European Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese

with a photo gallery about Portugal thrown in

Português Europeu e/ou Português Brasileiro

e uma galeria de fotografias sobre Portugal


Minha pátria é a língua portuguesa (1)
Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)


"A little-known fact: A version of the Internet was invented in Portugal 500 years ago by a bunch of sailors with
names like Pedro, Vasco and Bartolomeu. The technology was crude. Links were unstable.
Response time was glacial. (A message sent on their network might take a year to land.)
They put up with it all. They were hungry to gain access to the world."
Cotter, Holland "Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17 Centuries"
The New York Times, 29 July, 2007


NÃO ao Acordo Ortográfico da Língua Portuguese
A minha opinião

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nota bene

"...it is virtually impossible for a native speaker of one variety of Portuguese (European or Brazilian) to do a good translation into the other. Although there are unfortunately people who may feel, and announce themselves, as capable of translating or editing for both varieties, their work usually does not pass the simplest scrutiny of a native speaker."

Lyris Wiedemann, PhD in Applied Linguistics, Senior Lecturer at Stanford University and freelance translator

All too frequently, I have been asked by prospective clients about the differences (if any, some even add...) between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. Instead of writing my own version of the story, I decided to collect and place under one roof some of the best links and information I could find about this subject.

Portuguese is in 6th place among the ten most-spoken languages in the world. It is a major or official language in nine countries and it is one of the 20 official languages of the European Union (2005) and a working language in several international venues. The largest Portuguese-speaking country is Brazil with 176 million people. Other Portuguese-speaking countries with large populations include Mozambique (19 million), Angola (13 million), Portugal (10 million) and some other 4.8 million Portuguese living in the four corners of the World. Smaller countries or regions where the Portuguese language is spoken include Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé e Príncipe in Africa and East Timor and Macao, S.A.R. of China in Asia. All together, around 220 million people speak and write Portuguese in its two varieties. With the exception of Brazil, apart from local colloquialisms and "street lingo", in ALL Portuguese-speaking countries and territories (around 50 million people) the linguistic variety spoken and used by the population and in official business is the EUROPEAN PORTUGUESE. As with other languages spoken in different countries and places of the world, Portuguese differs in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar, mainly between Portugal and Brazil. websites, and commercial and technical documents SHOULD be properly localized for the Portuguese and Brazilian markets. And, take note: For regular official, commercial and technical texts, THERE IS NO SUCH THING as "neutral Portuguese", as well as "angolan", "capeverdian" or "mozambican" Portuguese...

NO Spelling Reform will make Brazilian Portuguese
and European Portuguese uniform!

(...) And, most important of all, the new spelling reform will NOT change the fact that you need a native speaker of Brazilian Portuguese for a translation that’ll be used in Brazil and a native speaker of European Portuguese for a translation that’ll be used in Portugal. — Fábio Said, Brazilian Translator (Germany) View the complete text



Lisbon, panoramic view over the downtown area, looking north.

Rossio Square and the National Theater Building can be seen on lower left section of the picture.


Lisbon, Portugal

Discoveries Memorial (1960)

Portuguese Translations: What clients need to know 

by Prof. Lyris Wiedemann (in Nelson Laterman's website)

Lyris Wiedemann, a free-lance translator, has been involved with translation and the teaching of Portuguese, Linguistics and Brazilian Culture during her entire professional life. She has earned a B.A. in Romance Languages and an M.A. in Teaching of Languages and Literature from her native Brazil, and an M.A. in Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Education (Applied Linguistics)  from Stanford University. A former Professor of Portuguese and Linguistics at two major universities in Brazil, she taught for nearly a decade at University of California-Berkeley and, since 1996, has been the Director of the Portuguese Language Program at Stanford University. Also available in PDF format.


Jeronimos Monastery

The most impressive symbol of Portugal's power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. King Manuel I built it in 1502 on the site of a hermitage founded by Prince Henry the Navigator, where Vasco da Gama and his crew spent their last night in Portugal in prayer before leaving for India. It was built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama's voyage and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success. Jeronimos Monastery Cloisters Vasco da Gama's tomb was placed inside by the entrance, as was the tomb of poet Luis de Camões, author of the epic The Lusiads in which he glorifies the triumphs of Da Gama and his compatriots. It is one of the great triumphs of European Gothic (UNESCO has classified it a World Heritage monument), with much of the design characterized by elaborate sculptural details and maritime motifs. This style of architecture became known as Manueline, a style of art that served to glorify the great discoveries of the age.


Coimbra, Portugal

University (founded 1288)

Portuguese Languages: What is the difference?

by Mário Ferreira (in Nelson Laterman's website)

Mário was a member of the Portuguese Language Division of the American Translators Association, a well known translator and mentor of some of the division members. Mário left us in 1993. This article was originally published in the ATA Proceedings - 1988, Seattle; republished in the June 1995 issue of The ATA Chronicle.


Lisbon, Portugal, by night

Viewed from the left bank of Tagus river. Left: The 25th of April bridge.

“Unlike Paris or Rome, you feel that no-one has quite summed Lisbon up - and because of that,
you can make it your very own.” Simone de Beauvoir


Lisbon, Portugal

Belém Tower (1515)

Differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese

by Nelson Laterman

Nelson Laterman is a Brazilian Portuguese native speaker living in the Vancouver area, British Columbia, Canada since 1992. He is certified by the American Translators' Association (English into Portuguese), an Associate Member of the Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC (STIBC) and a Certified Court Interpreter. He can be reached at  and his (excellent) website is at http://www.necco.ca.


