4 Tips to Localize Your Mobile App into Brazilian Portuguese

4 Tips to Localize Your Mobile App into Brazilian Portuguese

Mobile apps are very popular in Brazil and the most popular apps in this country are those relating to social media, entertainment, and social networking. There’s a lot of potential app users in Brazil that app creators should try to appeal to. For those interested in localizing their apps for this market, this is what they need to know.

Take String Length Into Account

When translating text from English, Brazilian Portuguese requires 25% to 30% more space, so it’s very important to take string length into account. This means it takes more time for users to read any text dialogue or subtitles features in an app, so it’s essential to keep this length difference in mind during the development process. It’s also vital not to forget to use a font that supports the full library of Portuguese punctuation and accents, as not including the proper characters can change the meaning of a word and cause comprehension issues. 

Remember the Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese

If you think you can localize your app once to cover all Portuguese speaking users, think again. There are major differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese that must be recognized. Spelling, pronunciation, and the meaning of words can differ between these two variants. For example, in Brazil, a bathroom is referred to as a “banheiro”, but in Portugal it is called a “sala de banhos”. Most Brazilians reject European Portuguese, so if you want to appeal to the Brazilian market, you need to localize to their specific variant. 

Localize Metrics

Speaking of localization, language is not the only element that must be adapted. Metrics such as units of measure, temperatures (ºC vs ºF), distance, weight, currency, and how dates are formatted can differ greatly across different languages. 

When it comes to Brazilian Portuguese, you’ll want to use the following metrics.

  • 24h clock format
  • DD/MM/YYYY date format
  • Brazilian Real (R$) instead of the American Dollar ($)

Don’t Forget About Culturalization 

When it comes to making a mobile app successful in a new market, you need to keep more than just the local language in mind. Translating the language of an app is a great start, but to really thrive you need to keep culture in mind. This is where culturalization comes in. If your app includes cultural elements (such as film, religious, or historical references), adapt those to the target market. When it comes to seasonal events, you need to consider the season it is in the hemisphere the target market is located in, not what season it is where you’re located. 

There are apps for literally everything, so depending on what your app does, be mindful of sensitive topics such as politics and religion. Hiring a translation partner who has a deep knowledge of the culture you’ll be translating into will help ensure you don’t accidentally cause offense or isolate your new target market. 

Brazil & Mobile Apps A Growing Market - Portada

Brazil & Mobile Apps: A Growing Market

If you’re an app developer or company that benefits by having customers download your mobile app, then you will want to pay more attention to the Brazilian market. The extensive use of mobile phones, and consequently apps, in Brazil makes this one of the hottest mobile app markets in the world. Localizing your apps into Brazilian Portuguese in order to capture this huge market that loves apps so much is a gold mine of opportunity. 

Let’s examine exactly why Brazil has so much mobile potential. 

High Amount of Time Spent Using Apps

According to recent research, Brazil spends more time on mobile apps than any other country. When it comes to time spent on mobile apps, Brazilians spend an average of 5.4 hours each day connected to apps. This leaves app developers with a very captive audience if they take the right approach to localizing their apps for the Brazilian market. 

Access to smartphones in Brazil has been growing over the years, which is contributing to this high usage of mobile apps. In 2019 alone, Brazil’s smartphone growth exploded by 11%. With expected continued growth in regard to smartphone access, the potential to thrive in this market is seemingly endless. By 2023, cell phone sales in Brazil are expected to expand massively, with four million Brazilians owning a smartphone.

An Affinity for Mobile Shopping

One way Brazilians utilize their mobile devices is by shopping from them. In 2019, mobile sales surpassed $7.6 billion in revenue and accounted for 32% of all ecommerce payments in Brazil. With the majority of Brazilians preferring to make purchases over an app (78%), because of how efficient and straightforward the process is, it’s safe to assume that this trend of shopping from smartphones will continue to make an impact. 

All of that being said, you need to get the mobile shopping experience right if you want loyalty from Brazilian customers. More than half (53%) of Brazilians are willing to pay more for a product or service if the user experience is better, this is 12% higher than the global average. If you can properly localize your apps in a way that makes the mobile shopping experience easier and less stressful for Brazilians, you’re off to a really strong start. 

A Deep Love of Mobile Games

While mobile app usage varies, Brazilians are particularly enamored with mobile games. Brazil is the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country and only one in 20 Brazilians speaks English. Because the majority of the Brazilian population does not speak English and really values localized content, it’s important for mobile game developers to have a localization and culturalization strategy in place. In order to make a mobile game appeal to Brazilian gamers, and to ensure they have a high quality experience, you must localize your mobile game specifically into Brazilian Portuguese (as opposed to European Portuguese). This is especially important if you hope to attract younger audiences.

Mobile Gaming — A Market Opportunity in Brazil - PORTADA

Mobile Gaming — A Market Opportunity in Brazil

Video game creators should listen up! There is no shortage of opportunities for mobile game creators to find success in the Brazilian market. Because so many Brazilians utilize public transportation, they can kick back and relax while on the move. Passing the time by playing mobile video games is extremely common in this part of the world, so let’s examine some of the market opportunities for mobile gaming in Brazil. 

A Look at the Brazilian Mobile Market

The Brazilian mobile gaming market is booming. Brazil is Latin America’s largest market for mobile gaming in regard to both the amount of players and how much revenue is generated. With more than 88.4 million players and over $1.0 billion in revenue expected in 2021, Brazil is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming community. 

Why is this market in particular so hot right now? There’s a variety of factors contributing to this surge of growth in Brazil. Alongside the appeal of passing time on public transportation, taxation policy changes surrounding gaming consoles in recent years have helped the industry expand. The accessibility of mobile phones, in the sense that they are now affordable and most Brazilians have them, has also helped this industry thrive. According to Newzoo, the most commonly used gaming device in Brazil is the smartphone (83%), which leaves a lot of room for growth specifically in the mobile gaming industry. 

What They’re Playing

Brazilians play a wide variety of mobile games. In 2020, the most downloaded mobile games from the Apple App Store were:

Free games

  • ‘Among Us’
  • ‘Garena Free Fire’
  • ‘8 Ball Pool’
  • ‘Call of Duty Mobile’
  • ‘Brain Out’
  • ‘Subway Surfers’
  • ‘One!’
  • ‘Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game’
  • ‘Brain Test: Mind Games’
  • ‘Gardenscapes’

Paid games

  • ‘Minecraft’
  • ‘Plague Inc.’
  • ‘Pou’
  • ‘Hitman Sniper’
  • ‘RFS – Real Flight Simulator’
  • ‘Farming Simulator 20’
  • ‘Bully: Anniversary Edition’
  • ‘True Skate’
  • ‘GTA: Liberty City Stories’
  • ‘Stardew Valley’

Why They’re Playing

Alongside passing time on long bus rides, Brazilians turn to video games to de-stress. Because of this, Brazilians tend to enjoy playing mobile games that are extremely immersive and that absorb them into the game, while distracting them from reality for a little while. Strategy, role-playing, and action games are super popular in Brazil because of their ability to be so engaging. Mobile game advertisers should look for opportunities to sell their games as a way to relax and escape everyday stressors like work. 

The Future of this Market

Despite the growing popularity of video games in Brazil, there is still room for this market to expand. Only a little more than one-third of the Brazilian population expresses an interest in video games. Because those uninterested in games are unlikely to own gaming devices, there is a better chance that their first foray into gaming would be on a mobile device that they already own and use for other purposes. Brazil has a population of more than 212 million people and 81% of those people already own smartphones, making smartphone users a goldmine waiting to be tapped. 

Brazil as an emerging market key industries Portada

Brazil as an emerging market: Key industries

The Brazilian market provides nearly endless business opportunities thanks to its massive population of more than 211 million residents. While many different types of businesses across multiple industries have the chance to thrive in this market, the video game, e-learning, and healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in particular have a lot to gain by entering and embracing the Brazilian market. Let’s examine why these industries can benefit so much by properly entering this vibrant market. 

Video Games

Because only 5% of the Brazilian population speaks English, localization into Portuguese is a must if you want your video game to be widely accessible to Brazilians. It’s extremely important that you localize your video game for the Brazilian market. Especially when you consider the fact that this country is home to over 66 million gamers, which is almost as many people that make up the entire UK population. An important factor to understand about the Brazilian market is how much they rely on their mobile devices because of how much they rely on their mobile devices, in part due to long commutes on public transport and affordability when compared to other platforms. Localizing mobile games in particular should be a priority for video game creators


Those that focus on the corporate training sector in particular have great potential to break into this market right now. Because only a minority of people in Brazil speak English, this language barrier prevents them from taking online courses that are not in their native language. Data suggests that Brazilian industries are developing fast, but their workforce is not adequately trained and can lack specific skills. If you adapt your online courses to their native language, you can help address this need and expand your reach in this market. 

You also have the opportunity to adapt your e-learning courses to a mobile format, which will appeal to this unique market. By 2023, the Latin America e-learning market is anticipated to generate more than $3 billion in revenue, so this is not an opportunity that e-learning content creators want to sleep on. 

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Circling back to those 211 million Brazilians, that’s a lot of people who need access to translated and localized healthcare and pharmaceutical information. As of 2018, there were more than 250 health-focused startups in Brazil. This isn’t surprising when you consider that Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest health market. 

From prescription packaging to medical records to insurance claims, there is a great need for proper translation and localization in the Brazilian healthcare industry. Brazil’s pharmaceutical market in particular is one of the largest in the industry and rapidly growing. With many pharmaceuticals developed in English-speaking countries, this leaves a large need for translation in this space. 

Mobile comes into play here once again. To help make healthcare as a whole more accessible (including advice, diagnosis, and monitoring), telehealth services are growing in Brazil. Part of the attempt to make healthcare more accessible is to embrace telehealth, which often takes advantage of mobile applications. 

Translation and localization in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space does not just lead to business opportunities, but also opportunities to create safer and more effective care for Brazilians.

Brazil One Country, Many Variants and a Linguistic Rivalry - Portada

Brazil: One Country, Many Variants and a Linguistic Rivalry

Brazil is a massive country with more than 211 million people living across 3,287,956 square miles. In fact, Brazil is the fifth largest country by area across the world and the largest in South America. While the official language of this sprawling country is Portuguese, how the language is spoken varies greatly from region to region. The two most recognizable accents are the Rio de Janeiro accent and the São Paulo accent. 

While Rio and São Paulo are not very far from each other when it comes to distance, they do have quite the language divide. Both regions speak a different version of Brazilian Portuguese and their pronunciation differs greatly. Citizens of Rio tend to be called Cariocas, whereas citizens of São Paulo are usually called Paulistanos or Paulistanas.

These varieties stem from the European influences in Rio de Janeiro caused by colonialism. In São Paulo, more language influence came from the indigenous people and a variety of European languages. These differing influences have left a mark on Brazil that is still felt today, let’s take a look at some of these. 


Terminology can vary greatly throughout Brazil, even in popular songs. Take the “Happy Birthday” song for insance. In São Paulo they start singing “é pique, é pique…” whereas those in Rio de Janeiro will sing “é big, é big…” Even the names for party decorations vary widely between different areas of Brazil. The word “balloon” is another solid example of these differences. A balloon is called “bexiga” in São Paulo (which also means “bladder” across Brazil) and “balão” in Rio de Janeiro (like a soccer ball). 

The word for “traffic lights” also varies as “farol” (São Paulo) and “sinal” (Rio de Janeiro). Sometimes, the same Portuguese word can have different meanings. The word “bolacha” refers to any kind of cookie or biscuit in São Paulo, whereas in Rio de Janeiro, it only refers to cookies with filling. To learn more about this cookie issue, check out the video below.  


When it comes to accents, Brazil does not have a standard accent or even a preferable one. While some TV and radio broadcasters do try to speak with a more “neutral accent”, the version of a so-called neutral accent can sound different depending on where the content is being distributed. 

Whether paulista, carioca, or from other regions, most people in Brazil may be mocked at some point in their life by their accents, mostly in a friendly way, by those who live outside of those regions.

One key difference between the accents of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is how they pronounce a “s” sound before consonants. How they pronounce the “s” before consonants in Rio de Janeiro is the same as it is when speaking Standard European Portuguese. Another example worth examining is the “r” sound. in Rio “r” is pronounced similar to “h” in English, whereas “r” in São Paulo are rolled, closer to the “r” spoken in Spanish.

One Language With Key Differences

While these differences may seem small at first glance, they can present challenges during the translation process. It can help to work with a localization expert that is very familiar with the specific market in Brazil that you’re creating a product or content for.

The Unique Traits of the Brazilian Market - Portada

The Unique Traits of The Brazilian Market

Brazil is a beautiful and vibrant country with a rich history and culture. If you have your sights set on expanding in the Brazilian market, then you first need to understand the unique traits of Brazilian culture and what makes their people tick. To prepare, you must have an idea of the way people are, what is important to them, what they like, and how they live. 

The Brazilian market has a lot of potential for businesses looking to expand their reach. To start doing successful business within this market, companies need to ensure they adopt the right approach when entering Brazil. Some adaptations may be necessary to appeal to the Brazilian people, but those changes are very doable if you know how to identify them. Let’s examine a few essential facets of Brazilian culture that businesses should be aware of. 

