Translating My Book into Portuguese

Cover - thumbnailI recently mentioned to a friend that I’m working on getting my book translated into Portuguese. Her immediate response was: “Why not Spanish? So many more people speak Spanish.”

My main reason is that I want my husband’s daughters, their children, and others in the family who may have some difficulty with English to read my story in comfort.

Also, the book has many references to Brazil and Portugal, and I believe there’s an audience for a Portuguese version. My husband’s story of life under Brazil’s military dictatorship in the late 1960s and 1970s should not be forgotten. Many intellectuals lost their jobs and were arrested, imprisoned, deprived of their income, and made to suffer in other ways. It was unquestionably the blackest period in the nation’s history.

The number of Portuguese readers is not to be sneezed at. While it is true that Spanish tops the list of speakers of European languages, followed by English, Portuguese is a close third, beating out Russian, German, French, Italian, and the others. According to my arithmetic, it is spoken by at least 250 million people. Based on data from Wikipedia, I see that, besides Brazil (population 193,946,886 in 2012) and Portugal (10,562,178), Portuguese is an official language in Angola (20,609,294), Cape Verde (491,875), East Timor (1,066,409), Guinea-Bissau (1,704,000), Macau (582,000), Mozambique (23,700,715), and São Tomé and Principe magellans_travels(187,356). Total: 252,850,713 and counting. The widespread use of Portuguese is the heritage of Magellan and his compatriot voyagers in the Age of Discovery, who covered much of the globe and left their country’s language and traditions behind.

imagesIn my work, I am increasingly asked to translate documents from countries that I know little about. Each new country has been an eye-opener to me – and an adventure. So far, I have “adopted” Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau, and I recently had a job from East Timor (Timor-Leste). I took the opportunity to research its turbulent history and read about its charismatic leader Xanana Gusmão and his activist Australian wife, Kirsty Sword. These adventures keep me entertained. They are also humbling: they remind me how vast the world is and how much I have yet to learn.

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Translating My Book into Portuguese

  1. I started translating my book, but got discouraged. :(
    Maybe I’ll take it up again later, or hire someone if I can afford it…good luck with yours!