Bilingual Bonus

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The text on her kimono says: "I’m not wearing any underwear."[1]

Sometimes one will find that in a work where the Translation Convention is otherwise in effect or which offers translations of the important information will either suspend the convention or omit translation for the sake of including messages "hidden in plain view" by being expressed or written in another language. This ostensibly makes said messages available only to those viewers, players or readers that have sufficient knowledge of the language in question. This often coincides with Ominous Latin Chanting (which, if translated, might sound about as ominous as reading street addresses from a telephone book); in Video Games specifically, this is often concurrent with Enemy Chatter.

As you may have guessed, this can be a very clever way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. In fact, Hollywood censors once demanded English translations of any part of a screenplay written in a foreign language (whether that language was real or made-up) precisely to thwart this, since subtitles traditionally weren't used in American films even when a character was speaking a language other than English.

If the word still makes sense in another way then it's also a Multiple Reference Pun.

This, of course, not only applies to actual languages, but also the various fictional languages that have full-blown lexicons and can technically be translated — Quenya and Sindarin, Klingon, D'ni from the Myst verse, et cetera.

This trope is not "This work happens to have a foreign language in it." It is "Hidden message in foreign language that is different from what might normally be expected in the context"

Examples of Bilingual Bonus include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Cowboy Bebop has plenty of those, from texts in foreign languages all over the place to Ed’s father’s name being ‘Excuse me, check please’ in Turkish.
  • Video Girl Ai is a double-language pun, with "Ai" meaning both love and Artificial Intelligence.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: in the North American dub, Asuka holds an entire telephone conversation in German in the background of one scene; there are allegedly several in-jokes in her dialogue for German speakers who ignore the foreground action to concentrate on her.
    • One episode features a GEHIRN report in English. Freeze-framing it reveals a short written history of Studio Gainax with periodic in-universe terms in all caps.
  • In Wolf's Rain the signs are all written in Russian, and several jokes are there for the Russian-speaking audience. For instance, the "X" on Hige's collar is actually a Russian Kh (pronounced like the "ch" in "Bach", like his name). Hige is later referred to by Lady Jagara as "Number 23" – i.e. the 23rd wolf to wear one of her collars – and the Cyrillic X or Kh happens to be the 23rd letter of the (modern) Cyrillic alphabet. Coincidence?
  • In Welcome to The NHK the main character prances through half the series wearing sweatshirts with the mysterious letters XYN – actually, a corruption of Russian "хуй" (spells out "huy" in Cyrillic). This just happens to be one of the few absolutely taboo words in the Russian language, literally the male penis, but also ranging in meaning from "fuck off" to "cunt" (the insult, not the matching organ) depending on context.
  • Galaxy Angel does this in an episode where Forte is turned into a guy. Ranpha gives Forte a love letter in English. When Forte reads out loud in Japanese it sounds perfectly normal, however, the text on the letter itself is nothing but stock reports, making the joke much funnier.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, all books are written in English. If you ignore the occasional alchemical array, they are copied verbatim from Dungeons & Dragons player's manuals. Specifically, articles concerning alchemy.
    • More English is a butcher shop whose menu includes beef, pork, chicken and mammoth.
    • A military document has an excerpt from Ripley's Twelve Gates, a 16th century treatise on alchemy. Which excerpt? The one the that happens to also appear on the human transmutation circle.
  • Similar to the Fullmetal Alchemist example, Gundam Wing has two such instances of random English text. In the first, a medical readout on Heero is actually the readme file for Photoshop's TWAIN plugin. In the second, the blueprints for Sandrock contain a number of Shout Outs to Mobile Suit Gundam, including references to Gundarium and the ALICE AI system from Gundam Sentinel.
    • When you think about how TWAIN in Photoshop stands for "Thing Without An Interesting Name", Heero certainly falls under suspicion.
  • In one point in the Master Of Mosquiton OAV, Saint Germaine is trying to convince Schrodinger (of Schrodinger's cat fame) to join his cause. Schrodinger throws a die, which rolls over the book he's reading; it is, verbatim, a page from a 3D modeling software instruction manual.
  • In the second season of Emma, episode 3, when William's father summons him to his study, there is a brief establishing shot of the account book he's been reading over, with entries all in English. All of them are Beatles songs.
  • The three Zentradi spies from Super Dimension Fortress Macross are named Warera, Loli, and Conda, which put together reads as, "We have a Lolita Complex" in Japanese... whether or not they actually do is open to debate. In the Robotech version they are called Bron, Rico, and Konda instead.
  • In Macross Frontier, the on-screen displays populated with English filler text use completely irrelevant excerpts from, for example, the Adobe Flash Player (or Adobe CS?) EULA and an article about the appearance of Oakley sunglasses in some bicycle or motorcycle event.
    • Except in the Sayonara no Tsubasa movie, Sheryl Nome's profile displayed is an extract from the wiki article.
  • The English dub of Hellsing Ultimate has once instance of this: in the 3rd episode when Seras is escorting the Japanese tourists, the tourists have been redubbed in Japanese, and are apparently saying very rude things about the English staff working on the episode.
  • The pre-opening credits sequence in Slayers Revolution has a pun on the Japanese possessive particle "no" ("の" in hiragana) and the English word "no": the captions on the wanted poster for Lina are "AKUMA NO MIMI",[2] "AKUMA NO KUCHI",[3] and "NO BUST".
  • Fairy Tail has a Shrouded in Myth Master of Illusion S Class Mage by the name of Mystogan (Mist Gun). In the High School AU OVA, he's the school gardener, and carries a pair of squirt bottles everywhere he goes.
  • Sailor Moon has references in English in at least two separate references to U.S. culture.
  • In Nabari no Ou, when Raimei and Raikou fight for the first time, Gau is listening to Strauss’s “Unter Donner und Blitz", which is German for “Under Thunder and Lightning”. Incidentally, Raimei's name means "thunder", while Raikou's name means "lightning". And what happens "under" thunder and lightning is a rain shower... in other words, Gau.
  • Rental Magica has a Whole-Episode Flashback, showing Adilicia's and Honami's past. A gravestone there has clearly legible text written on it in English. Problem is, the text is written with Norse runes. If you can read them, you'll find a few rows of Bible verses, Psalms 22:15-16 and 81:1-4 more specifically.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The current trope image.
  • Fantastic Four #542 includes Ben Grimm's adventures in France (his response to the super hero civil war) as well as his attempts at speaking the French language (specifically, trying to say "It's clobberin' time" in French. He's less than successful).

Thing: That just means il est temps de foutre!
Anais: Pardon?
Thing: What?
Anais: You said "foutre". I think you meant to say, "Il est temps de battre!"
Thing: Oh. I guess I got excited.
Anais: Apparently so.

