami cheat, since none of the other participants can even detect it, much less do anything. In the English localization, the elf, who only appears briefly after being exposed, is referred to with male pronouns. The problem? The elf later turns out to be Feel, a secondary character who happens to be a woman.
  • The English localization of Accel World omits all Japanese Honorifics, including Senpai/Kohai, resulting in Haruyuki "Silver Crow" Arita simply calling Kuroyukihime by name rather than "Senpai." This later causes a problem when Wolfram Cerberus III calls Silver Crow "Arita-senpai," causing Haru to recognize him as Seiji "Dusk Taker" Noumi, who'd been kicked off Brain Burst long ago. The localization of the light novel just has Cerberus' third personality call Crow "Arita," something that a few other characters do (for example, Utai "Ardor Maiden" Shinomiya calls him "Arita-san" in the original and "Arita" in the localization).
  • The Ivan Krylov's Russian adaptation of The Grasshopper and the Ants, one of Aesop's Fables, instead of a grasshopper or a cicada like in the French adaptation, the first title character is a dragonfly. While it may look elegant and frail on the surface, anyone who has any passing knowledge of entomology will be able to tell that the dragonfly, far from being a careless freeloader, is a ferocious predator that would give any ant a run for its money in terms of laser-sharp focus and ruthlessness. Even without any biology knowledge, there's still the more obvious issue that, unlike either grasshoppers or cicadas, both insects known for making plenty of noise, a dragonfly does not "sing". This the result of language shift; in Krylov's time the word "strekoza" used to apply to any chirping insects, including grasshoppers (indeed contemporary illustrations depicted a grasshopper). However, over time this word got linked to dragonflies specifically and all other meanings were lost, changing the readers' perception of the story.
  • In Ramona the Pest, Ramona has a misunderstanding on her first day of kindergarten when her teacher tells her to sit at a desk "for the present time" and Ramona thinks that means she'll get a present for sitting there. Since the misunderstanding relies on a particular oddity of the English language (the fact that "present" has two meanings), the whole thing becomes completely nonsensical when the book is translated into other languages that don't have that particular homonym (which is basically all of them).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who
    • The Russian dub of the 2005 season of gave the characters generic Russian voices, but retained the line where Rose asks the Doctor about his Northern accent — even though he sounds perfectly normal. Note that the original voices are often heard in Russian dubbing — still, most of the readers wouldn't recognize a Mancunian accent. Technically, most of the Russian dubs, even those with full voice replacement, usually keep the references to the original language and its quirks — under the assumption that the viewers would normally know what the original language of the show is (via the show's title screen, for instance). That the viewers might not know about said quirks, on the other hand... Also, Russian dubs don't usually bother with accents and everybody speaks the same way.
    • The French dub of the show had similar occurrences of the accent being brought up, despite not being really distinguished in any way by the way the characters were dubbed. Amy Pond has the same name in the French translation, but "pond" in French has no meaning relating to a body of waternote , thus losing all the connections made between Amy's last name and ponds. They are usually explained by mentioning what "pond" means in English, but in "The Snowmen", the one word Clara says to convince the Doctor to help is "pond", like in English, without any explanation as to how she came to choose this particular word.
    • The Czech dub of "Asylum of the Daleks" was criticized by fans for translating the "eggs-exterminate" pun of the episode in such a lazy way that it altered all the later soufflé-related references of Series 7. In the dub, Oswin is apparently working on "baked ice cream" instead of soufflés — despite the fact that what she's trying to bake looks very obviously like a soufflé. This whole bizarre and unnecessary change in that one bit of the translation was made so that the translator-chosen pun could work in the episode. While the pun arguably works, the ham-fisted way it's incorporated into the episode and how it messes up all later Series 7 soufflé references and the continuity tied to them, is really ridiculous. And, to add insult to injury, Oswin isn't even nicknamed the Soufflé Girl at any point in the episode, because it wouldn't make sense anymore. The consensus among the Czech fans is that the pun could have certainly been translated a little differently, without omitting any and all references to soufflés.
