Portuguese is the fifth most natively spoken language in the world with most native speakers found in Brazil and Portugal, and in African countries such as Mozambique, Angola, Cap Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe. Large populations of speakers of Portuguese or Portuguese creoles, are also found in East Timor, Macau, and parts of India. 9 of the 10 largest Portuguese speaking cities are in Brazil.
The Spanish region of Galicia, which borders Portugal, speaks Galician, a language that is related to Portuguese and has more in common with Portuguese than it does with Spanish.
Can be up to 30% longer than English.
Both spoken and written Portuguese have large regional differences. Pronunciation is notably different and many variations exist in grammar. Spelling was also different but, in 2015, a new common spelling was introduced. Vocabulary also differs; for example, train is “trem” in Brazil but “comboio” in Portugal.
A tricky one this. Due to the conflicting forms of spelling in the main Portuguese speaking countries, several attempts have been made to create a uniform spelling, most recently one instituted in 2009 which became mandatory in 2015. However, some nations haven’t taken it up with as much vigour as others. It has also been revised several times. Watch this space…
For our clients this isn’t ideal… any translation memories or previously used documentation are now likely to have incorrect spelling and would need revision before re-using them. Luckily we do this as we go along.
Notable Grammar and Spelling Differences
Capitalisation: Nouns and adjectives related to places/nationality are not capitalised. Likewise months and seasons of the year.
Quotation marks: Usually chevron style <<>>
Numbers: The comma is used where English would use the decimal point and vice versa, e.g. 5.5 (English) = 5,5 (Portuguese), but 5,000 (English) is 5.000 (Portuguese).