Follow TV Tropes


The Song Remains the Same

Go To

Basically, when an imported work is translated, theme songs and other songs are left in the original language. There's a really good reason for this; due to differing language structures, perfectly respectable lyrics won't scan or rhyme in the new language. Songs (like all poetry) are much, much harder to translate than regular dialogue. Hence, rather than overhaul the lyrics in the song as is normally done with spoken dialogue, the song is played in the original language to avoid dialogue failure of Zero Wing proportions.

This is an aversion of Alternative Foreign Theme Song, where the theme of a foreign TV show, game or film is changed to a completely different one when aired in another country, and Translated Cover Version, when the original OP is simply dubbed into the target language.

Named after the Led Zeppelin song, and not to be confused with the band's concert movie titled The Song Remains the Same. Loosely related to Translated Cover Version.


    open/close all folders 


Specific examples:

  • Cardfight!! Vanguard: The Italian dub, while translates the various openings and endings, leaves the Ultra Rare songs in Japanese... except in the parts where other characters are talking over the song, where only the instrumental part is left. Also, when the theme songs are used as insert songs, they're left in Japanese.
  • The Italian dub of Cybot Robotchi leaves the theme song in Japanese, as it was a lower budget dub that only aired on local channels. This bucked the typical trend of anime released in Italy with Alternative Foreign Theme Songs recorded by popular singers like Cristina D'Avena. The Spanish dub also does this.
  • Death Note: The English dub features the original Japanese songs, with both Japanese and English subtitles for the lyrics. It's well translated, and it's quite easy to sing along with the English lyrics... even if one of them has a incomprehensible death metal scream for a lyric.
  • Digimon Tamers: The Finnish dub leaves the opening and ending in Japanese.
  • .hack//SIGN: The majority of the soundtrack including its opening theme Obsession, was sung in English by a Japanese artist. Making for an easy transition for English release.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • The Greek dub of Smile Pretty Cure! (based on the Glitter Force script) keeps the theme song in English.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The opening and closing sequences are kept in Japanese in the English dub, but when Haruhi sings on stage as part of ENOZ, the dub actually bothers to have an English version of the song.
  • Inuyasha: The North American dub keeps the opening in Japanese. The Italian dub, however, has some of the openings translated into, and sung in English. The first opening, for example. The Spanish version has a dubbed one.
  • While the Spanish dub of The Littl' Bits had Alternative Foreign Theme Songs in Spanish, the occasional Japanese Theme Tune Cameos - including in one episode where the theme is sung in character by the Japanese seiyuu - were left untouched.
  • The anime version of Little House on the Prairie reportedly aired in Puerto Rico with the Japanese theme songs intact.
  • Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow: The German dub leaves the opening theme song in Japanese.
  • The Latino Spanish dub of Majokko Meg-chan left the Japanese theme songs intact.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The English dub retained the original Japanese songs "Flying In the Sky" and "Trust You Forever", despite the latter having an English Translated Cover Version.
  • Naruto: In the Spanish dub, not only do they leave the original songs, but add subtitles.... in Japanese. With no Spanish subtitles.
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers: The one song not dubbed (as the series is a musical and it wouldn't make sense not to dub the songs) is the Prime Minister's theme, which plays in the background when he first appears. The song was only included in the BGM track ADV received, so they couldn't remove the Japanese vocals.
  • Ninja Hattori: The English dub by Disney Channel Asia leaves the theme song in Japanese. The English dub by Nickelodeon India translates it into English.
  • Osomatsu-kun: The Spanish dub has all of its songs directly dubbed, except for the musical number at the end of the episode Osomatsu-kun in 40 Years. Instead, it's left in its original Japanese with Spanish subtitles.
  • Outlaw Star: The theme songs weren't translated, except for the two times the first ending theme is featured being sung by Mefina.
  • Pokémon: Jirachi: Wish Maker: In the English dub, the end credits theme "Chiisaki Mono" is half-rewritten with new English lyrics, then switches back to the Japanese version in the second verse, ultimately resulting in a Japanese-English duet. The full Japanese version is available as a bonus feature on the DVD. In the movie itself, when May sings it to Max and later Jirachi as a lullaby, KAORI's original "doo doo doo" scatting is kept, though the song is dubbed when other characters sing it.
  • The Italian dub of the 1983 Perman anime uses the same opening as the Japanese version.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • When The '90s dub started using the original Japanese music for the BGM one insert song was left completely untouched, after that all instances of insert songs used English lyrics with the Japanese music.
    • Viz Media's dub uses the original theme. When the time comes for Usagi and Naru to sing it, however, they sing the new English translation, adding an extra layer of weird.
    • The Viz Media dub keeps all the insert songs in Japanese, except in cases where the characters are actually shown singing on-screen. This despite Viz mentioning that they had gone out of their way to cast actors that could sing; only Cristina Valenzuela (Rei) and Cherami Leigh (Minako) actually get the opportunity to do it.
  • The Italian dub of Sailor Moon Crystal dubs the openings in Italian, but leaves the endings in Japanese.
  • Sands of Destruction: Its opening song "ZERO" is left by AAAnote  and closing song "Kaze no Kioku ~ To the End of the World ~" by Aimmy in Japanese. The game decided to go for an Alternative Foreign Theme Song instead.
  • Sherlock Hound: The Latin Spanish dub leaves the theme song in Italian (as it was based off the Italian dub).
  • Slayers Next: One episode has Lina and Amelia casting a (completely useless) song by dressing in sailor fuku and doing a song and dance routine. They end up doing it twice, once doing it one line at a time, followed by them actually singing the entire song. In dubbed versions, the first pass is done in the dubbed language, while the second is done in the original Japanese. (The English dub even has Lina declaring "In Japanese!" beforehand.)
  • Both Cantonese dubs and the Thai dub of Tamagotchi keep the songs in Japanese. While the Cantonese dub at least has subtitles that provide translated lyrics to the songs, the Thai dub does not translate the lyrics in any way.
    • The 2nd Cantonese dub has the Bread and Milk Dance song dubbed, leaving you to wonder why they didn't bother to dub the negligible rest.
    • Tamagotchi: The Movie: The English and Italian dubs leave the ending song in Japanese.
  • Urusei Yatsura: The Castilian Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs leave the theme song in Japanese (with the Brazilian dub adding one of the actors saying the distributor's name, the show's Portuguese title, and the name of the dubbing studio over the singing). Oddly enough, the other Spain dubs, all based off the French dub, translated the French dub's Alternative Foreign Theme Song.
  • The English dub for Viewtiful Joe leaves in the Japanese opening (albeit abridged for time), which is quite rare since most dubbed kids anime would usually create a totally different opening.
  • The Toonami Asia dub of Yo Kai Watch left the summoning songs in their original Japanese. They were, however, translated to English for the Disney XD dub.
  • Zambot 3 was broadcast in Italy with the Japanese theme songs intact.
  • The English dub of Full Moon leaves all the songs in Japanese.
  • In the Love Hina dub, during episode 11 and episode 18 when the characters sing, the show switches back to the Japanese vocal track. However, the song in the Spring Special is dubbed by the English VAs.
  • Lucky Star left all the songs to the Japanese cast.
  • Lampshaded in the dub of Gokudo-kun Mannyuki: before several characters sing for a concert their de facto manager tells them "and remember to sing in Japanese!"
  • Similar to Zombie Land Saga and many of Funimation's simuldubs, this was also played straight with the songs of Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun but would get dubbed in later releases.