  • In an episode of ALF, Alf jokes about making a BLT, a bacon, Lucky and Tomato sandwhich. The joke get translated identically in Latin America (where Lucky is called "Suertudo", which obviously doesn't begin with an L), thus ruining the joke.
  • The first episode of Kamen Rider Kabuto has a scene where a pickpocket, being chased by Kagami, slashes at Tendou's throat with a knife but just barely misses despite Tendou not reacting at all. The Philippine dub cuts out the attack but leaves everything else intact, so Kagami saying "What's wrong with you?! You almost got killed!" to Tendou seems to come from nowhere.
  • Scrubs:
    • The syndicated version will occasionally shave of a piece of the episode for whatever reason. This ranges from the removal of a single line like "SUCK IT, BITCH!!" to the removal of an entire climax. For example, sometimes "His Story" will end with Dr. Cox growing closer to J.D. for literally no reason.
    • The German dub of the episode "My Interpretation" replaces the German patient that JD treats with a Danish patient who only speaks Danish. Despite this, they keep the sequence in which J.D. dances to "99 Luftballons" in order to bond with the patient, but since he is no longer German, the sequence no longer makes sense.
  • In one episode of The King of Queens, Carrie tries to get rid of her accent, in order to get a promotion. Viewers of the German dub are now tempted to ask "What accent?", because she speaks perfect Standard German (like most people in German dubs do). Luckily, the episode is salvaged a bit by the fact that talk (the word treated as representative for Carrie's pronunciation problems) is contained in the German anglicism Small Talk, giving somewhat the impression that Carrie's main problem is specifically the pronunciation of such anglicisms. note 
  • The Italian dub of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is notorious for this:
    • In the episode "Phases" Oz discovers he has become a werewolf. He has a talk with Giles who explains the precautions he can take to prevent him from posing a danger to others; Giles' explanation apparently involved a globe. In the Italian dub Oz instead says Giles used a volcano. What does a volcano have to do with a werewolf...?
    • The conversation between Spike and Buffy in "Smashed" about his being able to hurt her despite his chip was completely twisted: "Came back a little less human than you were." was translated as "You came back a little more human than you were.", making the entire plot point completely nonsensical.
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub for The Nanny, Ms. Fine doesn't have a raspy annoying voice with a thick New York accent, but a rather normal one with a slight sexy tinge and a neutral accent. This makes all the jokes and references about Ms. Fine's speech confusing.
  • Countries that started airing Game of Thrones dubbed from the very start before 2016 with Hodor's nickname intact are gonna have a hard time figuring out how to work "Hodor" to whatever "hold the door" means in their respective language. This is because of The Reveal in Season 6 (aired in the aforementioned year) that the nickname originated from an accidental Mind Rape caused by Mental Time Travel where Wylis (the character's real name) is specifically told in English to "hold the door". The command keeps repeating on his head which he himself eventually does until it condensed, which ultimately became the only thing he can say. This will likely necessitate a Dub Name Change for countries that are yet to air the series. David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have even apologized for it.
