Sexual Connotation in Brazil's New Tourism Slogan Causes Controversy

Embatur recently launched a new logo with the slogan, "Brazil. Visit and love us"

Catia Seabra
Rio de Janeiro

Lost in translation. In English, the expression "lost in translation" defines moments where mistranslation allows for dubious interpretation.

A new Embratur campaign is experiencing just this. Launched on Tuesday (16), Brazil's new brand has caused controversy in social media. The controversy is in the slogan "Brazil. Visit and love us ". Translation: "Brasil. Visite e nos ame".

The new Embratur brand was developed by the agency's employees. - Pablo Peixoto/Embratur

In English, the verb "amar" can refer to the sexual act. As the English language has a specific pronoun for places, animals and things -o it-, the use of the pronoun "us," the first person of the plural, reinforced the sexual connotation of the phrase.

Embratur attributes another meaning to the phrase. In the promotional material, the official Portuguese version appears as "Brazil. Visit and be enchanted", considered a forced translation among those who have mastered English.

President of Embratur from 2006 to 2010, Jeanine Pires published that "love means love but also can have sexual connotation" and reminds us that Brazil has been struggling to erase the image of being a sex tourism destination.

For the president of the hotel association of Rio de Janeiro, Alfredo Lopes, the flaw "was that translation to the letter" and the "us" needs to be taken out. "It's bad for us, " he admitted.

On social media, some ironized the slogan. Besides the writing of Brazil with z, the slogan is a declaration of love to the United States, whose abbreviation is USA.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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