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  • Language in Brazil: Why You Need Certified Translations

    Certified Translation

    What language do they speak in Brazil?


    Many people, especially in the United States, believe that Spanish is spoken in Brazil due to the fact that Spanish is the official language of every other country in South and Central America as well as Mexico (many people believe that Mexico is in Central America, but that is a point for another time). What language is spoken in Brazil? To clear up all the confusion, let us state once and for all that the official language of Brazil is Portuguese.


    Why Portuguese?


    Some historical background: Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese and the Dutch. Eventually, the Dutch left, and the Portuguese dominated. They held the area which is now Brazil and had various conflicts with the Spanish colonizers, but managed to maintain their grip. This is the reason why all of Central and South America speak Spanish, but that the language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese. Portuguese is also spoken in a number of other countries around the world with a relationship to Portuguese colonizers, including Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bisseau, Macau, and others.


    Language spoken in Brazil


    However, the Portuguese spoken in these countries are not necessarily the same. As is true with all languages, any non-native language which becomes local to an area will have local customs, culture, vernacular, climate, and attitude adopted into the language itself. This changes everything from vocabulary to intonation. Brazilian Portuguese, for example, uses different pronouns and a myriad of local idioms in comparison to Portuguese from Portugal, as well as a different cadence and pronunciation.


    Within Brazil, other languages are also spoken, as the indigenous populations have their own languages. Many of these indigenous people do not speak Portuguese and require translators when communicating with non-indigenous Brazilians. Different regions of Brazil, as is the case with most countries, will have local slang and accent that differs from other regions of the country.


    The Necessity of Translation


    The United States remains an incredibly popular destination for Brazilians. At the moment, Brazilians must go through a gauntlet of official paperwork in order to enter the United States, including visas and proof of vaccination or testing. A Brazilian who wishes to live in the United States must produce even more documentation, and although a Brazilian who wishes to live in the USA very likely speaks at least some English, it is not enough to be able to translate the many official documents which require translation in both English and Portuguese. Although English is taught in schools it is rarely used in day-to-day life, and so many people who have studied English in their youth do not speak English at all.


    Americans who are seeking Brazilian long-term visas or are involved in legal proceedings in Brazil have a worse problem--Portuguese is not taught at all in American schools. Not to mention those involved in doctorate programs overseas or who are conducting doctorate or academic research in Brazil. Translation is necessary to proceed in all kinds of official matters--but not all translations are created equal.


    Why Certified Translation?


    There are a number of pitfalls when it comes to translating Portuguese into English. Many words which have one meaning in Portuguese have an entirely different meaning in English despite the word sharing a common Latin root. These words are called false cognates, and there are many shared between the two languages---especially in academic language. A particularly demonstrative example is the word idiom, which in English refers to a phrase in which separate words have a different meaning in connection to the phrase and can only be understood through context, i.e., 'it's raining cats and dogs' or 'he has finally seen the light'. In Portuguese, the word idioma literally means "language". One could easily make the mistake of exchanging one word for the other interchangeably, but the meaning would most certainly be lost.


    In addition to this, Brazilian Portuguese has a sharp contrast between spoken language and academic or legal language, and a person who speaks casual and conversational Portuguese does not necessarily have the ability to translate legal documents or academic papers.


    These reasons demonstrate the necessity of certified translations which can be relied upon to deliver accurate meaning and context to local, regional, or national vernacular, grammar, and idioms. There are certain phrases in one region of Brazil which a person from another region may not be familiar with; for example, in the region of Minas-Gerais it is common to substitute the word "thing" for the word for "train". It is necessary to have certified translation to ensure that a legal document recording the testimony of a Mineiro reflects this slang so that the person reading the translation does not conclude that the speaker has an abnormal interest in rail transport.


    Language Translation Services


    Online language translation is now easier than ever. There is no need to hit "google translate" when so many more accurate and pain-free alternatives exist. The Spanish Group offers legal, professional, and academic certified translations, ensuring that all the nuance of specificity of your theses or defense is properly articulated. Online language translators are often expensive or untimely, but The Spanish Group will give you immediate access to a free quote, so you can proceed with confidence and clarity---and then get back to your demanding work!


    Language can be tricky but translation is even trickier, because translation has to account for the trickiness of both languages! Grammar varies widely within regions of the same spoken language, and commonly used phrases in one area can be foreign to the next. Legal and academic Portuguese is vastly different than spoken Portuguese--and legal and academic language is especially important to get right. Legal proceedings, visa requirements, doctorate theses, academic research, and many other works of official literature require a level of translation that can be depended upon to be minutely and incredibly accurate. These documents can affect the course of your life, so put them in the dependable and effective hands of The Spanish Group. Order your free quote today and step immediately on your path to clarity and liberation.