  • Inevitable when dubs of certain Sesame Street segments revolving around letter- or number-based wordplay get translated, to the point where some songs and sketches that are basically impossible to translate accurately seldom show up other than in English. (The biggest example would be Cookie Monster's signature song, "C is for Cookie," which has almost never shown up on an international version of Sesame Street unless it's in the context of another segment; most other languages' words for "cookie" don't actually start with the letter C, so the segment wouldn't make any sense). An actual instance is a sketch with Ernie and Bert that was at least dubbed for Plaza Sésamo in Latin America. In the original, Ernie ropes Bert into playing a game where they count up to the number 10, following each number with the letter Q. The set-up is that when Bert eventually goes "10-Q, 10-Q, 10-Q!" exasperatedly, Ernie replies, "You're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome, Bert!"note  In Spanish, however, Ernie replies, "Diez cuentos, diez cuentos, diez cuentos" - "ten stories, ten stories, ten stories," which renders the punchline incomprehensible.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! had a lot of issues caused by card archetypes introduced in Japan. Cards with "Demon" in their name were translated as various different things across early sets, probably for censorship reasons. (So we got things like "Summoned Skull" and "Axe of Despair" instead of "Summoned Demon" and "Demon's Axe") This wasn't a problem originally... until a later expansion introduced cards that specifically affected monsters with "Demon" in their names. The English cards had to retroactively introduce a category called "Archfiend", which included everything that was a Demon in Japanese. The reverse also happened occasionally: "Harpy's Brother" was called "Bird-Man" in Japanese and so was not a "Harpy" card. Later cards with effects specifically targeting Harpies had to add text in the English version saying "Harpy's Brother" was an exception, and eventually the card was renamed "Sky Scout" to avoid confusion. The silliest example is probably "Arsenal Summoner", which reads like this in English:
    Add 1 "Guardian" card from your Deck to your hand, except "Celtic Guardian", "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress #1", "Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress #2", "Guardian of the Labyrinth", or "The Reliable Guardian".
    • One series of monsters was the Inverz. For whatever reason, their name was changed in the English game to "Steelswarm." Not an out-there name, they were giant demon bugs. Problem was, a following series were the next step up on the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, the Verz. Due to that wording, it meant that cards that supported "Verz" cards also supported "Inverz", for obvious reasons, making "Inverz" sort of a retroactive subcategory. To reflect this, the English game had to change their name to the clunky-sounding "Evilswarm", and their support to the even clunkier "lswarm".
    • A lot of puns wind up getting missed by the translators. Probably the biggest one is Number 39 - King of Wishes, Hope, which had its name changed to Number 39 - Utopia. This turned the names of a lot of its upgraded forms (Hope Ray, Hope Ray Victory, Hope Roots, Future Hope, Beyond Hope) into non sequiturs.
    • A case arising from Bowdlerization: originally, Revolver Dragon was essentially a robot dragon made of three giant revolvers that attacked by "spinning" its half-loaded cylinders and then firing, a la Russian Roulette (meaning it also had a chance to not attack). With that in mind, its in-game effect was based on tossing coins—because like a half-loaded revolver, sometimes the coins could go tails and the effect would fail to go off. This was heavily censored, with the art being edited to turn the revolvers into laser cannons and the monster being renamed Barrel Dragon. However, they didn't change the effect at all, raising the question of why this dragon has a gamble effect at all. (If nothing else, it proved oddly prescient, as Barrel Dragon saw a lot of successor cards that were based on different guns but still had gamble effects. Reliably Unreliable Guns, maybe?)
    • A long-running case of this is Skull Servant. It was originally called "Wight", but it was a completely innocuous Com Mon so nobody really noticed. Then it became a Memetic Loser Joke Character, and so it got a support card named Wight King, which the English game renamed "King of the Skull Servants." Still pretty reasonable. But this spawned a whole wave of cards that all punned off "Wight", like Lady in Wight or Tri-Wight or Wightmare. The translators wisely avoided naming these cards things like "Skull Servantmare" and just left their names as-is, leading to a weird case where the two focal cards of the archetype are the only ones exempt from its Theme Naming.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In "Turnabout Sisters", when Redd White calls the Chief Prosecutor to demand that he arrest Phoenix and tell him that he will be testifying against him the next day, the voice on the phone uses the male (deeper) voice blips, and Edgeworth refers to the "public prosecutor" as male the next day. However, in the bonus case "Rise From the Ashes", we meet the Chief Prosecutor Lana Skye, who is definitely female and is The Stoic, entirely unlike the voice on the phone. This contradiction happened because in Japanese, Lana Skye's position and that of other "Chief Prosecutors" in the series (such as Bansai Ichiyanagi/Blaise Debeste in the backstory of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, and Edgeworth from Dual Destinies onward) are different positions.