Lisbon, 25th of April Bridge

The Tagus River Bridge or 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) in Lisbon, Portugal (here seen from a flyover in Alcântara, looking east), was built by the American Bridge Company and completed in 1966, after four years of construction, for $32 million. Its total length is 2,277 m, the main span measuring 1,013 m (17th largest suspension bridge in the world). It enbodies an important railroad line connecting Lisbon to the south, this line opened in 1999. At the time of its completion, it was the longest suspended span in Europe, had the longest main span in Continental Europe, was the world's longest continuous truss, and had the world's deepest bridge foundation (82 meters). Center left of the image: the Lisbon-Cascais railway line.


Lisbon, Portugal

Rossio Square and National Theater Building

A Portuguese-Brazilian Dictionary

by Ray Vogensen

Probably the best PT-BR dictionary available on the Net.


Porto, viewed from the Gaia bank of Douro river

Right: Luís I bridge. Foreground: "Rabelo" boats, that used to carry the Port wine casks from the Douro vineyards.


Lisbon, Portugal

St. George's Castle

Conquered from the Moors by Portuguese

1st king, Afonso Henriques, in 1147 A.D.

European vs. Brazilian Portuguese:
A small differentiating glossary

by Bruno Oliveira Maroneze

Bruno is a researcher and graduate student at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). He can be reached at .


Lisbon, Portugal

Oriente Intermodal Station (1998), designed by Santiago Calatrava


Lisboa, Portugal

Empire Plaza and

Jerónimos Monastery (16th c.)

Brazilian versus Iberian (sic) Portuguese

by ideastranslated.com

"Although theoretically possible, it is totally inadvisable to use the same translation for both markets."


Ponte D. Luís I (Luís 1st. Bridge) - Porto
With Law of 11/02/1879, the Portuguese government opens the bidding process for the “construction of a metal bridge over the Douro River, in the place considered the most convenient in front of the city of Porto, for the replacement of the current suspended bridge”. The winning proposal was from Teófilo Seyrig, from the Belgian company Societé de Willebroeck. Teófilo Seyrig had already been the designer and head of the engineering team in the project of the Ponte D. Maria Pia (D. Maria Pia Bridge) as Eiffel’s associate. This time, he was the sole responsible for the works of the new and grand Ponte D. Luís I (D. Luís I Bridge). The construction works began in 1881 and the inauguration occurred on 31 October 1886). The arch comprises 172 m of chord and is 44.6 m tall.


Lisboa, Portugal

"A Brasileira" café, in Chiado, where you can have a coffee with Fernando Pessoa himself


Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace (1839)

Different Words in Europan and Brazilian Portuguese

"Books that claim to teach both Brazilian and European Portuguese are usually not good."

Well put, Sónia...


Cabo da Roca (Roca Cape): Latitude: 38° 46' 30'' North - Longitude: 9° 28' 36'' West

The westernmost point of continental Europe.


Azenhas do Mar, Portugal

Whitewashed houses hanging off the cliffs droping fearlessly into the ocean. Swimming pools dug out of the rock. Next land West, North America.

The Global Advisor Newsletter - Brazilian and European Portuguese

A cost-saving alternative for those who would like to offer two versions of Portuguese on a limited budget, is to translate into one of the two versions (Brazilian or European), and then edit as needed to meet the requirements of the other. If you select this option, you should keep in mind that most translators prefer to start from scratch, because edited versions rarely sound equally as natural to a native speaker as an original translation.


A minha pátria é a língua portuguesa

Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935)

Não chóro por nada que a vida traga ou leve. Há porém paginas de prosa me teem feito chorar. Lembro-me, como do que estou vendo, da noute em que, ainda creança, li pela primeira vez numa selecta, o passo celebre de Vieira sobre o Rei Salomão, "Fabricou Salomão um palacio..." E fui lendo, até ao fim, tremulo, confuso; depois rompi em lagrimas felizes, como nenhuma felicidade real me fará chorar, como nenhuma tristeza da vida me fará imitar. Aquelle movimento hieratico da nossa clara lingua majestosa, aquelle exprimir das idéas nas palavras inevitaveis, correr de agua porque ha declive, aquelle assombro vocalico em que os sons são cores ideaes – tudo isso me toldou de instincto como uma grande emoção politica. E, disse, chorei; hoje, relembrando, ainda chóro. Não é – não – a saudade da infancia, de que não tenho saudades: é a saudade da emoção d'aquelle momento, a magua de não poder já ler pela primeira vez aquella grande certeza symphonica. Não tenho sentimento nenhum politico ou social. Tenho, porém, num sentido, um alto sentimento patriotico. Minha patria é a lingua portuguesa. Nada me pesaria que invadissem ou tomassem Portugal, desde que não me incommodassem pessoalmente, Mas odeio, com odio verdadeiro, com o unico odio que sinto, não quem escreve mal portuguez, não quem não sabe syntaxe, não quem escreve em orthographia simplificada, mas a pagina mal escripta, como pessoa própria, a syntaxe errada, como gente em que se bata, a orthographia sem ípsilon, como escarro directo que me enoja independentemente de quem o cuspisse. Sim, porque a orthographia também é gente. A palavra é completa vista e ouvida. E a gala da transliteração greco-romana veste-m'a do seu vero manto régio, pelo qual é senhora e rainha.

Texto publicado originariamente em "Descobrimento", revista de Cultura n.º 3, 1931, pp. 409-410, transcrito do "Livro do Desassossego", por Bernardo Soares (heterónimo de Fernando Pessoa), numa recolha de Maria Aliete Galhoz e Teresa Sobral Cunha; ed. de Jacinto do Prado Coelho, Lisboa, Ática, 1982 vol. I, p. 16-17. Foi mantida a ortografia da época de Fernando Pessoa.

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Copyright© 1999 João Roque Dias   •   Technical Translator   •   Tradutor Técnico   •    Last updated: 28 Nov 2014 11:09 CST