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"Admiral Piquet (Joaquim de Almeida) — a Frenchman who is so devious he substitutes French NATO troops for Americans in a phony rescue mission, and calls them off just when Burnett is desperately waving from a pickup area. Bet you a shiny new dime that when this movie plays in France, Admiral Piquet becomes an Italian." note 

Say there is a foreign product which gets ported over to your local market. It is notable, though, that the original version features references to this new culture. This reference will often be changed to another culture. This is usually done to keep the "exotic flavor" that is invoked in the original work, but sometimes this is done for less wholesome reasons: After all, who wants to see a bad guy whose defining character trait is that he comes from the audience's own country?

Other times, it can have a pragmatic reason, since sometimes having the person be foreign is necessary to the plot. (For example, in the play Chicago, a minor plot revolves around an innocent woman being sentenced to death primarily because she spoke no English and no one could understand her Hungarian. Obviously, this wouldn't work when the show was performed in Hungary, so the Hungarian was changed to Chinese.) If the cultural/ethnic particulars of a character or other story aspect are too detailed and specific, any attempts to Keep It Foreign can lead to a Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change.

When this is not done and there is a footnote or any author/translator's commentary of sorts, it will often say something along the lines of "in English in the original".

This has sometimes been used in certain English dubbed versions of foreign productions as an excuse for not staying true to the original writer's intentions, based on the idea that the viewers won't know the difference (or the language being used, for that matter).