    • It’s a recurring problem in the Phoenix Wright trilogy that eight-year-old Pearl Fey isn’t able to read very well, even when it comes to spelling out a simple three-letter word that a spirit channeling prodigy ought to be familiar with. In the Japanese version, she was specifically unable to read kanji, which is understandable for a girl her age, but the English language didn’t have a comparable counterpart to that when it came to the localization.
    • In 3-2, when Godot first comes up, Atmey states that Edgeworth was the one who named him the best prosecutor in the country before going overseas, despite the fact that Edgeworth states in 3-5 that he doesn't even know who Godot is. This is the result of a mistranslation - the Japanese line is Atmey stating metaphorically that Godot was now the best prosecutor in the country with Edgeworth having left.
    • In the Japanese version of Apollo Justice, case 4, Klavier Gavin reveals that he shared his prosecutorial evidence with his brother Kristoph in preparation for Zak Gramarye’s trial. This was meant to explain Klavier’s earlier Oh, Crap! moment when Vera admitted to forging a page from Magnifi Gramarye’s diary: because the diary was among the evidence he lent to Kristoph, and Vera had been shown the diary by the client who requested the forgery, Kristoph was the only one who could’ve done so. However, in the English localization, the revelatory line is changed to read that Kristoph shared the trial evidence with Klavier. Not only does it make no sense how the defense attorney would’ve gotten the victim’s diary instead of the prosecution, but the diary being part of the defense’s evidence originally removes any of Klavier’s reasoning to suspect Kristoph of the forgery instead of Phoenix.
    • A bug in the 3DS version of the third case of Dual Destinies creates a plot hole not present in the original Japanese. The problem? When you first meet Prof. Means, he has his globe-tipped staff with him, even though later in the case, it’s proven that the staff was being used to disguise the victim’s body as a statue on the outdoor stage at that time. In the Japanese version, Means did not reclaim the staff until after the body was discovered during the mock trial, but in the English localization he somehow has it before then. Thankfully the bug was fixed when the game was ported to iOS.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Toko Fukawa makes an offhand remark where she states she has two moms. While left unexplained in the Japanese version, the English localization inserted dialogue in School Mode that insinuated that her father had divorced and got remarried. This got problematic when Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls came out and revealed that the two mothers thing came from an incident involving her father being in relationship with two women at the same time and a malpractice accident that left her actual mother unknown (Toko even says her father was never divorced). Whoops. When the latter game was localised, the team chose to completely ignore the original dub script and just go with the original.
      • In the last trial, one of the students says that the Big Bad, The Ultimate Despair must be a high school student because they are an Ultimate. This is because in the original, the "Ultimate" part of each student's title translates to "Super High School Level".
    • The localization team was also unable to license Danganronpa Zero, which is problematic given a large amount of the plot of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair hinges on one reading the novel, since many of the plot twists otherwise come out of complete and utter nowhere and there are several references to the book that are rendered meaningless. A good example is, in the final trial, Junko makes a glitched statement about "Yasuke" and "the pain of losing ones beloved". If you hadn't read DR0 and thus don't know about Yasuke Matsuda, this line is a complete and utter non-sequitur.
    • A minor example related to Ultra Despair Girls is Toko's nickname for Komaru, "Omaru", which means toilet. This isn't translated in the dub, which leaves many people scratching their heads as to why the nickname offends Komaru or why Toko uses it at all, when it sounds no different than her actual name. Similarly unexplained is the insult Toko makes about the training potty that serves as a save point being like a "buddy" for Komaru.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • The game consistently uses a different word to refer to the Big Bad (張本人, commonly fan-translated as "Ringleader", instead of the more common 首謀者), a nuance ignored in the localization, which sticks to just using "Mastermind". This causes problems because, in the final trial, Tsumugi Shirogane says that, while she may be the mastermind (張本人), the actual mastermind (首謀者) is the outside world desiring the killing games. This results in the localization having Tsumugi claim they're both the mastermind, turning a fairly major twist revealing the true meaning behind a seemingly minor detail into utter nonsense.
