Lost in Translation

Corrected entry: Throughout the film, the characters interchange the letters "L" and "R". In correct Japanese, the letter "L" does not exist, it is always replaced by "R". Furthermore, words that contain "R" and no "L" remain unchanged. So when the prostitute tells Bob to 'lip my stocking', she should actually be saying it correctly (as in 'rip', not 'lip'). It should not change.

Correction: Neither R nor L exist in Japanese. What does exist is a sound that's halfway between R and L (say "teddy bear," and the sound you get by pronouncing the DDs is about the right one). But English-speaking Japanese people know that there are two sounds in English, and just as someone has to learn each word's gender when learning Roman languages or German, for example, they need to learn the right sound for each word. And guess what? They make mistakes. And even if they resort to using the Japanese R instead f trying to pronounce R or L the English way, the sound coming out of that person's mouth will sound more like an R or like an L depending on their accent and the listener's ear. Plus, it isn't uncommon for Japanese Rs to be romanized as L, especially for names.


Corrected entry: Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen meet briefly in the hallway leading to the hotel pool. She invites him to join her and some friends later, but never divulges a time or her room number. In the next scene, he is knocking on her door.

Correction: He could have called the front desk to find out what room she was in. There are not that many American blondes staying in the same hotel.

Corrected entry: When Charlotte is in the hotel bar with her husband and Kelly the actress, her hair is switching between tucked behind her ear and hanging down in alternating shots. (00:36:20)


Correction: Her hair is tucked behind her ear. but there is so much hair that it doesn't all fit. When you look from certain angles you can't see the ear. Some shots are from the back, and those seem like it is not tucked, but if you notice you can see that there is some hair that is tucked someplace.

James Storck

Corrected entry: In the beginning of the film, when Bob rides a taxi to his hotel just after coming to Japan, you can see the Japanese labels on shops and advertisements are reversed in some shots (like seen in a mirror) and correct in other. The reversed shots are those with a view from the taxi with Bob visible, which suggests they were reversed in post-production for some reason.

Correction: The only signs that are backwards are the ones that are reflected in store windows, across the street. For example, when we see the "ASAHI" sign it is backwards, but it is a reflection on the store's glass window.

James Storck

Corrected entry: When Charlotte and Bob run away from the guys with the toy guns she is carrying a handbag. When Bob puts her on the bed later the handbag is gone, but then it's back on their next outing. (00:52:00 - 01:01:35)


Correction: When he is carrying her to her room she is holding the bag. In the next scene she doesn't have the bag, but that doesn't mean she didn't drop it in between scenes. The scenes are not continous so we don't know what she did once she entered the room, until she got to the bed.

James Storck

Corrected entry: Bob leaves the hotel for the airport in the morning, but towards the end of his taxi ride the street lamps come on and it's evening. Tokyo is big, but not that big. (01:32:00)


Correction: There is nothing in the film to suggest that the final shots of evening Tokyo are related to Bob's taxi ride at all. The last we actually see of Bob is when he gets back into the taxi and tells the driver it's all right to go, when it is morning. The shots immediately following are just random shots of the skyscrapers in Tokyo at later times of the day, more or less giving closure to the film.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Bill Murray is in the pool watching the instructor, the wide view of the pool doesn't include him. In the next shot he's seen to be standing across from the women in the pool.

Correction: The women are exercising facing to instructor to the left, with the camera focused on the top portion of the pool. When we see Bill Murray swimming and looking at the women underwater, they are facing the left and going backwards. Bill Murray is not in the shot because he's on the bottom side of the pool away from the camera swimming from right to left, not at the top swimming from top to bottom.

Corrected entry: Besides suiting the movie title it doesn't make any sense that an educated person like a hospital doctor keeps explaining medical details to a Western patient in Japanese, well aware that she doesn't understand a word. Any Japanese who has become a doctor will have pretty good language skills, especially right in Tokyo, as a lot of their work has to be done in that language - don't forget research papers are 95% in English (and I'm not even mentioning researchers, who basically work ONLY in English). So a doctor in Tokyo should be able to explain her situation to Charlotte. Maybe not with the specialised medical terms, but at least clearly enough for her to know what's going on with her foot. (00:59:00)


Correction: There is nothing wrong or unbelievable about this scene. In the past, in Asia, English was taught by rote with lots of reading and writing and very little speaking. As a result, many of those who "learned" English can read and write but are often poor or lack confidence when speaking. There is no reason why a Japanese doctor would have good English skills and it's not true to say that a lot of their work would be done in English. Anyone who has been to Japan can confirm this, the Japanese go to great lengths to have everything translated into their own language, unlike the rest of Asia. The fact that the doctor explains everything is very Asian, I've had the same thing happen many many times.