  • French comic Nelson has a few panels involving dog food called "Doggy style". Yeah, really. Most French just know what "dog" means.
  • Zombilenium has an in-universe latin case. While blessing a dead woman who was actually turned into a vampire, the priest (who helps covering The Masquerade) says "free us from eternal death" in latin. The vampire director laughs and translates for the reader.
  • In Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Spidey is in Germany, heading to the Berlin Wall, and spots a couple of German police and doesn't understand them.

Spider-Man: [thinking] Shop talk. Counting the number of people they've shot trying to go over the wall!
Guard 1: <I told her she's crazy! My mother's strudel got an award! It's fantastic! My old lady can't bake. Mankind would be better off without her strudel.>
Guard 2: <Fritz, I would just tell her.>

  • The Dark Horse Comics Star Wars one-shot "Force Fiction" has the menu that Yoda is reading written in Trade Federation Basic. The translation is noted below:

IF YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO TRANSLATE THIS ENTIRE MENU PLEASE TRY TO DEVOTE AND EQUAL AMOUNT OF TIME TO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE EXCERCISE OR GOOD CONVERSATIONS AMONG FRIENDS OR LOOKING AT SUNSETS OR TELLING THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM" . "THIS MESSAGE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WRITER THE CHILDRENS [sic] TELEVISION WORKSHOP AND THE LETTER O" . "BY THE WAY MICHELLE AND DREA AND SHELLY AND CHRIS AND EVINRUDE I LOVE YOU ALL" . "WRITER KEVIN MARANGON (refers to writer Kevin Rubio and the artist Lucas Marangon) SOCIALIST KARL MARX


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • Company 0051 is a Fan Webcomic about the Master Chief struggling through a forced retirement. Quite fittingly, the planet that he's stationed on, Noiosi, is Italian for "boring."
  • Slide, a Mega Crossover starring only literary characters, is set in the city of Irudimena (Basque for "imagination"), specifically in Logotechnia (Greek for "literature") and Antzerkia (Basque for "theatre"). People who live in Antzerkia are literary characters from books adapted to movies.
  • According to the concordance notes for Drunkard's Walk VIII: Harry Potter and the Man from Otherearth, the authors' names on some of the books on defensive magic that the main character buys are actually appropriate phrases in various foreign languages, including Esperanto and Azerbaijani.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Towards the end of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka reads off a legal contract to Charlie and Grampa Joe, attempting to explain why they supposedly didn't get the prize. Part of the contract is in Latin (presumably an Affectionate Parody of all the Latin in real legal jargon), and it reads: "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum... memo bis punitor delicatum." This translates very loosely as: "The glory of the burning torch of service... mentioned as twice the punisher's luxury." (This troper doesn't speak Latin and is aware that the previous translation is probably very wrong. Real Latin-speakers are encouraged to correct it.)
  • In Eurotrip, at least one German singer in the background belts out a song whose only lyric is "Du kannst mich nichts verstehen," or "You can't understand me." Which is true, if you don't speak German. There's also a kind of subversion on the ladies' nude beach in France – two girls are talking and when one answers "Oui" (French for "yes") they translate it with "Let's make out".
  • In Dagon you may not realize that you are watching a Lovecraft film unless you know Spanish. Imbocca roughly translates to Innsmouth.
  • Johnny English has one scene in a sushi restaurant. Johnny toasts with "May your daughters have tiny penises." The American subtitle translation reads, "May all of your daughters be born with three bottoms."
  • This one hardly needs mentioning, but the chorus of monks in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, while whacking themselves in the foreheads with wooden planks, are singing the Latin phrase "Pie Iesu Domine, dona eis requiem." This is a snippet from the Requiem Mass, and translates to "Lord Jesus, give them rest". Some wiseacre fans have translated it (very loosely) as "Oh Christ, make it stop" or "Oh Lord, give us a break".
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail : "Fetchez la vache" (Go fetch the cow, in english-french mix).
  • A Fish Called Wanda contains several funerals for small yapping dogs, featuring a choir that sings "Lord have mercy, the dog is dead" in Latin. Also, the Russian that Archie uses to arouse Wanda is a poem about the glory of the worker that children in the Soviet Union learned by rote.
  • The Black Cat, (Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, d. EG Ulmer, 1934, and not actually based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of that name) features a stock-phrase-derived satanic invocation offering unintended laughs for anyone who understands Latin. Cum grano salis indeed!
  • One of the short films in Chillerama, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, is in German. However, the actor playing Hitler is speaking entirely in gibberish, adding to some extra humor for viewers who can understand the difference between German and random sounds.
    • Hitler does have one line of real German. Right before he's killed by the monster, he says in unsubtitled German, "I'm just a fake actor!"
  • In the Jackie Chan version of Around the World in Eighty Days, the Chinese man tied up in the "jail" is actually yelling "my butt really itches!" in Chinese.
  • In The Mission, the locals were given free rein to say whatever they wanted in their own language. Apparently they hardly ever kept to the script and kept throwing out funny non-sequiturs or just cursing up a storm.
  • In The Russians Are Coming, there are obviously many joking lines spoken by the Russian soldiers. One example of this is, when the Russians are in an American garage, one thinks a bag is filled with grain and offers it to another. The other tastes it and proceeds to exclaim "This is SHIT!"
  • Whenever Sacha Baron Cohen speaks 'Kazakhstani' in Borat, it's mostly Hebrew and a little Polish, with a few bizarre touches and inside jokes. His companion speaks Armenian back to him.
  • The farce Top Secret is set mostly in East Germany, and has a lot of fun with characters speaking "German". Mostly they're actually speaking in either gibberish or irrelevant Yiddish curses, although there is some German as well, including this classic exchange between villain and henchman:

Streck: Make sure they leave no marks.
von Horst: (severely) Ich liebe dich, mein Schatz.[4]

