Translation and Localization in Brazil


Talking about Localization, we saw that this is the process of  the language adaptation, appearance, and functionality of a product to the public in a specific country. There are many things to take care of and this professional has to be aware of the culture and more.

Deeper into this subject, we have the Brazilian Portuguese Localization. No different from what I said before, but aiming the Brazilian public. Our biggest problem here, and the complains of many people that I talk to, are the movies. Dubbed movies are, most of the time, horrible to watch and make a lot of ears bleed if you know how to speak English. Of course not all the Brazilians can learn English – or another language – and watch the movie with the original sound, but, if they only knew what happens, they may agree with me.

Well, one example is the translation of movie titles. Let work with a really nice movie that I liked a lot because of the sound tracks – Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. In Portuguese, the translation of that is “Tenacious D – Uma Dupla Infernal” (In Portugal is it call – Rock dos Infernos – En: Rock from Hell). So, let supposed that the movie was released in Brazil and we had to translate to English. The name would be “Tenacious D – An Infernal Double” or “An Infernal Couple”, something like that. Wouldn’t that sound pretty weird?

Now, assuming that the movie is about 2 guys that are looking for a magic guitar pic, why wouldn’t translate the title to “Tenacious D – A palheta do Destino” (Original English name: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny).

Well, that’s because that wouldn’t be so good as “Uma dupla Infernal”. If you research and check the movies here in Brazil, most of it has really different names and that is because of Localization.

I started to understand why they give such names to the movies that would sound so good also in Portuguese. Brazilian people are not used to these kinds of names and, to reach most of the population, they have to call that. According to the online newspaper, only 2% of the Brazilian population knows how to speak fluent English. Then imagine you releasing a movie here In Brazil with the original title. And more, most of the Brazilian people are not used to the kind of music that is played on the movie. Hard/Heavy music are some styles really hard to get into the Brazilian culture. So, that’s why – and for other reasons – that they had to change the name.

I have to say that really makes me feel bad, because, when talking about music, it is a pretty good movie, but I have to agree that it wouldn’t reach so many people with the original title translated.

There is where we come with the localization. Not only on the movies, but in games. If you do not do a really good job, not only translating but localizing, something in the game will be out of tune for the Brazilian public and it make take you game – which can be amazing – to a disaster just because you didn’t do a good job.

Another think about it is how you translate and how you localize a specific game to a specific public. But I will try to talk about that in another post.


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