Corrected entry: When Charlotte calls home she says that she even tried Ikebana, but only later we see her popping into an Ikebana class and trying it herself obviously for the first time. (00:13:15 - 00:28:40)


Correction: I always saw this as further proof of her displacement and lack of direction - she had nothing to do and nowhere to go, so wandered into the Ikebana room she had been in a day or so before. Certainly there is nothing to indicate this is not the case.

STP Premium member

Corrected entry: In the arcade scene, a person with a red cap and blue shirt walks behind the guitar arcade player. When the camera switches to an opposite angle of the guitarist, the red capped fellow is in the middle of a shooting game. (00:35:50)

Correction: These are different guys. The caps are different, and the first guy wears glasses.


Corrected entry: During Charlotte and Bob's first conversation in the bar Bob has a napkin and glass of whiskey on a coaster in front of him. As the conversation ends, there is a wider shot of the couple and Bob's napkin and glass jump; the glass is now much further away from him than in the previous shot.


Correction: The two shots are not necessarily in continuous succession. There are several scenes which consist of little clips linked to each other, for example when Charlotte sits in the chair before Bob slips the note under the door.


Corrected entry: The first time Charlotte and Bob converse in the hotel bar, Charlotte sits down next to Bob and orders a drink from the waiter. The waiter brings the drink, which has a straw stuck in it with a bit of the straw wrapper covering the top. Charlotte does not remove the wrapper, but when she picks up the drink the wrapper is gone.

Correction: This is not a straw but a plastic stirrer. What looks like a wrap in one shot is a reflection on the upper end of the the stirrer.


Corrected entry: On their first night out with Charlotte's friends the group goes to a Karaoke place. There (and only there) Charlotte is wearing a reddish wig for whose appearance and later disappearance there's no explanation. (00:47:30)


Correction: Do we need an explanation? She doesn't need to have a reason. One of her friends could have brought along some props to make to karaoke more like make believe, as some people do. If it helps them be in character so as to have more fun, why not?


Corrected entry: Just before he leaves the hotel at the end of the film, Bob sees Charlotte get into the lift (presumably going back up). Then he turns round, goes to the car and drives off. A few seconds later he spots Charlotte walking down the street. This is so obvious a mistake that I'm fully prepared to accept that it's a cinematic device.

Correction: The car is stuck in traffic. It may have been so for quite a while, thus giving enough time for Charlotte to go outside and be spotted.


Corrected entry: When the hotel fire alarm goes off, Charlotte gets out of bed in short pyjamas. Outside she is in long pyjamas. Bob comes down in his kimono, no jacket. After a drink in the bar they go back up in the lift. He has a jacket on over his kimono.

Correction: We see Bob waking and getting up, then he's outside, but we only see the upper part of his body. He could have taken his coat with him before leaving his room and have been holding it in his hand outside, which means we didn't see it on screen even though he had it with him.


Corrected entry: At the start of the film, as Bob is in the car being driven to the hotel, he is looking at the neon lights and sees a billboard of himself advertising whiskey - except he has not been to the photo shoot for the whiskey ad yet. (00:01:55)

Correction: The movie doesn't say that it's his first shoot for this company. This billboard and the "slogan" remark of the bartender (or someone like that) suggest that he's already the established public figure for this company's ads.


Corrected entry: When Bill Murray is shown taking a shower, he adjusts the height of the shower head. When he screws the clamp tight, he spins it in the direction that would loosen it. This shot was evidently reversed.

Correction: The shot was not reversed. A set screw with a right hand thread would be turned up and away to tighten on the right side. Mr. Murray reached up with his left hand to the left side. Here a set screw with a right hand thread would be turned down and toward the user (as was the case). A reverse image would not change the direction Mr. Murray turned the set screw, he would still turn down and toward himself, but with his right hand. If this is hard to visualize, just hold any screw in your right hand and then in your left and watch the direction of the tread as you turn it.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Bob is shaving in his hotel bathroom, he answers a phone call from the hotel receptionist who informs "Mr Murray" that a fax has arrived for him.

Correction: The hotel clerk says, "Mr. Harris? A fax for you." at the beginning of the conversation. At the end of the conversation the clerk says "Thank you, Mr. Harris". (subtitles confirm it). The confusion may lie in the Japanese accent. 1:16:33

Corrected entry: When Bob is at the photo shoot, the photographer takes a lot of photos but the flash does not always fire. In a studio, the flash would be linked to the camera so that every time the shutter was fired, the flash would also fire.

mandy gasson

Correction: Even if a flash is linked with the camera, if it isn't loaded fully, the flash wouldn't fire, especially when taking a few shots in a row. A professional photographer would have a much better flash with less time for reloading.

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