Subtrope of Cultural Translation. See also Accent Adaptation, Too Long; Didn't Dub.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Can be seen in a lot of anime fansubs, when English loanwords and Gratuitous English in general becomes Gratuitous Japanese in the subtitles. A common example is "Sankyuu!" ("Thank you!") being translated as "Arigatou!"
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Yukari-sensei becoming a Spanish teacher in the Azumanga Daioh manga translation might count here. It later becomes an Inconsistent Dub, because several jokes later depended upon her knowing English.
    • In the dub of the anime she's simply a language teacher instead of an English one. And when one girl challenges another to say a phrase in English, it's been translated to "Why don't you say it in French?"
    • The Yen Press translation of the manga relies on Translation Convention and uses <brackets to indicate English speech>. This is necessary, since the blackboard (and at one point, the language bubbles) actually has proper English written on it.
    • When Mr. Kimura drops a photo of a woman and his students ask about it, he reveals that he's married to the woman in the picture by referring to her as "Mai Waifu" ("My Wife") in Gratuitous English. In the ADV Manga translation, the "my" becomes a German "mein".
  • In Bakuman。, Eiji Nizuma and Aiko Iwase, meeting for the first time, greet each other in English. In the English translation by Viz, they greet each other in Japanese.
  • The Digimon anime dubs like to do this from time to time (when they're not changing Japanese names to different Japanese names). Snowbotamon becomes Yukimibotamon, and Fairymon becomes Kazemon.
  • One episode of Excel♡Saga had Il Palazzo briefing Excel in Gratuitous English, which the dub changed to Gratuitous Spanish. Later, Excel trying to talk to some people on the street when she landed in America in Gratuitous English was changed to a mix of Spanglish and faux ghetto-slang.
  • One of the first scenes in Fushigi Yuugi has a teacher saying "I want him to do his best," in English. In the English dub, he says, "El libro está en la biblioteca" Spanish for "the book is in the library."
  • Not so much a translation as an update - in Gankutsuou, The Count of Monte Cristo's servant Ali is changed from a black African man to an Alien partly to keep him 'exotic'.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure has the character of Miss Shamour, whose dialogue is partially in Gratuitous English. One fansubber chose to change this to French, a decision which ultimately pleased no-one, leading to a swift aversion.
  • The English subtitles (though not the dub) of Hand Maid May translate Cyberdoll Mami's Gratuitous English into Gratuitous Japanese.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, a South Korean soccer team appears in the third arc. In the South Korean dub, the it was changed into a North Korean team.
  • In an episode of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Rikka is trying to get her club approved by a teacher, but is told it doesn't have enough members, so no go. Rikka then makes up a "split personality" she calls Catherine. In the original, "Catherine" is from Victorian England and uses very basic English in her mostly Japanese speech. In the English dub, she's still from England, but "moved to France", uses Gratuitous French instead of Gratuitous English, and even has a French accent.
  • In the original Japanese version of Love Live! Sunshine!!, Mari Ohara had a tendency to use Gratuitous English due to her having American ancestry. In the English dub, this is changed to Gratuitous Italian instead, which still works given that she also has Italian ancestry.
  • Arisa's Gratuitous English in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is changed to Gratuitous Japanese in the English dub. And in one fan translation of the A's manga she says "I am perfectly bilingual" in Japanese rather than English. Somewhat justified in that she was deliberately showing off her skill in the other language.
  • In the episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya where Asakura attacks Kyon, Kyon asks himself "why?" in Gratuitous English, followed immediately by a Japanese "naze?" The English dub keeps both and switches the order around.
  • One Piece:
    • An in-story version occurs, when Usopp creates the alter ego of "Sogeking." Sogeking uses all the same attack names, but speaks them in English instead of Japanese as Usopp does.
    • Played with in Viz's manga translation. The character Eneru gives himself the title God, which in the Japanese manga and anime is pronounced the same as the English word God. So what does Viz do when their translation reaches this point? Change his title to Kami, the Japanese word for God. Note that the actual connotations of the word Kami are different from those of the Abrahamic God, although either works for the character.
  • Osomatsu-kun: In Kodansha's bilingual compilation volumes, Iyami's Gratuitous English was replaced with French, referencing his fanboyism of the country. His habit of referring to himself in English as "me" also changes to him using "moi".
  • In the Pretty Sammy OVAs, Pixy Misa peppers her speech with Gratuitous English. When Pioneer dubbed the show into English, it became Gratuitous French.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Eiru and An were posing as American exchange students and turned into French exchange students in the DiC English dub. In the Viz Media dub, they're transfer students who "lived abroad for some time" in a Spanish-speaking country.
    • In one episode of Sailor Moon, there is an English gentleman who invites the Sailor Senshi to his party, and they try to learn English to communicate there. In The '90s English dub, the new language was changed to French and so was the nationality of the rich gentleman who invited the girls and Darien to his party.
    • This happened once more in the Super S season, when Tiger's Eye was posing as a Funny Foreigner. The "One! Two! Three!" incantation the Amazon Trio used was even replaced with "Un! Deux! Trois!" just for that episode.
    • Inverted in both the two Spanish language dub versions (i.e., Latin American and European), and the Italian dub version, where the word "luna" is used in both languages when referring to the moon. In all three, the black cat character retains her original name of "Luna". As a result, she is essentially being called "Moon" in those versions.
  • An episode of Tokyo Mew Mew featured an American pianist who didn't speak Japanese. When 4Kids turned it into Mew Mew Power, she became Spanish. Similarly, in a later episode an American director became French.
  • In the French dub of Trigun, Vash's Gratuitous French is changed to gratuitous Italian instead.
  • In an early episode of Venus Versus Virus, one character is encouraging another to confess his love to Sumire, and gives examples of the phrase "I love you" in different languages. In the original Japanese, she says "I love you" in Gratuitous English, "Wo ai ni" in Gratuitous Chinese, and fakes something in Russian ("Suki desuki", which is just "suki desu" with -ski added on the end). In the English dub, she says "Suki desu" in Gratuitous Japanese, "Te amo" in Gratuitous Spanish, and "I loveski youski" in fake Russian.
  • Working!! was renamed Wagnaria!! for the English-speaking market. Despite appearances, "wagnaria" is not the Japanese word for "working," it's the name of the restaurant they work at.
  • In a Fan Sub of The World God Only Knows, when Keima needs to "capture" Ayumi (sports girl) for the second time, he reaches a point where she asks him to confess to her (long story). Being Keima, and not really loving her he kept saying "I love you". In the original, the first was in Japanese, the second was in English. In the translation, however, the first was in English the second was in French, to preserve the meaning.
  • WXIII: Patlabor The Movie 3: In the English dub, the irate American film director yells his R-clinching profanities in Italian.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Napoleon (in the english dub, "Jean-Louis Bonaparte") constantly uses Gratuitous French. In the French dub, he becomes "Wellington" (probably after the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon in Waterloo) and uses Gratuitous English.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • Chicken Run:
    • In the German dub, Mac, the Scottish inventor hen, becomes Dutch.
    • She becomes Swiss in the Italian dub. It makes sense, considering Switzerland is north of Italy, like how Scotland is north of England.