    Asian Animation 
  • At least one English version of Boonie Bears leaves the theme song in its original Chinese.
  • The English dub of Crazy Candies simply removes the vocals from the theme song.
  • The Flower Fairy TV show has an English dub, but the theme song is not translated.
  • The English dub of Happy Family leaves the theme song in Chinese.
  • All the Englsh dubs of Happy Heroes leave the opening and closing songs in Chinese, though the dub of Seasons 7 and 8 from Miao Mi has official closed captioning that provides translated lyrics for "Happily Flying Forward" (used as both the opening and closing song for the first eight seasons, as well as the Clip Show season Funny Highlights).
  • The English dub of the Mole's World TV show leaves the theme song untranslated.
  • Nana Moon's English dub neglects to translate the theme tune.
  • Some of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf's English dubs leave the theme songs in Chinese.

    Films — Animation 
  • For the dub of Princess Mononoke, the lyrics of the theme song and Women Workers' Song were both translated (bizarrely, the latter appears in the Japanese version on the Miramax soundtrack CD).
  • This is very noticeable in foreign dubs of Happy Feet and its sequel, Happy Feet Two.
    • The Finnish dub didn't have the songs dubbed, but subbed.
  • Usually, songs in the Disney Animated Canon are dubbed in German. But I'm Still Here from Treasure Planet was neither dubbed nor subbed.
  • The Aristocats: In the Italian dub, the song in the opening credits is left in English and French.
  • The German versions of Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland originally had their opening title songs dubbed, but subsequent releases of the former (beginning in 1992) use an instrumental version, while DVD/Blu-Ray releases of the latter use the original English version.
  • Speaking of Alice in Wonderland, the Brazilian TV re-dub from 1991 also leaves all of the songs in English (with the exception of the opening title theme, which uses an instrumental version).
  • The Albanian, Mandarin Chinese, and Serbian dubs of Dumbo receive this treatment to all of its songs as well. Also, the Song of the Roustabouts is left in English in several foreign dubs (notably Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, and Polish, as well as Brazilian 1941 and 1973, French 1947, German 1952, Japanese 1983, Latin Spanish 1942, and Swedish 1972), while the Persian dub uses an instrumental version of the song.
  • The Persian dub of The Jungle Book (1967) gets this treatment to all of the songs.
  • The Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, and Turkish dubs of All Dogs Go to Heaven do this to all of its songs. Also, most foreign dubs that dub the songs leave either one or both of the final two during the ending credits ("Hallelujah" and "Love Survives") in English. Only the Brazilian DVD, Dutch, French-Canadian, Latin Spanish, and Polish dubs translate them both, while sometimes, an instrumental version is used for one or both of the songs. For example, the Norwegian and Swedish dubs only translate "Love Survives", while "Hallelujah" is left in English (for the Swedish version) or instrumental (for the Norwegian version). The Hungarian dub leaves "Hallelujah" in English, but "Love Survives" is instrumental. The European Portuguese and Brazilian VHS dubs translate "Hallelujah" but "Love Survives" is left in English. The Romanian, Russian, and Icelandic dubs, on the other hand, use instrumental versions of both ending songs (although the Russian version uses a spoken translation during the first part of "Love Survives").
  • The main criticism leveled against the Hungarian dub of The Nightmare Before Christmas is that the songs, which carry about as much significance as the dialogue, are left in English. What makes this even more bothersome is that the subtitles for the songs on the DVD don't even use the same name translations as the dubbed parts (although the subtitles for the spoken dialogue are the same), thus the movie makes no sense if you watch it on DVD. More fitting and beautifully translated subtitles were only available to go with the movie's television broadcasts.
  • The German dub of Recess: School's Out leaves all of the songs in English. This is true for most of the dubs.
  • Asterix:
    • In the films Asterix and the Big Fight and Asterix Conquers America, "Zonked" and "We Are One People" are in English in all versions. Same goes for "Get Down on It" and "Eye of the Tiger" in Asterix and the Vikings. An unusual variant in that all the films were originally in French.
    • For Asterix and the Vikings, Céline Dion recorded French and English versions of "Tous les secrets"/"Let Your Heart Decide".
    • Asterix Versus Caesar; the theme song, "Astérix est là", remains in French in the English, Dutch, Polish 1995, European Spanish, Valencian, Croatian, and both Brazilian Portuguese dubs of the movie.
  • In foreign dubs of A Goofy Movie, Powerline's songs remain in English. The Lester's Possum Park song is also left in English in a few foreign dubs.
  • In a bizarre subversion, the Portuguese dub of A Monster in Paris doesn't feature the songs in its original French version. Instead, they're in English. And it's not even like English is closer to Portuguese than French. This means that many people thought the movie was American, and felt a bit disappointed.
