Did you know that Portugal and the UK have one of the longest standing alliances in global history, with commercial security treaties in existence since as early as the 13th century? This strong alliance has stood the test of time and continues to grow each year, with the UK’s total imports from Portugal increasing by 77.5% in the last year. The Portuguese Chamber of Commerce has suggested that “people are the most important element in the UK-Portugal relationship”, placing a great value on mutual linguistic and cultural understanding.

Why we love the Portuguese language

Portuguese has become one of the most important world languages with approximately 232 million native speakers and is currently sixth in the world rankings for the most spoken languages on the planet.

Although famously spoken in Portugal and Brazil, Portuguese is also the official language of nine other countries and territories across four continents, which are Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Principe, Equatorial Guinea and Macau!

Portuguese has historically been heavily influenced by Arabic, which was brought over by the North African Moors in the 8th century, and also has roots in neighboring Spain’s Galicia region. This Romance language therefore shares many of its words and phrases with Spanish, Arabic, and more recently, English, giving it the potential to become a major “international communication language” (HP to find UNESCO link for this quote).

Despite being so heavily influenced by other languages, Portuguese is very much its own language with its own identity. One of the most beautiful and distinctive words in the language is, ‘saudade’, which is an expression of profound longing or nostalgia for a place, person or thing. This expression of emotion is said to be a characteristic that is unique to Lusophone people and culture and can often be heard expressed in traditional Portuguese music, Fado. The lyrics and melody of these songs perfectly capture and reflect the melancholic sentiment of ‘saudade’.

Quick-fire facts about the Portuguese language:

  • Portuguese sentences can be up to 30% longer than English.
  • It is one of the five Romance languages along with French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian.
  • Until recently, the letters ky and w were not part of the Portuguese alphabet but have since been added to write foreign names influenced by English.
  • English words such as flamingo, cobra and piranha all originate from Portuguese.


Challenges translating from Portuguese to English

There are three main variants of Portuguese – Brazilian, African and European. All of these variants differ quite drastically from one another in vocabulary, register, grammar and pronunciation, providing translators with plenty of linguistic challenges.  

In 1990, the Portuguese-speaking countries agreed on a spelling reform to try and create an orthographic standard across all Lusophone nations, in which “unnecessary” letters in words were removed to more reflect spoken pronunciation. Although there has been some resistance to these changes, Portugal began a six-year transition to this new orthography in 2009, replacing words like, óptimo (great) with ótimo, acto (act) with ato, and paráquedas (parachute) with paraquedas 


Native English translators and high-quality translations you can trust

Here at Surrey Translation Bureau (STB), we boast a global network of freelance translators, enabling us to provide expert and highly-professional translation, localisation, editing, proofreading and many other services in this language combination.

In 2022, we translated 40,223 words from Portuguese to English.


Why use Surrey Translation Bureau for Portuguese to English translation?

Here at Surrey Translation Bureau (STB), we think beyond simply translating the text. We also offer a variety of language services to increase the functionality and outreach of your text, including localisation, proofreading, editing, notarisation and legalisation.

No matter your individual or business requirements, the format or purpose of your text, STB’s dedicated and highly skilled team of Portuguese to English translators can deliver the perfect text to fit your brief, enabling you to address your target audience effectively and successfully.

Contact a member of our knowledgeable team at STB to find out more about our Portuguese to English translation service.