  • In the Russian dub of Coraline, Bobinski is Ukrainian instead of Russian.
  • In the Italian dub of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Stefano, the Italian sea lion, is turned into a Spanish one.
  • Weirdly downplayed in Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon: In the original version, Shaggy claims that a sudden Gratuitous French line he just said was actually Italian. In the Italian dub, he claims it's "French-ish".
  • There's a version of this in Shrek 2. Antonio Banderas voices Puss with a generic Spanish accent in the English version; in both the Spanish and Latin American versions, he voices him with a thick Andalusian accent instead, different of any of the other characters.
  • Toy Story:
    • In the Castilian Spanish dub of Toy Story 2, Tour Guide Barbie's saying "please remain seated" in English and Spanish is changed to Barbie saying it in Spanish and French. In the Latin American dub, she still says it first in English and then in Spanish.
    • In Toy Story 3, Hamm can't continue reading Buzz's manual because it is in Japanese, instead of Spanish as in the original. Buzz still changes into an hilarious Spanish mode, which in the Spaniard dub is symbolized by him speaking with an over-the-top Andalusian accent.
  • In Turning Red, in the English version, Mei excels at French. In both French dubs, she instead excels in a Spanish class. Averted for Abby and Stacy who are still shown taking French class since the animation is unchanged.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the old days, the Spanish dubs of American films would often turn Gratuitous Spanish speaking characters into Italian. As actors became browner in more recent films, they started to become Brazilian and speak Portuguese.
  • Famous example (because of Executive Meddling): The German dub of Die Hard (the first one) changed the German terrorist team to an international one, and the main villain Hans Gruber was renamed Jack Gruber. During the scene where Bruce Willis' character writes the names of two of the bad guys on his hand, this is explained by him calling them after giants from a fairy tale. This is all but ignored during Die Hard with a Vengeance, which even featured a flashback sequence to the first Die Hard.
  • The "I always wanted to become a surgeon" guy in Hostel became Spanish in the German version of the movie.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
    • In the European Spanish dub, "Hasta la vista, baby" became "Sayonara, baby". The Latin American dubs, however, usually keep it the same.
    • In the Mexican Spanish dub, the dialogue between Sarah Connor and her Mexican friends are kept, but the Mexican characters and Sarah in the Mexican dub uses an over-the-top Mexican accent in their voices. This is justified, since in the original English version, they used Spanish profanity and it cannot be translated due to the censorship of that time.
  • The same thing happened in the Mexican Spanish dub of The Old Gringo: The American characters speak using polite neutral Mexican Spanish, but the Mexican characters speak with an exaggerated, stereotypical Mexican accent.
  • In the original version of The Goonies, the woman hired by Mikey's mother is a Hispanic named Rosalita, and Mouth helps Mrs. Walsh by translating her commands into Spanish. In the Spanish version of this film, Rosalita becomes an Italian woman named Rossanna.
  • In the French dub of The Day After Tomorrow, the woman who gets stuck in a cab during the tsunami sequence has been changed from French-speaking to Spanish-speaking.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, Kevin Kline's character talks in Italian to his mistress to get her aroused. In the Italian dub, he uses Spanish.
  • In a scene from The Pink Panther (2006), the humor is derived from the contrast between Clouseau's "French" accent and another character's Russian accent. In the Russian dub, the latter character, while still referred to as a Russian, was given a Ukrainian accent. Could be justified, since Ukrainians are the second largest ethnic minority in Russia and some southern Russian accents sound a lot like Ukrainian.
  • In the Russian dub of Cloverfield, the Russian guy who approached Hud was changed to Belarusian.
  • In the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle, he can't talk to the orangutan because it speaks Spanish (try not to think about that too hard). In the Spanish dub, it speaks French.
  • Paramount wanted to change The Mole in Stalag 17 from a German-American to a Polish-American for the film's West German release to avoid offending German sensibilities as they perceived them. This idea was dropped after director Billy Wilder protested, but subsequently Wilder made no more movies for Paramount.
  • Rowan Atkinson plays a narcoleptic Italian tourist named Enrico Pollini in the 2001 film Rat Race. The Italian dub changed his nationality to British (what else) and renamed him "Henry McCollions".
  • In the French dub of Looper, Joe learns Italian to go to Florence, while originally he learns French to go to Paris.
  • In the Spaniard dub of The Devil's Advocate the Hispanic guy that taunts Milton in the subway speaks Portuguese.
  • In the Spaniard dub of Capote, the Gratuitous Spanish sayings of Perry Smith ("saludos amigos", etc) are changed to French. On the other hand, the "adiós" that Capote says in the Costa Brava scene is changed to Catalan ("adéu"), since Costa Brava is in Catalonia.
  • In movies where French is used in a romantic context ("Ze language of love"), the French dub usually replaces it with Italian.
    • In Looney Tunes, Pepe Le Pew is an Italian skunk, though the other characters around him still speak French (and in real French, not silly fake French).
    • The fancy French restaurant in Spider-Man 3 is Italian in the French dub.
    • In The Mask, Stanley's accent when he tries to seduce Tina awkwardly while disguising in an Onion Jack.
    • In Groundhog Day, the verses that Phil learns during some temporal loops to impress Rita.
    • In Transformers: The Last Knight, Hot Rod speaks with an Italian accent. Note that Viviane's curiosity about his pronunciation of the sound "R" is plausible in both versions, since French and Italian do indeed have a different way to pronounce "R" compared to English and each other.
    • In A Little Princess (1995), the French teacher becomes an Italian one, and Sara Crewe thus speaks in Italian in front of him and Ms Minchin.
    • In An Education, Jenny Mellor becomes an Italophile and impresses Helen with her mastery of Italian.
    • In The Little Mermaid (1989), the accent of Louis, the chef of the palace.
    • In The Swan Princess, Jean-Bob becomes an Italian frog named Aldo. In the Direct to Video CGI sequels, he's voiced by an Belgian actor of Italian descent.
  • In the French dub of Captain America: The First Avenger, French soldier Jacques Dernier speaks a very accentuated French slang (argot).
  • In the Mexican dub of Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel Hillard's nanny alter-ego pretends to be and speaks with a fake accent from Spain, to mirror the fake Britishness of the alleged nanny in the original American version. Likewise, Stu is also turned into a Spaniard for consistency's sake.
  • The Italian version of EuroTrip has the train pervert as a Spaniard.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is a scene where the Russian terrorist holding Lois hostage says a phrase to her in Russian. In the Russian dub, he instead says it in English.
  • In the Lindsay Lohan remake of The Parent Trap, Annie (posing as Hallie) angrily starts jabbering in French without realizing it. The French dub changes it to Spanish.
  • In the French dub of Django Unchained, the French lines directed at Candie are changed to Spanish, and he is referred to by another character as a hispanophile instead of a francophile. It's not entirely seamless, as Candie's francophilia is clearly visible on screen.
  • In the Russian dub of Mad Max: Fury Road, the Buzzards are speaking German instead of Russian.
  • There is an alternate English cut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) made for Japan that removes any reference to ninjas and also changes every mention of Japan to Korea (complete with new Korean names for Hamato Yoshi, Oroku Saki and Tang Shen). This is a very weird thing to do, since all the other Japanese releases of the franchise (including the actual Japanese dub of the movie) never do such a thing.
  • In the Japanese dub of RoboCop, "Sayonara, RoboCop!" becomes "Bye-bye, RoboCop!"
  • In the Italian dub of Moscow on the Hudson, Lucia and her family are changed from Italians to Mexicans.

