Top 10 Tips for Microsoft Translation into Portuguese (Portugal)

Are you helping with translation into Portuguese (Portugal), but don't have time to study all aspects of the Portuguese (Portugal) Style Guide? Here are ten of the most important aspects to keep in mind.

1. General

  • Translate meaning, not words. If a translated sentence is hard to understand or incomprehensible to you (or anyone else), it's likely that you didn't understand it. Always make sure that you understand every single word in the source text, and research how the same things are said in Portugal.
  • When a glossary term is very generic, try to expand the translation slightly to make your translation unambiguous. For example, translating drive simply as unit doesn't always convey an unambiguous meaning. In such cases, consider translating it as unidade de disco, unidade de banda, unidade USB—whatever is applicable in the specific context.
  • To search for terms only on Portuguese (Portugal) websites, add to your search string in the browser.
  • Words to watch out for:
English Portuguese (Portugal)
character caráter
characters carateres
convert to converter em
display mostrar (what the computer displays to the user)
visualizar (what the user sees on the computer)
download transferir
make sure certifique-se de que
please [omit]
required necessário
set to definir como
website site

2. Spelling

Post-reform Portuguese (Portugal) spelling rules apply.

When a word can be spelled in two ways, apply the spelling that reflects standard Portuguese (Lisbon) pronunciation. If the dictionary lists two acceptable variations, for example, the translation of character, refer to the approved glossaries.

3. Capitalization

Follow the capitalization style (that is, Title Case or Sentence case) that's used in the source text.


English: Do not use Print Without Saving so as not to lose your work.

Our style: Não use a opção Imprimir Sem Guardar para não perder o seu trabalho.

When a single source word translates into multiple target words (for example, Desktop), make sure to capitalize all applicable words (Ambiente de Trabalho).

4. Acronyms

For the plural form of acronyms, add a lower-case s.


English Portuguese
Enter the URL. Introduza o URL.
Enter the URLs. Introduza os URLs.
Enter a URL. Introduza um URL.
Enter URLs. Introduza URLs.

5. Audience

All audiences must be addressed using formal wording (verb in third-person singular). An exception is made for gaming audiences, which are to be addressed informally (second-person singular).

6. Preposition (regência verbal)

Examples of incorrect versus correct prepositions:


English Not our style Our style
convert (something) to converter para converter em
register (something) with registar com registar em
set (something) to definir para definir como

7. Possessive Pronouns

Only translate the possessive pronouns his/her/its and their as respetivo(s) when the intended meaning is indeed corresponding. Some translators believe that using respetivo to translate the English possessive pronouns is common practice, but more often than not it results in an incorrect or ambiguous translation. Just use seu(s) or sua(s) unless this results in ambiguity. Otherwise, use dele(s) or dela(s), or omit the pronoun altogether where appropriate. Note that ambiguous translations are penalized in reviews.

8. Quotation Marks

In a sentence that includes a quotation, place the end-of-sentence mark, such as a period or question mark, outside the quotation mark unless the punctuation is part of the quotation. In that case, place the punctuation inside the quotation marks.

9. Numbers

When translating large numbers, please remember that English (US), Portuguese (Brazil) and Portuguese (Portugal) number names differ greatly.


English (US) Portuguese (Brazil) Portuguese (Portugal)
million milhão milhão
billion bilião mil milhões
trillion trilião bilião

As regards separators, the decimal separator is a comma, and the thousands separator is a period.



10. Infinitive vs. Imperative

All instructions to the user must be translated using the imperative (faça), not the infinitive (fazer). For instance, a dialog box presents the user with the following instructions.

English Our style
Open the file to edit its contents. Abra o ficheiro para editar o conteúdo.
Close the file to continue Feche o ficheiro para continuar

All commands from the user to the software as well as all descriptions of commands, keystroke functions, and so on, must be translated using the infinitive (fazer).


English Our style
Open file to edit contents Abrir ficheiro para editar conteúdo
Open the file and edit contents. Abrir ficheiro e editar conteúdo.
Open\nOpen file in Excel OpennAbrir ficheiro no Excel


English Our style
Open\nOpen file in Excel OpennAbrir ficheiro no Excel
/QUERY Query current session login mode.\n /QUERY Consultar o modo atual de início de sessão.n
Enable, disable, or drain session logins.\n\n Ativar, desativar ou drenar inícios de sessão.nn
PAGE UP\tMove 3 lines up in the text PAGE UPtSubir 3 linhas no texto