Featured Language: Portuguese

Portuguese is a western Romance language with approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers. Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world and the third-most spoken European language in the world, in terms of native speakers. It is also the most spoken language in South America and the second-most spoken in Latin America after Spanish

Here is a collection of Portuguese language data points and tips to help you on your global journey:

  • Universally Portuguese. According to estimates by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Portuguese is the fastest growing European language after English.
  • Portuguese nations. There are eight members in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP): Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and East Timor.
  • Going online. There are 169 million Portuguese speakers online, making it the 5th most common language used on the internet. (Source: Internet World Stats, 2017)

Trend alert: Brazil is considered a top market in terms of social users. Social networking is a growing force in the area of e-commerce (social commerce). Brazil has 125 million social network users, making it the fifth largest market worldwide. (Source: Statista)

  • Romance language. Many aspects of the Portuguese language are shared with all the Romance languages (languages that come from Latin), such as Spanish, Italian, Romanian and French.
  • By the numbers. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2015, close to 700,000 people spoke Portuguese at home. See all languages spoken across the U.S., as well as in each state.
  • Galician. The Romance language also known as Galego is spoken by about 3 million Spanish people in Galicia, the northwest corner of Spain (border with Portugal). It is considered the closest language to Portuguese and it shares the same origins.

Localization Tip: Non-verbal gestures are not universal. The “OK” sign is considered rude in Brazil. A “thumbs up” is more appropriate. In many world cultures, pointing is impolite, so it is best to avoid it entirely in images. If you wish to convey a gesture, use the entire hand. This is especially important if you wish to draw the customer’s attention to a “sale” button or “subscribe” within email campaigns. Read more content localization tips for Brazil and Latin America.

Clinical Trials and Regulatory Authority

  • Regulatory authority. Every country has its own regulatory authority, which is responsible to enforce the rules and regulations and issue guidelines for drug development, licensing, registration, manufacturing, marketing and labeling of pharmaceutical products. The Agencia Nacional de Vigiloncia Sanitaria (ANVISA) is the national authority responsible for drug regulation in Brazil. Click here for the list of regulatory bodies and marketing authorities by country.
  • Clinical trials. There are over 1,000 current clinical trials underway in Brazil and over 250 in Portugal. (Source: CenterWatch)

A few fun facts about Portuguese:

  • Get hired. The top social media channels for recruiting Portuguese professionals are, in order: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The top job boards are: net-empregos.com, emprego.sapo.pt and olx.pt.
  • One and only. Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, giving it a national culture sharply distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbors in Latin America and Mexico.
  • Forbidden names. The Portuguese government has an 80-page list of illegal names, or names prohibited to name your baby. For example, Ovnis’ is on the list. In Portuguese it means ‘UFO.’
  • Where it all began. In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New Word” including Brazil, Africa and Asia. The Portuguese Empire was the first global Empire in history.

Welocalize Life Sciences is an ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and ISO 17100 certified language services company that specializes in translation for the life sciences industry. Portuguese is one of more than 200 languages we offer.  Contact us if you’re in need of professional Portuguese medical translation services.