  • This is done again in the dub of The LEGO Movie: what many consider the movie's theme song, "Everything Is Awesome", is kept in English. In fact, when Emmet is asked what his favorite song is near the beginning, he mentions the original title of the song.
  • In the French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese (both Mainland and Taiwanese) dubs of The Brave Little Toaster, all the songs are left in English (in fact, right before "City of Light", the French dub has the characters literally saying, "Let's sing in English!").
    • The Serbian dub also uses this trope, with the exception of a horribly dubbed (and mostly instrumental) version of "Worthless".
    • In the 2nd Russian dub, "City of Light" is the only song left entirely in English, while the rest of the songs vary between a mix of dubbing a few lines, using a Voiceover Translation, and leaving some parts in English.
  • In the Brazilian Portuguese dubs for The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, all the songs remain in English (using the UK version). In the 2nd dub, only Peewit's ballad is dubbed.
    • For both Italian dubs, most of the songs play either entirely or partially in French. The only song entirely dubbed is Peewit's ballad. The 2nd dub later translates the individual Smurf verses in "Personality", with the music being oddly muted during those parts.
    • The European Spanish version only dubs two songs: "Personality" and "Peewit Wants a Smurf". The rest of the songs are left in French for the 1979 dub and English for the 2011 dub.
  • The Care Bears: Adventure in Wonderland does this to its European Spanish and Italian dubs.
  • In Persepolis, Marjane sings "Eye of the Tiger" in stunted English in all versions.
  • The first Italian dub of Bambi left all the songs in English. The second dub, made 20 years later, translated them. The same also applies for the original Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Latin Spanish and Polish dubs as well, with their redubbings translating them in the process. The Albanian, Arapaho, Karachay, and Persian dubs also did not dub the songs at all. The 1994 and 1999 VHS releases of the original Finnish dub from 1969 strangely left the translated version of "Love is a Song" out and the English version was used instead, but the reprise version was kept intact.
  • The Danish dub of An American Tail has the songs left un-dubbed.
  • Most English dubs of Dingo Pictures films either leave the songs in their original German, or overdub English lyrics on top of the German ones. Oddly, the English versions of The Town Musicians of Bremen and Animal Soccer World use Dutch lyrics for the band's song.
  • The French and Italian dubs of Happily Ever After leave the songs in English. In the case of the Italian version, the songs would be subtitled, while the ending song "Love is the Reason" is in instrumental.
  • The Croatian, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish dubs of Joseph: King of Dreams kept the songs in English. However, in the Albanian dub, they kept the songs in Italian.
  • The Italian dub of Disco Worms leaves the songs in English... but redone by the Italian voice actors.
  • The Japanese dub of The Rugrats Movie keeps "Get Set, Ready, Go!" and "Witch Doctor" in English. But an even more bizzare example of this trope happens with The Stinger, which is kept entirely in English.
  • The Korean dub of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie often decides to switch between dubbing some songs and leaving a few others in English.
  • The Greek dub of Cats Don't Dance keeps the songs in English with Greek subtitles.
  • The Greek dub of The Swan Princess keeps the songs in English, but the sequels dub them in Greek.
  • The Albanian, Persian, Tamil, and Turkish dubs of The Prince of Egypt had the songs left in English.
  • While in most foreign dubs of The Three Caballeros the eponymous song is translated (except for the final bit that was in Spanish even in the original version), the Italian dub features the entire song in Spanish. This tradition was actually kept alive in later years, as even in later appearances of the song (like in DuckTales (2017) and Legend of the Three Caballeros) the Italian dubs keeps it entirely in Spanish. As a side note, an Italian translation of the song was made in the early 90's for the Disney Sing-Along Songs.
  • Trolls:
    • In the Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs of Trolls, "Can't Stop the Feeling" is left undubbed.
    • In Albanian, nearly all songs of Trolls and Trolls Holiday are undubbed (and subtitled when aired on TV), with the exception of "The Sound of Silence" and minor songs.
    • A weird example is actually common in dubs of Trolls and the Christmas Special, Trolls Holiday, in that certain songs in both films are dubbed... but using the English lyrics, due to the songs being licensed. Therefore the actors still sing the songs regularly, as if they were performing in an English dub when they're not. One major example of this is "Love Train". This doesn't apply to all licensed songs though, and this practice is often selective (mostly depending on the song's barring of the plot) - in nearly all dubs "Clint Eastwood" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" are given actual lyrics.
