Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


Localizing your Software for Brazil

Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


This article gives you an understanding of all the aspects involved when localizing an application for the Brazilian market. There is more than just translation needed.

If your technology company is like many other nowadays, you have realized that Brazilians are catching up with the rest of the world with a remarkable speed. You can see a need for localizing your software (or App if you will), but don't know where to start.

Important: Before you continue reading. The official language in Brazil is Portuguese and not Spanish as many foreigners believe.

A remarkable number of software companies choose to use Google Translator for what they call "localizing".

So to give you a kick-start, here are 5 tips that you must consider when localizing your software for Brazil.

1. Portuguese from Portugal

Trying to use a Portuguese from Portugal approach will not capture your Brazilian audience. Sure, they will understand most of the content, but they might need to go to the dictionary to look up the meaning of some words.

As an example, there is the word "fuel tank" that in Portuguese from Brazil is "Tanque de combustível" while in Portuguese from Portugal they use the word "Depósito". The word "Depósito" in Portuguese from Brazil means bank deposit.

2. Special characters

In Portuguese they actively use a range of special characters like ú, ü, ã, â, à, ç, é, ê, í, õ, ó and ô. Make sure your application supports them throughout.

Reading texts with a lot of charset errors is not much fun.

3. The calendar is different

This is maybe the part that seems most obvious but most people from the northern hemispheres forget it.

In Brazil it's Christmas during the summer and winter is in July. Valentine's day is in June and the most important public holiday is the Carnival, that is in February.

Also each municipality has different public holidays so keeping a calendar updated with all the holidays is difficult.

4. Local service integration

You will not impress the Brazilian audience with your Facebook integration. It's indeed true that many Brazilians are registered on Facebook, but they still use Orkut as their preferred social networking site.

Neither you will convince Brazilian business by having an eBay integration. For online auctioning it's MercadoLivre that dominates the Brazilian market.

5. Brazilians use a lot of words

This might sound trivial but take a moment to think about it. Do you have limitations in terms of how many characters your application's free text areas can hold?

If so you might consider increasing the limit.

For foreigners it seems like Brazilians speak a lot, this is partly true. The fact is that they have to speak a lot since they need many words to express the same as you would with just one single word in English.

An example is the English word "Toe" in Portuguese this is "The finger of the foot".