  • The Mexican restaurant in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is called "Escupimos en su Alimento," which is Spanish for "we spit in your food."
  • Deaf people often laughed when they watched silent movies. They had the Bilingual Bonus of being able to read lips. The actors often did deliberate mismatches.
    • A particularly famous example is a passionate embrace and kiss on screen, with the actress making it clear what will happen if the actor drops her.
    • This may have inspired a moment in Singin in The Rain where silent actors (Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen) are insulting each other while in the middle of a love scene.
  • An unintentional example occurs with the majority of Yiddish cinema. Yiddish as a language is very rant-friendly, with characters in Yiddish theatre and film often adding entire tirades onto simple sentences for extra laughs. Unfortunately, when Yiddish cinema is subtitled into English it is usually done through dynamic equivalence at its most bare-bones level, only expressing the minimum of what each character is saying. Have fun going to a Jewish film festival and watching an old classic Yiddish film with a bunch of older Ashkenazi folk, and marvel at how a simple sentence like "I won't let you marry my daughter" (in English) brings the house down by those who can understand the original Yiddish.
  • Similarly, Cheyenne Autumn featured cast members from the Navajo Nation. While the lines are subtitled for a serious conversation, they're actually making various ribald and obscene jokes about the director, crew, and various non-Navajo cast members. Navajo theater patrons cracked up.
  • The Pianist had the Nazis address Jews by the familiar you "du", an insult in German when addressing strangers. (This is most notable in a couple of scenes where Nazis are picking Jews out of a line: "du!...du!...du!".) When the Good German, Capt. Hosenfeld, speaks to Szpilman he adresses him with the respectful formal "you", "Sie". Towards the end, Szpilman tells Hosenfeld his name, and Hosenfeld says it's "a good name for a pianist". The Polish name "Szpilman" is pronounced almost exactly the same as the German word "spielmann", meaning a minstrel/entertainer. All of this is lost in the subtitles, of course.
  • Heathers has J.D. telling Veronica that the bullets they intend to shoot Kurt and Ram with are German "ich lüge" bullets, which are supposedly non-fatal, so that she will go along with the shooting. "Ich lüge" means "I am lying" in German.
  • In-universe example The 40-Year-Old Virgin, when Paula, the store manager, reminisces about the time when she lost her virginity to a Hispanic boy, she remembers that he used to sing her a song, which he told her was a "traditional lullaby." Turns out that the lyrics are nowhere as romantic as she actually thinks they are. It translates to: "When I get to my room, I can't find anything. Where are you going in such a rush? To the soccer game."
  • In Mulan, Mulan has to give a male name when she joins the army. Stressed by the situation, the only thing she can come up with is "Ping." It means "peace." Furthermore, she is registered under her real family name "Hua", so her full name (Hua Ping) translate to "flowerpot", slang for a homosexual man or a useless prettyboy.
  • Iron Man: The plot twist is revealed in the very beginning of the movie... in Urdu.
  • John Carpenter's The Thing: The Norwegian screaming at the Americans in the beginning of the film is explaining that the dog is a shapeshifting alien, which the Americans don't figure out until halfway through the film.
  • Dead Man uses Cree and Blackfoot. There's something insulting in Cree.
  • The "Chinese" Viet Cong child in Black Dynamite tells Black Dynamite that he's full of shit.
  • In Cannibal! The Musical, the "Indians" (who are clearly Japanese) call their tribe The Nihonjin – "Nihonjin" is Japanese for "Japanese people". Some of their dialogue is this too – apparently there's a line that loosely translates to "this movie is really stupid!". And then there's bilingual bonus for those who know sign language: Humphrey makes some strange hand gestures while claiming to translate for the "Indians" at one point, and these gestures actually mean "Jesus Christ is dead".
  • In Serenity the codephrase Simon uses to "turn off" his rampaging sister River, Eto kuram na smeh, is Russian for "That is laughter for chickens," an idiom meaning "That's ridiculous."
  • In Kentucky Fried Movie's "Fistful of Yen" segment, the leader of the evil clan is played by a Korean actor. When he's shouting orders in Korean, he's actually apologizing for his Korean fans that he's in the movie, and telling them that the director just told him to say something in Korean.
  • In Austin Powers, Dr. Evil says that the French would say that something has a certain "Je ne sais quoi, which means... I don't know what." Dr. Evil is admitting that he doesn't know what the French phrase means, but it actually means exactly that: "I don't know what."
  • In Rush Hour 3, when Jackie Chan is talking to Chinese Gangsters, at one point, one of the lines spoken by the mobster is randomly Japanese. It's pretty hilarious, and hopefully intentional.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The 1961 novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller features the aptly named character Lieutenant Scheissekopf, which means "shithead" in German. At one point his superior snarls at him, "Scheissekopf, you shithead!"
  • Terry Pratchett occasionally includes a few of these, though several of them are explained or translated later. Some of them are not, however – for example, in Soul Music, the main character Imp y Celyn talks about and later plays a song he wrote himself, titled "Sioni Bod Da." Since Soul Music is almost in its entirety a completely awesome Discworldization of the entire rock music movement in general, it should come as no surprise that there's a couple of hidden reference there. One is indirectly explained: "Imp" means Bud and "Celyn" means Holly, hence "Bud y Holly." On the other hand, Sioni Bod Da is mostly unexplained: It's Welsh for Johnny Be Good. (Read: Johnny B. Goode.)
    • In the French version, Patrick Couton translated the pun in Breton: Imp y Celyn became Kreskenn Kelen and his song was called Yannick Bez Mad.
    • A Discworld example from Making Money: "Jikan no Muda", the Discworld equivalent of Sudoku, translates in Japanese to "Waste of Time".
      • This is a trilingual bonus in Croatian. Muda is slang for balls. Jikan (written Đikan) is pejorative for an urban hick with delusions of superiority. "Jikan no Muda" is a "Waste of Time" for "Neutered Morons".
    • Recurring example: The Sto Plains. "Sto" is "hundred" in Polish. Thus there is the town of Sto Lat, which translates to "a hundred years". Sto Lat is also the name of the Polish equivalent of "Happy Birthday to You." ("May (s)he live a hundred years").
      • And in Russian, Sto Lat means "a hundred plate mails".
      • A hundred place mails it is, indeed, for Slovak too.
    • Don't forget "Liber Paginarum Fulvarum" the proper name of the Necrotelicomnicon (Essentially a phonebook for the dead) which translates, loosely as "The Yellow Pages".
    • Also see the motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, "Fabricati Diem, Pvnc" — which the narrator translates as "to protect and serve", but which would more accurately translate to "make my day, punk", with some leeway on pvnc and punk (and in the verb form).
    • In Feet of Clay, several of the Golems (golems originally stemming from Hebrew stories) have Yiddish names. One golem's name was "Crazy" and one's was "Cloth used for cleaning."
    • Pratchett slipped a subversion of this trope into a Monstrous Regiment footnote, involving the language of birds. It points out that the beauty of birdsong can lose its luster for ornithologists, who know for a fact that they're overhearing birds dissing and/or making passes at one another.
  • A number of 19th-century Russian novels, such as Anna Karenina, include random bursts of French from certain characters. Learning French was considered part of a "respectable" education for the Russian nobility at the time, so it was a marker of status for people to be able to converse freely in French. In particular, it's used when well-off characters discuss things they don't want the servants to know.
  • Just a minor one, but Darkness Visible has an exchange in French during a scene in St Petersburg which is never translated. Also a sort of Genius Bonus – Not everyone knows that the language of high society in Russia at that time was French, not Russian.
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, with its bilingual Dominican protagonist and frequent lapses into slang, is definitely more enjoyable for the bilingual reader, in this troper's opinion.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Butler reveals his first name to Artemis when he thinks he's going to die. His name is Domovoi, which is the name of a household guardian spirit in Russian. Definitely very apt for him.
    • The book states this explicitly, though, so it is not reserved to readers who know Russian, and more of a Meaningful Name.
  • Philip K. Dick's VALIS provides us with blatant Author Avatar Horselover Fat, which a student of languages will tell you is "Philip Dick", in that "Philip" comes from Greek Phillipos, "Lover of horses",[5] and "Dick" is German for "fat", as in "thick". Subverted, in that Dick admits this in all of this in about three pages... and in relatively short order introduces Philip K. Dick as a character.
  • Letters Back to Ancient China has many. One example: The German unions are mentioned, which are all named "IG ...". This abbreviation can be pronounced like Mandarin for "give once", but Kao-tai writes that they rather should be named "take ten thousand times".
  • In the English-language book The Winged Watchman, set in World War II Holland, the mother remarks to the father that people have taken to eating tulip bulbs during the wartime grain shortage. He grimly jokes that it's not that big a difference—"flower" instead of "flour." Funnily enough, this pun also works in the Dutch he's (presumably) speaking, as "bloem" is the word for both.
  • A French segment in Someone Elses War reveals the ages of Abdel and Nyumba, which otherwise remain completely unknown to the narrator.
  • In Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire the school of Beauxbatons seems to comprise entirely of attractive French witches. Beauxbatons translates to "pretty wands" (a near-homophone for "Pretty Ones").

