As Star Wars: The Last Jedi recently proved, there’s a lot of nuance involved in translating a film for international audiences. (While the English version of The Last Jedi is vague, the modified adjectives of the French, German, and Spanish translations reveal the term “Jedi” is plural.) This new video from the YouTube channel Oh My Disney breaks down the similar quirks that occur when Pixar adapts its films for foreign audiences. Some of the changes are pretty simple. For instance, letters and signs are often rewritten in another language, though, as the video points out, that means more design work for the production team. Interestingly, animators will sometimes scrap a piece of English writing altogether and simply replace it with an image that conveys the same message. So in the international version of Up, Carl and Ellie’s “Paradise Falls” savings jar is labeled with a drawing of their dream house rather than its name.
And it’s not just writing that needs to be changed. Much in the same way that Captain America was given various culturally specific to-do lists in the international versions of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Pixar will also make subtle tweaks that help a film resonate with international audiences. So for instance, there’s a scene in Inside Out where a young Riley is forced to eat some much-hated broccoli. But in Japan, where broccoli is popular, the animators replaced her hated vegetable with a bell pepper instead. Although many of the changes are small, seeing the adjusted images juxtaposed against one another is a reminder of the unique flexibility of animation.