  • In the Japanese dub of Sherlock Gnomes, every song was kept in English. This is baffling when it comes to the Moriarty's Pies jingle and "Stronger Than I Ever Was". In the case of the latter, most viewers wouldn't understand why Irene hates Sherlock.
  • In the Icelandic dub of Big Hero 6, the song "Immortals" was not translated.
  • The Italian and European French dubs of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut leave the songs in English with subtitles.
  • Turning Red: The acapella version of "Nobody Like U" is kept in English in all dubs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the German version of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, spoken dialogues are dubbed, songs are subbed. What makes this example odd is the fact that approx. 80-90 % of the dialogue is sung instead of spoken, and you have to wonder why they even bothered to dub the negligible rest.
  • After spirited discourse in German, Captain Jean-Luc Picard suddenly launches into "A British Tar" with a very British accent in the German dub of Star Trek: Insurrection. The abrupt change is made all the more noticeable by Commander Worf's sudden glance over at the now-singing captain. It can be seen here
  • In the English dub of Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, the songs the nightclub singer sings are left in Japanese. The bizarre, surreal male chorus at the ending moments of the film that fits surprisingly well with the mood is cut out and replaced with a reprise of the opening.
  • The Italian dub of Godzilla vs Megalon leaves only the instrumental base of the Jet Jaguar theme song at the end.
  • While several foreign dubs for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory leave almost all of the songs in English, the Japanese, Brazilian TV, Galician, Hungarian, and Italian 1983 versions only dub "The Rowing Song" (though the latter four only translate the spoken second half). Also, the first French dub only translates "I Want It Now", which is mostly spoken, save for the 2/3rd of the song in the middle. Also, "The Rowing Song" is fully translated, but oddly uses the instrumental audio of "Pure Imagination" during that part. In the German dub, the only songs translated are "I've Got a Golden Ticket", "Pure Imagination" (including the ending-credits reprise), and the Oompa Loompa songs only during Violet and Mike's scenes. However, the DVD release has the former two songs left in English (though the ending-credits reprise of "Pure Imagination" is still presented in German).
  • Played With in the unofficial 2015 Despecialized Original Trilogy Blu-Rays of the original Star Wars trilogy in languages where the only dubs are Special Editions. The Turkish dub leaves the Emperor hologram in English.
  • Some foreign dubs (including the 1972 French dub and Italian dub) of Bedknobs and Broomsticks left "The Old Home Guard" in English.
  • While many songs in Hungarian dubs of Disney films have been dubbed, this is not the case with the Hungarian dubbing of Mary Poppins, as it left all of its songs in English. The possible reason why the songs were not dubbed into Hungarian because it would have been expensive for Disney to dub to the songs into Hungarian. Due to the fact the songs were left in English, the speaking parts during the songs were left in English as well.
  • The Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs of Annie leaves all the songs untranslated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Hungarian dub of The Muppet Show leaves most of the songs (including the theme) in English. The first Latin Spanish dub does the same thing. The first Italian dub translated only the original songs while the pre-existing ones were left in English, while later redubs dubbed only the theme song.
  • The Polish dub of The Hoobs leaves all of the Motorettes's songs in the original English.
  • LazyTown:
    • The Macedonian dub leaves all of the songs (except the theme song) in American English.
    • In the Russian dub of the song "Techno Generation", Ziggy’s "Pizza! Techno pizza!" line is left in English, though the rest of the song is dubbed.
  • The Romanian dub of almost every live-action show from Disney Channel keeps the songs, whether they're the opening theme or any song within the show, untranslated. In fact, it would be easier to list the aversions.
  • A variant of this happens in the American dub of Tweenies, where the dub adds an additional verse to the part before the characters say their names (which was instrumental in the original):
    Welcome to our playgroup
    Let's have fun together
    Come on, get to know us better
  • The Japanese dub of the Sesame Street episode "Meet Julia!" keeps "We Can All Be Friends" in English with Japanese subtitles, which is rather odd being that a Japanese translation for the song exists.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Nikolai Volkoff would sing the "Russian National Anthem" before his matches, but it was really just nonsense words to the tune of the real anthem. This is mainly because Nikolai, despite the character he played, was a defector from Yugoslavia, a communist nation, and Nikolai was an avowed anti-communist, and as a result, Nikolai couldn't stomach the idea of glorifying the Soviet Union in song, even as part of his act. However, it's also because Nikolai didn't speak any Russian - his native tongue was Croatian.

  • Operas with lots of dialogue are sometimes performed with the songs in the original language but the dialogue translated. (For example, this performance of The Magic Flute.) In addition to preventing the inherent problems of translating song lyrics, this helps the audience follow the plot better and makes it easier on the singers, who would be familiar with well-known pieces in their original language rather than various very different singing translations, and who may be able to pronounce a foreign language by rote in a song but not speak the language well in spoken dialogue.
  • The Italian version of We Will Rock You actually gives a in-universe explanation for not translating the songs: a line early on mentions that Italian is now the only language spoken on Earth, therefore singing songs in English (like the Queen ones that the musical is based on) is a very strong form of rebellion against Killer Queen's regime.

    Video Games 
  • The Tales Series usually cuts the lyrics altogether in the opening songs. Tales of Vesperia, on the contrary, translated and wrote English lyrics to "Ring a Bell." It was even sung by the original artist.
    • Although they have been doing that less and less in recent years. For example, Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerberus theme songs "Longing" and "Redemption" (sung by Japanese rock-star GACKT) remained in Japanese.
    • Also, Advent Children's theme song "Calling" remained Japanese. So did Crisis Core's theme song, "Why".
    • The reason for the Kingdom Hearts songs having English translations is because singer Utada Hikaru was raised in America and fluent in English. The singer for FFXII's theme is half-Japanese, half-American and lived in Hawaii for a number of years. As for The World Ends With You, the singer lived in Japan but attended English speaking schools.
    • The songs for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles are interesting cases. The English titles are different ("Kaze no Ne/Sigh of the Wind" became "Morning Sky" and "Hoshizukiyo/Moonlit Starry Night" became "Moonless Starry Night." However, the lyrics to the English songs are actually very close to direct translations of the originals.
  • The Wario Land 4 song played in Palm Tree Paradise is kept the same (and has hard to understand Japanese lyrics). The song itself is also in the sound test. Hear it here Strangely, despite the game being made in Japan, the title music stays in English in both versions.
  • In WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$, both the North American and European releases keep the Japanese songs for Dribble and Spitz' and Kat and Ana's stages. Justified with the latter, since the stage is ninja-themed.
  • The English version of Astal simply removed the vocals to the OP, "Let Me Try Again.", although the version with vocals can be found by playing the game disc in the Sega Saturn's music player (it appears as track 2note .
  • Final Zone II dubbed the Japanese opening song into English.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star: Working Designs dubbed the opening theme into English, with rather different lyrics from the Japanese ones, a straight translation of which was also included in the manual. Luna's "Lala Song" was left undubbed.
  • Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon for the Nintendo 64 kept the opening theme in Japanese with subtitles.
  • Danganronpa typically keeps the credits themes in Japanese. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony averts it with "The Caged Child", sung by the characters in-universe, and replaces the credits theme with an instrumental track.
  • For the Dutch releases of both Pink Panther's Passport to Peril and Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink, the dialogue was dubbed over but the songs remained in English.
  • While all the European releases of Rhythm Heaven translated the songs in their local languages, for the Wii sequel Rhythm Heaven Fever they decided to not dub them, but instead allowing the players to choose to have them either in English or in Japanese. The European releases of Rhythm Heaven Megamix have the double language option too, but the songs from the DS games keep their foreign translations while the ones from Fever and the few new ones that weren't turned into instrumentals in the English release keep the English track.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 