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in this sketch on Saturday Night Live. Anyone who understands even a little Japanese can tell that they really are speaking gibberish.
  • In episode 8 of Band of Brothers, the translator tells some German POWs (in German, of course) "be good, and you will get a cookie!"
  • Catalina, the Latina maid in My Name Is Earl, occasionally goes into what sounds like an angry stream of Spanish, which is taken by non-Spanish-speakers to be a blistering insult (usually aimed at Joy). In fact, she is speaking directly to the audience and has on different occasions thanked Latino viewers for tuning in, congratulated non-Latinos on learning a new language, explained that a more expensive scene had been cut, bid farewell for the end of the season, and apologised for continuity errors in that night's show.
  • Dr. Radek Zelenka in Stargate Atlantis is known for making humorous asides in Czech, including a case of No Fourth Wall where he commented "I can't work with these actors".
    • The Russian dialogue between sailors on a Russian submarine in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Small Victories" slid into No Fourth Wall as well, referring to "these bugs from the first episode". Allegedly, the actors were asked to just say anything in Russian. The Russian dub overwrote it with sane dialogue.
      • Apparently the actors added a little deadpan snark into it, the dialog consists of something along the lines of "this torpedo tube contains the alien bugs from the last episode." "Yes, let's open it and get eaten."
  • When the Dalek ships are revealed towards the end of the Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf," the soundtrack features a male choir chanting. Apparently they are singing "What is happening?" in Hebrew.
  • The opening for Mr. Bean involves a haunting Latin choir piece, singing 'Behold the man who is a bean'. At the end of the programme, they sing 'Farewell, man who is a bean'. The Eyecatch contains them singing 'End of part one' and 'Start of part two'.
  • iCarly's iGo to Japan movie is even funnier when you know that the reason the Japanese security guard slapped Spencer is that he called his mother fat. In the episode iGo Nuclear, a bonus joke for Russian speakers is that Cal's case of illegal uranium is actually labeled plutonium.
  • Inspector Morse features an example in Morse code (of course) – the opening bars of the theme music are supposed to spell out MORSE, but some fans argue that the gap in the middle of the M (two dashes) is slightly too long and so it actually spells TTORSE (T is a single dash). Also the opening theme sometimes tells you who the murderer is, but it has been known to lie.
  • Similarly, Morse code in the opening of each episode of Jericho gives a clue or spoiler about the episode.
  • The French comedy duo Kad and Olivier had a recurring sketch about an American sheriff having to solve road infractions caused by well known people (Superman, Robert Smith, etc etc...). Of course, during the whole sketch, they were talking English with a (sometimes less than faithful) French translation running over what they were saying... Except one tiny message that was running on the radio:

Car one to control: can I eat my wife and fuck my dog, please?

  • There's a certain minor character from 24 whose name is Marcos Al-Zacar. His last name is roughly Arabic for "The Dick". The name was probably trying to offend the character.
  • The Leverage episode "The Zanzibar Marketplace Job" has an aerosol can very descriptively titled "Олій".[6]
  • NCIS: Abby and Gibbs communicate in sign language a few times.
    • In the fifth season finale, Judgement Day, Jenny Shepard mentions the "Oshimaida Code" and uses it to evade her pursuers. It is revealed that Oshimaida was a codeword to be used when things went south and the mission had to be aborted. "Oshimai da" means "it's hopeless" or "it's over" in Japanese.
  • In Bottom, the German instructions for the VCR apparently say "Stecken dein Kopf in deinen Arsch."
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Killing Game", the crew are put in a holodeck simulation of French Resistance fighters without knowing who they really are. Seven of Nine is called Mademoiselle de Neuf by Janeway, which is French for Miss of Nine.
  • Several alien alphabets were created for Babylon 5. In the third season episode "Dust to Dust", Vir visits the station after being appointed Centauri ambassador to Minbar, wearing a "coat of welcoming" the Minbari gave him. The five Minbari letters embroidered on the coat spell out "ALOHA".
  • Po from The Teletubbies will occasionally speak Cantonese. This has lead to some memetic Mondegreen's when it comes to toys involving her.
  • In The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Todd makes up some sign language while speaking to a group of deaf people, who throw things at him in response. His sign language translates to something offensive.
  • Ricky Ricardo's Spanish rants about Lucy/at Lucy/about Lucy's schemes on I Love Lucy were clearly implied to be colorful profanity, but Spanish speakers will know that most of what he said was fairly mild ("What is this woman thinking?", etc), just said in an overly excited tone.
  • Whenever a Deaf character using American Sign Language is part of a cast, but most notably, recently, on Switched at Birth, a show with several Deaf members, and the sign language is subtitled, the subtitles will be from the script, verbatim. However, the Deaf actor has usually done his own translation of the script, and used signs more appropriate to the situation than a literal translation, so the subtitles end up not matching well. Sometimes the signed conversation has an entirely different tone or emotional level than the subtitles imply. Other times, the subtitles contain a simile that doesn't translate well, so the actor has not translated it. It looks very strange, then, as a translation of what is being said. In other words, usually subtitles are a translation of what is being said on screen, but with signing actors, it is usually the other way around.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Beneath You has a Cold Open involving a woman in Germany being chased by assassins in a club. A techno piece blares on the score, with the only lyrics being "Von der Tiefe verschlingt es" - German for "From the depth it devours", which of course mirrors the Arc Words "from beneath you it devours".
  • In Bones episode The Truth in the Lye, Agent Booth is seen at the end wearing a T-shirt that says "ファック・ザ・世界 / モルフィーンジェネレーション", which is "Fuck the World / Morphine Generation" in (mostly-transliterated) Japanese.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? during "Foreign Film Dub" they occasionally has someone who can actually speak another language rather than just imitate it.
  • Cezary Jan Strusiewicz's 5 Movie Jokes You Missed If You Only Speak English mentions references to Urusei Yatsura and Dirty Pair in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as a Valyrian translation of insults from Monty Python and the Holy Grail appearing in Game of Thrones.

