Localizing your Software or Application for Brazil

Published: 17 Aug 2017

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2017

This article gives you an understanding of the main aspects involved when localizing an application for the Brazilian market. More than just translation is needed.Brazil has become over the years a key market for several technology companies due to the expansion in the mobile and broadband infrastructure and quick adoption of smartphones. There is no question that localization of applications should be the top priority for your software development company to reach the 5th largest country in the world in terms of population.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 7 tips that you must consider when localizing your software for Brazil.

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

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, the word "fuel tank" in Brazilian Portuguese is "Tanque de combustível" while in Portuguese Portuguese they use the word "Depósito". The word "Depósito" in Brazilian Portuguese 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 in July. Valentine's day is in June and the most important public holiday is Carnival, which is in February.In addition, each municipality has different public holidays so keeping a calendar updated with all the holidays is difficult.

4. Local service integration

Integrations with certain international sites and services such as eBay and Yelp will not really impress Brazilians so you need to pick the services you make available for the audience carefully.

Nearly all Brazilians are registered with Facebook and have access to Whatsapp. They are also very familiar with services such as Twitter, Waze, Instagram, Snapchat and Google Maps. Examples of local services used by Brazilians that maybe worth considering integration with are e-commerce site MercadoLivre, taxi hailing apps 99 and Easy and price comparison site Buscapé.

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 want to 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 more 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".

6. Thousands and decimal separators

In Brazil the thousand separator is represented by a dot [.] and the decimal is represented by a comma [,].

7. 24 hour vs 12 hour clock

Time keeping in Brazil is formally represented in the 24-hour notation. Therefore the correct translation for 5:30 PM is 17h30min.

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Article Author

Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes