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Translator Collar

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Russell: Cool! What do these do, boy? [Russell starts to fiddle with a dial on Dug's collar]
Dug: Hey, would you — cuerdo con tigonote  — I use that collar — watashi wa hanashi manote  — to talk with — [in Southern accent] I would be happy if you stop.

Simply put, this is a variety of translation device that can turn any ordinary animal into a Talking Animal. Of course, such a device would require that the animal in question already had human-level intelligence and only lacked the ability to speak, but this is seldom an issue in fiction.

Comes in three types:

  1. Completely external: A suit or device is in close proximity to the subject.
  2. Completely internal: A device is implanted or permanently attached to the subject.
  3. Mixed: The phlebotinum that interprets the subject is separated in some way from the phlebotinum that talks for the subject and thus can be external and/or internal.

Compare Translator Microbes and contrast Uplifted Animal.


    open/close all folders 

  • Old Spice's "Mr. Wolfdog" campaign features a wolf with a translator collar as their new director of marketing.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Verg the Shark Man from Blue Submarine No. 6 wears one. He destroys it in the last episode, realizing that he doesn't want to talk to humans anymore.
  • The Powered Armor used by Poipoider and other porpoises in Mars Daybreak translate their language as well as letting them walk on land.
  • Sakamoto's Handkerchief/Bandana/Collar in Nichijou.
  • The Gamilas in Space Battleship Yamato 2199 had developed a small device attached to the necks of their officers which allows them to translate language both ways as was demonstrated when Lower Storm Commander Melda Dietz boarded the Yamato to speak with the crew.
    Analyzer: (speaking Gamilan) <We hereby welcome you aboard as a ceasefire ambassador.> (Melda holds up her hand)
    Melda Deitz: <Your Gamilan is difficult to understand, droid.> (presses device on neck as she begins speaking in English) There's no need for it, I can translate your language with this device.

    Comic Books 
  • In All Fall Down, Phylum — trapped in the form of a chimpanzee — receives one in the mail from an anonymous donor, giving him back his voice. It's booby-trapped to give corrupting advice to Pronto from the lips of his best friend.
  • In We 3, the protagonists' cybernetic enhancements include translating their thoughts into human speech. Because the animals don't have human thought processes, however, the resulting speech is very You No Take Candle.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dæmorphing, most Taxxons wear these because they have difficulty pronouncing other species' languages; however, the translations are imperfect and have trouble interpreting idioms and honorifics.

    Film — Animation 
  • Steve the monkey's translator in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs involves a sweatband and a Speak'n'Spell.
  • The dog collars in Up also come with different language settings and a screen with tra— SQUIRREL! — tracking information.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Cat from Outer Space, the title character had a collar that could read his brainwaves and translate his thoughts into human speech (among many other remarkable capabilities).
  • In Congo, as in the book, Amy the gorilla had been taught sign-language. Unlike the book, however, the movie gives her a robotic glove which translates her signing into audible speech to make things easier on the audience.
  • Inspector Gadget 2 features a collar that translates dog language to English, which is put on Brain.
  • In Paws, a computer-literate dog creates a computer program to translate his words to English. His human owner makes a portable version which the dog wears as a bow tie, also modifying the program to make him sound like Billy Connolly.

  • Goblins in the Castle: Goblins on the Prowl features Solomon's Collar, which grants the wearer the ability to understand animal talk and be understood by them in turn, among other abilities.
  • In the 1981 book Megalodon by Robin Brown, the protagonist scientist has developed the Janus device, a computer/vocoder/translator which enables him to teach two dolphins (nicknamed Doris and Macho) and a killer whale (Morgan) a rudimentary language (their own language is sophisticated enough to communicate three-dimensional sonar images — it's converting that into language simple enough to be translated that's the problem).
  • Rats, Bats and Vats plays with this trope. The anthropomorphic rats were genetically engineered to be bipedal. However, their minds were uplifted with alien microchip technology, and they need an implant to speak to humans.
  • Starter Villain (2023): Hera, Persephone, and the other spy cats communicate with their human colleagues using specialized keyboards connected to computer displays. The dolphins have a similar system controlled using underwater microphones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D., a Monster of the Week who uses one of these switches bodies with Sky, and breaks it so Sky can't tell anyone. This... really shouldn't work, as Sky still knows English and the bad guy wouldn't, but maybe it's really a case of the alien's vocal cords not being able to make the right sounds.
  • In SeaQuest DSV, Darwin the dolphin is able to communicate with his human crewmates using a device that Lucas built. However, due to the abstract nature of a dolphin's thought processes, his communications aren't always clear. In one episode, a rogue overhears Darwin "talk" and assumes the dolphin really can communicate in English. He captures Darwin when he goes out for a swim and tries to persuade him to reveal where the center of the universe is. When he is later allowed to talk to Darwin using the device, the dolphin tells him that the center of the universe is "inside [him]".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Parodied in a panel of The Far Side involving an inventor who created a device for translating dogs' barking, which he carried around with him. As he walked down the street, all he heard was "HEY!" "HEY!" "HEY!" "HEY!" "HEY!" "HEY!" "HEY!"

  • In one skit on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, a scientist has spent twenty years building a machine that translates whalesong into English. It turns out they're saying "Hey! I'm a whale!"
    Scientist: So. That's twenty years I'll never see again.

    Video Games 
  • LunarLux: The Universal Translator is a device that allows the user to communicate in and understand different languages. However, it doesn't cover the language that Murks use.


    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Jimmy has a device that lets him talk to fish.
  • Adventure Time: In "My Two Favorite People", Lady Rainicorn gets one, but it causes her to talk like an old man. It's a variant in that Lady Rainicorn already speaks a human language, specifically Korean.
  • Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake: A more advanced version of the collar appears early in the series, when Simon takes one from a dog that was fighting with. After the non-sapient Cake enters the real world from Simon's mind, he puts the collar on her, giving her the same gruff voice as the dog. Later, the Squirrel adjusts the collar's setting from "dog" to "cat", giving Cake the familiar voice of Roz Ryan. Finally, she discards the collar when Prismo changes her into her more familiar, Jake-based form, allowing her to talk without it.
  • The Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Be-Knighted" has Ben noticing that the supposedly feral Dragon is wearing an odd piece of damaged equipment on its throat and it makes several vocalizations that sound less like threatening roars and more like attempted speech. When the Dragon escapes, Ben talks to Kevin and finds out that the busted device was in fact one of these, finding an identical one in Kevin's stash (apparently, it's a pretty standard piece of alien tech to facilitate communication). Ben manages to swap out the Dragon's damaged one for the new one during their next fight, upon which Team Ben learns from the surprisingly eloquent Dragon that he is in fact a sapient alien that came to Earth as a mapmaker before being attacked and imprisoned by the Forever Knights for a thousand years like an animal as they tried to kill him. He's also understandably bitter about whole affair and being separated from his friends and family.
  • Danny Phantom has one where Jack tries to build a ghost-to-human translator. However, as the ghosts in the series can speak English (or other human languages) anyway, all it accomplishes is giving Jack yet another hint that his son is part-ghost, which of course he completely ignores.
    "I am a ghost. Fear me."
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter once invented a pill that allowed a dog to talk, only to find that it didn't make much more sense in English; a double subversion because when the dog's owner comes to pick him up, his human English sounds like the dog's translated dog-language.
  • In the Dogstar episode "Pedigree", Lincoln Clark creates a 'voice-box' for dog-scent sniffer-cat Boombah. They quickly discover that Boombah has nothing interesting to say, and that Simone has been lying about being able to talk to the cat.
  • A variant of sorts happens in DuckTales (2017) in which Gyro uses a voice modulator to make the normally unintelligible Donald Duck sound normal (specifically, like Don Cheadle).
    Donald: Rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers, rubber baby buggy bumpers! Ha ha, wow! I've never been able to say that before!
  • Futurama has an episode in which Professor Farnsworth's latest project involves a hat that gives monkeys human intellect and the ability to speak. Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Brain gets a translating collar when he makes a return appearance in Gadget and the Gadgetinis; in the earlier series, he can only bark and mime.
  • One episode of Geronimo Stilton, "If I Could Talk to the Animals", has this trope, as the title suggests.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Jimmy has a device that lets him talk to fish.
  • A good example in Krypto the Superdog, in which Kevin is the only one who can use a translating communicator that enables him to talk to animals, including Krypto. All animals can talk to each other, but humans can't understand them without a intergalactic communicator.
  • In an episode of My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Rabbit invents a device to translate what Buster's saying, which doesn't work. (Yes, Rabbit's a talking rabbit. Yes, he says dogs can't really talk. Just go with it.)
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Interview with a Platypus", the brothers think that Perry's chattering must be a form of Animal Talk, and get to work on a Perry Translator. The translator turns out to work on all animals, which the brothers then use to tell pet owners what their pets want. At the end, they finally learn that Perry's chattering doesn't actually mean anything.
  • A scientist on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (episode "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright") also had a device that let him talk to fish. The fish looked at Scooby and said, "Scooby Doo! Scooby Doo!" He actually developed it to work on dolphins, since dolphins actually possess a language. It just also worked on fish, probably because of Rule of Funny.
  • Related: In an episode of The Simpsons, Unkie Herb invented a Baby Translator, which transformed Maggie's "goo-goo-gaa-gaa" into phrases that the parents could understand like "Burp me," "Oh, dear, I seem to have soiled myself," etc.
  • Spliced: The episode "My Fair Sharkbunny" sees the Wunny Sharbit get outfitted with one by Peri, granting it the ability to communicate with the other mutants of Keepaway Island (in the voice of Wyatt Williams, no less).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Chimps Ahoy", one of Sandy's failed inventions is a helmet that lets you talk to nuts. SpongeBob tests it on a peanut, who says "It's dark in here." Sandy then uses the nut to demonstrate her coffee grinder, which causes it to scream in agony.
    • "Chatterbox Gary" has SpongeBob buy a collar that translates Gary's meows and speak in the voice of Keith David.
  • Parodied on The Wild Thornberrys. A bratty kid shows Eliza (who can actually talk to animals) a device which can attract animals and demonstrates it on Darwin. After he leaves, Darwin asks Eliza what the device was and why it was talking about chicken soup.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Collar Of Random Animal Communication


Gamilas Translation Device

Due to the large technological gap between Earth and Gamilas, the Gamilas managed to facilitate the creation of translation devices that work to translate sound and voices in the users/companies' native language.

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Example of:

Main / TranslatorMicrobes

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