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SEO Translation Portuguese 

Internationalization in Portuguese language holds several challenges for SEO translations and online marketing in general. In the following article, you will learn what the special features of the Portuguese language are and in which target markets it can be effectively used to address customers. With MONDIS, content in Portuguese is perceived in a promising and target-oriented way.

The diversity of the Portuguese language

Where are the local challenges in SEO translations in Portuguese?

Portuguese is, in the view of many people, one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Very melodious and melodious, there is something very stylish about conversation in Portuguese. Unfortunately, this romantic view of the language does not translate to the online world. Instead, challenging tasks await marketers and translators who deal with Portuguese target markets. Thanks to Portuguese expansionist policies in the late Middle Ages and modern times, the language has a global presence. Portuguese is spoken not only in Portugal, but also in Brazil, several African countries, and Southeast Asia. Over the centuries, its own dialects and variations have emerged, which must be taken into account in an SEO translation, in addition to the cultural and social aspects.

Precisely define Portuguese target markets

The Portuguese language has a cultural heritage that continues to be cultivated and is subject to numerous changes even in modern times. In Europe, consideration is limited to Portugal itself, although residents in Spain or Andorra are regionally familiar with Portuguese. In South America, the focus is on Brazil. The country, with a population of about 211 million, is considerably larger than Portugal itself and is subject to numerous local influences. In Africa, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe all have Portuguese as an official language, as do Macau and East Timor in Southeast Asia. For SEO Portuguese language translation and marketing, this means that you have to deal with ten different target markets whose requirements could hardly be more divergent.

Portuguese language in SEO translations

What are the most important grammatical rules in Portuguese?

  • Spelling: The spelling essentially follows the pronunciation. The pronunciation rules are simple and understandable, however, similar to French, the language requires a little sensitivity.
  • Gender: In Portuguese, there are two genders, male and female, and unlike in other languages, there is a distinction between them even in the plural.
  • Sentence structure: Portuguese is an SVO language, which means that its sentence structure follows the subject-verb-object rule.
  • Personal pronouns: Personal pronouns are a bit of a stumbling block in Portuguese. Due to the endings at the end of a verb, their use in speech is clear, which is why personal pronouns are often omitted in personal interactions. In writing, the personal pronoun should be used for the clarity of all parties.
  • Verbs: Portuguese verbs are easier to use than German ones. Since there are only rare exceptions, the conjugation can be limited to three central elements.         
    – Verbs ending in -AR (e.g. “falar”, “andar”)
    – Verbs ending in -ER (e.g. “beber”)
    – Verbs ending in -IR (e.g. “ir”)
  • Particularities: Similar to Spanish, Portuguese has two forms of “to be”.
    – “estar” is used to describe a state at a particular time.
    – “ser” describes a permanent condition.

Keyword research for Portuguese target markets

Keyword research in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries

Keyword research for Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries basically focuses on one search engine – Google. In Portugal itself, Google holds the leading position with more than 97 percent in 2020. In Brazil, the view is a bit more differentiated, because while Google has 99 percent of the mobile share, it is “only” 90 percent in the desktop area. Bing with 4.8 percent and Yahoo with three percent cannot be completely disregarded. In the African countries with Portuguese, other search engines can be neglected with an overall share of two percent.

Localization in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries

As we all know, the devil is in the details. Not all Portuguese is the same. The linguistic differences in the use of some terms are considerable in Portugal and Brazil. This can even go so far as to cause communication and comprehension problems. Above all, the assimilation of foreign words has led to the differences in language development. Not insignificant are the differences in formal and informal address. In Brazil, handling is straightforward with “tu” or “você,” which are comparable to the English “you.” In Portugal, “tu” (“you”) is reserved for friends and relatives. If you confuse “tu” in European Portuguese with “você” (“you”), this can quickly lead to irritation and misunderstanding.

Portugal & Brazil

Differences in the Portuguese Language

EnglishPortuguese (Brazil) Portuguese (Europe)
Train TremComboio
Bus ÔnibusAutocarro
Ice creamSorveteGelado
Cup XícaraChávena

Cultural Differences in Marketing

Security, supply chains and means of payment in target markets

The biggest mistake marketers make when dealing with the Portuguese language is its use. With a single SEO translation for Portugal, Brazil, Africa and Asia, not only comprehension problems can arise. In addition to inconsistent communication and customer approach, there are aspects that must always be considered in marketing. Especially the topic “security” is a big problem in many places. It’s not just about user trust in your services and products, but also about trust in your customers. Online fraud is statistically more frequent in South America and a big problem for many online stores, as many invoices are not paid. In any case, payments by credit card or on account are rather rare in Brazil, which is something you have to keep in mind for this target market. Also keep in mind the size of the country and make sure that you really can or want to reach all regions.

Brazil and Africa as markets of the future

Brazil and Africa also combine numerous positive aspects. With 139 million Internet users, Brazil has one of the largest markets in the world. Internet usage is growing annually, and the market-dominating target group of 25- to 55-year-olds is extremely familiar with online shopping. The desktop share in Brazil is surprisingly high at 73 percent, but here too the shift to mobile shopping will continue. This is already particularly pronounced in Africa. The behavior of users in Portugal is based on the overall picture in Europe. In marketing, it should be taken into account here that open communication and a description rich in images are particularly effective in Portugal.

Tips for SEO translations in Portuguese

What are the tips for very good Portuguese SEO translations?

  • The worldwide spread of the Portuguese language makes it necessary for you to analyze and consider the target markets in detail in advance of internationalization. If in doubt, it is better to exclude a market so as not to experience any unpleasant surprises.
  • Keyword research must be done separately for each country and market. The considerable linguistic differences that have developed over the centuries should not be disregarded.
  • Rely on experienced agencies with native speakers for SEO translations for the target market that have extensive regional knowledge.
  • Pay attention to direct and indirect customer address and the use of formal and informal address. Your customers will make an exact distinction in this regard.
  • Avoid a word-for-word translation and go for individual linguistic expressions.
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Michael Q

We adapt existing SEO texts for all desired languages and markets and advise on all factors affecting the visibility of your multilingual website in target markets.

Contact: Michael Quast, Managing Partner
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