Portuguese Orthographic Agreement - establishing a standardised version of written Portuguese?
Thread poster: Hayley Hassan

Hayley Hassan
Local time: 01:36
French to English
+ ...
Jul 23, 2015

Hi all,
I am wondering if anyone can help me better understand the Portuguese Orthographic Agreement. From what I understand, the aim was to establish a common orthography for all Portuguese-speaking countries. If this is so, how would translation of a website work? In theory is it possible to only translate into this 'neutral' Portuguese form, using the rules in the agreement?
I am only concerned with the written form. From what I have heard, there is a bigger difference between spoken Portuguese. Would speakers in Brazil and Portugal be able to understand a written text in the other variety without too much difficulty?


 

Fernanda Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:36
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
No such thing as “neutral” Portuguese Jul 23, 2015

I know this can be quite confusing to people who do not speak Portuguese, but there are huge differences between the Portuguese variants (in terms of grammar, style, etc. – and not only in the spoken form) and the Portuguese Orthographic Agreement only standardizes the way some words are written. This means that the orthography changes, but the way each language uses the words in sentences is still the same.

In sum, we are able to understand a written text in the other variant but it is extremely easy to identify that it is not in PTbr or PTpt, for example.

My tips is: if you want to reach different markets, have the text translated into PTpt AND PTbr.

* This text here (by José Henrique Lamensdorf) explains quite well the situation: http://www.proz.com/doc/1675

Hope it helps, Hayley.icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2015-07-23 16:54 GMT]


 

Hayley Hassan
Local time: 01:36
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Can you tell me more? Jul 24, 2015

Thanks for your reply Fernanda.

When you say: In sum, we are able to understand a written text in the other variant but it is extremely easy to identify that it is not in PTbr or PTpt,

Would this hinder your understanding of the text in any way or be a problem? Or could you understand it without problem?

Some organisations seem to have only one version of Portuguese, for example Wikipedia http://pt.globalvoicesonline.org


I know in an ideal world you would translate two versions of PT but in the case of non-profit organisations this isn't as easy to do due to lack of resources.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apparently, Jul 24, 2015

the new Portuguese Orthographic Agreement has this effect on some agencies. This week, I was asked twice to translate into "neutral" Portuguese. After explaining to both clients that there is no such thing as "neutral" Portuguese, I rejected the first job (Brazilian market) and accepted the second (Portuguese market). It had never happened before...

[Edited at 2015-07-24 09:02 GMT]


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:36
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Indeed Jul 27, 2015

I fully agree both with Fernanda and Teresa.
There is no such thing as a "unisex" Portuguese and this so-called Agreement brought in more confusion rather than harmonisation.
The two variants are so distinct that I, as a beginner many years ago, could easily distinguish between the two. But this distinction, though, has never been an obstacle in comprehensive understanding of anything you read.
And now, like Teresa, I have to reject various potential jobs just because of the variant emphasis. Formerly, we would adapt the translation to our best knowledge of the Brazillian - anyone knew the BR ortography as well as expressions to some extent, which was fully sufficient for the translation purposes.


 


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