Brazilian Translation Tips and Tricks

Many translators handle the gobbledygook found in certain works by simply ignoring them. That's not the way a professional translation made by a topnotch translation service firm is made. A truly "professional translation" in every sense of the term needs to be crystal-clear and suited to the audience it's intended for, gobbledygook and all.

Translators mustn't produce haphazard output that seem like it was done by services like Yahoo's Babel Fish than work done by a human being. As its name suggests, human translation should be understood by humans, especially those whom it's specifically targeted for. Any first-rate translation service doing work for businesses and commercial enterprises is well aware of the fact that their clients do not have the time or interest to read and needlessly contemplate over a translated document.

Catering to your Audience

Businessmen aren't a very patient lot, and the Brazilian language (Portuguese with a distinct local flavor) is complicated enough to understand without the translator mucking up his work. Corporate executives in particular-and you'll be dealing with a lot of them in this line of work-don't want to read translation wherein you have to get a dictionary or glossary in order to understand it.

This may all sound redundant or painfully obvious, but many translators keep on forgetting this simple fact: they need to cater to their intended market, and making your English translation not sound like English or your human translation not sound remotely of this earth will probably get you fired faster than you can say "homologar".

Homologate versus Homologar

Speaking of homologar, the Portuguese-English dictionary lists the term as homologate, which another dictionary will describe as referring to homologar, which then leaves you in the middle of some sort of word meaning Ping-Pong where you're the ball. The point here is that if you translate homologar (a common Brazilian word) with homologate (a not-so-common English word) then you're not really doing your translation job properly.

More to the point, saying "homologação da rescisão" to a Brazilian peão won't even make him blink, but all you'll get from an American hardhat when you tell him about the "homologation of the termination" is lots of blinking and a vacant stare. It's probably best for the translator to bring two dictionaries along with him in order to simplify his translation choices.

Plain English, Plain Brazilian

Don't translate verbal tics and proboscises; a translator should instead translate word meaning and context. Avoid translating redundancies from source text like "por oportuno, informamos também que...' because beginning every second paragraph of an English document with "It is opportune, we also inform that..." constitutes wordiness. Neither of the two phrases makes any sense nor is in any way necessary.

In conclusion, as a translator, you should always ask yourself, "What's the point of getting text translated if you need an unabridged dictionary to understand it?" A translation that needs translating is the epitome of failure in this line of work.


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