Music[edit | hide]

  • "Soy un perdedor" from "Loser" by Beck. Spanish for "I am a loser".
    • His song Hotwax has the following chorus: Yo soy disco quebrado / Yo tengo chicle en el cerebro. It translates to "I am a broken record / I have bubblegum in my brain."
  • "The Macaronic Carol" by Shari Ajemian and Sarah Newcomb alternates between lines in English and Latin. The English lines are all about how much fun it is to carol gaily in fields of snow; the Latin lines are things like "my feet hurt", "it's cold", and "I want to go home".
  • Once Bjorn Ulvaeus began writing all the ABBA lyrics himself, foreign languages began cropping up every now and then, like French ("Voulez-Vous"), Spanish ("Put On Your White Sombrero"), and Latin ("The Piper"). He's continued the trend to this day, including writing Swedish/English and Swedish/Sioux songs in Kristina från Duvemala (one of which contains a bilingual fart joke). Not to mention that English is his second language to begin with, so...
  • Rammstein, a German band, has slipped other languages into their songs plenty of times: "Moskau" has Russian; "Pussy", "Amerika", and "Stirb Nicht Vor Mir" are half German, half English; "Amour" and "Frühling in Paris" has some French; and "Te Quiero Puta" is entirely in Spanish.
  • Knorkator, another German metal band, has one song entirely in Thai. However, the lyrics are entirely about Alf Ator's then girlfriend and now wife telling how she was asked to write a song in her native Thai and she has no idea what that song should be about. But it doesn't really matter since nobody in the band or the audience will understand it anyway.
  • The band Disturbed's song "Stupify" has a few Hebrew words in it, such as "Tefached" which means "Be afraid" with lead singer, David Draiman, in the next phrase asking in English "Darlin', don't be afraid".
  • The rapid stream of Spanish in the middle of "Taco Grande" by "Weird Al" Yankovic translates approximately to: "Good evening, sir. Welcome to Enrico's Casa de Salsa. We have many delicious entrees. If I might recommend the burning Hell chicken, very delicious. Your eyes will burn up, your stomach will be on fire, you'll be in the bathroom for a week, do you understand what I'm saying, stupid silly gringo?!"
  • The song "Die Eier Von Satan" by Tool features German lyrics delivered in an angry tirade over a cheering audience and grinding industrial music. The translated lyrics are actually a simple recipe for hash brownies. The lyrics also feature a German pun. The name of the brownies are "The eggs of Satan," with "eggs" being German slang for "testicles." The recipe, as the speaker repeatedly proclaims to massive cheers, includes no actual eggs.
  • The first album by the Italian rock band Elio e le Storie Tese is titled "Elio samaga hukapan kariyana turu", which means "Let's all merrily fart and cum with Elio" in Tamil. The title of their later album "Italyan, rum casusu čikti" was taken from the headlines of a newspaper from Cyprus and means "It turned out that the 'Italian' was a Greek spy".
  • Arcade Fire's "Une Annee Sans Lumiere" switches between English and the French of the title. Natural enough since they have at least one native French speaker in the band.
  • There's some unexpected and untranslated French toward the end of Judas Priest's 1977 song "Saints in Hell": "Abbatoir! Abbatoir! Mon Dieu, quel horreur!" ("Slaughterhouse! Slaughterhouse! My God, what horror!")
  • The P!nk song "Fingers" features the singer screaming "Me vengo! Me vengo!" at one point in the song. The phrase translates roughly to "I'm coming! I'm coming!".
  • One of Laibach's best known songs is "One Vision" by Queen, sung in German, and sounding ominously fascistic. It has been re-titled "Geburt Einer Nation," which translates as Birth of a Nation.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Believe it or not, there was actually a feud based around the Bilingual Bonus; there was a brief period of time where WWE champion Maryse (from Montreal, Quebec, Canada) would come up to Gail Kim and talk about how great a wrestler she is and how she respects her, etc., and then say something in French. This went on for a few weeks until Kim attacked Maryse, revealed she was fluent in French and that she had known the entire time that Maryse was trash-talking her to her face.
    • There's a possible variation in this Ring of Honor promo preceding a Montreal show, as Colt Cabana requests the help of Kevin Steen (also from Quebec) in translating "I can't wait to party with everybody in Montreal, ROH style" — what Kevin tells him is "j'ai couché avec ma mère hier" ("I slept with my mom yesterday"). Colt seemingly acts oblivious to the joke other than saying sa instead of ma, but Kevin immediately realizes that Colt just switched "my" with "his".


Radio[edit | hide]

  • In an episode of Hello Cheeky, Barry sings a moody song in French... and is then joined by the rest of the cast, with the song's melody shifting to Knees Up Mother Brown. Even before the melody shifts, the lyrics are Knees Up Mother Brown translated into French, so those who know French can see the joke coming.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In the card game Chez Geek, the flavor text for the card "Caesar's Gallic Wars" says, in Latin, "Gaul is now divided into three parts. I believe Elvis is alive."


