I was watching Inside Out (2015) in Spanish and noticed that all the signs that in the English version are in English, in the Spanish version are in Spanish. For example (sorry for potatoes):

Inside Out message in English and Spanish: Danger - Keep Out!

Inside Out message in English and Spanish: Imagination Land

This is something that has become normal, especially in animation movies (I guess because it is easier to change), to translate and internationalize signs to make it fit better in the different cultures where the movie is released.

But, there is a scene in the movie in which the translation didn't happen as with the other signs, and a different approach was used: when Riley is getting a phone call from her mother, in the English version we see the phone with the word "Mom":

Inside Out: Mom calling in English version

But in the Spanish version (also in French, I don't know about other languages) we don't see the word Mamá (or Mère/Maman in French), and instead a picture of the mother is displayed as the contact information:

Inside Out: Mom calling in International versions

It seems inconsistent with the way the translations were done in the other scenes. What are the reasons why they would choose to change that in production?

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    As a complete guess, they can get away with replacing the word Mom with a picture and then use that in all localized versions. It's saves them some work, no matter how small.
    – Darren
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 14:46
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    It also uses the picture in the English-language version sold in the UK, where we say "Mum" (or "Mummy" or "Ma" or, depending on region/class, "Mam", "Maw", "Mater"...; but never "Mom"). Most films just keep Americanisms (after all, they're in San Fransisco, talking with American accents...), but I guess Pixar a) really wanted there to be nothing jarring for kids, b) didn't want to worry about translation subtleties like Mère vs Maman etc. Many languages have many words for "mother", each implying something about their relationship, social class, region... Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


Pixar expended tremendous effort to localize Inside Out for particular audiences, going so far as to re-animate whole scenes. For instance, in the American version, Riley hates broccoli, but in the Japanese version, she hates green peppers. According to director Pete Docter, "28 graphics across 45 different individual shots...were localised."

Clearly, Pixar, for this movie about what it's like inside a child's mind, wanted every child to be able to relate to Riley as much as possible. Localizing references and text serves this purpose, but replacing the word "Mom" with a picture of her mother accomplishes the goal even better. It "translates" to more countries than Pixar could possibly have time to localize. The picture is understandable even to audience members who can't read yet (a serious consideration for Pixar). Finally, it's cheaper than localizing text for so many countries.


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