How We Work

Portuguese: New spelling agreement

As of 1st January 2012 all official publications in Portugal (including the Official Gazzette) will adopt the new spelling established by the Portuguese Spelling Agreement (Acordo Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa), which was signed in 1991 and came into effect in Portugal on 13th May 2009. The reforms have already been in place in Brazil for some time.

Also ratified by all other Portuguese speaking nations (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe and East Timor), the Agreement ushers in several significant changes in the spelling of the language, aimed at standardising its two principal variants:

Around 1.65% of the Portuguese vocabulary has been affected by this reform, while only 0.45% of Brazilian words have been altered.

Advocates of the Agreement underline how important it is to achieve the highest degree of spelling standardisation possible, not only to lower the cost of dictionaries, linguistic and teaching materials in Portuguese and make the language easier for foreigners to learn, but also to boost the visibility and international standing of an idiom which, despite being the sixth most spoken language in the world, is still not an official language of the United Nations. The new linguistic standard, which bridges the gap between the spelling of the two variants, will in no way alter the distinct stylistic, syntactic and lexical idiosyncrasies of the variants: the target market (Portugal/Africa on the one hand and Brazil on the other) will still have to be taken into account for the translation of texts and voice-over of films.

As regards new translations into Portuguese for use in Portugal, interlanguage already uses the new spelling established by the Agreement. Regarding updates to documents preceding the Agreement, in the event you request translation of some parts only, we advise you to opt for revision of the remainder of the text too in order to bring the entirety of the spelling into line with the new standard. In this way, you avoid having a “mish-mash” text, bringing the documentation into line with the new spelling rules.

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