Are all Portuguese dialects the same?
If you are not a native Portuguese speaker, this may take you by surprise, but one Portuguese dialect can be very different from another.
A brief History curiosity: Portugal once had one of the largest and longest-lived empires in the world. The Portuguese Empire stretched around the world, being present in North and South America, in Africa and in some regions of Asia and Oceania.
As a result, there are many countries that consider Portuguese as their official language, such as: Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, and, obviously, Portugal.
In Brazil, for example, the development of Portuguese was influenced by other languages that had a remarkable presence in the country at the time, such as the African languages spoken by slaves, the Amerindian languages of the natives, and European and Asian languages spoken by immigrants. With such a wide influence from other cultures, it is normal to expect that Brazilian Portuguese would evolve in different ways from Portuguese from Portugal.
And while Portuguese and Brazilian citizens can usually understand each other well with little effort, there are common misunderstandings due to differences in accents, spelling, grammar and words that have different meanings in both dialects
The word ‘propina’, for example, in Brazil means ‘kickback, bribery’, while in Portugal it simply means ‘monthly fee’. As such, you may offend a Brazilian by asking him about the payment of a ‘propina’, when you simply meant a ‘monthly fee’.
Portuguese-language countries have taken steps to make this gap within the language smaller by signing the Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990, the objective of which was to create a unified orthography por the Portuguese language.
Still, if you are looking into translating a document to or from Portuguese, it is important to be aware of these differences within the language. These variations may cause you a lot of trouble if the text is not translated into the language variety of your intended audience.
Choose a translator who is acquainted with the proper Portuguese dialect for your text and is aware of cultural differences that can affect your communication. After all, you would not use American English spelling in an advertisement meant for an U.K. audience, right?
We can help you with that. Send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we will be happy to advise you on the best way forward.