  • In French translations of Animal Farm, Napoleon's name is usually changed to César (Caesar).
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Fool Moon takes Our Werewolves Are Different to great lengths, featuring no less than four completely different takes on them in a single story. The baddest-ass among them is the "Loup-Garou." Unfortunately for the French translation, loup-garou is already French for "werewolf." The translator had no choice but to find another word, and settled for "devourer".
  • The passage "Ima trava okolo i korenja okolo" in Dune means "There are herbs around and roots around" in Serbian, but to Russians it sounds like bad Gratuitous Russian. Pavel Vyaznikov's Russian translation translated it into Hindi-Urdu. Notably, Vyaznikov himself didn't realize it was Serbian until much later.
  • Russian translations of the Vorkosigan Saga suffer from this really hard. Barrayar is heavily modeled on the Tsarist Russia, so the translators turned to this to make it more exoticnote , and to mask some bloopers from LMB's rather cursory knowledge on the subject. Both reasons have since largely disappeared, but the tradition has already taken root.
  • Many works written in the 19th or early 20th century will have characters speaking a line or two of French, as it was something of an international language. Most French translations will put the passage in italics with a footnote saying it was French in the original (en français dans le texte). Similarly, Russian books (such as Anna Karenina) translated into English that involve lines in both English and French usually put both in italics, allowing English readers to figure out that italics signify another language, even if it's equally readable.
  • In Sholem Aleichem's stories about Tevye (which Fiddler on the Roof is based on), Tevye quotes the Torah or Talmud in Hebrew sometimes, and comments on it in Yiddish (which the stories are written in). One translation put the Hebrew in old-fashioned English (with "thee," "thou," "hath," etc., like the King James Bible), and then a dash between that and the regular English translation from the Yiddish.
  • Discworld
    • In Witches Abroad, the villainess is Lady Lilith de Tempscire (not her real name), who turns out to be Granny Weatherwax's sister, the clue being that "temps" and "cire" are French for "weather" and "wax". In the French translation the sister of Mémé Ciredutemps has adopted the name of ... Lady Lilith Weatherwax.
    • A sort of inversion (Keep it Almost Foreign) in the French translation of Soul Music, where the Celtic language spoken by Buddy shifts from Welsh to Breton.
    • Similar to the Witches Abroad example, in The Colour of Magic, when Rincewind and Twoflower are transported to Roundworld, and given new histories to fit, the German translation replaces Twoflower becoming the German tourist Jack Zweiblumen with Zweiblum becoming the English tourist Jack Twoflower. (Rincewind remains the Swedish-American Dr Rjinswand.)
  • In The Night of Wishes, Maurizio the cat says he descends from noble Neapolitan cats. In the Italian translation it was changed to French cats, and he also says that his true name is Maurice De Sainte-Maure. The change also applies for the cartoon adaptation, Wunschpunsch.
  • When A Clockwork Orange was first translated into Polish, as Mechaniczna pomarańcza, the translator kept all the Russian-influenced slang. But several years later he produced another version, Nakręcana pomarańcza, with all Russian-influenced slang changed into English-influenced one. He also planned a German-based version, which never happened because the translator died.

