Localising Your Business: Brazilian Portuguese vs European Portuguese

08/02/2013 | Hayley

Today is the start of the Rio Carnival! While we can’t be there partying in the street with everyone, we have the next best thing in the shape of a blog post from new recruit Paula.

Here she explains why localising your website content for a Brazilian market is so important if you want to do business in the country.

We have all watched the TV commercials from a certain high street bank about localising your business. While these adverts are light-hearted and fun, can businesses today afford to ignore localisation?

As a speaker of Brazilian Portuguese I can understand European Portuguese just fine. I also speak English as a second language as well as understand some Italian, a little French and a little Spanish. However, if given the choice, I would want to speak my native language any day.

With English being such an international language, it is sometimes hard to appreciate a customer elsewhere might prefer to speak in their own language, even if they speak English fluently. This is like someone stopping you on the street to ask you for directions, but asking for it in another language because they simply assume you would be able to understand them. A crime I’m very guilty of when I go on holiday to France, for example, as I know so many people there speak English perfectly. While they are quite happy to accommodate me, because I’m giving them my business, it is worth considering whether they would be as accommodating if they were looking for a link in their supply chain.

For a few years now Brazil has steadily become the Holy Grail of international business opportunities. There has been a steady flow of investment and an influx of businesses wanting a slice of the action. But Brazilians are a proud breed and business over there is still largely based on relationships rather than the bottom line. Choosing whether to pay slightly more and have peace of mind, or pay less and put up with a lot of hassle is really a no-brainer for a Brazilian business. They like efficiency without stress, great service as a standard, and they love their culture. So it’s not that they wouldn’t be able to understand English manuals or European Portuguese brochures … They just prefer to speak their own language. The same reason you might prefer writing in British English to American English and vice-versa.

Localisation is not only about language, though. You’ll find business is conducted in different ways across the world. For example, in the UK and US it’s traditional to display your phone number, email address and office address under your contact details and not much else. However, in Brazil people like to talk to each other over Skype. It’s no surprise really, when you consider the size of the country and how much national calls can cost to make, let alone international ones. Brazilians also like to have a face-to-face chat with the companies they are considering doing business with, so if you want to net customers in this part of the world it’s worthwhile displaying your Skype details clearly on your website.

At Language Insight, we know how valuable localisation can be for businesses. It helps attract customers and makes them feel at home when they come to you. Such is Language Insight’s commitment to offering localisation services to clients, I have been asked to join the team of translators here to specifically deal with Brazilian Portuguese. This isn’t just about being understood – it’s about making your clients feel at home. And nothing does that better than localisation.

Paula

If you have any tips on how businesses can best break into the country where you live, share them below.

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