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Things to Consider for the Localization and Translation of Your Business in Portuguese

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

Obrigado

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

Why Translate to 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. 

History of the Portuguese Language

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Portuguese imperialism, which 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; 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.

European Portuguese vs Brazilian Portuguese

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

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.

Pronunciation Differences

  • European Portuguese generally doesn’t pronounce the letter ‘e’ if it is 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 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. 

Formal vs Informal Speech

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. 

Spelling 

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.

Grammar 

There are various 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 consider other Portuguese markets you intend to target.

  • 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 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. 

  • Keep your target audience in mind at all times. This will help drive your translation choices in your localization strategy.
  • Be aware of text expansion when translating to Portuguese; it tends to be longer, especially if 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 are understood no matter which countries you take it to. 

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 markets 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.

The 6 keys to effective eLearning translation in Asia

The eLearning industry is projected to be worth 181 million USD by the end of 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.26% per year. Driven by the widespread adoption of eLearning platforms by educational institutions and employers around the world, as well as the increased popularity of online course providers, eLearning made the jump from supplementary service to primary platform in 2020.

The industry has continued to grow in 2021, as workplaces expand their online skills training platforms and commercial eLearning providers more effectively engage their users with gamified app experiences, data driven personalized services, advanced modules, microlearning (short bursts of platform access) and content optimization, including the use of audio and video.

The expansion of the eLearning market drives service providers to offer their programs in multiple markets to reach new audiences, which requires the use of eLearning translation services and website localization. The pace of development in the industry has resulted in increasingly complex platforms with more content, which makes effective translation and software localization challenging, considering the scale and scope of material to adapt.

Machine translation services are ineffective in this context, considering the nature of the application. eLearning translation not only requires attention to detail, but also an extensive level of quality assessment in order to ensure that course materials effectively engage users. Linguistic QA specialists can identify and evaluate the lexical and grammatical options which make the difference between efficient progress through course modules and ambiguity that can challenge users’ patience.

eLearning platform design in any language carries inherent cultural connotations. Everything from curriculum planning to content and the layout and user interface has a culturally specific context in the original language and culture that the module is developed for. This comprises the source language and content. There are six elements which make all the difference between successfully adapting to different cultures and lessons ending up lost in translation.

  • Text
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Layouts
  • Graphics

Text: The basis for eLearning platforms and modules

Text is the simplest but most important aspect of eLearning translation and software localization. Opting for simple machine translation  is unlikely to provide accuracy, and while machine translation with post-editing ensures a level of quality and consistency, it does not  provide a framework for cultural context and therefore has limited scope for localization.

Cultural context often accounts for variations within same language. For example, people from Hong Kong use an English transliteration for the word strawberry,  (士多啤梨)  while in other regions it is translated as 草莓.

While Cantonese is spoken in Malaysia, local lexical variations arise from from Hokkien, Hakka and Malay influences, which contribute loanwords like (play) which in Hong Kong is written . There are also considerable variations in pronunciation.

For eLearning platforms,  the most efficient translation and localization solution when faced with cultural variations within a single language is to identify the most important market and develop the eLearning translation accordingly.

It is important to consider which language to use for localization in Asia: most content localized for the Malaysia market is in English. However, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Mandarin are widely used in Asia.

While there is considerable regional variation in Chinese language usage, the cost effective approach is to develop eLearning translation and localization for the most important market.  Articulate Rise is a widely used course authoring tool for eLearning platform developers. Rise 360 is well suited to text-heavy courses, which can be challenging to translate into multiple languages. We can quickly and efficiently process translation and localization for all courses designed with Articulate Rise.

Audio and Video: professional eLearning voiceover services

Multimedia localization in particular requires a solid understanding of regional and cultural context in the target market, in order for audio and video content to effectively supplement the text. Articulate Storyline is a streamlined multimedia content solution for eLearning platforms, and we can effectively process and translate all assets from Storyline 360 projects.

elearning voiceover services and multimedia localization

Localizing the text provides a basis for the eLearning voice over, which should also be developed for the most important market.

Planning, developing and organizing a workflow for high quality translation of text, video and audio between completely different languages requires expertise and experience with  providing localization and translation services.

Images: Visual learning and culture

Visual content in images and video should also be assessed for cultural relevance. While American Football imagery effectively conveys concepts to North American audiences and translates reasonably well in Europe, it may distract Asian learners who are less familiar with the sport and might not intuitively grasp concepts illustrated with quarterbacks and goalposts. Sports like soccer and tennis are more culturally neutral and help make content more easily localized across markets.

Layouts and Graphics: The culture of colour, and how it affects UX

Image and text elements should also be maintained separately, in order to avoid difficulties with translating and localizing images with text. Videos should ideally have captions set up as distinct elements in order to streamline translated versions. The design language for video caption and user interfaces should ideally provide a degree of flexibility, because colours have different associations in different regions and cultures.

For example, the colour red indicates passion in Western cultures, while it is associated with prosperity and luck in Asian cultures. In South Asia, the colour the colour orange is associated with the Hindu religion, while in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam. Streamlining colour configuration settings makes for an efficient eLearning localization strategy. Designing elements with flexibility and configurability in mind is an important step for eLearning platforms to take so that they can effectively translate their content for different markets with software localization services and expert translation services. Another efficient approach is to opt for culturally neutral design elements in order to effectively serve a wider eLearning audience.

eLearning translation and eLearning localization go hand in hand. Unlike legal language translation services, culture cannot be separated from language in an educational context. While marketing transcreation is an essential aspect of adapting an advertising strategy which would certainly enhance eLearning platforms, the scale of eLearning projects are generally best served by cost-effective localization and multilingual translation services with specialized eLearning voice over carried out by experienced professional translators who can optimize your platform and efficiently scale the reach of your services while ensuring they are effective for every user.

Into23 provides comprehensive eLearning and localization services with unmatched quality, speed and value in Asia. Our translation system supports Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content, which streamlines the setup of translated and localized courses. We can deliver a complete portfolio of course translations in any number of languages you require, including all audio and video content, in one go. Our clients never have to worry about keeping track of 25 different translations and coordinating launch dates. In Hong Kong’s English to Chinese translation services market, attention to detail and appreciation of cultural context is key to effectively serving markets.

Our experience in the region, global partnership networks and passion for language and culture enable us to develop effective solutions tailored to the scale of your project.