    Live Action TV 
  • Versions of Fawlty Towers shown in Spain did this with Manuel, the well-meaning but dim waiter who happened to come from Barcelona. In the Catalan version, he is Mexican. In the Castilian, he is Paolo from Naples.
  • Friends:
    • In the Italian dub, the Italian character Paolo from the first two seasons is renamed Pablo and comes from Spain.
    • In the French dub of "The One Where Joey Speaks French", Joey tries to learn Spanish.
  • In the French dub of Lost, Danielle Rousseau is German.
  • The German in Scrubs becomes Danish in the German dub.
  • Mr. Sulu is Filipino in the Japanese dub of Star Trek and renamed Mr. Kato. Some Star Trek Expanded Universe materials make Sulu a mix of Japanese and Filipino descent, mostly to explain his un-Japanese surname.
  • In the Latin American dub of Suddenly Susan, the exiled Cuban photographer played by Nestor Carbonell is Russian... a Russian called Luis.
  • In The Addams Family, the French version of Gomez Addams loves when Morticia speaks Spanish (instead of French in the English version).
  • In the 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale, which turned Bond into Jimmy Bond of the CIA, Felix Leiter becomes a British agent called Clarence.
  • Done only half-voluntarily in one English fansub of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Early in the series a mecha formation called "Go-Buster Oh" appeared. "Oh" is Japanese for "king", and because of the somewhat Western flavor of the show's setting the fansubbers decided to translate it to "Go-Buster King". But then later on in the show, a mecha literally called "Go-Buster King" in Gratuitous English appeared, so they had no choice but to follow this trope by translating that as "Go-Buster Oh".
  • In the Swedish version of The Muppet Show, the Swedish Chef becomes Norwegian.
    • In the German version he's Danish, probably because for most Germans Danish is a more inherently funny language than Swedish.
      Danish Chef: Smørrebrød, smørrebrød, røm pøm pøm pøm.
  • In the English version of Violetta, the songs are dubbed into English. In season 2, there are some originally English songs. These have been dubbed into French.
  • In the Brazilian dub of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Faymen (Moze's Brazilian love interest) is Spanish.
  • In the French dub of Sorry, I've Got No Head, Phillipe Lavavaseur is Canadian.
  • The scene on the Russian submarine in Good Omens (2019) is preceded by a location card that flips between Russian and English. On the English card, the name of the submarine is given in Russian. On the Russian one, the name is translated into English.
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place in which Alex has trouble in Spanish class, the Latin American dub first changes it to just “language class” and then decides to make it Italian. Interestingly, in the European Spanish dub, the language isn’t changed, but instead the subject itself - Alex doesn’t have trouble in a Spanish class, but rather a Mexican culture class.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Adam Hills discussed the renaming of the Swedish Chef to the Norwegian Chef in the Swedish version of The Muppet Show.
    Adam: Do you know what I love most about that? That means that there were Swedish people who had grown up their whole lives watching The Muppet Show in Sweden, watching the Norwegian Chef... then went on holidays across the border to Norway... and tried to make fun of Norwegians by going [makes Swedish Chef noises]... and the Norwegians would have just looked at each other and went "Oh my God! They actually speak like that!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The first few editions of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game had cards that had English names (written in katakana) in the Japanese version - these became Japanese in the English version. Not all of them, though; the early translation was decidedly messy.
    • Example: Cyclops (Japanese) became "Hitotsume Giant" (Hitotsume meaning One-Eye) in the English version.
    • Thunderbolt (Japanese) became Raigeki (English)
    • Diamond Dragon (Japanese) became Hyozanryu (English), which translates to "Iceberg Dragon"... They didn't even try with the Sapphire and Emerald Dragons (Luster Dragons 1 and 2, respectively)
    • Ryu Senshi and Jigen Bakudan had names written in Gratuitous English (Dragon Warrior and Time Bomber respectively). Their names were also changed to a Japanese translation of the English word.
    • The Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh card "Rai-Oh", meaning Thunder King, arrived in the English version as "Thunder King Rai-Oh", which literally means "Thunder King Thunder King".
      • They do this a lot. Another example would be the "YU-JYO" (Friendship) card, that became "Yu-Jo Friendship" in the English version. "Friendship Friendship". (Though that one is somewhat justified since it's a pun: the card image shows Yugi and Jounouchi/Joey broing it up)
    • And now a whole archtype. The Gishki were called the Ritua in Japanese. Ritua is a corruption of Ritual, and Gishki is a corruption of Gishiki. Either way, both names are based upon the name for Ritual cards in the other language.
    • Interestingly, Satellarknight Triverr's official French name is Satellarknight Triwinter.
  • When the Pokémon Trading Card game introduced Mega Evolutions as EX Pokémon, in the Japanese version the illustrations of the cards featured the names of their main attacks written in Gratuitous English over them. In the foreign releases, the attack names are in Gratuitous Japanese instead.

