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In Hungary, the movie has two dubs. One of them is ancient and unprofessional, the other more recent and more professional.
Fans for hard wear counted a total of five actors in the original version: four men for random characters, while a female actress grants her voice to Arcee, Daniel, and most of Wheelie's dialog. Akin to the original version's cast, they are or were at one time well-known performers, voice actors in Hungary. Yet even their talents could not save the dub. Lip-sync is practically non-existent, the actors continue talking even when another character is moving its lips, certain lines are missing or misplaced (most notably Megatron's "Die, Autobots!" shout), Grimlock rhymes after meeting Wheelie instead of the latter, Cliffjumper and Springer share the same name, Wreck-Gar calls Hot Rod Unicron once, while Blaster, for instance, changes his voice three times during one scene. Due to the small dubbing cast and the early voice-altering techniques, the dialog of the Junkions is rather easily understood, and it appears the translator actually made an effort to write an occasional Hungarian commercial line or catch phrase into the script. (It is not known where the line was derived from or what it refers to, however, so it is entirely possible that it's nothing more than a spark of individual creativity on the translator's part. Even if that's true, it's a point in the dub's favor). Another problem is that most of the lines got shortened, you could say "dumbed down", and the finished product shows a general lack of knowledge and understanding of the source material. But to be fair, some of the lines that actually ended up being translated are quite witty, so you can tell that, though not much, some effort and care went into the translation process. In fact, most of the problems probably come from the unusually small dubbing cast and bad voice directing. Even so, this first version remains popular, and only those fans who have only recently been introduced to it seem to hate it. As for why the word Decepticon was translated to "Toad", well, that remains a mystery to this day. It may be a tribute to an old German sci-fi TV series, The Phantastic Adventures of Spaceship Orion (Az Orion Űrhajó kalandjai in Hungarian; originally Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffs Orion [in German]), which was quite popular in Hungary in the late Sixties. In this series, the main enemy alien race was also called the "Toads" ("F.r.o.g.s" in English, "Békák" in Hungarian; but it was translated as "Varangyok" in the Hungarian version).
Some fans like to give the nickname "Darth Vader" to Optimus Prime when talking about this dub, as (most of) Prime's lines were delivered by the same voice actor, the late Lajos Kránicz, who supplied the voice of the Sith Lord in the most recent Star Wars dubs. He had also played the part of Unicron in this dub, and later returned in Transformers: Energon to shout "Transform!" as the same character. Interestingly enough, the same could be said about the new movie's Prime as well, for he was voiced by Vader's original dubbing actor.
The second and more disliked dub has a reputation among the fans for including more profanities than the original version of the film. Although Spike's "Oh, shit!" line was cut, Ironhide, Galvatron and the Dinobots say terms akin to "asshole" (from Grimlock to Blurr), "jerk", "stupid", "rotten", "ass-wipes" (this one even twice, when referring to the Decepticons), and "candyass" (from Galvatron, regarding Hot Rod). Quite interesting, seeing as the dubs produced in that era have been known for freeing the movies of their swear words. These dubs are also infamous for using untranslated or incorrectly translated names, and random voice actors for random characters with random voice-pacing. These names include Unicornis (Unicron, the first and foremost reason why this dub gets slated so much), Mega-robot (Devastator), Constructors (Constructicons), Deceptors (Decepticons, but only said once), Gettison (Astrotrain, probably derived and mis-interpreted from the line "Jettison some weight."), Astro (again, Astrotrain), and Eject (this refers to no one, it was mistranslated from Soundwave's "Eject" call). Unicron's last line in particular, which translates to "History cannot destroy m-e-e-e!" suggests that the translator had no script to work from, and thus had to rely solely on her hearing. The switching of voices is also common in this version. An interesting blooper occurs during the attack on the Autobot shuttle: Ironhide speaks his final words in Starscream's voice ("Please, have mercy!"), and curiously, the translation of Megatron's "Such heroic nonsense" line corresponds with this sudden change of personality, as he says to (supposedly) Starscream, "Death to all traitors" before blasting him—actually blasting Ironhide, of course. Now this is a foreshadowing of later events. Megatron is just as careless with his voices — he switches them twice during his confrontation with Prime. Though around the middle of the movie, most of the actors managed to settle down on a bunch of "own" characters to give their voices to. A notable exception is Kup, whose voice constantly keeps changing throughout the film.
The DVD case has G.I. Joe pictures printed on it, as well as on the DVD itself. Spiffy. It's also worth noting that Bumblebee in the 2007 movie has the same voice he had in the second dub of The Transformers: The Movie. Probably a coincidence, since that guy supplied half of the voices for the cast back then. Both of these versions include the scrolling text and other European edits; the more recent one even has the "gong man".
