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Translation Etude No. 3 | 60 Minutes on the Land of Lula

Translation and Subtitling Etude No. 3

Render the December 2010  Sixty Minutes report on modern-day Brazil  into decent Portuguese for Sambodian friends, expending an efficient amount of time and effort.

I have finally figured out how to render subtitles opaque when burning them into a new AV file.

A Note on Content and PR Strategy

The 60 Minutes piece delivers an overly simplified account of recent Brazilian history.

This is in part because the spokesman for Brazi’s conservative opposition to Lulism in this report, Eduardo Buento, is very poorly chosen, and not just for his “book is on the table” English.

Bueno fails, for example, to claim the degree of credit the Cardoso government — 1994-2002 — undoubtedly deserves for stabilizing the economy with the Plano Real. As a result, the historical review jumps directly from the Collor-era nightmare to the Lula-era paradise, where the lion of labor lies down with management.

In other words, Bueno fiddles in the finest Red State style while the historical record burns, earning himself the adjective “colorful” from Steve Kroft for his troubles.  A much more informative source might have been, say, former federal Communications director Luiz Carlos Mendonça de Barros, whose reputation has been restored in the past couple of years.

For all its PR sophistication, the PSDB-DEM alliance is constantly shooting itself in the foot in this fashion, it seems to me.

For a 60 Minutes puff piece of this kind, you want your heavy hitters in the game: Cardoso in the flesh, or someone of equal intellectual and political stature. You do not hand the microphone to some talking point-reiterating Carnaval clown with very bad English — despite having translated Kerouac’s On The Road — who has not sufficient common sense not to slag the home-team Olympics and World Cup.

Brazilians are very patriotic by and large, I find.

Taking sides with FIFA in this bate-boca is an equally dangerous business, moreover, what with the scandals currently swirling around two Brazilians who allegedly embezzled hundreds of millions from it for decades. The Swiss have just indicted one of these.

Damn, I mistranslated Olympics as «Olimpíacos» instead of the correct «Olimpíadas».