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To make the most of your website localization or eLearning translation in Portuguese, here are some of the most important aspects to consider.


Spoken by over 279 million people worldwide, Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken global language. Portuguese is the official language of nine countries, even in the special administrative region of Macau, as the country was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999 before being handed back to China. If you’re looking for language support and website localization services, there are a lot of good reasons to expand into the Portuguese market. 


From Portugal to Brazil, this is how Portuguese speakers say thanks – Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash


Why Translate to Portuguese?

Portuguese is one of the fastest-growing European languages. The language has grown from 65,064,027 speakers in 1921 to 258,003,327 today, that’s a 297 increase over the past century. While the language itself is associated with the country of Portugal, it only holds around 5% of the world’s Portuguese speakers. The majority of Portuguese speakers are mainly based in Brazil, with around 211 million speakers. What makes the Brazilian market appealing to businesses is that it has the second-largest economy in the Americas, ranks 8th in terms of global nominal GDP, and is also the 10th largest eCommerce market in the world. 

In terms of creating a localization strategy, it has become a lot easier since written Portuguese became fully standardized in 2015. What does this mean exactly? The Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement was created to help establish one single common spelling for all Portuguese-speaking countries. While the agreement started in the 90s, it required substantial deliberation, edits, and a six-year transition period before becoming finalised in 2015. This standard ensures that the spelling of the majority of certain Portuguese words is consistent throughout business and education globally. 


History of the Portuguese Language



Portugal imperialism, that began in the 15th century, helped to spread the Portuguese language to different areas of the globe. – Photo by Luís Feliciano on Unsplash


Portuguese originated from Latin and developed in the Western Iberian Peninsula. Roman soldiers brought Latin to the area around 216 BCE. The oldest written records of Portuguese date back to the 9th century but still contained many Latin phrases. After Portugal became independent in 1139, the Portuguese began to become more and more prevalent as it quickly became the common tongue of the people. In 1290, the first Portuguese university opened in Lisbon and from there Portuguese was given its name and was made the official language of the country. 

When the Portuguese empire began to colonise in the 15th century, it brought the Portuguese language to different parts of Asia, Africa, and the Americas of which it became the lingua franca in some of these new regions.


European Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese


Chat bubble

Brazilian Portuguese has some dialectical differences from its European parent. – Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash


While the written language itself may be standardised, it doesn’t mean that aren’t other differences to consider when looking at marketing translation in Portuguese for your business. While each region can understand each other there are a few differences between the European and Brazilian dialects.


Pronunciation Differences

  • European Portuguese generally doesn’t pronounce the letter ‘e’ if it is in between two consonants. Brazilians have a more open pronunciation compared to Portugal. 
      • ie. The word telephone in Brazil (telefone) would have every vowel pronounced whereas in Portugal the first ‘e’ would be dropped and sound like “tlefone”
  • Brazilian Portuguese words that have di or ti are pronounced like the English sound of gi and chi.
  • Brazilians pronounce the “L” sound with a “U” sound. Making a word like Brazil sound more like Brásiu. 

These types of pronunciation differences are especially important if you need an eLearning voiceover for your content and are making use of foreign language voice over talent for your website or platform. 


Formal vs. Informal Speech

There are noticeable differences in the way the pronoun “you” is used in each region. Portugal uses tu informally and você is used formally. In Brazil, however, both tu and você are used informally. 

Translator tip: When using você, conjugate the following verb in the third person. 



As mentioned previously, spelling has been standardized across the Portuguese language but there are still some subtle differences that remain. Brazil is much more likely to take influence from English whereas Portugal has remained closer to its Latin roots.

  • Brazilians will use the same English spelling for media whereas in Portugal they will spell it mídia.



There are a variety of grammatical differences between these two dialects but here are the most notable.

  • European Portuguese speakers place their pronouns after the verb. Brazilians do the opposite.
  • Personal pronouns aren’t necessary for either dialect as the verbs are conjugated differently but European Portuguese speakers are much more likely to omit them than Brazilian speakers. 


Portuguese in Other Countries

Just like there are differences between Brazil and Portugal, your localization strategy will need to adapt culturally depending on the region. 

  • In African countries, Portuguese adopts different contexts both culturally and grammatically. These regions often adopt and mix local languages and regional history.


Things to Consider When Creating a Localization Strategy for Portuguese

Even within the few examples listed in this article, it quickly becomes apparent just how important it is to have a localization strategy. Having a professional look at your business strategy ensures that you get a quality translation to assist and carry your brand into its new market. When coming up with a localization strategy in Portuguese, here are a few other additional tips to help get you started. 

  • Keep your target audience in mind at all times. This will help drive your translation choices for your localization strategy.
  • Be aware of text expansion when translating to Portuguese as it tends to be longer, especially if it’s being translated from English or Chinese.
  • Avoid idioms on your website or in your eLearning course creation as they don’t generally translate well.
  • Make use of high-quality translation services for all your business translations to ensure that your global vision and goals are achieved and that your brand and content is understood no matter where in the world you take it. 

Make Into23 your language and localization partner with our team of translation experts. Into23 has all the translation solutions to help your business reach the Portuguese market or any global market that suits your business’s needs. Contact us today for a free quote and get started on your Portuguese localization expansion today.