What you must know about Brazilian Portuguese
Portuguese is a very important language and at some point, you may find yourself wanting to make your content accessible to the rather large audience of Portuguese speakers. That’s when you will find out that there are many types of Portuguese and ask yourself “Which one shall I choose?”
In this article, we will explore Brazilian Portuguese and explain why, unless you are aiming for a specific audience like Portugal or Angola, it is your best option if you are looking to translate your content to Portuguese.
Differences of Brazilian Portuguese with Portuguese from Portugal
Let’s start by marking some differences with its European counterpart. While an exhaustive list of the differences would exceed the scope of this article. We can name a few examples to give you an idea of the main differences:
- Loanwords: Brazilian Portuguese uses more loanwords from other languages than its European counterpart. These loanwords come from different sources, some from African Languages like “samba” (a dance), “berimbau” (a musical instrument), or “macumba” (a folk religion), while many other modern words are taken from English. In contrast, European Portuguese tends to use fewer loanwords and stick to its Latin roots.
- Formal and Informal speech: in Brazilian Portuguese the word vocêis used for “you”, while European Portuguese uses Tu. That being said, it is common in European Portuguese to remove “Tu” from the sentence in more formal occasions and address the person in the 3rd person of Singular. Of the two variants, European Portuguese tends to be more formal.
- Gerund for continuous actions: Brazilian Portuguese uses “estar+ gerund” while European Portuguese uses the expression “estar a + infinitive”
There are more differences, but this should serve to illustrate that a person from Brazil would notice if the text was translated for Portugal and vice versa.
This means that unfortunately there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution when approaching the translation of your content, and thus a decision must be made.
Choosing Brazilian Portuguese may be the best option for your content, and here’s a list of reasons why:
Reason 1: It has a wider reach
Portuguese is by itself pretty widespread, placing 6th on the ranking of languages by the number of native speakers.
Brazilian Portuguese is the most common version of the Portuguese language: Out of approximately 282 million native Portuguese speakers, roughly 210 million speak Brazilian Portuguese. That means that roughly 74.5% of all the Native Speakers of Portuguese speak this variant.
Reason 2: Economical Relevance
Brazil is the 8th economy in the world when measured by GDP. To put things in perspective, compare Brazil’s estimated GDP for 2020 is 1.3 Trillion USD, to Portugal’s 222 Billion.
Brazil is also the largest economy in South America and a member of 2 important groups:
- Mercosur (Southern Common Market) the South American trade bloc: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (with other South American countries having partial membership)
- BRICS the group of the five main emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Reason 3: Cultural Influence
Brazil has a significant cultural influence in other Portuguese-speaking countries, mostly due to its music and TV shows (especially soap operas). This has caused other countries to have some degrees of exposure to Brazilian Portuguese.
This means that even those who aren’t necessarily native speakers are familiar with Brazilian Portuguese.
Even though there isn’t a generic solution that would fit all audiences, the wider reach, economic potential, and cultural influence of Brazilian Portuguese make it the best option to reach Portuguese speakers unless you have a specific market in mind.
Brazilian Portuguese is a language that can be described as poetic, but at the same time highly practical. A language that is vibrant and fun to learn. If you have content that needs to reach all the Portuguese-speaking world you can’t go wrong if you choose Brazilian Portuguese.
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