Specific examples:

  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3:
    • For the 2nd Greek dub, the intro is dubbed, but some episodes use the original English version.
    • The Italian dub uses a narration-less version of the intro sequence, and almost every song is just left as an instrumental track. Exceptions are the ones from the episodes "Dadzilla" and "Do the Koopa", which were translated in Italian, while the ending reprise of Girls Just Want to Have Fun in "Reign Storm" and the Milli Vanilli songs from "Kootie Pie Rocks" were left in English (making the Italian dub one of the few foreign dubs where the songs in the latter episode weren't removed for licensing issues).
  • Adventure Time: The European Portuguese dub has some of the later songs sung kept in English with added subtitles. The only songs that are dubbed in this situation are the show's theme song and closing credits song.
  • ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks: The theme song was kept in English for the Greek and Spanish dubs.
  • Bob's Beach: The theme song was kept in English for the Arabic dub.
  • Bob's Burgers: The Italian dub goes back and forth between translating the songs and leaving them in English. An example is the episode "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl": all the song snippets from the musicals shown throughout the episode are dubbed in Italian, but the ending song of the composite musical at the end isn't.
  • Bob the Builder: The Chinese theme song is not dubbed, but subbed.
  • The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show: The theme song wasn't dubbed in the 1980s French dub, which is odd considering that the original 1975 dub translated the theme song.
  • A Bunch of Munsch: The theme song was kept in English for the Arabic dub.
  • Care Bears (1980s) The Finnish dub leaves the theme song in English or sometimes uses part of the Swedish version.
  • Code Lyoko: Theme tune aside, the franchise produced a whole CD of songs for the show's fake band, "The Subdigitals", in both French and English. There is one episode that features two of the songs on the CD, and the English lyrics are used in the English dub.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Some dubs such as Miami Spanish, Greeknote , Albaniannote , and Taiwanese Mandarin keep the English vocals in the theme song, but dub over any spoken lines in the song.
    • The Italian dub did too, until Season 10 when the theme song was changed and they dubbed it in Italian.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In the episode "The Sweet Stench of Success", Bloo's song, "My Evil Producer Kidnapped Me and Won't Let Me Go", is kept in English in most dubs. "I'm Just Another Used-Up Deodorant Stick" is dubbed, however.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • The German dub does this to the songs after episode 39. "Yah! Aah! Ooh! Eee!" note  and "We're Ready To Party" note  are two examples of this.
    • Both theme songs are also left in English for the 2nd Hungarian dub.
  • Kim Possible: The theme song was kept in English for the German and Italian dubs.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • A couple of shorts in their Polish translation. Sometimes they feature an odd mixture: while the entire cartoon is dubbed, the songs are left in English with a Voiceover Translation applied to them (a bland-sounding actor reading the translated lyrics over the English text).
    • The German translation does something similar, sans Voiceover Translation.
    • The Italian dub of "Book Revue" leaves all the songs in English with no translation... and also leaves in English the voices of the girls swooning over Frank Sinatra and yelling "IT'S FRANKY!"
  • The Loud House: In the Italian dub of "Really Loud Music", the songs "Play It Loud", "Best Thing Ever" and "What Everybody Wants" are left in English, while all the other ones are translated in Italian.
  • Metalocalypse: International dubs of the series keep all the songs in English, often adding subtitles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Japanese dub translates every song in the first 11 episodes - except "Winter Wrap Up" from the episode of the same name, and "Art of the Dress", both of which are left in English. The original theme song also appears during the credits of later episodes. Rarity's other major song from the first three seasons, "Becoming Popular", was also left undubbed.
    • Same goes for basically every song in the Chinese dub. Unlike Japanese viewers, they aren't even granted the courtesy of subtitles.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: One foreign dub kept at least one of the songs ("Unleash the Magic") in English.
    • For some reason, the songs in various dubs (such as Italian, Norwegian or Polish) of Chapter 6 of My Little Pony: Make Your Mark (except the show's theme song) remain in English, in spite of the ones from previous episodes having been dubbed. On top that, in the aforementioned dubs it was clumsily lampshaded with having somebody offscreen telling characters to sing in English or the character outright stating they will do that onscreen (such as Opaline just before "Villain").
  • The English dub of The New Adventures of Lucky Luke left the theme song, which mixes French with Gratuitous English, undubbed.
  • Peanuts: There are two different Norwegian dubs of the Musical Episode "Flashbeagle": One where all the songs reinterpreted and performed by the Norwegian actors, and one where the songs are left in English.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In all foreign dubs except for the Japanese dub, the songs "Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day" by Bowling for Soup in Phineas & Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo and "Let it Snow" in A Phineas and Ferb Family Christmas remained in English. And the Russian viewers didn't get any subtitles.
    • In the Norwegian, Polish and Italian dubs of Summer Belongs To You, Clay Aiken and Chaka Khan's duet is not dubbed, possibly out of respect for the original artists; even their spoken lines are not dubbed (they don't have many of them anyway).
    • In the Greek dub of the second season, all songs (including the opening) are left in English except for their dialogue.
  • The Italian dub of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain left the theme (except for the spoken dialogue) in English.
  • Recess: In some foreign dubs, any scene where a group of characters are singing something is usually left in English.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: The European Portuguese dub has "The Mantid Man Can" and "LOG" left in English, although the latter song is dubbed in the "Log for Girls" skit.
    • While the Serbian dub generally has the songs dubbed note , at least one (Happy Happy Joy Joy) dubs the Serbian vocals on top of the English ones. note  Even the spoken portions are done this way as well.
    • The Latin Spanish dub has "Happy Happy Joy Joy" dubbed for the most part (most of the song consists of spoken lines), but the chorus is left in English.
  • Regular Show:
    • The Russian dub that airs on Cartoon Network has the songs "Party Tonight" & "Summertime Loving, Loving in the Summer (Time)" kept in English, sometimes looping because some parts overlap with the original English dialogue. The other original songs, however, are dubbed.
    • A strange case in the Brazilian dub: "Summertime Loving, Loving in the Summer (Time)" was translated to Portuguese in the parts where the actual music plays, but in the scenes where Rigby keeps singing it throughout the episode, he sings it English, but it's still dubbed. However, in the final scene of the episode when he starts singing "Aw, Snap", he sings it in Portuguese.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:
    • With the exception of the 1980s Brazilian Portuguese TV dub, most foreign dubs of the 1964 Rankin/Bass version (including Spanish, Greek, and Japanese) leave all of the songs in English. This is also true for most of their other works. However, a Brazilian dub was done before said dub that played this trope straight.
    • A slightly different case happens in the Czech and Slovak dubs of Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town; while the dialogue is dubbed as normal, the songs have a Voiceover Translation applied to them.
  • A variation of the trope: most foreign dubs of Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat remove the "Sagwa you're my best friend" line from the theme song.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In the German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian and Turkish dubs of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the main theme song is in English. This was also the case with season 2 episodes in Latin Spanish, as well as one of the Swedish dubs.
    • The theme song for The Scooby-Doo Show also uses this trope for the Czech, German, Turkish, Arabic, and Italian dubs, and occasionally for some episodes of the foreign dubs (French, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese) that often use an instrumental version of the theme.
  • The Simpsons: While in Spain, Latin America & Brazil normally plays this straight, in the Clip Show of musical scenes, the songs were all dubbed despite originally airing in English.
  • The Smurfs (1981):
    • The Alternative Foreign Theme Song in the Romanian dub remained in English, but was later dubbed for the 2015 YouTube releases.
    • For the German version, the intro sequence is dubbed, but at least one airing of an episode on Boomerang was given this treatment for unknown reasons.
      • The ending title song to the episode, "Once in a Blue Moon" is left untranslated.
      • The show's original German ending credits from 1988 use a shortened version of the UK English opening theme as well (this video can be seen here).
  • The Brazilian and Hungarian dubs for The Snorks give this treatment to the sung part at the end of the intro sequence.
  • The Cantonese dub of Sofia the First leaves the character songs in the episodes in its original English.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Most dubs of the episode "Band Geeks" keep the song Squidward's band sings at the end in English, mainly because it is an actual song by an actual band as well as a stock music track, so it makes sense to be kept in English.
      • The Hebrew and Serbian dubs surprisingly have the song dubbed, in spite of it not being originally produced for the show. The Georgian Voiceover Translation also has the song translated too.
    • The Italian dub leaves the songs in the episode "Christmas Who?" in English.
    • While the Çufo Albanian dub typically dubs the songs, the song from "Two Thumbs Down" is subtitled.
    • Similar to the Disney Channel examples listed above, the Romanian dub keeps the theme song in English, though this was initially averted for the first two seasons.
  • Super Mario World: All foreign dubs also leave the opening theme song intact in English (although the Super RTL dub of the show in Germany used the Plumber Rap from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and the Italian dub uses the opening from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3).
    • Most insert songs are left as instrumental tracks in the Italian dub, with only the ones from "Fire Sale" and "Gopher Bash" being dubbed.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): The Russian and Italian dubs kept the theme song in English.
  • A weird example in the Italian dub of Teen Titans Go!. During the first appearance of "The Night Begins to Shine" in the Season 2 episode "Slumber Party", the song is left in English. In the Season 3 episode "40%, 40%, 20%" the song is instead translated in Italian, but in the Season 4 4-parter "The Day the Night Stopped Beginning to Shine and Became Dark Even Though It Was the Day", it's once again left in English. It could possibly be the fact that like "Sweet Victory", "The Night Begins To Shine" was actually a track from a stock music library.
  • Most foreign dubs of The Transformers leave the theme song in English, with at least one season of the Latin Spanish dub (recorded in Los Angeles) and the second Italian dub of season 3 using instead an instrumental version.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Unlike most foreign dubs, the Italian dub leaves the theme song in English. It's the same case for all dubs of the spin-off The Plucky Duck Show.
  • Toad Patrol: The Croatian dub of the episode "Journey's End" leaves Calypso's singing in English.
  • Total Drama:
    • The Castilian Spanish, Dutch, and Turkish dubs leave the opening song in English.
    • In the Persian dub of Total Drama World Tour, the songs are left in English but the spoken lines during them are still dubbed.
  • Totally Spies!: The Italian dub used to have its own Alternative Foreign Theme Songs but, after the Channel Hop, it always uses the original openings, even in season 6 with the English lyrics.
  • Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: One of the Persian dubs, the Greek dub, and as expected, the Albanian dub leave all of the songs in the series undubbed. Hebrew is a weird example as only the Theme Tune was actually dubbed, while the rest remained undubbed and subtitled. Albanian also subtitles them, again as usual.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
    • In every dub the song "I Vow" is kept in English.
    • In most dubs, the song "Love Me Forever" was either kept in English or as just an instrumental track.
  • VeggieTales:
    • There are two Taiwanese Mandarin dubs: the first one which has the songs dubbed by the local voice actors, and the second one which leaves all of the songs in English. Interestingly enough, the second dub features a version of "Boids" done by the Taiwanese voice actors.
      • On another note, Sven's unnecessary singing lines from Lyle the Kindly Viking are dubbed for an unknown reason, leaving you to wonder why they even bothered to dub those negligible lines, but not the actual songs.
    • The Croatian dub normally averts this, but two episodes (Lyle the Kindly Viking and An Easter Carol) were given this treatment for unknown reasons.
  • What About Mimi?: The Turkish dub leaves the theme in English.
  • In a lot of British dubs of preschool programmes, the theme songs are carried over from the original American or Canadian English versions, but will only have the parts where the main characters speak get dubbed over. An example of this was the Cartoonito dub of Caillou, where the song was kept, but Mommy's "You're getting to be a big boy!" was redubbed. Despite this, there have been some exceptions to this, especially shows that had a "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune.
  • Ready Jet Go!: The Indonesian dub keeps the songs in English. It also removes the background music, making the dub pretty creepy.
  • An interesting example happens in most foreign dubs of The 7D: The sampled part of "Heigh Ho" that plays before the actual song starts is left in English.
  • Japanese airings of Big Block Sing Song on Disney Junior are left undubbed.


Video Example(s):


Gabriel Agreste Dancing

Upon learning the secret identities of Scarabella and Kitty Noire, the normally stoic and uptight Gabriel soon breaks into a happy celebratory dance only to be briefly interrupted by Nathalie. The Villain Song featured in this sequence is carried over from the original French dub to the English dub.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / HappyDance

Media sources: