Since the Apple TV + was announced, we Brazilians (as well as anyone who does not have the English as a primary language) we are left with a question: how would Apple deal with the issue of other languages on its original film and series platform?
It would not be such a risky bet to predict that things would turn out badly for us: Apple’s track record with localizations and other languages is not good, and it would be quite possible that the company would be content to simply offer subtitles in the languages where Apple TV + was. available. Fortunately, however, this is not the case.
As we and several readers have noted, the trailers released so far for original Apple series all have versions dubbed in portuguese – that is, everything indicates that the series itself will also have the option of dubbing in our language, in addition to the old and good subtitles for those who prefer to watch the contents in the original language.
The Apple press release officially presenting Apple TV + states the following:
Audiences around the world can enjoy original Apple TV + content subtitled and / or dubbed in almost 40 languages, including subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) or closed captioning. Apple TV + series and movies will also be available with audio descriptions in eight languages.
That is, not necessarily all the content of the service will have a dubbing option in Portuguese. Considering that the first batch of series will all come with this differential (and the fact that Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages in the world), however, it is to be expected that almost everything launched by Apple will come with a spoken translation into our language .
To go deeper into the topic, we sought legal knowledge with Bruno Carvalho, site editor Connected in Series who, very conveniently, is also a lawyer and partner at Marcelo Tostes Advogados. We asked him if there was, in Brazil, any law forcing audiovisual content providers to offer dubbing in Portuguese for their productions, and that was his answer:
In Brazil, the CDC (Consumer Protection Code) provides, in its art. 31, that “the offer and presentation of products or services must ensure correct, clear, accurate, ostensible information and in Portuguese (…)”.
Thus, all services marketed in the country must be presented to the consumer in the national vernacular. There is no law that requires, however, that the content must be necessarily voiced by the streaming from Apple. It only needs to be translated into our language, leaving the format that it will present to its audience at the company’s discretion. Companies streaming and TV channels nowadays usually present their titles in subtitled and dubbed formats, with the option of subscribing.
So no – dubbing is not mandatory for Apple, but it seems to have the whole structure ready to produce it anyway. That is, ball inside the Apple.
The language issue, however, goes far beyond the choice between dubbed and subtitled when it comes to accessibility. People with visual impairments, for example, can have their experiences with series and films enriched through audio description – which are voice tracks which overlap the content and describe everything that is happening on the scene, translating the visuals into words.
Here, Apple makes one more point: all content displayed on Apple TV + will have audio descriptions in eight languages, as noted in the excerpt from the press release highlighted above. And, as confirmed by our reader (and participant of the first MM Tour) Eduardo Homem de Sá, who has visual impairment, one of these languages will be Portuguese.
It is worth remembering that Apple offers, on its website, small tutorials for users to activate audio descriptions on iPhone / iPad / iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.
The audio description in Portuguese is not new: the Netflix has a specific area highlighting all his films and series that have additional narrative, for example, while Rede Globo has been producing tracks for his soap operas and series for some years now. Still, it’s remarkable that Apple is launching all of its content with this valuable option for people with visual impairments, isn’t it?