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