Technology

Spotify will release local versions of hit podcast 'Sandra' in Mexico and Brazil

Latin America is a fast growing market for Spotify, which increased the number of users by 36% in the region in the first quarter

Image: Spotify / Gimlet
  • Local versions will not be merely translations of the original podcast into different languages, but adaptations with different characters’ names and scripts;
  • In Mexico, Sandra will become Sonia with voiceover by actress Aislinn Derbez. In Brazil, it will be called Sofia, featuring Cris Vianna and Monica Iozzi.

Spotify is starting its plans to adapt locally popular scripted podcasts to different countries and regions, as a part of the audio-streaming service to gain subscribers globally. According to Reuters, the first show will be Sandra, released in 2018 by Gimlet, a company that was later acquired by Spotify. It will be released in Mexico and Brazil, as well as in France and Germany.

Last April, the streaming platform announced its quarterly results and Latin America is one of the markets where the company is experiencing the fastest growth, increasing the number of users by 36% in the region on year on year basis.

Local versions will not be merely translations of the original podcast into different languages, Spotify announced. Producers have devised different scripts, changed characters’ names and the podcast will feature famous voices for each country.

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In the original podcast, actress Alia Shawkat provided voice to the protagonist, Helen, while actress and comedian Kristin Wiig dubbed Sandra, the artificial intelligence assistant that gives name to the show.

In Mexico, Sandra will become Sonia with voiceover by Mexican actresses Aislinn Derbez. In Brazil, it will be called Sofia, featuring Cris Vianna and Monica Iozzi. In France, the podcast will be called Sara and will feature the voice of Belgian-French actress Virginie Efira.

“In many cases when you have a translation done, it doesn’t allow you to bring in the appropriate local tones and nuances,” Courtney Holt, global head of Spotify Studios, told Reuters. “When you think about things like slang, you think about colloquial language. It’s very hard to get that across unless you start to think culturally, locally, as opposed to just thinking in global language,” he said.

READ ALSO: How streaming platforms are taking Latin American productions to new global audiences

In Sandra, protagonist Helen works in a company that sells the AI-backed voice assistant. As one of Sandra’s operators, Helen spends her days peeking into the world of Sandra users, responding to their questions and demands. One problem: the users don’t know she’s real.

The original seven-episode podcast had just one season. Holt said Spotify would weigh more seasons based on demand from international markets.Spotify selected Sandra for its universal appeal, and Holt said it would look for similar candidates.