Non-English media interjecting English even when it's not always appropriate. There are a number of reasons for this. Foreign languages in general help spice up a work, and with the fact that English is something of a general trade language, many viewers will have some idea of what's going on, regardless of their native language.
However, most of the time writers don't actually speak English (or least not fluently), resulting in rather silly or nonsensical phrases. If grammatically incorrect, it can end up You No Take Candle. Ifu puronanshieishon izu za puroburemu, shii Japanese Ranguage ando rireiteddo toroupusu.Translation
This is particularly common in Japanese media, as English is a standard subject in Japanese schools but very few people learn enough English to become fluent. Thus, anybody in the audience will recognize random English phrases or text as being English, and might even recognize the specific words. But they probably won't know enough to recognize (or care) whether the English actually makes any sense.
When the English is actually pretty good, it's Surprisingly Good English. Compare Bilingual Dialogue for a more surreal linguistic experience, and "Blind Idiot" Translation for the really bad version. See also Gratuitous Foreign Language and all its subtropes. When these works are translated into English, the Gratuitous English is often changed into Gratuitous Spanish or Gratuitous French.
One thing of note, Japanese and other foreign languages have a lot of English loan words in established vocabulary. note Some of them sound like Engrish even. This can't be used as an example of Gratuitous English.
A related issue is countless English works being translated to various language and in the process getting a Completely Different Title... still in English.
This is a subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language and really should be used with extreme care.
- Indian animated series Motu Patlu has several episodes whose titles are in English, and no Hindi translation is provided.
- In the Chinese series Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, random bits of English are used here and there and English is often used on the merchandise.
- Simple Samosa, another Indian cartoon, incorporates various English words and phrases into all of its dubs except for, naturally, the English dub. The following two examples come to mind:
- The otherwise Hindi theme song has the English lines "Meet my sweetest friend, Dhokla!" and "What are you doing? Grow up, boys!"
- In the episode "Doctor D", Samosa, Jalebi, and Vada show Dhokla that he has not totally ruined their friendship through blocking them on social media by singing him a Spelling Song wherein they use each letter of "dost" (translates to "friend" or "friends" in Hindi) at the beginning of words to describe him. The words used are "Dhokla", "omelet", "special", and "tasty". Weirdly enough, the English dub changes the song so they spell the English "friends" instead when they easily could have gone with a translation of the original lyrics (they at least overlooked the "dost" that appears on-screen though).
- The DCU: This is implied rather heavily to be part of the reason for the Japanese Super Young Team's awkward-sounding names, the other being simply awkward translation. Big Atomic Lantern Boy's name is almost certainly entirely in English, though.
- In American Born Chinese, a new immigrant student from Taiwan first appears with a shirt that reads "Happy Robot".
- Wizards of Mickey, originally written in Italian, makes liberal use of English words in everything pertaining to the Diamagics and to magic in general — four instance, any given spell will consist of two made up fantasy words with an English word related to what it does in the middle. The resulting pseudo-English gibberish is intended to sound exotic to Italian-speaking audiences while providing a Bilingual Bonus to readers who know enough English to get the joke.
- Peanuts: In the French translation, one strip has had Linus Van Pelt, after speaking in perfect French, refer to his grandmother as "Granny". Pretty jolting, especially since the French have pet names of their own for their grandmothers, the most common being "Mamie".
- This U.S. Acres strip has Orson receiving a phone call from China after sneezing. Guess what's wrong with the message.
- Roadside Romeo has copious amounts of English randomly mixed with Hindi. Not that unusual in Bollywood. Bonus points for it being sensible English.
- Lavatory-Lovestory: This is a Russian cartoon but all the signs are in English. The sign above the rest room says "Lavatory", and the woman reads a newspaper called "Happy Woman" with headlines like "Bravo! Best!" Interestingly, this is averted at the end, with the sign in her booth that says "срочно требуется работник""Urgently required worker."
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon was forced to cosplay in a Victorian suit. He accepts tea from Yuki, who was in an Elegant Gothic Lolita costume, with gratuitous, but grammatically correct, English. Mikuru nearly squealed in delight.
- Zone Fighter tricks Shinji into thinking he has to do this to unlock his powers in Hail to the King.
- In a Japanese fan-dub of a scene from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Party of One", "Mrs. Flour" speaks in Gratuitous English.
