PORTUGUÊS. DECIPHER ME OR BE DEVOURED
Oooohhhh …. What a rich language!!! A million reasons to pride oneself, and another million to refine oneself
Translations into Portuguese may present challenges much greater than one could fathom.
Major work demands and short deadlines. When facing such reality on a daily basis, when translating documents from any language to Portuguese, there's a blunt need to rely on the help of a translation company to ensure fidelity and full quality of the translated material. That's because, despite being our native language,
Portuguese has specificities that don't usually appear in other languages.
All Tasks, specialized in translating large-scale technical documentations, technical standards and technical manuals, maintains a qualified team who is knowledgeable of the languages peculiarities.
The challenge of translating into Portuguese starts early with the significant difference in vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax and even in its vernacular varieties—which also change from region to region—between the European Portuguese and the one used in Brazil. Not by chance, it is understood that Brazilian Portuguese is heterogeneous and variable, besides plural and polarized, divided into two equally heterogeneous systems: the cultured norm and the vernacular norm—or, as some authors prefer, cultured Brazilian Portuguese and popular Brazilian Portuguese. Such heterogeneity is based on the socio-historical nature of Brazil, a multilingual country owing to speakers of different languages, historical demographics, mobility of slaves and the Brazilian schooling process itself. And even the orthographic modifications that entered into effect for all Portuguese speaking countries in 2009 did not suffice to standardize the language in the world. Recognized by Unesco as one of the fastest growing European languages, a factor that van be noticed mainly through the expansion of Portuguese in South America and southern Africa, Portuguese is closest to French or to Catalan and has a phonemic inventory that is greater than many other languages, such as Spanish for example, which is quite broad. That explains why is typically complicated for foreigners to understand Portuguese speakers than the other way around. And that's precisely why the works of translating documents into Portuguese should be very cautions.
Not seldom does a translation of a document into Portuguese present differences in the size of texts.
That comes up due to the lexical variety of the language. In the Houaiss Dictionary of the Portuguese Language, for instance, there are approximately 228 thousand entries, 415 thousand synonyms, 26 thousand antonyms and 57 thousand archaic words—which properly illustrates the lexical richness of the language.
In comparative data, the 12th edition of the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, released this year, had only 240 thousand words, and such number includes entries, synonyms, antonyms, archaic words and Internet terms as retweet and cyberbullying.
And that is why a good translator needs to know how to use synonyms and edit the same section multiple times, especially when dealing with localization: translation softwares have a character limit for a certain term, which requires from the professional extra skill to find proper options for each word in face of the extensive vocabulary of the Portuguese language.
The advent of the Internet has had quite a contribution towards the growth of the Portuguese lexicon, which incorporated English words (site, download, delete, among others). That process also takes the popularization of the specialized vocabulary into account, which is mostly left out of dictionaries.
As an illustration, the words required in medical practice alone would reach approximately 600 thousand—reason why it is also necessary that the translation of documents from specific areas be carried out by specialized professionals.
Special attention is also required to restructure the phrases when translating into Portuguese. English texts, for instance, use the passive voice much more frequently than Portuguese.
Maintaining the phrase as in the original document could cause strangeness and, in some cases, become disconnected with the text's context.
So many words
Any language is full of idiomatic expressions that require extra care in translation.
Those expressions generally originate from the culture, slang and other peculiarities from diverse groups of people, varying hence from country to country and region to region. Phrases in Portuguese such as “look for a needle in a haystack" may even have equivalent expressions in other languages, but assume different meanings, and thus it is not recommended to believe that one not native in the language could understand it as “looking for something that is not easy to find"—nor should one wager that such expressions may be queried in general or special monolingual dictionaries.
Another challenge in the translation work of documents into Portuguese is the language's grammatical complexity compared to other European languages—partly because, according to specialists, it lacks more effective standardization. Portuguese is one of the languages that presents the greatest profusion of distinct verbal forms. Compared to Spanish, English, French, Italian and German, Portuguese is the only amongst them to have a subjunctive future, for example. For an equal case, the other languages respond with a supplementary form extracted from the present of the indicative future, or still the present of the subjunctive. Not mention a very high number of irregular verbs—which adds to further struggles in learning the language by citizens from other countries.
In face of so many challenges and, therefore, the possibility that Portuguese offers saying a same thing in a thousand and one manners, translating documents into Portuguese requires vast knowledge of the language.
That is why All Tasks demands so much from their competent specialists, who are committed to the quality of the work offered.