Off topic: What Brazilian people really mean when they say...
Thread poster: RominaZ

RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 4, 2013

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1.-
What Brazilians say: The party will start at 8 o'clock

What foreigners hear: I should turn up around 8 o'clock

What Brazilians mean: If you arrive before 9 you'll catch me in the shower


2.-
What Brazilians say: Let's see (Vamos ver)

What foreigners hear: He'll think about it and get back to me

What Brazilians mean: Not a chance. Please drop it


3.-
What Brazilians say (in response to an invitation): I'll check with my wife (Vou conversar com minha esposa)

What foreigners hear: He'll check with his wife and get back to me

What Brazilians mean: No thanks


4.-
What Brazilians say: Come by my place (Passa lá em casa)

What foreigners hear: He's inviting me round

What Brazilians mean: Goodbye, it's been lovely to meet you


5.-
What Brazilians say: Let's have a coffee (Vamos tomar um café)

What foreigners hear: Great, it's a date!

What Brazilians mean: That's my good deed for the day, I've said something friendly. I'm not averse to meeting up again at some point if you want to set it up


6.-
What Brazilians (in shops): We have it, but it's lacking (Temos, mas está em falta)

What foreigners hear: Huh??

What Brazilians mean: It's out of stock but I hate that it's me that has to disappoint you


7.-
What Brazilians say: I live right by there! (Moro ao lado!)

What foreigners hear: What a coincidence! He lives right by the place I've just mentioned!

What Brazilians mean: I've heard of that place and it isn't too much of a stretch to say it's in my neighborhood


8.-
What Brazilians say: Do you have a moment? (Você tem um minutinho?)

What foreigners hear: He will ask me a simple question that requires a yes-or-no response

What Brazilians mean: I have a really complex issue that will take me 30 minutes just to explain and a further hour to discuss



Source: Johnson

The author of this post says that a few readers have pointed out that several of his observations would hold equally well elsewhere in Latin America, or indeed further afield, in particular the relaxed approach to appointments and deadlines and the physical warmth. Do you agree?


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Brazilians in Argentina Jun 4, 2013

As a missionary and gringo in Argentina (though they called me a yanki), I was a little unnerved by everyone wanting to kiss me all the time, but after about a year I got used to it. I figured it was one kiss for friends and two kisses for emotionally involved individuals (spouses, etc). Imagine my surprise when a Brazilian woman gave me THREE kisses!! I about had a heart attack!

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:09
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Not funny Jun 4, 2013

Dear RominaZ,

You seem to be the OP as well as the moderator of this forum so I'll complain about this posting in public. I think you're overstepping the liberties of this multicultural website by reposting information that suggests that some of the members of this website are odd or less trustworthy because of their nationality.

Regards,
Gerard


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Stefan Blommaert  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:09
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Hahaha... Jun 4, 2013

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Dear RominaZ,

You seem to be the OP as well as the moderator of this forum so I'll complain about this posting in public. I think you're overstepping the liberties of this multicultural website by reposting information that suggests that some of the members of this website are odd or less trustworthy because of their nationality.

Regards,
Gerard


I personally think it was funny! But then again, I live in the country described (Brazil) as a "gringo" (even this word already has a rather negative connotation), and perhaps for me it is funny because I realize that the list is actually quite an innocent one! It could have been MUCH worse.

The ability to laugh with oneself is definitely something that should be cherished; it puts everything into perspective!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One Frenchman's insights in Brazil Jun 4, 2013

If you can read (fractured) Portuguese, here are some thought-provoking insights from a Frenchman in Brazil:
http://olivierdobrasil.blogspot.com.br/2013/04/curiosidades-brasileiras.html

Okay, we DO have a striking culture, yet foreigners just love to join it when they move here. However they fail to notice that Brazil is the homeland of diversity, so whenever an immigrant joins its culture, they inevitably add something of their own to it.


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Now if it was a Brazilian complaining... Jun 4, 2013

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Dear RominaZ,

You seem to be the OP as well as the moderator of this forum so I'll complain about this posting in public. I think you're overstepping the liberties of this multicultural website by reposting information that suggests that some of the members of this website are odd or less trustworthy because of their nationality.

Regards,
Gerard


I do recognize a lot of the above mentioned points- I live in Portugal. People here tend to joke about these things and nobody feels offended. I don't know how easily Brazilians get offended, but I am sure they will step up and complain if they feel abused by this post.

I think it is scary if everyone behaves so politically correct that you can't even joke about cultural differences anymore. The differences don't go away by not talking about them and bad feelings about these differences grow easily if they are hidden away by the PC-police.
By the way, if anyone wants to publish something funny about Germans, feel free.

