Professional language translation experts and agencies that work with language pairs involving Portuguese, or intend to work with the language have great opportunities lying ahead of them. At present Portuguese is ranked sixth among the most spoken languages of the world. It has around 210 million native speakers.
Portuguese has been designated as the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome e Principe and Mozambique. It is also one of the official languages of East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau. Furthermore, UNESCO has recognized Portuguese as the language which shows the fastest growing potential, as an international language in South America and Southern Africa. The International Portuguese Language Institute regulates the usage of Portuguese language all over the world.
It is important for English to Portuguese translation service providers and buyers to be aware of the following aspects of the language-
- Portuguese language has its roots in the Latin spoken by Romanized Celts who lived around northern Portugal and in the area of Galicia or Spain more than two thousand years ago. Thus it is categorized as a Romance language. It began as Proto-Portuguese which was a mix of a distinctive Portuguese language with a sprinkling of Latin phrases.
- The early years of Modern Portuguese saw the expansion of the language’s vocabulary with words taken from Greek and Classical Latin. In the recent decades, Portuguese language has also acquired words from other European languages like English, Italian, Spanish and French.
- Portuguese is called a pluricentric language. This means that it has two main groups of dialects. These dialects stem from European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. They are different chiefly in pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax. However English to Portuguese translators should note that there are grammatical differences across colloquial forms of various Brazilian dialects.
- Though Portugal is a small country it has a wide variety of dialects with almost every city or town having its own dialect. In contrast, Brazilian Portuguese is relatively more consistent across Brazil. Still then the regional characteristics and traits of European Portuguese can be found in standard Brazilian Portuguese and also in the regional Brazilian dialects.
- Slangs and idioms are an important part of any language. They cannot be translated literally; however as an English to Portuguese translator you have to be aware of the local idioms and slangs which would make your documents as authentic as possible. It is interesting to note that many of the idioms and slangs of the language are derived from food. For example a handsome man is referred to as “pão” or bread and a beautiful woman is referred to as “uva” or grape. “Twist the cucumber”, on the other hand refers to disciplining a child.