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The Challenges of Portuguese Transcription

Although Spanish is most often associated with South America, Portuguese is actually the most widely spoken language on the continent. In fact, over 200 million people in the world speak Portuguese, in places beyond Portugal and Brazil. Did you know that Portuguese is an official language in Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Angola?

Today, it’s Brazil’s strong economy that’s driving the spread of Portuguese and creating demand for Portuguese transcription and translation services around the world.

Portuguese has many unique features that can complicate transcription and translation. Contact today to work with experienced Portuguese transcriptionists who understand these challenges and know how to overcome them.

What are the particular challenges encountered when transcribing or translating Portuguese audio or video files?

The many Portuguese dialects

Portuguese has three main dialects: African, European, and Brazilian. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is different from the Portuguese spoken in Europe, Mozambique, and other parts of the world. These differences are most notable in pronunciation, vocabulary, and spelling, and they affect how the words are understood and written during transcription.

Slang and colloquialisms

Regional slang and colloquialisms are another challenge. For example, a transcriptionist from one region of Brazil may struggle to understand the expressions peculiar to another region of Brazil, even though it is the same country.

Slang also poses a significant challenge when directly transcribing and translating Portuguese into English. The transcriptionist will need to decide how to ensure the intended meaning is not lost in translation, a skill that of course requires advanced knowledge of both Portuguese and English.

Grammatical differences between English and Portuguese

English and Portuguese have similar sentence structures, but they are quite different when it comes to the placement of pronouns, adverbials, and adverbs.

In Portuguese, for example, questions are conveyed by intonation alone, whereas in English questions are signaled by an inverted word order. A poor (although literal) translation from Portuguese to English would yield unnatural-sounding questions like “You know me?” instead of “Do you know me?” Additionally, Portuguese often uses double negatives that could, for instance, be translated literally as “I didn’t say nothing,” which is considered poor English.

A transcriptionist translating directly from Portuguese into English would need the in-depth knowledge of both languages to take such grammatical differences into account.

Let the professionals handle your Portuguese transcription needs

Accurate transcription and translation are essential to international business and communication. The professionals at have the linguistic experience and technical expertise necessary to tackle the challenges of Portuguese transcription.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can transcribe your Portuguese language project.


Explore transcription services

Flat-rate professional transcription with a social mission

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