Germany also got two different dubs over the years:
As the movie had never been shown in German theaters, the first dub, titled Transformers: Der Kampf um Cybertron (Transformers: The Battle for Cybertron), was made in 1994 for airing on the German TV station RTL, to serve as a "pilot" for the G2 cartoon series which would be subsequently broadcast. (One might argue that the initial omission of the movie from the G1 cartoon's German airing schedule resulted in an information gap regarding the shift from the season 2 setting to the season 3 setting; but then again, the cartoon started with episodes from season 3 in Germany, and only six episodes from the first two seasons were ever aired during the entire original "G1" run of the show, so it's not like context problems weren't already all over the place.) Even though the dub was made only three years after the dub of the G1 cartoon had started on German TV, only a few of the German voice actors returned, most of them not even in the same roles they had played before. Optimus Prime, for example, was now dubbed by Thomas Rau, who had originally voiced Rodimus Prime, Blaster and Scourge in the cartoon itself. As in the dub of the cartoon before, all the characters retained their English names, with the excepticon of Devastator, whose name was translated as "Der Vernichter" for reasons unknown (he was "Devastator" in the dub of the cartoon itself). This version of the movie was only shown twice (not counting late-night reruns following those airings), on its TV premiere in April of 1994 and one year later, in May of 1995. It was never released on VHS either. (Contrary to a widespread rumor, the German TV edition of the movie was not edited to omit Starscream's death scene.)
In 2003, the movie, this time simply titled Transformers, was finally released on DVD in Germany, by a little-known, low-budget label. Since the TV edition of the movie had been used as a "pilot" for the G2 cartoon, and it had been archived under the title "Der Kampf um Cybertron", the dubbing masters were not located until more than a year later, so the DVD company assigned an entirely new dub - which makes the RTM 1 dub and the Voicebox dub of Energon look like masterpieces. Numerous translation errors resulted from the apparent lack of an original script, thus requiring the dubbers to translate simply from listening to the original audio; coupled with a lack of experience with the source material and a lack of professional knowledge in the English (and German) language in general, resulting in look-it-up-in-a-dictionary-use-first-suggestion translations, sentences that make no sense whatsoever at all in context, and generally stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue. In addition, none of the voice actors sounded like they were particularly experienced in the field of dubbing, especially since none of their voices were recognizable from other productions. (It's not like the original TV dub was exactly a masterpiece, but there were some genuine gems, such as Bernd Simon's rendition of Starscream, or the Junkions' dialogue; and major technical and translation errors were by far fewer than the rampant across-the-board error-fest that was the DVD dub.)
The DVD is also notorious for its packaging, which does its best to obscure what exactly it contains (i.e. a feature-length animated movie). The front cover uses the cover artwork of the old Panini G1 sticker album, while the back cover depicts stills from "The Golden Lagoon", "The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 1" and "The Autobot Run", coupled with an (incorrect) summary of the general setting of the first two seasons of the G1 cartoon, with the term "Transformers" translated into German for whatever reason. A second edition of this DVD was released in 2006, this time featuring artwork of Armada Optimus Prime on the front cover, with Earth (from the 2007 movie's promo poster) as the background, plus the 1984 back-of-the-box artwork rotated by 270 degrees as an overlay, and the "Transformers" title logo from the 2007 movie. The back cover depicts a screencap from the Armada video game, Don Figueroa's "All Optimus" poster and the 1984 back-of-the-box battle scene, plus the same sleeve text as featured on the 2003 release of the DVD, with none of the errors fixed.
The Movie was released in Brazilian theaters almost simultaneously with the launch of the series on television. It was later released on home video on the late '80s, but on a very small scale, which made it very hard to find in video stores. The movie was aired on television just once and received a new dub for this. Which dubbing is the best is a regular debate topic among Brazilian fans.
For French-speaking audiences, who had thus far been given two separate dubs of the TV series (one done in France and one done in Quebec, a very common occurrence), a single dub was made for all French releases of the film. This release used a brand-new voice actor team rather than using either dub team from the series. Whereas the old dubs used the French names from the toy packages, the movie used all of the characters' English names. Two characters were given gender changes for this dub; Starscream and Shrapnel both become females. One notable change to the dialog occurs when Starscream asks "Megatron? Is that you?" Galvatron's original answer, "Here's a hint!", is now much more direct: "Yes, but stronger than before!"
The movie was released on VHS and DVD by Proxima Films and were originally priced at 9.99 and 14.99 BGN respectively. The DVD had both Bulgarian dubbing and the original English audio track and some trailers for other retro cartoons, that were getting a release, as bonus-feature. The Bulgarian dub has some great voice-matching and an added effect over the Autobot and Decepticon voices, so they would sound a bit more robotic. The translatable names of the characters were not translated. The same DVD got a re-release in a slimmer case and later another "cheap" re-release, feturing a carboard sleeve as a package at the price of 0.99 BGN.
In Poland, the movie was never professionally dubbed. In the only official (and cult classic) release on VHS in 1992, all the dialogue was read by a single voice-over actor, while the original sound was left intact and could be heard in the background. To this day, that characteristic form of "narrating" is a very popular solution in Poland when it comes to translating movies for TV or DVDs. Thanks to this method, you can both understand the story and hear all the original voices. In case of The Transformers: The Movie it also forced translators to leave (almost) all the original names intact. (Yay!)
The Japanese dub is notable for adding a lot of lines and voice effects. Whereas the shuttle attack scene didn't have much talking during combat in the English version, the Japanese dub adds numerous lines to many characters on both sides of the fight. Likewise, Prime's fight with Megatron has numerous grunts added in.
The Japanese release is also the subject of several notable misconceptions.