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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

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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.

Why website translation and multilingual SEO optimisation are important for your online business

If you are selling services or products online, you’ll already be familiar with the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). These benefits extend to having your website and SEO strategy translated into other languages. But just how hard is it? And is it worth it?

If you don’t translate your website you are missing out on a huge opportunity to expand in the global market place. Machine translation doesn’t cut it and as a poorly translated site will put clients and customers off, it’d be a waste of time. Avoid partial translation of a website as this will leave huge holes in your offering. For example, if you neglect to translate a key FAQ, any customer or client seeking that info would be put off.

Read on to discover the reasons why multilingual SEO is crucial for companies engaged in cross-border business.

Why translate?

If you’re capable of selling products or services across borders, it doesn’t make sense to not have a multilingual translation of your website. This is especially true if you want to reach out to more consumers in the global market place. Businesses should optimise their websites to enable potential clients or customers to easily understand the company, what it is offering, and its services or products. In order to be able to generate revenue from the international market place and reach out to global audiences, it is advisable to translate your website and create a multilingual SEO strategy.

How to develop a successful website translation strategy

You need to settle on an overarching strategy. The strategy should include a defined user experience, how the site should be navigated, and how it should look and feel. So, what language should your website be translated into? A good place to start is with the language you use in the CMS to create your content. Assess which market would bring in the biggest return on investment.

From there, it’s not a straight forward process. You need to consider which parts of the website you will translate and into which languages. The best website translation services will help you decide the optimum level of translation.


The importance of UX in your translations

Some changes are simple and easy to do. For example, changing a price in pennies to dollars, or adding a some translated press releases. These changes are useful, though to many they appear as merely cosmetic. However, other changes can be pretty challenging to translate as they require a high level of skill and accuracy. For the content to have the same impact in another language and indeed culture, the translation needs to be refined and based on the knowledge and cultural references of the audience that will be accessing the content. To make sure you get it right first time, check your potential provider has ecommerce expertise, web page translation services, website localization services and multilingual blog SEO capabilities so you can access the full range of services required to produce a professional finish. Not many website translation companies offer the full range of services.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of optimising a website to appear higher up search engine results pages. This is important as research shows most people do not click past the first page of search engine results. If your company isn’t on the first page of search results for the keywords that matter, then you may as well put a billboard up in the middle of the Pacific. Of course, consumers in different locations use different search terms. Not only that, but they use different search engines. For example, in China, Baidu rules. Therefore, you should look for a company that is proficient at multilingual content management.

SEO has evolved into a multi-faceted strategy and includes factors such as:

  • List building
  • Social media marketing
  • Backlinking and indexation
  • Keyword research

Backlink building is one of the most powerful SEO tools. You need to know the current ranking of your business, so that you can learn how to improve it. This will give you a strategic advantage over other businesses in your industry. Remember to keep things in context, don’t make any drastic changes and to adopt a measured approach. This is not just about ranking higher, but focusing on ranking better.

Multilingual SEO optimisation, or MO SEO, involves using different or multiple languages when structuring a website and optimising it for search engines. Information on this subject is constantly evolving. However, we have identified some core guidelines that we recommend.

Thinking of how a user would like to access your site is a good starting point; this then helps you design it optimally. Often, it’s necessary to do a ‘crawl’ to fully understand the structure of your website, and develop a strategy to optimise it in another language. SEO tools are available to help with this process. Use optimised content to rank higher for you target keywords. All key attributes like layout, pictures and content should match the intended language.

The importance of SEO

If you do not optimise your websites, you are missing out on a big opportunity. SEO plays a huge role in the global market place. It is only going to get bigger. There are many challenges in the global market place for online businesses. For a start, it’s a crowded place. The average internet user in most countries has a fairly new smartphone. So to start off, you need to optimise your website for the mobile user experience. With reference to China, that would require a presence on WeChat.

The benefits of website translation and multilingual SEO optimisation

Websites evolve with the frequent addition of new products and services, or additions to FAQs, or company updates. The process of website translation should be an ongoing process so that all the updates are current and can be efficiently translated and applied as and when required.

The benefit comes in the form of user satisfaction. In today’s online business world, trust is vital. This can be a problem for foreign language websites. Getting website translation and multilingual SEO will go a long way to building trust with the consumers you wish to target.

Last words

Having a multilingual website and SEO strategy mean you will open up myriad opportunities to effectively and efficiently engage with consumers across the world. If your website was available in Mandarin, Spanish and English, for example, you’d have 38% of the world’s population covered. The return on investment for website localisation services and ecommerce translation services is usually more than worth the effort.