Brazilian Portuguese versus European Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese  

Caitlin Nicholson

Portuguese is a global language. Beyond Brazil and Portugal, Portuguese is the sole official language of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It is also the co-official language in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau. Therefore, there are approximately 202 million native Portuguese speakers!

Due to the global reach of this language (#6 in the world), we receive frequent requests for Portuguese translation services. When we receive requests from our clients, our first question is typically “What kind of Portuguese?” When localizing, it is very important to identify your target audience. Often, we are asked what the similarities and differences are between Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese. Let’s explore this further! Pronouns In Portuguese, there are two pronouns that are both correct for the 2nd person singular you – tu and você. Usage is different between Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portugese. In Brazil, você is more common (in media, official text, and dialog) . In European Portuguese, tu is used for informal dialog while você is only really used for formal dialog. Both pronouns are understood by Portuguese speakers. With translation, it is important to reflect the proper tone for your content by choosing the correct usage. Vocabulary This is very similar to British English and American English. For example – “truck” in American English is “lorry” in British English. The same occurs with Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese. For example – the word “ice cream.” In Brazilian Portuguese it is “sorvete.” In European Portuguese it is “gelado.” Differences in vocabulary can lead to a communication breakdown. This is where localization comes into play. If you have content that needs to be translated to Portuguese, make sure you are choosing the correct Portuguese so that your content resonates with people living in your target market. Language Reform The Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement was signed in 1990. The goal of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP) is to standardize Portuguese language across all Portuguese-speaking countries. Prior to this agreement, Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese had different sets of conventions for writing the language. Implementation occurred over a transitional period which ended in January of 2016. What does all of this reform mean? Changes affected spelling of about 1.65 percent of Portuguese words. In terms of language translation, new rules will be used on materials that are translated for the first time. Translated materials will need to be updated, as well as Portuguese translation memory. Qualified linguists work in the language, study it, and keep up with times. They will incorporate new and correct spellings into their work. The goal of the agreement is to bridge the two language gaps. The goal of your language translation partner is to continue to properly adapt content for different markets to make sure your content reaches your target audience.

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