      • In Chapter 6, when the mastermind explains how the Danganronpa TV show is "everyone's killing school semester" (the game's Japanese subtitle), one of the audience comments says that they finally get it. Since the English subtitle is changed to Killing Harmony, referring to Kaede's death in the first chapter, this instead comes off as an unexplained Late to the Punchline gag.
      • Right before the end of the main story, Tsumugi tells Shuichi that she is a "Cosplaycat Criminal" who was imitating Junko Enoshima and her killing game, with the implication that this is the actual true nature of the killing game. This is actually a Call-Back to the prologue where Rantaro calls the organisation of the students for the killing game as a "copycat scenario" before being cut off, which the localisation mutates into him talking about "ridiculous theatrics", seemingly mistaking the line as a comment on the Monokubs antics. The resulting change not only guts the epilogue of a good deal of the ambiguity, but turns the line in a rather sudden last-minute Ass Pull.
  • Ever17: In Coco's route there is an I Never Told You My Name moment between Hokuto and Sara. The problem is that in translation he doesn't call her by her name, so her weirded out "how did you know my name?" reaction makes no sense.
  • Zero Escape trilogy:
    • Almost averted in the DS version of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Early in the game when Zero explains the rules of the nonary game, she finishes with "It is hidden but the exit can be found. Seek a way out, seek the door that carries 9". In Japanese, the number 9 is pronouced kyuu, the same as the letter q; this becomes plot-relevant later on, as the final door is not door 9 but door q (26 in base-36). The localisation team worked around that in a pretty clever way by introducing a Chekhov's Gun early on. Instead of Zero explaining the rules, they're written on pieces of paper received by each player. Junpei reads the message out loud, misreading q as 9, since they look similar when written down. However when the Chekhov's Gun was meant to be fired, the flashback shows the original version of events instead of the changed one. This mistake was fixed in The Nonary Games re-edition.
    • The I Never Said It Was Poison moment in Virtue's Last Reward makes less sense after the Dub Name Changes. In the Japanese version it is revealed that Dio was the one who planted the bombs when Sigma claims he knows about Clay Dolls, Free The Soul and Brother, to which the suspect replies that he doesn't know who the Clay Dolls are and he doesn't know some old fart named Brother. Since Sigma didn't mention that Clay Dolls are people or that Brother is old, this proves that the suspect is the culprit. While the second hint still works in the English version, the first one is more problematic because "Clay Dolls" were re-named "Myrmidons", who were a group of people from Greek mythology so even if the suspect didn't know what Sigma was talking about, assuming that they were people doesn't seem like much of a stretch if you know anything about Greek mythology.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: It's mentioned multiple times that Rena underwent a Meaningful Rename after she moved back to Hinamizawa in order to reinvent herself, something which comes off as very confusing to English speaking players given that her original name, Reina, is virtually identical besides a single letter. This is because that's not actually the significant part, the important part is that she began writing it in katakana instead of kanji, a choice which has very considerable cultural implications. This is impossible to convey in English, so all versions of the game are left to instead act like removing the "i" somehow allowed her a fresh start.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied/referenced in Girl-chan in Paradise. When Green Guy is killed defeating a villain in episode 3, his dub voice actor throws a hissy fit and pesters the dub writers to reinsert the character so he can keep getting paid. The character is promptly restored to life in the most cheap, moronic way possible:
    Green Guy: I am no longer dead.
    Kenstarr: Hey alright.

  • Several in the former translation of Superego:


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Errors Through Localization, Translation Induced Plot Hole


The Laboon Arc

Two Episodes that were crucial to having a later character join with The Strawhats in the first place.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / DubInducedPlotHole

Media sources: