Why Translate Into Portuguese

There are many obvious reasons a person or business would translate materials into a foreign language. The most obvious reason is that it is a requirement for business or education. If you are studying in China, you will need many of your personal documents translated into Chinese. When conducting business in the Middle East, your contracts will need to be translated into Arabic. If you are teaching a course in Seville, you will want your books, handouts, etc., translated into Spanish. But, what if you don’t have an impending event or a pressing need for translation; is there a reason you should consider translating your materials? If so, would Portuguese be one of the languages you should consider?

Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language in the world with over 200 million speakers. It is the number one language in South America, the second in Latin America, an official language of the European Union, and a language identified as “most important for the U.K.’s future” according to the “Languages for the Future” report by the British Council. Portuguese is the primary language spoken in Portugal, Brazil, and the African nations of Mozambique and Angola.

If you are looking to expand your business, the reach of your book, or ensure your product operation or safety information is accessible to consumers, Portuguese is a language you are going to want to consider. Let’s look at five reasons why Portuguese is a key language right now.

1. Brazil is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic games. With summer fast approaching, it may be cutting it awfully close, but the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are just a few months away. The Olympics are viewed as a boom or bust event, with many host cities lucky to escape bankruptcy; but the real boom is not in the hosting but in the investments in products and infrastructure.

The Olympic games bring an audience from every major country in the world to a single city. Even better, the vast majority of those who attend the games have cash and means. Further, it draws out those who have wealth from the host country, encouraging them to spend their money. After all, what person with means does not like to rub elbows with the other world elite? Having your materials available during the Olympics is always a good idea if you can manage it, and the language of this year’s Olympics is Portuguese.

2. Brazil is a growing and expanding economy. While much of the world has been in an economic slump, Brazil has been growing over the last decade. With low inflation, unemployment has fallen, income has risen, and the middle class is able to purchase goods that they could never before afford. According to world employment data from the United Nations, over the last six years upwards of 24 million Brazilians moved out of the “poverty” designation and are now in the middle class. Brazil is currently the sixth largest economy in the world, and they are pushing hard to be number five. After all, the people are eager to spend their money and live the life that they have only dreamed of up until now.

Not only does Brazil’s new found prosperity bode well for their own internal market, but many more Brazilians are making purchases on the Internet. As you may recall, over half of consumers who purchase goods over the Internet will not do so in a language other than their own…in this case, Portuguese.

3. Brazil is receptive to foreign products. While some cultures are relatively closed off, Brazilians love foreign people, foreign products, and foreign ideas. They are tolerant of diversity and are willing to try new things and ideas. What greater invitation do you need?
Brazil is a major exporter of raw materials and is a major supplier of minerals and foods. Just because you haven’t been tied into Brazil before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to them now. If your industry uses iron ore, crude oil, chicken, beef, coffee beans, soy, maize, etc., it’s time to consider a partnership with a Brazilian firm.

4. Even though Brazil boasts an expanding economy with a growing desire for foreign goods and an exploding international export business, only a small percentage of Brazilians speak English. Even less speak Japanese, Hindi, or Chinese. According to the British Council in Brazil, only five percent of Brazilian professionals are fluent in English. If you want to reach this massive emerging market, translation into Portuguese is a must.
5. On the other side of the Ocean, Portugal is a member of the European Union. It is a gateway market for hundreds of millions of Portuguese speakers around the world. It is also a nation recovering from an economic downturn, but with the strong backing of the EU has been making great economic gains. Portugal is a great market for new products and the people are highly technologically competent. E-commerce in Portugal is a rapidly growing market. The European Commission’s ATLANTIS project hopes to turn Portugal into the ‘Motorway of the Sea’ with the establishment of a network of Atlantic ports. Portugal is also a major petrochemical industrial site.
When it comes right down to it, Portuguese is a language that is used on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean by hundreds of millions of people in two rapidly growing and stable economies. Only you can tell if this market is right for you and your business, but if it is and you need translation services, be sure to do your homework. Portuguese can be tricky, especially when it comes to localization. Ensure your translation service provider is an expert in the translation of Portuguese linguistically, but also that they understand the nuances of the language and culture.

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