  • The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples: Most of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is written in Early Modern English, but of course, Caesar and his contemporaries would actually have been speaking Latin most of the time. Shakespeare rendered Caesar's last words as "Et tu, Brute?—Then fall, Cæsar;" the first three words of this are Latin meaning "And you, Brutus?", indicating Caesar's sense of betrayal upon recognising Brutus among the conspirators. The historical Caesar's dying words are disputed; some contemporary accounts report that he said nothing, while others mention a rumour that his dying words included a phrase in Greek directed at Brutus, "Καὶ σύ, τέκνον?", meaning "And you, child?" The Romans used Greek as a marker of their education, much as Latin has evidently been used in the Anglosphere since at least Shakespeare's day; thus, by rendering some of Caesar's dying words in Latin, Shakespeare is achieving the same effect for his contemporary audiences. It should be noted that Shakespeare did not originate the phrase "Et tu, Brute?", but he is of course the most famous author to use it.

    Video Games 
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • The Russian version of V changed Russian-like names of the kings of the Griffin dynasty to vaguely Latin-like. (Nival is actually a Russian company, but since it was contracted by the French publisher Ubisoft, the owner of the rights to the Might and Magic franchise, the international English version was made first.)
    • Oddly, Heroes VI didn't follow suit with its Slavic names of the Griffin family. They did, however, do a Translation Correction on a misspelled name (Sveltana to Svetlana).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: In the Japanese and English versions, the round sources of luminous energy found in the Palace of Twilight are called Sols (Sol means Sun in Latin and several Romance languages, including Spanish). In the Spanish version, they're renamed Taiyo (Sun in Japanese).
  • The Russian version of Warcraft III left Rexxar's bear, Misha, nameless. Probably in order to avoid the association of WarCraft with a children's story. In most Russian children's stories with talking animals, the bear is always named Misha (short for Mikhail). The name is also often used for circus bears.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • All references to America in the Japanese version are changed to Germany in the English version. Thus we get Manfred von Karma, among others. This was actually probably their best choice, considering that their last name was still "Karuma", and more to the point they dress like 19th-century German fashion plates.
    • The regionalization does get a Lampshade Hanging when Morgan Fey constantly refers to Lotta Heart as a "foreigner" due to her Southern accent (originally Kansai). Phoenix has to point out that the "heartlands" are still technically a part of America.
    • Redd White's Gratuitous English turned into Gratuitous Spanish in the English version of the first game.
    • In the French version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, Jean Armstrong, the French chef, is Italian. His name is Luigi Labocca, averting the One Luigi Limit.
    • One plot point in the Japanese version of the second game involves a character driving an American car, meaning the driver's seat is on the left instead of the right as would be expected in Japan. The English version changes this to a British car to put the driver's seat on the right instead of the left.
  • Villain Yeager from Tales of Vesperia spoke in a rather peculiar way in the original Japanese dub, filled to the brim with Gratuitous English. Rather than going with the typical response of some other gratuitous language to this in the English dub, he was given a goofy, over the top german accent. Not exactly the same, but gets the character's "off-kilter"ness out just the same.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, the line "Adios, Shadow the Hedgehog" is translated "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog", presumably because the common Spanish word for goodbye didn't sound very exotic for countries with large Spanish-speaking populations.
  • In Spanish translation of The Longest Journey, the Hispanic Cortez, who often slips in bits of his "native" tongue becomes Corthes, the Frenchman who often slips in bits of his "native" tongue.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the Japanese version of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, a random NPC in Veilstone City asks you a question in English, which the English version changed to French.
    • In Diamond and Pearl, the Gym Leader Fantina was originally named "Melissa" in the Japanese version, and spoke English. In the English translation, her name was changed to the more French-sounding "Fantina", and she spoke French. In the French version, she spoke English again and her name was changed to "Kimera".
    • Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum contain a man called the Meister, who upgrades your Pokédex to display other languages and offers to trade you his German Magikarp for a Finneon. In the German versions, he's called the Master and offers an English Magikarp.
    • Many of the Pokémon species themselves, especially in the very first games - in Japanese, many of them had English words for names (often just the English word for whatever animal/object they were), so the English translation had to get more creative ("Lizard", "Cocoon", "Pigeon", "Sand", "Ghost", "Crab" and "Strike" became "Charmeleon", "Kakuna", "Pidgeotto", "Sandshrew", "Haunter", "Krabby" and "Scyther", respectively).
    • Pokémon X and Y's international theme meant quite a bit of Gratuitous English text appeared in the Japanese version, which was mostly replaced with Japanese for the English translation (or German in one instance).
  • Waka of Ōkami originally spiced up his sentences with Gratuitous English, which was mostly changed to Gratuitous French... except when he quotes recognizable catchphrases, such as "Let's rock, baby!" or "Just go for it!"
  • One thought of an NPC in The World Ends with You is in English in the Japanese version. This was changed to Japanese in the English version. In both versions, he's thinking about is how he only speaks English and can't communicate with the locals, who only speak Japanese.
  • The character called Master in Breath of Fire IV ended up with a Dub Name Change in a deliberate attempt to Keep It Foreign—to preserve essentially a multilingual Prophetic Name. "Master", in the original Japanese version, was a reference that the literal clockwork Cloudcuckoolander that joined your party was actually Sealed Good in a Can and was hosting a goddess. This would have been too obvious in English, so they renamed the character—to Ershin, which means "two souls" in Chinese.
  • In the Prism Rangers bonus mission of Disgaea 2, the Japanese dialogue has Prism Orange as a Funny Foreigner who speaks a mixture of English and nonsensical Japanese with a thick American-tourist accent. In the English translation, he speaks Intentional Engrish for Funny with a thick Japanese accent.
    Prism Orange (Japanese): Fujiyama, geisha! Fantastic ne!!
    Prism Orange (English): Supah pahti! Fantastic spahkaru! Let's gooh nambah waan!
  • The Chinese characters of Capcom's arcade beat-'em-up Tenchi o Kurau II ended up becoming the Mongolian characters of Warriors of Fate, the English version of the same game.
  • In the Russian version of Sins of a Solar Empire, the names of the Kol battleship and the Sova carrier for the TEC faction were changed by duplicating the last consonant in a typical English fashion for common word last names (e.g. Starr), making them Koll and Sovva, respectively. "Kol" in Russian means "stake" (as in for killing vampires), and "sova" is Russian for "owl". The Russian-sounding Dunov battlecruiser kept its name.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley is seen shortly switching to Spanish "Blind Idiot" Translation. In the Spanish dub, he is speaking English.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, Kane orders the fake news about a massacre (to frame GDI) to be translated to German and French. In the German version of the game, Kane orders the translation to be done to English and French, and vice versa.
  • In the Japanese version of Persona 3, Mitsuru Kirijo uses Gratuitous English at times. In the English dub, this is changed to Gratuitous French.
  • Data East's arcade Mecha Game Wolf Fang was released overseas as Rohga: Armor Force. "Rohga" means "wolf fang" in Japanese, but the English title was used in Japanese.
  • In the English version of Dragon Quest V, major NPC Rodrigo Briscoletti peppers his speech with Italian words. In the Italian translation it is, of course, Gratuitous English instead.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: In most translations, Larxene's weapons have French names. In the French translation, they instead have German names.
  • Bravely Second: In most languages, the language of the moon is Gratuitous French. In the Japanese, Korean and (naturally) French translations, it is Gratuitous English instead.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: In most languages, the primary town on the South America analogue is called Contigo, but in Spanish-language versions, it's renamed Mitdir, which is a direct translation of the town's name from Spanish to German. The corresponding English translation for these words is "with you", foreshadowing the joining of the two games' parties in this town after beating Jupiter Lighthouse.
  • Kagura of the Onechanbara series likes to deliver her Pre Asskicking One Liners in thickly-accented Gratuitous English. So naturally, when it came time to dub Onechanbara Z2 Chaos into English, they had her use thickly-accented Gratuitous Japanese. No matter which voice track you're playing in, Narm Charm ensues.
  • In the Italian translation of Professor Layton games, Don Paolo is renamed Don Pablo similarly to the Friends example from above.
  • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, generic units will be added to your army if you lose too many units; these are named for numbers, days, and months in German. The German translation, naturally, renames them to the Japanese equivalents.
  • Super Robot Wars X: The English "Hope" is foreign to the Japanese players but not to other players with English as their mother tongue so the Latinnote  equivalent "Spero" makes it foreign for everyone else.
  • Senran Kagura: In the original Japanese script, Shiki is learning English and occasionally shows it off. For the English version, this was changed to her learning and demonstrating French. Other instances of Gratuitous English are typically untouched, as the Quirky Work is so unapologetically Japanese the original voice track is used so the message gets across.
  • Rather than directly transliterate the names of Tai Wu characters, the English localization of Dragalia Lost takes what would be the kanjinote  of their original name in the Japanese version and uses the Mandarin reading of it. Thus, Suou (蘇芳) becomes Su Fang, Son Goku (孫悟空) becomes Sun Wukong, Taikoubou (太公望) becomes Jiang Ziya, and so forth.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: In the English localization, villain Fawful speaks entirely in a hilariously bad Japanese-to-English translation. The Latin American localization kept this gimmick and he speaks entirely in a hilariously bad English-to-Spanish translation.
  • In the German dub of Skylanders: Swap Force, Baron Von Shellshock is French and is called Baron de Shellshock.
  • In the original Korean script of Cookie Run: Kingdom, the Bear Jelly Merchant featured throughout bonus cutscenes in the Cookie Odyssey mode uses Gratuitous English in their dialogue. The languages are reversed in the English translation.
  • The English translation of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story and its anime replaces Alina Gray's Gratuitous English with Gratuitous Italian.