Theater[edit | hide]

  • W.S.Gilbert wrote a Latin chorus for the monks that march mysteriously through the opening song of The Mountebanks. However, the lyrics are, in fact, grumbling about how awful it is to be a monk. The Mountebanks is from 1892.
  • In the musical Spring Awakening most of the adults' names are puns or phrases in German. (ex: Herr Sonnenstich, Herr Knochenbruch, Fraulein Knueppeldick, Fraulein Grossebustenhalter...) The play is even worse, with every adult character who isn't a parent having a name like this.
  • In The Musical of The Wedding Singer, as part of the finale, the characters recap the entire show, including one who sings a verse in Filipino. The next singer's verse, appropriately, is "For those of you who speak Filipino, you know that things ended up the way they should."
  • The French class scene in The History Boys. It's completely untranslated unless they decide to put something in the programme, and dear lord, it's hysterical. Particularly when Dakin drops his trousers for reasons entirely incomprehensible to an audience that doesn't understand French...
  • Princess Katherine's language lesson and the courting scene in Shakespeare's Henry V both contain untranslated French. The latter is funny mostly for King Henry's unsubtle mangling of the language. The former is basically a scene-long build-up to two predictable and filthy sound puns.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Final Fantasy V has an enemy called "Azulmagia". His name consists of two Spanish works, "azul"="blue", "magia"="magic". Guess what he uses against your party?
  • Final Fantasy X contains the "Hymn of the Fayth"/"Song of Prayer"; its lyrics seem like nonsense, but if you write the lyrics in kana horizontally then read it vertically it's appropriate Japanese.
  • The FPS Medal of Honor features some funny conversation between enemies. They are spoken in German without subtitles. One of them features a meta-joke in which a soldier wonders aloud whether he is real or a character in a work of fiction.
  • Resident Evil 4 features enemies that talk amongst themselves in Spanish. This was explicitly done in order to make them seem more alien from the perspective of the player; the main character is presumably supposed to be unable to understand them (which is weird, as a government agent who's been under intensive training for six years should be expected to know a few other languages), but a knowledgeable player is able to gain some additional information from listening to them. Hispanic players can find this helpful: every time a farmer yells "¡Detrás de ti, imbécil!", you have to turn around and shoot, because they're literally saying "Behind you, you idiot!".
  • The circa-1993 Finnish game Stardust named its Damsel in Distress after a local brand of margarine and the final dungeon after the makers' hometown.
  • In World of Warcraft, with in-game languages. Every character knows two languages: their faction language and their racial language (except for orcs and humans, whose languages are used as faction languages for the Horde and Alliance respectively). Since some enemy NPCs in the game speak exclusively racial languages, only players of the corresponding race will have the Enemy Chatter rendered into English via Translation Convention — others will see gibberish.
    • Hostile Troll NPCs in the Dwarvish starting area will shout out "Don't be stealin my weed" in Trollish.
    • "LOL" (Laugh out loud) when spoken by a Horde to Alliance always appears as "KEK". "BUR" is what the Alliance appear to say when speaking "LOL" to Horde.
      • This is either a Shout-Out to StarCraft, where Korean players dominate the field often celebrating their victories by LOLing the losers (and LOL analog is "kekekekeke" in Korean), or just a very funny coincidence.
  • StarCraft's Expansion Pack's teaser movie was filled with Latin chanting about preparing for battle and praying for victory, as well as even-more-ominous French chanting about how victory is sure—just as the soldiers are callously abandoned by The Cavalry to be devoured by the Zerg.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley has a bit of Spanish dialogue. The Spanish translates to "You are using the translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual."
    • This even goes so far as to make it a Bilingual Bonus when playing the game in Spanish by saying the phrase in English.
    • Also, in the credits, the turret song is apparently just a pun, but the lyrics, in Italian, are extremely appropriate.
  • The arcade game Metal Slug 2 starts out in a Middle-Eastern desert town filled with Arabic signs. At the end of the level, where the first boss is fought, two massive banners dominate the street in the background, stating (in Arabic) "I have diarrhea" and "I need medicine."
  • Freedom Fighters had some odd and/or awkward Russian-to-English moments. "First Hitting Brigade, GO!" being probably the champion. The funniest, however, was probably a poster, in parody of the famous Uncle Sam Wants You posters, stating that "The Red Army offers you wonderful opportunity." Small Cyrillic print in the bottom left corner of said poster revealed that said opportunity mainly consists of "Russian vodka".
  • Metal Gear Solid': Speakers of most Germanic languages except English will note much earlier that there seems to be a relationship between Naomi Hunter and Frank Jaeger, as both family names mean the same. She was raised as his sister. But the truth is a lot more complicated.
    • The code word for the Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 2 is "La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo" is a lot less silly in Japanese, as it is the last (complete) column of the Japanese letter system and would be similar to "XYZ" in latin-based alphabets.
  • The Commander Keen computer games featured a language named the "Standard Galactic Alphabet" that was just coded symbols corresponding to English letters. In the first game, you'd run across signs that, when decoded, said things like "This is neat" and "Behold the holy pogo stick". The coded alphabet remained consistent throughout the entire series.
  • Hitman: Blood Money has newspapers reporting on your deeds after each level, many in foreign languages. The foreign ones are full of jokes. For instance, in Spanish one says "No tengo ninguna pista que ha escrito", which is incorrect grammar for "I have no clue what I've written." (It should be "No tengo ni idea de lo que acabo de escribir.") Another, oddly, says "Read a book or play outside; to play a game will only make you dumber."
  • Just Cause 2. Many names of locales in Panau are rooted in Indonesian or Malay. Most appear to be mundane and crude translations, but a handful of names were obviously conceived for comedic effect, such as the "Awan Cendawan Power Plant" or "Kem Gunung Belakang Patah".
  • Jade Empire features a pair of guard golems who can be disabled if you use the correct password. The password is 'xiaohua', which, if spoken with the correct tones, simply means 'joke' in Mandarin Chinese.
  • In the original Call of Duty, in one mission a German radio operator instructs you in English to surrender and promises that you won't be harmed, right in between repeated calls in German to the soldiers to take no prisoners.
    • The later Call of Duty games in general seem to have been designed to make Russian speakers uncomfortable. In one of the Modern Warfare games, the guards during a stealth mission seem to be programmed to announce the player's exact location no matter where you're hidden. In Black Ops, some guards off handedly mention the extremely severe mechanical problems with a helicopter you are expected to steal and how they will be fixed very soon if you wait.
  • The later Elder Scrolls games contain a book called "N'Gasta Kvata Kvakis", which is found in many Necromancers' lairs. The book appears to be gibberish. In reality, it's slightly modified Esperanto. The translation is just the description of an Esperanto newsletter.
  • In Sam and Max: Reality 2.0 Bosco revealed the name of his "safe" bank as bancolavadero.com, in Spanish "lavadero" is a water sink used to wash clothes and the popular name for shady businesses which do money laundering.
  • Thanks to its setting, the Monkey Island series is rife with this. Just to give an example, one of the central antagonists in Tales of Monkey Island is named Marquis De Singe ('singe' being French for 'monkey', which Guybrush lampshades by calling him "De Monkey" in the fourth chapter).
  • The manual for Command & Conquer: Red Alert contains lines of Morse code. If decoded, these hint at the existence and content of the secret "ant missions".
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, the female PC is a princess, in a peach colored kimono. Her name, Momohime, means 'Peach Princess'. Peach Princess, eh?.
  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, in the Picus Montreal offices, you can find several e-mails written in French, with no in-game translation (unlike the accurately-accented Mandarin Chinese conversations in Hengsha). They deal with Picus' role in manipulating the truth and public opinion (with one Picus employee having doubts about if he's doing the right thing)... and a guy who wants his chair back.
  • In Warcraft 3 The Beast Master can summon a bear familiar called Misha. It is the affectionate Russian word for "bear" or "beary".
  • Splinter Cell Chaos Theory has a Japanese gang with a name that translates to "Red Herring", thus hinting at the later developments.

[After Sam asks for a translation]
Civilian: It's a kind of fish. A small, silvery fish.
Sam: You mean a herring?
Civilian: Yes! YES! That's it! That's the word! Red Herring!

  • Adding fuel to the fire of the Soul Series "Raphael is Nightmare" theories is the name of Graf Dumas' castle, Denevér Castle. Dumas is Hungarian; the translation of the Hungarian word denevér in English? Bat.
  • Strelok from STALKER is both Russian and Ukrainian for Gunslinger/Shooter. Even the early builds had dialogues that refer Strelok in his aforementioned Anglicized nicknames.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Walkyverse. Dumbing Of Age gives us Marcie, who is mute and speaks in ASL.
  • This strip of Irregular Webcomic for Quebecois French speakers is ostensibly an extended joke about a mountie, a lumberjack etc etc etc walk into a bar. The second panel actually reads "This comic's author doesn't speak French. He just asked a volunteer from Internet forums to translate a few lines of dialogue for him" and the fourth panel reads "Next time you want someone to translate your stupid jokes, please offer me something for my efforts, [expletive]!"
  • Irregular Webcomic author David Morgan-Mar and others had a half-baked idea to launch a site dedicated to half-baked ideas called "mezzacotta". Mezza cotta is Italian for half-baked.
  • Unshelved used Braille once. It translates to "soon the full text of every overdue comic strip will be available on our website so that everybody can enjoy them." [7]
  • Rock Paper Cynic contains a strip that, according to the author, contrasts black humour with infantile joy by exploiting the Language Barrier between French and English. The strip has two separate scripts, running side by side, one in each language. The English is innocent and fairy tale like, while the French veers into darker territory.
    • Specifically, the French story goes: "Bertrand was a blueberry. He was suspicious of the English-speaking population. He was a bit racist. He prayed to the gods to massacre his enemies, and one day... he saw them all die."
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki has this as well. The runes on Yuuki's belt? A contraceptive spell. Just remember that Yuuki is a gender changed, magical girl who gets into more "situations"" than the average person, and this could manifest as Fridge Brilliance.
  • Homestuck has an interesting case with The Troll alphabet. It's actually upside-down Daedric Alphabet from The Elder Scrolls. The first name suggestion translates as "Turdodor Fuckball." The "real" name, however, translates as "Trollplanet" which is an accurate description of the world... but which makes the caption a blatant lie, because it claims the guess was exactly right... and that the name of the world is Alternia. The attempted insulting name for Karkat translates as "Bulgereek Nookstain". During their fight scenes, the word "GRIEF" appears instead of the kids' STRIFE.
  • This Xkcd has a Bilingual Bonus in the alt-text in Lojban. It roughly translates as "Fedora man is going to conquer the world." Roughly, though, since you know how imprecise English is. It actually roughly means that he's teasing, but can we still be friends?
  • In the beginning of Issue #12 of The Dreamer, Benjamin Tallmadge says to Nathan Hale in Latin,The punishment for unexcused absence is five days of college probation and a public admonition. Ten for Linonian rogues.
  • In this strip of Penny Arcade, the Mandalorian roughly translates to: Train your sons to be strong, but your daughters to be stronger, learn mandoa fool. Now hands up how many had to use Google translate or similar to get that?
  • A minor one, but in this Darths and Droids comic, the title is in binary. When translated to ascii, it reads "Sunset."
  • The Wotch gives us the character Ivan Bezdomny. His last name is the Polish word for homeless.
  • In this strip of Ctrl+Alt+Del, Lucas' binary quote translates to "get lost, fucktard".
  • In a strip of Chopping Block, Butch meets a French speaker who he thinks is either telling him to kill for Beelzebub, or asking where the bathroom is—he opts for the first to be safe. If you understand the French, it turns out that, against all odds and logic, Butch actually guessed right.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In ARCHON, non-human first names tend to be words in another language. Notably elven names are Welsh and orkish names are German. Overlaps with Meaningful Name.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the story "Quoth the Ninja, Nevermore!" has a Bilingual Bonus. The superpowered ninjas raiding the school (as a Yama Dojo graduation exercise) form a Five-Man Band, and their names are all jokes in Japanese. Their given names are all types of food, as in tons of anime, while their last names all have hidden meanings.
  • While RAKSA of Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors-RAKSA is the nickname of Rakion Kalsa, Malay speakers can tell that this novel revolves around mercury.
  • Mystery Guitar Man's first line in almost all of his videos is in Portuguese, some are specific references only Brazilians will understand. And while there are English subtitles in his videos, the line in Portuguese is never translated nor written.
  • Wikipedia. Especially if you know two languages whose major using countries (English defaults to U.S., obviously) got noticeable ideological differences. When in a punkish mood you can have fun just by looking up on both languages almost any article related to these areas. The source of fun is that they both contain The Neutral Point Of View. And are claimed to be more precise than Britannica, remember? Both at the same time, obviously.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire has one Bilingual Parental Bonus: The lech-leaning engineer asks one of the Atlantean woman "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?" ("Would you sleep with me tonight?"), a phrase which is also often said in the song "Lady Marmalade".
  • In the South Park episode "Good Times With Weapons" the kids are playing with the weapons and imagine themselves as anime characters, complete with a song in Japanese made by Trey Parker (who speaks fluent Japanese), "Let's Fighting Love". The song also has several odd statements in Gratuitous English (including the titular line), and most of the song is profane (but grammatically correct) nonsense and the singer admitting how bad the song and his English are. (You can find a translation here.)
    • Japanese jokes aplenty in "Chinpokomon" – Chinpoko is Japanese for "very small penis."
    • Another episode featured a fictional videogame console, the Okama Gamesphere. "Okama" being Japanese slang for "gay man."
    • In "Chickenlover", the alphabet poster above the school blackboard reads "DiOsMiOhAnMaTaDoHaKeNnYbAsTaRdOs", which is Spanish for "Oh my God, they killed Kenny, you bastards".
    • In "Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants", the Afghan children speak fluent Persian (with Iranian accents), most of which can be guessed from context. Includes the line "God! They killed Keivan" when the Afghan Kenny-analogue is killed.
    • Also in Pinkeye, the button the Cosmonauts accidentally press to crash the Mir space station is labelled "hoopsie" in Cyrillic script—a possible transliteration of either "oopsie" or "whoopsie".
  • In Futurama when Amy Wong gets mad, she will often speak Chinese in a tone implying that she's swearing. However, she's actually saying very innocuous phrases and just using an angry tone.
    • Binary code is also used with Bender here and there; among other things, his apartment reads '$' and a binary message in blood is the number 666.
    • In one episode of the new (2010) series, the crew travels in time and Prof. Farnsworth takes a stop to kill Adolf Hitler. Just before Farnsworth's death ray blows him up, Hitler is yelling in an official speech: "Betrachten Sie meinen Schnurrbart!" "Look at my moustache!"
  • One episode of The Fairly OddParents shows snails being eaten at a cafe in downtown Paris; the name of the cafe is "Cafe Abattoir", a French loanword.
  • In Hey Arnold!, Oskar Kokoshka has a Meaningful Name in Russian--Kokashka translates to feces or "shithead," which precisely describes him.
    • Oddly, as appropriate as it would be, he shares a name with an Austrian painter.
  • Beast Wars has Cybertronix, a simple substitution cypher. Sometimes it's used for gibberish, sometimes it's plot relevant, and sometimes it's just used for in-jokes and Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • In the episode "Here There Be Dwarves" of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy the dwarves shout "Lave sus Manos!" as a battle cry. Those who understand Spanish knows it translate to "Wash your hands".
    • In the episode "My Peeps", while Grim is zapping Billy's eyes to try and fix them, Billy briefly sees Grim and Mandy in an Animesque style, and Mandy says "His eyes aren't fixed yet" in Japanese.
  • In The Critic, Vlada's restaurant is named L'ane Riche, which is French for "The Wealthy Jackass."
  • Family Guy episode "McStroke" has an Italian guy tells Peter he is crazy for faking Italian and in "Road to Europe" the German tour guide tells everyone on the tour to shut up.
    • All the signs in Asiantown are nonsense. The "Chinese Takeout" has the exact same English words written below it in Japanese letters, and one street sign says "I love you". Other store signs say "1234567" or "Monday"
    • In Halloween on Spooner Street, the line Quagmire says his Japanese grandfather used to say translates to "As long as a man has pearls between his toes, he will never be poor."
  • In one episode of American Dad, Steve is deceived by Roger to think he has been accepted in Hogwarts really Roger just sent him with drug dealers, one of them told Steve "Lavate las manos" which he believed to be a spell, actually was "Wash your hands" in Spanish.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The show's creator voices the German character Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and knows German himself, which has actually led to them getting to say, "Perry the Platypus, you scared the shit out of me!" in German. I'm not sure how that was corrected in the German dub...
    • It was. In fact, the German dub even toned down a line where Doofenshmirtz told Perry: "You haven't got a tail anymore! Now you're no match for me!". The German word for "Tail" is also a slang term for "Penis".
  • Done in Adventure Time. Lady Rainicorn, Jake and Finn are sitting together, and telling jokes. There is a significant problem here, as Rainicorn speaks only Korean. Rainicorn is asked to tell a joke. Her reply causes Jake to blush, and he quickly makes the excuse that there is a translation barrier. Her 'joke', translated, is "Remember when we ran naked through that field? That farmer was so offended!"
    • Which is funny, because Jake and Lady Rainicorn never wear clothes.
  • Sort of inevitable with Más y Menos from Teen Titans, twins who speak only in Spanish (most of the time, they spout long streams of Spanish without subtitles). Amid one of their rants, they say the word "piss". They had to correct it for the Spanish dub.
  • In Pasila, the drawing room of an evil aristocrats' club bears the Vulgate Latin for "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: but the heart of the wicked is nothing worth."
  • One episode of Kevin Spencer has the title character riding with his parents on a train in Quebec. Percy notices a sign on the wall that says "Defense de fumer", and wonders what it means. Anastasia replies that she thinks it means "fasten your seatbelt." What it actually means in French is "No Smoking", something Kevin and his family obviously wouldn't obey even if they knew what it meant.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, when Greasy encounters the bear trap in Jessica's Victoria's Secret Compartment, he shrieks what sounds like gibberish. Spanish speakers who've seen this scene claim he's actually shouting "la mierda mi chingada la mano", which means "Shit, my fucking hand!"
  • In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, the evil sisters who torment the main characters are called the Kanker sisters. Kanker is Dutch for cancer, and it's the worst kind of thing that you can swear in our language. In one episode you can clearly see the name "Kanker Club" for a treehouse. Unedited. And since club means the same in Dutch as it does in English... well, that's bad.
  • Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls has the ability to speak Spanish and has done so in some episodes. For instance in "Ice Sore" she tells Pablo "Provoque el niño", meaning loosely "Move it boy".
  • In a Mysterio episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, he is chanting in Latin to summon various spells/illusions. Translated, he is saying things that make sense for the sleep and lightning spells, but for the disappearing spell he chants "Thank you for not smoking", then "I believe that Elvis is still alive" for the dragon-summoning spell, and "I can't get no satisfaction" for the Homunculi-summoning spell.
  • In the episode of Robot Chicken entitled "Federated Resources", Cory Feldman has a shirt that reads "ばか" -- "Baka".
  • One episode of King of the Hill revolves around Enrique and his marital problems. When Hank takes Enrique to confront his wife, Yolanda, they start arguing in Spanish. They say some pretty amusing things, like Yolanda complaining that Enrique was always going on about how great Hank is. "*makes kissy noises* Hank is strong, Hank is fun!"

