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The Portuguese language

Spoken by around 203 million people worldwide, only a small proportion of Portuguese speakers actually live in Portugal.

Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in the Western Iberian Peninsula of Europe. Over time, it spread across the globe through colonial expansion and migration, creating a community of speakers that reaches into the millions.

Origins & History:

  • Originating from the region now known as Galicia and northern Portugal, Portuguese has its roots in the Latin language spoken by Romanised Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 years ago.
  • The language began to diverge from other Romance languages such as Spanish in the ninth century and gained its own unique identity by the 14th century during the time of notable literary figures like King Dinis.
  • Portuguese gained prominence during the Age of Discovery (15th to 18th century) when Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama navigated the globe, establishing territories in Africa, Asia and South America.

Number of Speakers:

  • Portuguese has an estimated 220 million native speakers and 50 million second-language speakers worldwide, making it the sixth most spoken language globally.

Official Language Status:

  • Portuguese is the official language of nine countries: Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor. 
  • It’s also an official language of international organisations like the European Union, Mercosur, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Union of South American Nations.

Example of Text:

“Olá, como está? Meu nome é José e eu moro em Lisboa.”
This translates to “Hello, how are you? My name is Jose, and I live in Lisbon.”


  • Besides its official use in nine countries, Portuguese is also widely spoken in regions with historical ties to Portugal, including Macau in China and Goa in India.It serves a vital role in education, governance, business, and daily communication. In
  • Portugal and Brazil, it is the medium of instruction in schools and universities.
  • Portuguese literature is known worldwide, with authors like José Saramago (a Nobel laureate in Literature) and Fernando Pessoa being globally acclaimed.

English Words Used in Portuguese:

  • With the influence of globalisation, Portuguese has adopted many English words, especially in technology and pop culture. Examples include “Internet”, “email”, “shopping”, “hamburger”, and “download”.

Portuguese Words in English:

  • English, in turn, has borrowed words from Portuguese. Notable examples include “piranha”, “albino”, “zombie”, “embargo”, and “mosquito”.


In conclusion, Portuguese is a global language with a rich history, spoken by millions of people across continents. Its influence on and adaptation from other languages, especially English, further highlights its dynamic nature and cultural exchange.

Brightlines offers a number of professional Portuguese translation services including copywriting, voiceovers and production.

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Our translation services - FAQ

Do you use native translators?

Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.

How long will the translations take?

The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.

What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?

All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.

Which languages can you translate into?

We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.

I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?

Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.

Does the translation need to be proofread?

Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.

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If you need Portuguese translations, get in touch with our team, or get a quick quote.