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Woolseyism / Live-Action TV

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  • The German dub of Hogan's Heroes gives Sgt. Schultz and Col. Klink Bavarian and Saxon accents respectively; the original was not specific.
    • Klink's speeches go even further as he occasionally uses terms and mannerisms that no sane German would (but no one said Klink is sane). He even calls his superiors names that would get him in trouble. General Burkhalter (who got a clear Vienna accent like the other two named above) is repeatedly called things (to his face) like "Sacherfriedhof" which literally means "cake cemetery" (Sacher is a special cake from Vienna). This sometimes leads to a Hurricane of Puns from Klink. Also notable is, this is the second German Dub under "Ein Käfig voller Helden" (engl. "a cage full of heroes"). The first one was pretty lame and only the first season was dubbed and abandoned later.
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    • A specific example: Hochstetter has found a button marked "US" on the ground outside the camp, indicating American spies in the area. He shows it to Klink triumphantly—Klink first reads it as "oos!" and when his attention is drawn to the fact that it's actually two letters reads it as "unterseeboot" (submarine). (Which doesn't make any sense either since the only correct shortening would be UB.)
  • The titular character of The Whitest Kids U' Know sketch "The Grapist" was called the "Violetador" in the Spanish dub. While the English one was a combination of "grape" and "rapist," the Spanish word for rapist "violador" wouldn't fit well with the Spanish word for grape "uva." They changed to a mix of "violador" (rapist) and "violeta" (purple), which still works because grapes are purple.
  • Power Rangers varies from time to time on how close it resembles Super Sentai, sometimes for the better. A good example would be how Denji Sentai Megaranger was turned into Power Rangers in Space. Megaranger showed ships flying through space and in preparing for the next season, the production team ended Power Rangers Turbo with a change of scenery to space. What they discovered was that Megaranger was a virtual reality/ gadget based series, never an outer space setting. So they mixed and matched the Megaranger footage with original American scripts and footage. What was originally just another Super Sentai series became one of the most popular seasons of Power Rangers and Growing the Beard for the entire franchise.
    • Its successor, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, similarly. The next sentai's name comes out to Starbeast Squadron Galaxyman, so naturally... it's about nature and takes place in a forest. The mecha and villains are from space-based but that's about it. PRLG utterly jettisons that idea. Taking place on a space station with several Earthlike environments, we say adios to Earth in the first episode and take off on a spacefaring adventure like nothing either franchise has ever done before or since even as sentai footage battles that still take place in downtown Tokyo or Japan's version of the BBC Quarry haven't gone anywhere. Zordon died at the end of PRIS so the Zordon-like talking tree mentor from Ginga isn't kept, but good old Alpha fits seamlessly into the role of his talking acorn sidekick.
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    • Power Rangers RPM seems to be doing a similar thing — taking the Lighter and Softer Engine Sentai Go-onger, about heroes fighting with sentient talking car/aircraft/train toys that can be transformed into giant talking cars/trains/aircraft and robots, and turning it into a series set After the End in a Crapsack World where, in the wake of an attack by a computer virus and the robot army it constructs, humanity only survives in a doomed domed city called Corinth, protected by a small but elite team of Rangers, and even those Rangers are in dire straits when the series begins, forced to recruit two new Rangers, one of which they're not sure if they can trust and the other of who is, at best, a bit shy of the skills necessary for the job.
    • A mix of this trope and Bowdlerisation can be found in Power Rangers S.P.D. with its treatment of the annual criminals. In Dekaranger, its Sentai brother, they were judged, found guilty, and then promptly Executed. Disney apparently considered showing the police explode perps in a massive fireball and posing over it wouldn't be a good idea, and filmed new footage of them being nonfatally arrested, a la Time Force. It went nicely with the other homages/similarities to TF that were already there.
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    • Fans were shocked to see the unedited "Zandar Thunder" text in Power Rangers Dino Charge as a part of the Gold Ranger's finishing move. However rather than being just a pun on thunder like the original was, they worked "Zandar" in the story in a better way than they did with Gosei and Tensou's names in Megaforce, using it as the name of the Kingdom that the Gold Ranger is from. Hence his finisher is the Thunder from the Knight of Zandar.
  • In the French dub of The A-Team, B.A. Baracus becomes Barracuda.
    • The Italian dub renamed him P.E. Baracus, with P.E. being perfect for the lip-sync and standing for "Pessimo Elemento", more or less "Nasty Guy".
  • The Persuaders! with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore is remembered much more fondly in Germany (where it was called Die Zwei (The Two)) because of the extremely creative dub that consisted almost entirely of crazy made-up 70s slang. Some of the phrases from the dub have become memes in Germany, for example the Gratuitous English One-Liner "Sleep well in your Bettgestell" ("Bettgestell" means "bed stead" but rhymes with "well"). Then there's "Hände hoch - ich bin Achselfetischist!" ("Hands up - I'm an armpit fetishist!").
    • The same translator gives us M*A*S*H*. Even folks that normally see movies and serials in the original English like the German better.