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • After conquering Sindh in Pakistan (despite having received orders not to do so), Sir Charles James Napier reported the news to London in a telegraph that simply said: PECCAVI, Latin for "I have sinned".
    • Similarly, when Lord Clyde conquered the city of Lucknow (also in India), he is said to have telegraphed home NUNC FORTUNATUS SUM (I am in luck now).
  • The software company Piriform makes freeware cleanup tools, including Recuva, a tool for recovering lost files after you accidentally delete them. Piriform is Latin for "pear-shaped", British slang for Gone Horribly Wrong. (The company logo is also pear-shaped, confirming that this is intentional.)
  • New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department, which administers tax collection in the counry, has the unfortunate Māori name Te Tari Tāke[8] - cue cartoons with Incredibly Lame Puns whenever there is a tax increase.
  • The Other Wiki has this.
  1. 私は今、ノーパン・ノーブラです。 "I am now no-pants, no-bra."
  2. demon's ears
  3. demon's mouth
  4. "I love you, my dear."
  5. phil="love" (neither sexual nor Platonic) + (h)ippos, "horse"
  6. Ukrainian for "of Oils"
  7. It's Grade 2 Braille, which uses every symbol and a bunch of contractions.
  8. The department spells it Te Tari Taake. Double vowels are an older way to represent long vowels in Māori; macroned vowels are preferred today.