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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.

Does my business need website localization?

If you have any international business, the resounding answer is yes.

It’s nearly impossible to get recognised as a business today without an online presence, so it would be neglectful not to have one as part of a marketing strategy. So when do you start to consider website translation? And more importantly, what about website localization?

What is website localization?

Localization is the process of having your website be international but sound local. It means adapting your website so that your brand is approachable in a target language. That means not just translating the words from one language to another but also considering the cultural context of the target language you’re translating to and the currency. A plain translation will not be sufficient enough to win over your new audience, as what’s said in one language may not translate so well to another. That’s where localization steps in. 

Related: Words that altered history – translation blunders in international relations

International translation companies specialise in website localization and translation management for businesses to ensure that a company and their brand are understood and received well in a new target language and area. 

When do you need website localization?

English

It is no longer viable to have a website with an international reach available in only one language. – Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Website translation or any localization and translation is often seen as a burden, and its necessity is sometimes questioned. Why not just leave the website in English? If you have any international customers, you not only owe these customers the diligence of having the content properly translated into their native language, but you are missing out on revenue by not doing so. 

It’s no longer acceptable to have a monolingual website when you have an international base of customers. English may still be dominant, but this landscape is quickly changing. Estimates find that English makes up for around 60% of the content on the internet, yet native English speakers only make up around 5% of the global population.

Still not sure if you’re ready? Ask yourself the following.

  • Are you already selling or shipping out to international locations?
  • Are you receiving inquiries from other countries or in other languages different from your website?
  • What countries show in Google Analytics from your audience data? 

What about if you have customers that are bilingual or non-native speakers of other languages? Well, a study performed by the European Commission in 2014 surveyed internet users across the EU, of which English is generally well used and received, found that,

  • Just 53% of users were willing to accept an English version of a website if there were no options in their native language. 
  • 44% of users worried that they would miss out on key information on a website if it were not available in their language. This number was over 50% in countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece.  

The takeaway? If you are getting traction internationally and you’ve not localized your website, it’s time to. 

Related: How languages rise and fall & why English’s dominance is waning

Why do you need website localization?

Google translate cartoon

Don’t be this guy. Google Translate just doesn’t cut it when it comes to business. – Photo by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

It’s currently estimated that 66% of users are using a machine translation when making a purchase online. Why is this acceptable when consumers could have a more efficient experience in their native language? Machine translation isn’t enough to guarantee purchase and can still confuse customers since machine translations without human editing often contain errors. If you truly want to be an international company or are thinking of becoming international, then you need a professional website translation service.

Related: Why Google Translate Isn’t Effective Enough for Business

An updated 2020 study by the Common Sense Advisory produced some eye-opening statistics. The study took samples from 29 different countries and asked users about making a purchase online and found the following remarkable results,

  • 40% of users will not purchase on a website in another language.
  • 73% of users want reviews of products in their native language.
  • 65% of users prefer content in their native language.

What’s more, in the last study performed in 2014, the following results were also found.

  • 30% of respondents stated that they never buy from English-language websites.
  • 56% of users boycott or avoid English-language websites to spend more time on sites in their native language. 

As international demand increases, especially with the ongoing pandemic, this need will only continue to increase. 

What will website localization help you with?

The benefits of localizing a website and using marketing translation services by far outweigh the effort and cost required to do it. – Photo from Pexels

Localizing a website will only benefit your company and open new opportunities that wouldn’t have been present otherwise. Here is what localization and translation can do for you.

  • Increase your ROI – As more research is performed on localization, the financial returns of the companies doing it are becoming obvious. The Localization Industry Standards Association wrote in 2007 that they estimated an ROI of $25 for every dollar spent on localization. Imagine how those numbers would stack up today. For example, in one case study, an Israeli retailer localized their website for the German market and saw their conversion double from 1 to 2%. They found nearly the same when localizing for the French market, as conversion rose from 0.67% to 1% after they launched the localized site.  
  • Enhancing Your Marketing Strategy When you localize your website, you have another opportunity to improve your SEO and marketing language, as localization gives unique opportunities specific to a language and a region. It also gives your brand a boost as it can reach more people, which will expand your brand. 

Conclusion? Website localization is the way forward for a global-minded website and business.

How to make the most of your website localization with marketing translation services

The only way to ensure a quality translation and localization of your website is to hire and partner with a marketing translation agency. It’s important to find a translation partner that knows your business and the areas that you’re aiming to localize. International translation companies have certified translators at their fingertips and know the ins and outs of translation management no matter what the project. Business translation and localization won’t have to feel overwhelming when you have professionals on your team to get it right. 

At Into23, we specialise in high-quality translation services in all languages with an impeccable turnaround so that your business can get global as fast as possible. From website localization services, eCommerce website translation, translation project management and more, Into23 has all of your translation solutions.