    • The same thing happened in France, the show (there known as Amicalement VôtreFriendly Yours) being very fondly remembered for its dub and inspired choice of voice actors.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! got a Woolseyism in its very title in Sweden. Since it was a spoof of Secret Army (Hemliga Armén in Swedish), its Swedish title became 'Emliga Armén, which sounds like it's pronounced with a French accent while at the same time referencing the dialect word emliga, "lame".
  • In the BBC Sherlock series, a grammatically-challenged British prisoner in Belarus complains about going to get 'hung', which Sherlock denies - he is, however, going to get 'hanged'. In the German dub, the prisoner has correct grammar in this last instance, but Sherlock corrects him by saying he's going to get shot, which is the actual Belarusian execution method.
    • The European Spanish dub, which had no real way to convey the pun, changed it a bit while still preserving Sherlock's jerkassery: the prisoner says "I would get hanged", and Sherlock replies, "you will get hanged".
  • Doctor Who:
    • The French dub of Doctor Who managed to translate TARDIS by keeping both the acronym and the almost exact meaning, as "Temps Avec Relativité Dimensionnelle Inter-Spatiale", or "Time With Inter-Space Dimensional Relativity". Not bad given the litteral translation of TARDIS would be "Temps et dimensions relatifs dans l'espace".
      • A rather nice one was done in Voyage of the Damned, where a badly misinformed alien explains that English declare war on Turkey each Christmas then eat them. In the translation, Turkey was replaced by "les gens d'Inde" (people from India), which sounds like "les gens dindes" (turkey people).
      • River Song's catchphrase "Spoilers" became "C'est pas l'heure" (it's not time yet) in the French dub, which sounds almost like "spoiler" (which has no easy translation in French).
    • In the Japanese dub of "School Reunion", there's a funny bit where the Tenth Doctor babbles some Motor Mouthed nonsense about how much he likes saying "allons-y" and how he wishes he could meet someone called Alonso so he could say "allons-y, Alonso". The Japanese dub changed this to a reference to one of the Victim of the Week schoolboys in the episode, who conveniently was named Milo, which sounds identical in a Japanese accent to "mairô", the Japanese equivalent of "allons-y", and so he ends up babbling about how he hopes he can say "mairô" to "Milo".
  • The Tokusatsu fansubbing group Over-Time is well-known for doing this, a sharp contrast to their biggest competitor TV-Nihon. They are regularly criticised for translating proper nouns, leading to things such as "Voltasaur Team" and "Spec Ops Cell", at one point translating "Go-Buster-Oh" to "Go-Buster King", which backfired on them when an actual Go-Buster King happened, meaning they wrote its name as..."Go-Buster Oh".
    • They have, been (mostly) praised in how they handle the Blue Ranger in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger by adapting all of his constant bad jokes into equally bad English equivalents.
    • The previous year, they did the same thing with a villainous Rakugo performer in Kamen Rider Fourze. Everything he says, practically, is some sort of wordplay and they really had to go the distance to make English equivalents while still getting his meaning across. In one instance, he refers to Kamen Rider Meteor as a 'Planetarium man' (Meteor's attacks are based on planets), Over-Time changed this to 'Captain Planetarium', both preserving the reference and adding one for the English audience.
    • Also, Satorakura from Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, when he popped up in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. When he surprises you (bikkuri), he turns you into a chestnut (kuri). This becomes a situation where he can drive you "nuts," literally. Satorakura is pretty much just like the Fourze character - same level of translator's nightmare.
    • Also, the monster names in Kyoryuger are typically one or two letters off of the thing they're based on in Japanese, are translated similarly, which was adored by some people, and hated by everyone who'd rather names remain untranslated.
    • For Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, they decided that every Kyutama, as well as the word Kyutama itself, should have its name be translated into the English name of the constellation, despite most of them being completely obscure names that most English speakers would understand just as little as the Japanese (The Japanese names mostly being sensible names for the thing they're based on, rather than Latin like the English, resulting in things like Leo Red and Scorpio Orange. This backfired almost immediately when there was an actual character called "Scorpio".
  • The fansubs of Kamen Rider Gaim by Aesirnote  do this with the Overlord dialogue. Similar to the Grongi of Kamen Rider Kuuga, the monsters have their own language, but because it was included on the show's closed captions, fans were able to figure out that that's a substitution cypher of normal Japanese and even managed to translate it. The folks at Aesir took the translation of the language and ran it through an English substitution cypher, meaning their viewers can likewise decode the Overlords' language and figure out plot points in advance
    • They also did this with Kamen Rider Gridon, changing his name to Ornac to emphasize that it's supposed to be a really dorky and uncool name, both being anagrams of "acorn" in their native languages. Instead of just using a translator's note, his name was changed to preserve the pun and the original intentnote . This drew complaints from people who didn't want the name of only one in over a hundred Kamen Riders to be translated, especially as said term literally appeared no-where but in the subs, the critics of this decision being far more numerous than those who supported it.
