To get the best results from 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. It is an official language in the Special Administrative Region of Macau, as the region was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999 before being handed back to China. If you’re looking to grow your business internationally, there are a lot of good reasons to consider offering your customers Portuguese language support and a website localized in Portuguese.
Portuguese is one of the fastest-growing global languages. The language has grown from 65,064,027 speakers in 1921 to 258,003,327 today, a 297% increase over the past century. While the language is associated with the country of Portugal, Portugal itself has only around 5% of the world’s Portuguese speakers. Most Portuguese speakers are in Brazil, with around 211 million speakers. What makes the Brazilian market attractive for businesses is that it is the second-largest economy in the Americas, ranking 8th in terms of global nominal GDP. Brazil 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 discussions that led to the agreement started in the 90s, it required prolonged deliberation, edits, and a six-year transition before finalising it in 2015. This standard ensures that the spelling of the majority of Portuguese words is consistent throughout business and education globally.
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; at the time, they still contained many Latin phrases. After Portugal became independent in 1139, Portuguese began to become more and more prevalent. 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, becoming the lingua franca in some of these new regions.
While the written language may be standardised, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other differences to consider when considering a marketing translation in Portuguese for your business. While each region can understand the other, there are substantial differences between the European and Brazilian dialects.
These pronunciation differences are especially important if you need an eLearning voiceover for your content and use foreign language voice-over talent on your website or platform.
There are noticeable differences in how 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.
There are various grammatical differences between these two dialects, but here are the most notable.
Just like there are differences between Brazil and Portugal, your localization strategy will need to consider other Portuguese markets you intend to target.
Even within the few examples in this article, it should be apparent just how important it is to have a localization strategy. A considered strategy ensures you get a quality translation that is culturally relevant for your brand in its new market. When coming up with a localization strategy in Portuguese, here are a few other additional tips to help get you started.
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