Best regards,
Sarah


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:09
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
ProZ is multifaceted Jun 4, 2013

This website is multifaceted and many of the members will only follow a small part of it on a daily basis. To go even further: most members will only follow that part of the website they can read and understand. The Dutch part of this website used to be moderated by Evert and has always been more liberal than the rest of ProZ, reflecting the spirit of Belgium and the Netherlands. Posters in Dutch feel free to say whatever they want because they know their audience is limited to their peers.

Posters in English should think twice, I’ve been asked to think twice on several occasions by the moderators of this website after posting in English.

I follow an important deal of the European part of this website and try to stay abreast of those members who talk about translating in terms like: industry, resources, metrics, productivity, LSP, MT, gains per character or per hour.

Suggestions that Brazilians would spoil the metrics would be both insulting and gleeful.

Cheers,
Gerard


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Keep cool, Gerard Jun 4, 2013

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Suggestions that Brazilians would spoil the metrics would be both insulting and gleeful.

Cheers,
Gerard


I was about to write you on this, gave up, but now I see that it's necessary.

Did you notice that all the quotes on the OP are supposedly within a social environment?

In Brazil, we take work seriously, but really prevent that seriousness from spoiling the joy in our social life.

Conversely, some (not all, nor many) Brazilians let their social practices leak into their professional lives, and that's the major reason why they are often unsuccessful professionally. Then this may spoil their social life, as few people like to befriend losers, closing the cycle, and often leading them to take their jobs more seriously. It's a self-correcting contrivance.

Please note that such slip could happen in any other country, however it's that more playful attitude that leads to the self-correction. People want to be able to enjoy that lighter part of life, socially.


Such irreverence (as seen by outlanders here) has its advantages. I'll give you one example, from Germany, since Anna Sarah invited it.

Many years ago, I met a close friend of mine's cousin: a very successful dentist in Dusseldorf, visiting Brazil with his wife and two daughters. He was enthusiastic about our way of life, compared to the rigid countenance upheld in Germany.

After he had been here for some two weeks, he had many stories to tell us. Among them...


He went to Ubatuba, a beach resort some 240 km from Sao Paulo. My friend lent him his extra car, an old station wagon, not built for speed. So he was happily cruising at 80 km/h on the highway. When he went to the left lane to overtake a truck, nobody got nervous, they waited for him to finish doing it.

He told us that he usually drove his Porsche at the very speed limit on the autobahnen, staying on the left lane. Now and then some car with a "NL" sticker would be on the left lane at the minimum speed allowed, and wouldn't budge. He had to tag behind. If he overtook them by the right lane, a police car would show up immediately to stop him and cause trouble.


In Ubatuba, at the beach, he ordered one caipirinha, one coconut batida, and two passion fruit juices... in German! ... to a local seller, a poor elderly man who had only three teeth (as a dentist, he noticed). The man quickly returned with the correct drinks, smiled, and gave him the exact change.

He told us that once in Monte Carlo he ordered two drinks in German to a very elegant waiter at the hotel bar, and the man shrugged. So he repeated his order in English, and this time he shrugged, because he had run out of languages. He spoke no French, no Italian. The waiter simply turned his back and went away.


Then professionally... He visited a few colleagues of his, dentists here in Sao Paulo. He told us that in Germany, if it's 4:25 PM and he needs some 10 more minutes to finalize the job on a patient, no way, he's got to close everything there so it'll stand for a week and have them return again. If it's 4:31, and the patient with an appointment at 4:30 has not been taken in, they'll be calling the police.

In Brazil, a dentist may count on the cooperation of his patients. If one takes a little longer, he can work faster on another, if it's an easier job. Some flexibility is built in to fit an emergency, a regular patient who called, desperate, that he was banging his head on the wall from a sudden tooth ache. Perhaps extending working hours on one day or another, just to keep everybody happy. Anyone will wait a little longer, or even reschedule, to accommodate someone in bigger trouble. After all, it may happen to them too.


It might be enlightening to read this article. I haven't heard the expression jeitinho for several years already, but it's visible that everyone tries their best to make all others happy. We do have grouchy people, of course, but they are not very popular.


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RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Literal meaning vs. implied meaning Jun 5, 2013

Dear all,

I've shared this post because I thought it was interesting. Being from Argentina I do recognize many of the implied meanings as being similar to what we Argentine people say vs. what we may imply. I think that these cultural differences and uses of language are indeed fascinating as these are things you cannot grasp from studying a language from books.

In the past I also shared other similar guides to understanding other cultures http://img.leprosorium.com/1134039

I hope I have not offended anybody.

Romina


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