    Web Animation 
  • In Murder Drones, Doll only speaks in Russian, which receives hardcoded translated subtitles for the English-speaking audience's benefit. In the alternate Russian dub track, she speaks English.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: There's a case of "keep it different language" in the Italian dub of the episode "The Papal Chase" which is set in the Vatican. In that episode, several times the characters try to speak Italian, but in the Italian dub, they speak Latin instead. Although it's done to a ridiculous extent when they are dealing with the Swiss Guards, and in the Italian dub, Lana claims that Switzerland's official languages are German, French, Latin (instead of Italian), and Romansh.
  • One episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold featured Brazilian heroine Fire speaking a line in her language (Brazilian Portuguese). When that episode was dubbed for Brazilian and Portuguese audiences, that line was translated into English.
  • Bluey:
    • The episode "Camping" centers on Bluey befriending Jean-Luc, a French-speaking Black Lab, despite their language barrier. In the French dub of the show, Jean-Luc is instead an English-speaker named Johnny.
    • In the episode "Pavlova", Bandit dresses as a chef who speaks broken Gratuitous French. Also in the French dub, he speaks broken Gratuitous Italian instead.
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub of Cow and Chicken, Supercow's Gratuitous Spanish dialogue was changed to Gratuitous English.
  • In both Spanish dubs (Latin American and European) of Dora the Explorer, Dora teaches English instead of Spanish. In fact, most dubs have Dora teaching English.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Rolf is the resident Funny Foreigner but, in Sweden, Rolf is a fairly common name so in the dub his name was changed to "Reinar" in order to sound more foreign-ish.
  • In Futurama, French is a dead language. In the French version, it's German instead.
  • Garfield and Friends: In one episode of the U.S. Acres segment, Roy speaks "Au contraire" and Wade thinks it's Spanish. In the Spanish Language dub, Wade thinks it's English.
  • An episode of Kim Possible has Kim's brothers suggesting that she send an anonymous email to someone. When she hesitates, they explain that "[They], like, route it through Sweden or some place, and it can't be traced." Since that wouldn't work in the Swedish dub, they changed the reference to Iceland.
  • In the The Loud House episode "Cheater by the Dozen", Bobby is briefly heard speaking Italian. Due to the episode's plot involving a Italian-Chinese fusion restaurant, the Italian dub changes the scene so that he speaks Chinese instead.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Kung Food", Adrien is needed to translate for Marinette's Mandarin Chinese-speaking uncle, Wang Cheng. In the Mandarin dub, he instead speaks Cantonese, which preserves both Marinette's Chinese heritage and the need for a translator.
  • The My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Speak No Evil" involves Jenny losing her English language disc after a trip to Japan, so she's stuck speaking in Japanese for most of the episode. Naturally, in the Japanese dub, everyone speaks Japanese anyway, so the two languages are reversed.
  • In the French dub of Peppa Pig, the Donkey family is from England.
  • Uter is a German-speaking Swiss in the German dub of The Simpsons.
    • In the European Spanish dub, Bumblebee Man's Gratuitous Spanish is retained, but he still has a Mexican accent.
      • And yet, oddly, in his first episode he was dubbed as Italian. Then somebody either realized that a Mexican accent would be as foreign, or that the character was a Captain Ersatz of El Chapulín Colorado (there was in fact a brief revival of Chespirito's popularity in Spain about that time).
  • Totally Spies!: The French-speaking pool boy, Guillaume, is a Spanish-speaking boy named Guillermo instead in the original French version.

