We all love and use Google Translate. But while it’s useful for translating French, German, or Spanish, there’s one thing you should know about using it for Portuguese: Google Translate uses Brazilian Portuguese and not European Portuguese.
What does this mean in practice?
- It means that if you write an email in English and paste it into Google Translate, it’ll be in Brazilian Portuguese and not European Portuguese. This is a very common mistake to make, and if you email a Portuguese company using Google Translate, they’ll often reply in English if they know you’re not a native speaker.
- It also means that if you look up a word or phrase, you’ll get the Brazilian Portuguese translation. Use this and it’s quite likely that the Portuguese person you’re speaking to will correct you on the “correct” word to use.
- And it means that if you listen to a word on Google Translate, you’ll hear the word pronounced in Brazilian Portuguese. This may also lead to you being corrected.
So what should you use instead? Try Deepl.com. It allows you to translate to and from European Portuguese (or Brazilian Portuguese, if you prefer).
Does this mean you should never use Google Translate? Not necessarily. Google Translate is great for translating from Portuguese to English as it allows you to get the gist of an article; it’s just problematic when you translate the other way.