Who They Are

When Americans were asked to describe the Brazilians they know, their adjective choices really painted a clear picture. The most commonly used adjectives Americans felt described Brazilians were: warm, open, friendly, happy, conversational, vibrant, loving, family-oriented, accepting, giving, kind, welcoming, honest, bold, open-hearted, caring, touchy-feely, loud, energetic, and sharing. They were also described as having a love for life. 

When preparing marketing materials, entertainment content, and products to launch in Brazil, keep these adjectives and traits in mind. They can tell you a lot about what the priorities are for the Brazilian people. 

Informal Style

Don’t forget to keep things casual. Brazilian people don’t like formal styles, they usually take a more humane approach to their interactions. This tendency to be more casual translates into their approach to business as well. In Brazilian society, family and personal relationships are extremely important and these values find their way into the business world. Think carefully about how you can build strong personal connections with your Brazilian business partners and customers, as too formal of an approach may push them away. 

Mobile Focused

Brazilians are on the go often and you should keep that in mind when creating content. Because Brazilians in big cities spend a lot of time traveling by subway, train, or bus, such as on their commutes to work, they heavily rely on their mobile phones for entertainment and communication. They are especially fond of social media, with more than 120 million people out of the 210 million population using both WhatsApp and Facebook. On average, Brazilians spend nine hours connected each day. This high level of connection means that if you want to succeed in the Brazilian market, you need to be ready to adapt your content to mobile devices. Whether you produce video entertainment, e-learning courses, or video games, if you want to thrive in the Brazilian marketplace, you need to keep their high mobile device usage in mind. While this is just a brief overview of what Brazilian culture is like, it helps illustrate the differences you should be aware of and prioritize when you prepare to pursue localization of your content or products. You can thrive in the Brazilian market, as long as you keep this market’s unique traits top of mind.

Breaking It Down Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese - Portada

Breaking It Down: Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese

There are two widely recognized Portuguese variants: Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese. To non-Portuguese speakers, these differences may seem inconsequential, but they are extremely relevant. Especially when it comes to translating or localizing audiovisual content in a high quality way. Let’s examine how these two variants differ and why this matters. 


How pronouns are used in Brazil and Portugal differ. For example, while Brazilians rarely use “tu” for the second person—instead making use of “você”—in Portugal, they utilize both “tu” and “você.” How they place their pronouns also comes into play, with those living in Portugal placing object pronouns after the verbs and Brazilians placing them before the verb. In some places in Brazil (mainly the South), it is common to use “tu” but conjugated as you would conjugate verbs for “você.

Conjugation of verbs

The conjugation verbs that go with the pronouns also have clear differences across these variants. Brazilians prefer the você conjugation, as it is the same for the third person he/she conjugation. Because of these differences, Brazilians visiting or living in Portugal can struggle with the differences between formal and informal search. Confusing “tu” with “você” when speaking European Portuguese can be an etiquette faux pas and may cause offense. 


There are also slight vocabulary differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese. The vocabulary for words like refrigerator, pedestrian, and ice cream, are different in these two variants. In Brazil, their European Portuguese counterparts would actually mean refrigerated warehouse, pawn, and cold. These vocabulary swaps can make switching between the two variants particularly difficult. How you answer the phone is different too. In Portugal, you would answer the phone with “está lá?”, which essentially translates to “are you there?”. In Brazil, you would instead say “alô” which is similar to saying “hello?”.


Brazilian and European Portuguese are pronounced differently as well. When speaking European Portuguese, you generally don’t pronounce the letter “e” if it falls between two consonants. And when it comes to Brazilian Portuguese, you pronounce words that have “di” or “ti” like you would “gi” and “chi” in English, among other differences. The general intonation varies as well, with Brazilian Portuguese having more open vowel sounds, which causes European Portuguese to sound more muffled in comparison.

Why These Differences Matter

Understanding the differences between these two Portuguese variants can make it easier for Portuguese speakers to adapt to new environments. It’s also deeply important to be aware of these differences if you plan to introduce content into an audience that speaks Portuguese, as you need to choose the proper variant when it’s time to translate the text, whether that be translating it from a different variant of Portuguese or a different language entirely. 

The majority of Portuguese speakers will be able to figure out what a text says no matter which variant is used, but you want to ensure you don’t offend local customs and that your text relates clearly to your audience. This is especially important if you’re dealing with official documents that can be rejected if they contain language errors. Identifying which variant you need to use and making sure you take the steps to translate and localize your text properly will make your translated text as effective as possible.