If you’re a native English speaker, you will be understood in many locations around the world when you travel. However, by relying on English and not learning another language, you’re missing out on some wonderful cultural experiences. Learning to speak Portuguese can connect you with approximately 220 million others around the world. Perhaps you want to learn the language for a trip to Brazil or to further your career. No matter what your goal is, learning Portuguese is easier than ever before, with so many great tools at your disposal.
The two languages have different sentence structures and grammar, but English and Portuguese are both rooted in Latin, so they share hundreds of words in terms of their origins. As a romance language, learning Portuguese can make it easier for you to pick up other romance languages, like French or Italian. While learning a new language can seem daunting, it is not as difficult as you might think. And there are ways to help you learn quickly. Who knows, you might even end up helping others with Portuguese to English translation someday!
Today, we are going to share with you our top three tips for learning Portuguese faster.
To Interpret Portuguese, Immerse Yourself in Brazilian Culture
Culture and language are intertwined. Improving your proficiency in Portuguese will go far more smoothly if you also embrace the local culture. This aspect of language learning is often overlooked, but if you don’t have a keen interest in the culture, it can be hard to remain enthusiastic. Develop a fascination for the sights, sounds, smells, flavors, and colors of Brazil. Try some Brazilian restaurants (and practice your blossoming language skills while there!) or make some Brazilian food at home. Listen to some traditional Brazilian music, or check out your favorite translated books and magazines to connect yourself with Brazilian culture.
Make friends with people on social media who speak Portuguese. This is an excellent way to learn the language. The people of Brazil are legendary for being helpful to foreigners who are making the effort to learn their language. Finding an online friend or two who can translate Portuguese for you could be a fun and engaging way to practice your new skills. It will also help you to learn how real Brazilians speak Portuguese, rather than only learning how it is spoken in textbooks.
There are plenty of groups on Facebook that serve as multilingual internet chat boards for people who are learning a new language. This type of support can be invaluable and can connect you with people from all over the world who speak Portuguese.
Translation agencies regularly translate major websites from one language to another. If you have some favorite websites or blogs, try looking at them through their translated versions instead of in English. However, remember that tools like Google Translate aren’t very accurate, so don’t rely on machine translation for learning. Instead, look for sites that have been translated and localized by a professional translator who knows the language and culture inside out.
Try Translating Brazilian Movies and Television Shows
A terrific and entertaining way to effortlessly learn the Portuguese language is to begin watching Brazilian movies and television shows. A series or soap opera can be a way to familiarize yourself with pronunciation, improve your comprehension, and expand your vocabulary. As you get to know the characters on a series, there will also be a fair amount of repetition, and you will find yourself picking things up quickly.
Play around with different ideas for this. For example, you could watch with the translated subtitles on in English, then re-watch with the translations off, to see how much you understand. You could also turn on the subtitles in Portuguese, to help you learn the written language faster. There are some great movies in Portuguese that will also help you improve your language through cultural immersion.
Inspired by the Portuguese you’ve heard on-screen, try talking to yourself in Portuguese as you go about your mundane daily chores too. This is another excellent way to keep the learning going. And don’t forget about gaming: If you’re a video gamer, watch Youtube videos about gaming that are spoken in Portuguese. Or even play your game in its translated Portuguese version.
Gestures and Mannerisms Translate in All Languages
It is estimated that over half of communication is reliant upon body language to convey and interpret thoughts and ideas. Think about it: If someone doesn’t know the correct word, what do they resort to? They use gestures and mannerisms to make themselves understood. Portuguese is a very animated language and using hand gestures in conversation is quite common. As you watch your favorite Brazilian series, try to associate particular gestures and tones with certain words, then imitate them.
Another way that gestures can help is through association. Using certain gestures when learning words has the effect of improving memorization. Learning the word for “stop” while holding up a hand, or “eat” while pretending to take a bite out of something can be a powerful way to speed up the pace at which you learn Portuguese. Such techniques are used widely in schools, and for good reason!
Most importantly, make sure that your learning is fun. If you’re inspired to learn and enjoying the process of doing so, you will absorb the language faster.
Louise Taylor is a writer who has studied five languages, including Portuguese, and who works as content manager for Tomedes. Tomedes is a translation agency providing services to individuals and businesses across the globe.