Eddie at Romanika has a long and excellent post on the differences between the two major varieties of Portuguese, taking off from the fact that Portuguese soap operas are now being imported into Brazil, dubbed into… Portuguese. The Brazilian variety. Eddie has many things to say about this, including the differences in pronunciation and grammar and his own personal experience communicating with Brazilians. Check it out.

Update. Avva has a thread (in Russian) discussing what other pairs of dialects/languages might have similarly asymmetrical dubbing/translation needs (Hochdeutsch and Swiss German? Egyptian and other Arabic dialects?).


  1. That’s always amusing, when shows are dubbed into different dialects. (Is that the proper term?) The example I always think of is The Simpsons, which has different voice actors for the French and Quebecois versions. If I recall correctly, someone did their PhD thesis on this at one of the Montreal universities.

  2. “The Portuguese have been exposed for three decades to the Brazilians soaps, which are broadcast with its original soundtrack, without any dubbing. The Portuguese are quite accustomed to the Brazilians’ way of speaking, being familiar with the pronunciation and expressions from the South American country. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Brazil when it comes to Portugal’s way of speaking. The Brazilians have not been exposed to any kind of media from Portugal.”
    I’ve heard exactly the same thing said about British English and American English — although I suspect that the phenomenon peaked in the 50’s, before Beatlemania.
    This is another instance of Riddle’s Law of Centrifugal Memetics: the fringe always knows more about the center than the center does about the fringe.

  3. I believe that American films and television series are usually dubbed separately for France and francophone Canada. The cynic in me wonders if it’s just a way of making work for unemployed Québecois actors.

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