    • And for the hat trick, they also changed the name of the show's Transformation Trinket. Its original name is Sengoku Driver, as in the Sengoku (Warring States) Era of Japanese history, but with the Kanji for "state" replaced with the homophonic "extreme". Aesir chose to render this in English as Wärring Driver, saying that the Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut was the best way they could come up with to express extreme-ness. Pretty early on, though, it's revealed that the belts are named for their creator, Professor Ryoma Sengoku, but Aesir stuck to their guns and renamed him Ryoma Wärring. The Aesir team later said that had they known about Ryoma from the beginning, they wouldn't have bothered translating the name.
  • Referenced in Qi, in the episode "Highs and Lows". Discussing the traditional Burns' Night Haggis, Fred MacAuley mentioned the tradition of Addressing the Haggis, reciting a Scots poem that contains the line "Great chieftain of the pudding race". He then mentions that the text for the Address was translated into German for a Burns' Night celebration there, and translated back into English. "Proud chieftain of the pudding race" became "Mighty Fuhrer of the sausage people".
  • Thanks to Executive Meddling, the Mexican dub of the 60s Batman TV series changed the names of the characters in order to make them more Latin-sounding. For example, Bruce Wayne was changed into Bruno Diaz, Dick Grayson into Ricardo Tapia, Commissioner Gordon into Comisionado Fierro and even the city itself, Gotham City, became Ciudad Gótica (Gothic City). The villains' names were also changed, although this makes much more sense considering the nature of their names. For example, The Riddler became El Acertijo, The Penguin became El Pinguino, The Joker became El Guasón, and Catwoman became Gatúbela. With the exception of Catwoman (the correct translation would be "Mujer Gata"), the rest of the villains' names are a literal translation from English to Spanish (in the case of the word Guasón, even though it effectively means “Joker” in Spanish, it is now so associated with the character that is rarely used in any other context). Due to the fact that the Mexican dub was also used for most of Latin America, the names were kept by other dubs. For example, the same names were used (with the exception of Gordon) in the dub of Batman: The Animated Series, even when the dubbing team was Venezuelan, and it has also been used in the translation of some comics, the dubbing/subtitling of some of the live-action films, and most of the DCUA shows and movies. This wasn’t so common for other superheroes, as for example Superman was always Clark Kent for the Spanish-speaking audiences (However, Lois Lane was changed into the more Latin-sounding Luisa Lane in some dubs).
  • In Latin America, The Incredible Hulk was dubbed as El Hombre Increible (The Incredible Man) and no mention of the name Hulk was ever made on screen (they used "the Creature" instead of "Hulk"), probably because the Hulk wasn’t very wellknown among Latin audiences at the time, with the exception of a very limited circle of comic enthusiasts.
  • The Hodor twist in Game of Thrones has been a whole new controversy in the Spanish-speaking world, both the Latin Animerican and European dubbing of the show find dificulties in fitting the twist that Hodor's name was a contraction of English phrase "Hold the Door". The Latin American dubbing use "Déjalo cerrado" (Keep it close) that gradually turns into "déjalo cerrado, déjalo cerrado, dejalorrado, carrolado, joador, joador, Hodor" (the J in Spanish sounds like the H in English), the Castillian dub use "Aguanta el Portón" (lit. Hold the Door) which also will eventually turn into Hodor... somehow.
    • The Italian dub went with "Trova un modo" ("Find a way [to keep the door closed]"), and instead of a contraction Hodor is now a messed up version of the last word.
  • The first season of Stranger Things premiered just as Netflix expanded from sixty countries to over 190, and they put plenty of work into translating the show into over twenty languages — not easy given how much of the show is rooted in 1980s Americana.
    • For the translation of the Christmas lights scene in episode three, they had to find phrases with the exact same number of letters as "right here", the message that Will sends to his mother Joyce, that conveyed the same meaning. The Spanish translation was "aquí mismo", while in German, it was "genau hier".
    • Translating the name of the Demogorgon, a monster that the protagonists named after a villain in their Dungeons & Dragons campaign, involved going through official translations of the first edition of D&D in various countries and using the name they each gave the monster. (Some had it easier than others; in French, it was simply "le démogorgon".)
  • The European Spanish dub of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is riddled with references to many elements of Spanish pop culture, including the name of national TV stars, popular Spanish sayings and even local gastronomy.
  • One episode of Bones had Booth and Brennan travel to Hollywood where one of Brennan's books were being turned into the Michael-Bay-esque action film Bone of Contention. In Danish the title of the film was changed to Knoglernes Kamp (Battle of the Bones), a play on Klodernes Kamp, the Danish title of The War of the Worlds.
  • The Mexican dub of Get Smart localized some of the references. For instance, Max's aunt was from Acapulco and had a romance with a boatman there; this was carried over several episodes. In other episode Max complains about not understanding in a paper the Aztec hieroglyphs, specially the feathered serpent, when all the problem was that the paper was upside down.
  • The Japanese dub of Star Trek: The Original Series changed navigator Hikaru Sulu's surname to Kato (a common Japanese surname), since Sulu is the name of a body of water and not a personal name.


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