    Real Life 
  • The Roller-coaster amusement ride is only known in Russia by the name roughly translated as "American mountains/hills/slides". Contrariwise, in some European countries (like France, Italy and Spain) they are known as "Russian mountains". This is doubly confusing since the name, originally used in English as well, is an acknowledgement of the fact that they were invented by Russians, which one would think would be a compliment.
  • What is called a Danish Pastry in English (and a Kopenhagener or Kopenhagener Plunder in German-speaking countries, including Austria) is called wienerbrød (Viennese bread) in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian (and viineri in Finnish).
  • In the 17th century, French courtiers came with the custom to leave without saying a word as to not disturb or distract the King from governing matters. When the Bourbons inherited the throne of Spain, they introduced the same custom, which gave origin to the Spanish idiom "Saying goodbye the French way" as slang to leaving unnanounced. Eventually the idiom made its way to France, but by then the custom had disappeared, so they changed it to "Saying goodbye the Spanish (or English) way". "French leave/exit" is still used in English, albeit in a casually insulting way as with other foreigner-based phrases such as "Dutch treat" (each person on a date paying their own bills).


Video Example(s):


French dub "Camping"

In the French dub, Jean-Luc is changed from a French boy to an English-speaker named Johnny in order to keep the episode's theme of bonding despite language barriers.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (32 votes)

Example of:

Main / KeepItForeign

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