I just got my hands on the Brazilian edition of "Under Their Thumb." It was published a few weeks ago, translated to Portuguese, and is available through Saraiva (Brazil's version of Barnes & Noble). The Stones have a huge following in Brazil -- evidenced by their 2006 concert in Rio, which drew a million people -- so I'm pretty excited.
I don't speak Portuguese, so I don't know how certain Americanisms translated, but I do see that the book contains a handful of clarifying footnotes. In chapter 6, for instance, when I liken a conversation I'd had with Keith to an Abbott & Costello routine, they've got a footnote that reads: "Serie animada que contava a historia dos comediantes Bud Abbott e Lou Costello." I guess "Who's on first?" didn't have the same impact on Brazilian culture as it did in America.
The biggest difference, as you can see below left, is that they changed the cover image. I've always felt that the photo on the U.S. edition (and British edition, below right) captured the book's essence: You've got Keith and his bottle of Jack, walking the streets of Manhattan, with 17-year-old me behind him (handing an issue of my fanzine to an off-camera Ronnie Wood). It demonstrates the Stones' accessibility during a magical time and place in their history. Even the truck and "No Parking" sign in the background scream New York City. But I didn't object to this new cover photo because I fully understand that, to market a book to a lot of young fans in Brazil, they've got to put Mick on the front instead of just the author and Keith. (By contrast, I got a kick out of how the British publisher played up the book's author -- by adding an arrow and the word "Me!")
It's also interesting to note that "Brooklyn" was removed from the Brazilian edition's sub title. While Brooklyn still holds some cachet and/or piques curiosity in certain parts of the world (including England), it's apparently waning, or never existed, in others.
Translating between cultures can be a tricky job, no doubt. I remember how Ricky Ricardo would yell in Spanish whenever he got upset. Most of us Americans -- including Lucy Ricardo -- had no idea what he was saying, but that's part of what made it funny. So my question is, when the show was dubbed into Spanish, did they dub Ricky's rant into English? Like I say, translating cultural humor can be a tricky proposition.
I'm told that France is next on the "Under Their Thumb" translation schedule. Maybe they'll keep the original cover image and Photoshop the Eiffel Tower behind Keith instead of that "No Parking" sign.