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Ash, Brock's Latin American Voice Actors Petition For Region-Appropriate Spanish Translations of Pokémon Games

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Gabriel Ramos, Gabriel Gama highlight word choices in the European Spanish versions that are inappropriate for children in Latin America

Voice actors Gabriel Ramos and Gabriel Gama, who performed as Ash and Brock respectively in the Pokémon anime's Latin American Spanish dub, have supported an online petition for region-appropriate Spanish translations of the Pokémon video games. The two voiced a video for the ANMTV Latin America news site, highlighting the problems of serving a European Spanish translation to a Latin American audience.

One of the significant issues highlighted in the video is that certain mild words and phrases in European Spanish are considered profanities in Latin America, which would be inappropriate for the game's children audience. One example is the phrase "nos importa un pito,” which means “we care very little (about something)," but in Latin America it has a coarser meaning closer to “we don't give a f*ck." Other examples include “niña pija” which means “snobby girl” in Spain but "dick girl" in Latin America, and “ganas de jalar” ("I want to eat”), which is used to refer to drug use in Latin America.

The terminology translations in the European Spanish game translations are also inconsistent with the Latin American Spanish translations used in the anime's dub. Ramos and Gama further argued that creating a separate Spanish translation for the Latin American audience is commonplace among high-profile video game localizations these days, including among Nintendo properties, and so its absence in Pokémon's case stands out as concerning. The petition also asks for Brazilian Portuguese translations to better serve the franchise's Latin American audience at large.

Nob Ogasawara, the translator of the early core games of the series until Pokémon Platinum, left the following comment on the video: "I did not know that the Spanish translation was inadequate (and worse, even derogatory in some instances) for Latin America. It does seem tragic and shortsighted to ignore an obviously huge and growing market. I hope the loyal fanbase can compel Nintendo, GF, and TPCi to make the change."

The petition has garnered over 9,000 signatures since the video's release last week. ANMTV reported on Monday that a customer support email from The Pokémon Company International acknowledged that it has received various suggestions for a Latin American Spanish localization.

"Pokémon encourages players/users to submit comments and suggestions so that our products can offer the best possible experience to our customers. Although we do not always implement all the suggestions, we read and pay attention to each comment," the email stated.

Sources: ANMTV, Email Correspondence

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