- The Touhou M-1 Grand Prix has "JudgEE" for ever time judging comes up. There are also a few skits with not-quite-english, one of the worst (for comic effect) was in the 3rd contest when Tewi tried to do an English routine... while only knowing a few words. Made funnier as even the other comedian realizes it's wrong.
Tewi: "Yes yes yes yah yes yes ah yes ah yes aha aha ah yes aha Tewi Tewi Tewi—"
Rinnosuke: 『That is just weird! What are you doing?! 』
- In The Vampire Countess there is an Englishman among the conspirators who is described as being Welsh. At one point he says something in what Paul Féval calls a Cockney Accent. What Feval wrote was "Let us knock down the rascal". In his English translation Brian Stableford chose to simply replace this all together as "Flatten the bleeder".
- In The Yiddish Policemans Union, the Jews of Sitka speak Yiddish as their primary language, but prefer to swear in American English.
- The Japanese Harry Potter books, in addition to featuring the English title as well as Japanese on the cover, have English romaji beside the kanji for their publishing company - and it's written "Say-zan-sha (Seizansha)."
- Lampshaded throughout Chris Jericho's first book, A Lion's Tale, while recounting his times in Japan. He often referred to it as "English just good enough to make no sense."
- In the Japanese translations of the Warrior Cats series, the names of the characters, which are usually combinations of nouns, verbs and adjectives, are left in English.
- No less a philosopher than Friedrich Nietzsche was known to drop English (as well as French, Latin, and Greek) into his otherwise-German works. He usually used this when quoting from an English work, but sometimes used English words alone to make a point, to screw with the reader, or just because he felt like it. Since he spoke English, he knew exactly what was being said (so no funniness from misplaced words) but it makes reading Nietzsche interesting for English-speakers: if you're reading it in English translation, the footnotes that say "this bit was originally in English" are often kind of amusing, and if you can speak German and are reading it in the original, it's rather shocking to see the English in a sea of German.
- In Confessions of Felix Krull the protagonist gets to show off his English, but to a much lesser extent than his fluent French.
- Dora Wilk Series' newer books are marked on covers as being part of "Thorn Universe", the latter being written in English, despite the books being Polish and there existing a perfectly fitting Polish word.
- The Girl from the Miracles District, from the same author as Dora Wilk Series, has the character named "Madame Butterfly", in English.
- Stendhal's journal is full of English words and phrases randomly replacing their French equivalents.
- The original book that inspired the film Edge of Tomorrow is called "All You Need Is Kill" in English even in Japan.
- Professional Wrestling in Japan provides a pleasing real-life example of this trope. Since the conventions of pro. wrestling were adopted wholesale for the Japanese version of the sport ("puroresu" — itself an example of Gratuitous English), all the names of the moves are the English ones (except those invented in Japan, like the enziguri), which the announcers faithfully reproduce in commentary, even when they sound ridiculous. Examples include "DIIIIVING BOOOOOODY AAAAAAAAAAAAATAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!" and the famous "LAAAAAAARIIIIIIAAAAAT-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!" and the now-ubiquitous "SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING WIIIIZAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!"
- A lot of classic Zenjo tag teams name fall into this. Some, like the Dynamite Girls, sound normal enough. Others, like the Queen Angels or Beauty Pair, straddle the line. And then you have teams with names like Marine Wolves and Dream Orca...
- The story goes that Go Nagai intended Big Van Vader's name to be the slightly less Word Salad "Big Bang Vater". The idea being Vader was a hero to his village.
- Montreal based International Championship Wrestling had "Sexy Team", which seemed normal enough until the viewer realized their names were "Sexy Team #1" and "Sexy Team #2". It also had "Ninja Team" and Fresh and Master, and...well their use of English tended to be accurate but inarticulate.
- The very title Kaiju Big Battel is of course a parody of this.
- Dragon Gate theme song names frequently run along this trope, with names like WILD DRANK HUSKEY (Don Fujii) and KICK START THE ELEPHANT (Yasushi Kanda). Yes, they spell the song names in ALLCAPS.
- Go Homu! Prease Go Homu Young Bucksu!
- In Puerto Rico, the New Wrestling Stars Tag Team Champions Bandido and Crazy Rudy teamed as "Bad Guys"
- Played for laughs with Lin Bairon in SMASH, an actress from Hong Kong who constantly spouted English despite being in Japan.
- Many move names you run across in Japanese wrestling are cool-but-meaningless English — like Shingo Takagi's Last Falconry, Masato Tanaka's Complete Dust, and MEN's Teioh's Miracle Ecstasy, just to name a few.
- The "Alabama Song" (which, of course, was Covered Up by The Doors) and "Benares Song" in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). Bertolt Brecht's use of English is rather awkward in the latter: "There is no boy with whom to shake hands. Where is the telephone? Is here no telephone?" In the former, the paedophilia implications of the line "show me the way to the next little boy" were doubtless unintentional. The use of the word "Song" in preference to "Lied" is itself Gratuitous English.
- Madama Butterfly throws off a few Gratuitous English phrases, most notably Pinkerton's toast to "America for ever!"
- In Cabaret, many of the phrases in the opening number "Willkommen" are sung in Gratuitous German, then in Gratuitous French, then in Gratuitous English.
- Played for Laughs with Dr. Bent van Helsingør, a recurring character in the long running yearly Danish show Crazy Christmas Cabaret. He constantly tries to translate untranslatable Danish expressions and proverbs to English, causing him to either sprout complete nonsenses or unintentional sexual innuendo.
- The massive dance finale of Tanz Der Vampire is mostly sung in (loud) German, as is the rest of the play, but contains a few English lines even in the original version. These aren't found elsewhere and there's no reason given for them other than just escalating that last song.
We drink your blood, and then we eat your soul!
Nothing's gonna stop us — let the bad times roll!
- A The Force Awakens Stormtrooper action figure has descriptions in three additional languages including German on its packaging, all of which leave the term "Stormtroopers" in English. This is egregious not just because earlier localizations had generally translated it the English word "stormtrooper" derives from German "Sturmtruppen" in the first place.
- In one notorious case, the Transformers slogan "More than meets the eye!" was translated into Japanese at some point. Okay. They then decided to translate it back into English on the packaging for the Mega SCF figure line, resulting in the hilarious phrase "The truth who the eyes met before!"
- Kizuna AI often peppers her speech with English phrases, many of which are spoken with proper grammar (although when it comes to reading and writing English, she has some difficulties).
- Menelaos from Greek Ninja speaks English by making direct translations from Greek, which of course results in terrible mistakes and people not understanding him. Eleonora often takes the role of the translator between him and the rest of the world, having full knowledge of both languages.
- The narrator from Digimon Resumido, just because he has an epic voice. And J. K. Simmons in the second episode.
- France Five, despite being a French series, shares the love of Gratuitous English of the Sentai shows they parody.
- Parodied by ProZD in When you only know the random English parts in a non-english song.
- South Park: Parodied in episode 801, "Good Times with Weapons", with the fight-sequence song "Let's Fighting Love". However, the real joke is in the Japanese lyrics. Since Trey Parker is fluent in Japanese, rather than being Foreign Sounding Gibberish, it is actually...
This song is kind of stupid
It doesn't make sense
The English is all fucked up
That's okay [we do it all the time!]
[Hey hey, let's go] fighting
The important thing is to [protect my balls]
I'm baaaad, [so let's fighting]
[Let's fighting love — let's fighting love!]
- That phrase "Let's fighting" is an example of what is, tragically, a very common Engrish construction in Japan. The bowling episode of MegaMan NT Warrior has a bunch of characters repeat the catchphrase "Let's bowling!" — making it perhaps the only one that's more painful to watch subbed than dubbed, ShoPro and all.
- Winx Club:
- Many characters have attacks with English names. The original Italian also has other examples, such as Bloom (one of the Winx), and Icy (one of the Trix). Moreover, "Winx" is a pun on wings.note Whether this is due to it being influenced by anime, or due to the creator's wife being Singaporean, is up for debate.
- Additionally, the first English version of show's first theme song, "Under the Sign of the Winx"note is clearly being sung by people didn't learn English as their first language. The song itself also seems to be a loose translation of the Italian lyrics as well ("If you desire, you can become, one of our bunch!"...). This also applies to the other songs as well in the first season. Season 2 and beyond improves this considerably, with the second version of "Under the Sign of the Winx" in particular.
- English language cartoons end up with this trope when translated for a Japanese audience as many bits of the original dialogue and song lyrics (if there are songs) are retained as is for various reasons.
