Both the Portuguese and Spanish languages are among the most common words spoken across the globe. The two languages are not only the most common languages, but both languages share many similarities, and this allows speakers to have a general understanding of each language even if they are not a native speaker!
While the similarities between Spanish and Portuguese are helpful in many aspects, each language has their own unique set of decerning differences that can make it difficult to express a concept effectively.
Not only do many words sound the same between Spanish and Portuguese, but there are also some words that look almost identical. However, as expected, there are also many words that are very different (“window” is ventana in Spanish and janela in Portuguese.
If you are looking for trusted translations between Spanish and Portuguese, then you should only rely on a human translator since there are cases where words may sound the same or look the same, but neither word in either language retains the same meaning.
A machine translation could miss this, and you should always keep an eye out for these small translation errors that can have a significant impact on your message.
A Similar But Difference History Between Spain & Portugal
The unique geographic layout of the Iberian Peninsula has resulted in modern-day Spain and Portugal developing in relative isolation from each other. The Pyrenees mountain range spans the entire Iberian Peninsula that separates Spain and France, and this means that Spain and Portugal are almost cut off from the rest of Europe.
Due to their close proximity of these two countries and their relative isolation from the rest of Europe, both Spain and Portugal have close relationships with each other for both economic and cultural developments.
The Roman Empire played a central role in the development of both countries as Rome brought Latin to the peninsula. Latin continued to dominate the region for almost 600 years before the language underwent extensive changes and saw different variations emerge across the Roman Empire.
As ordinary citizens tried to find ways to speak a language other than classical Latin, a more relaxed version called vulgar Latin started to emerge.
There have been many political and military battles between the two countries in the Iberian Peninsula. The complicated and bloody history between the two countries has developed the identity of each culture, but it can not be denied that the Portuguese and Spanish languages share a rich history that has molded each into the culture and language that we know today.
9 Significant Differences Between Spanish & Portuguese
Spanish and Portuguese both stem from Romance languages, which means they have their roots in Latin. Both Portuguese and Spanish have seen a strong presence throughout the world as a result of European colonialism and globalization.
This means that the two languages share a lexical similarity of almost 90%, but while a majority of words in each language sounds similar, this does not mean they are both the same.
In fact, speakers from each language can have a hard time when trying to communicate between languages due to the differences in pronunciation and syntax.
Let’s take a look at nine aspects of each language that can disrupt communication if not considered when speaking between the Spanish and Portuguese languages.
- Difference between hasta and hacia. The word hacia does not have a preposition in Portuguese. In short words, hacia indicates the direction to move, and hasta demonstrates that we have arrived.
- The preposition “a” after verbs. Many Portuguese native speakers place an “a” in the middle of a sentence, while Spanish speakers place the “a” at the end of a sentence.
- The position of reflexive pronouns. When a tense is gerund or infinite in Spanish, the pronoun merges to the end of the verb. However, when a verb is conjugated, the pronoun is placed before the verb, and it is not jointed.
- Very similar words (aka false friends) exist between the two languages. Due to their shared language roots, Spanish and Portuguese have many words that sound similar between the two languages. For example, in Spanish almóndiga is slang for “meatball,” but in Portuguese, a similar word is pronounced albóndiga.
- Is it muy or mucho? The Portuguese language only has the word muito to express this message. Spanish speakers must use muy before adverbs and adjectives, while mucho is placed before a noun or after a verb.
- Possessive Nouns. Native Portuguese speakers tend to say a casa dela, while Spanish speakers say su casa.
- Future subjective. Portuguese has a future, present, and past subjective.
- Similar pronunciation but different syllables. There are several words in Spanish and Portuguese that have similar pronunciation, but each word is spoken in different syllables.
- Some conjugations. Portuguese uses a past tense that sounds like dice, which is the present tense in Spanish. Any conjugation of verbs with vosotros sounds can be complicated for Portuguese speakers to pronounce.
While there are some differences between the two languages, most native Spanish and Portuguese speakers can understand each other if each party speaks clearly.
Avoiding Common “Traps” For Language Translations
Since Portuguese and Spanish share a common history and have many similarities, you can run the risk of having translations that are incorrect or poor quality.
Not only can this result in unprofessional work, but it can also undermine your project’s professionalism and perceived authority.
You should only work with a trusted translation service that pays attention to details and strives to deliver translations to help you achieve success.
Many amateur translators will rest on simplistic solutions or rely on their “intuiting” the meaning of words between languages when not really understanding what their actions could entail.
Even the smallest difference between languages can have a significant impact when you need accurate and reliable professional translations today!