Translation by non native speakers: some funny consequences…

Translation into Portuguese can raise many difficulties for any translator who is a non native speaker of Portuguese or even for native speakers who have been away from Portugal for a long time.

Let’s look at some subtleties that could easily go unnoticed.

The Portuguese word «embalagem», which means «packaging» in English, could easily be confused with another word – «embalo» – that has a totally different meaning: «cradle».

Now, imagine the confusion if a translation that was supposed to say, «The device should be carefully placed in the packaging», actually told us, «The device should be carefully placed in the cradle».

Here is another example. The Portuguese word «gole», which means «sip» in English, could easily be confused with «golo», which means «goal». Imagine how perplexed you would feel if you read the following headline in a newspaper:

«Thibaut Courtois unable to stop a sip by Januzaj».

It is no less true that, in the case of translations from a Portuguese source text into another language, the involvement of a Portuguese translator is very important, because their interpretation of the subtleties of the text can be crucial.

A good translation is the result of team work and, for translations from and into Portuguese, being able to rely on a team in the country can make all the difference.