- This is more prevalent in The Boondocks' Japanese dub, due of the use of some words (like nigger) whose Japanese equivalents are forbidden to use in Japanese media, so the translators used the original words untranslated from English instead.
- Same case in Japan with South Park, but less exaggerated.
- Gratuitous Spanish tends to become this when subbed to a Spanish-speaking audience.
- American Dad!: "Eat... my... BOWLS!"
- In Tom and Jerry during the 'Mouseketeer' shorts which took place in France, Jerry was accompanied by a little gray French-speaking mouse named Tuffynote , who occasionally threw English phrases into his speech. In one short, when giving a long-winded explanation in French as to why he ran from Tom, he ends it with "and besides that, I'm chicken!"
- He probably meant "chicken" as in "coward," a French stereotype.
- In a non-Japanese example, Metalocalypse gives us Swedish Skwisgaar and Norwegian Toki, who both suffer from the same ignorance of the English language. They both have atrocious problems with putting excessive plurals at the end of words (whether or not they are nouns in the first place), frequently use "am" for any form of the word "be", and have a bad grasp on vocabulary in general.
Skwisgaar: Oh Toki, it's adorables. You really wants to takes more solos, but I am the lead guitarist. You know, why? Because I ams, hows do you says, way more gooders than you.
- In all non-English foreign versions of Dora the Explorer except for the Turkish, Serbian and Irish versions, the characters speak in Gratuitous English.
- The Japanese version of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
"だからHi Hi Hi! 幸せがきっとHi Hi Hi! 歌い出す..."
- The first Japanese opening, "Mirai Start", has it in the title, but the subtitles along the bottom run something like this:
- Some of the characters would occasionally insert English words into their dialogue, especially Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie (in fact, Pinkie says her first two words of dialogue in English — "Surprise! Hi!" — before she says anything in Japanese.).
- Most of the songs are in English with Japanese subtitles because the Japanese dubbers don't have a large enough vocal recording room.
- The English words for "pony" and "dragon" are used, among other species names.
- Sugarcube Corner and the Grand Galloping Gala both receive a Dub Name Change in the form of a very mundane English phrase; the former becomes "Cake Shop" and the latter "Dance Party".
- The Japanese dub of the Magic Adventures of Mumfie episode "The Chase is On" has Mumfie yell "Nice catch!" instead of "I've got it!".
- In the German version of the Popeye cartoons (the newer ones), an English word is inserted just for the rhyme: "Hallo ihr daheim - jetzt ist Popeye-Time!"
- Kaeloo: In the French dubnote , the characters frequently use English words like "what" and "freeze" instead of the French words (the use of "stop" is kinda justified, since it's an English loanword, e.g. "On doit faire un stop !").
- The Simpsons are translated to Spanish for Latin America, but the musical interludes are not. Translating dialogues is one thing, but translation the lyrics of a song in a way that they remain true to the original lyrics and also fit well in the song is not an easy task (even in the music industry translated lyrics in Cover Version songs are rare). As a result, the episodes make an odd jump from characters speaking in Spanish, to the same characters singing in English and with different voices (as the voice actors are not the same).
- It also happens in the French dub most of the time.
- In the Spanish dub of the Animaniacs short "I'm Mad", Wakko's line "Gotta use the potty, better stop the car!" is translated into "Tengo que ir al baño para la potty", with the translators leaving the word "potty" in English rather than translating it as "orinal".note
- The Fruitties, a cartoon originating from Spain, somehow manages to do this within its own English dub. There are several songs that get reused often in the series, which are sung by the same Spanish singers for both the Spanish and English dubs. However, the English lyrics for some of the songs contain several instances of incorrect English. For example, the song "Roly, the Champion" contains these lyrics: "And to scare the vegetarans [sic], let us sing together song."
- The Crumpets: The original French dub has the Crumpets' Evil Aunt Harried randomly speaking English sentences and even occasionally the word "shit". In one episode, she instructs Caprice to speak English so she can attract a celebrity. The English dub made Harried randomly speak Italian instead, as well as teaching Caprice the Italian chic in that episode.
- The Teen Crumpets episodes have few songs with English lyrics, such as Damon Grobain's song in "L'ADN à Pa", the song that Cassandra sings in "Quasi Cassie", and the disco song apparently sung by Marylin in "Marilyn Blues".