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How Many Languages Spoken in Portugal?

Posted by Ethan N. on February 15, 2024.

Portugal is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and history. As one of the oldest nations in Europe, it has been influenced by various civilizations over the centuries, from the Romans and Moors to other European powers. This has led to the development of a unique linguistic landscape within its borders. While Portuguese is the official language of the country, there are several languages spoken in Portugal by different ethnic groups. Let’s take a closer look at the main languages used in communication across this Western European nation.

1. Top 10 Common Languages In Portugal 

1.1. Portuguese

Portuguese is undoubtedly the most widely spoken language in Portugal. As the mother tongue of over 90% of the population, it holds the status of the sole official language as per the Portuguese Constitution. The origins of the Portuguese language can be traced back to the Latin spoken by the Romans who settled in the Iberian Peninsula, which is present-day Portugal and Spain. Today, Portuguese is spoken by around 260 million people worldwide, making it the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. 

The history of the Portuguese language is a testament to the cultural and historical connections that Portugal has had with various regions around the world. Its evolution from Latin to present-day Portuguese is a fascinating journey showcasing the language’s resilience and adaptability.

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1.2. Mirandese

While Portuguese reigns supreme, minority languages spoken in Portugal also have a presence, primarily due to Portugal’s colonial history and immigrant communities. And Mirandese is a lesser-known but fascinating language indeed. It is a regional language spoken in the northeastern region of Portugal, particularly in the Miranda do Douro municipality

Miranda was a language passed on from mother to daughter at home. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it became necessary to teach the language in schools in order to revive Mirandese. Today, efforts are being made to promote Mirandese in education, media, and cultural events. Bilingual education programs have been established to teach Mirandese alongside Portuguese, and some publications and broadcasts are available in the language.

Mirandese serves as a symbol of regional identity and cultural diversity in Portugal. While it may not be widely spoken outside of its specific region, its official recognition reflects the importance of preserving linguistic heritage and acknowledging the linguistic diversity within the country.

1.3. Barranquenho

Barranquenho is one of the languages spoken in Portugal with a captivating story. Barranquenho, also known as Barranqueiro, is a regional language spoken in the border region between Portugal and Spain, specifically in the town of Barrancos in the Alentejo region.

It is a fascinating blend of Portuguese and Spanish, influenced by the historical and cultural connections between the two countries. The language emerged as a result of the close proximity and interaction between the communities living in the border region.

1.4. Minderico

Minderico is one of some indigenous minority languages spoken in Portugal that deserves a mention. This language emerged in the 19th century as a way for the locals to communicate discreetly and maintain a sense of community identity. It developed as a secret code, primarily spoken by the people of Minde, allowing them to converse without being understood by outsiders.

The language itself is a unique blend of Portuguese, with influences from other regional dialects and Romani (also known as the language of the Roma people). Minderico employs a distinct vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, making it quite distinct from standard Portuguese.

1.5. Portuguese Sign Language

In addition to spoken languages, sign languages are also an important part of Portugal’s linguistic landscape. Portuguese Sign Language, or Língua Gestual Portuguesa (LGP), is the natural sign language used by deaf individuals in Portugal. 

Just like other languages spoken in Portugal, this fascinating form of communication is unique and has their own grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. LGP developed over time as a visual means of communication among the deaf community in Portugal, allowing them to express themselves and interact with one another.

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2. The importance of Language Translation Services In Portugal

Naturally, the ability to communicate seamlessly in Portuguese, English and other foreign languages gives Portuguese companies a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. It allows them to expand trade networks, attract multinational clients and partners, and better serve international customers visiting Portugal. Language barriers can significantly hinder business negotiations and transactions if not overcome properly. This is where professional translation services step in to bridge the communication gaps.

2.1. Business Expansion

From translating marketing materials and technical documents to interpreting at meetings and conferences, translation providers for languages spoken in Portugal help local and foreign businesses overcome linguistic obstacles. They enable smooth information exchange regardless of the languages involved, minimizing the risks of misunderstandings, cultural faux pas, or deals falling through due to poor communication. Experienced translators and interpreters can also provide cultural mediation, ensuring that subtle cultural nuances and contexts are properly conveyed across languages.

2.2. Tourism Development

The tourism industry is a major economic driver for Portugal, attracting millions of visitors annually. Language services play an important role in promoting Portugal as a global tourism destination and delivering high-quality experiences for travelers from diverse linguistic backgrounds. 

Tourist brochures, websites, signage, menus and other materials require translation into multiple languages to welcome and inform international guests. Simultaneous interpreting is also crucial for large-scale events in the tourism sector, such as international fairs, conventions and cruise port calls.

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2.3. Internal Communication

Within the country as well, translation for languages spoken in Portugal carries the huge importance. While Portuguese is the national language, minority languages like Mirandese and Portuguese Sign Language are still used by certain communities. Official documents, legal notices, educational resources, and more require translation into these regional languages to ensure equal access for linguistic minorities in Portugal. Translation also facilitates cooperation between different linguistic regions within the country for shared socioeconomic development initiatives.

In short

As cross-cultural interactions intensify in the modern business landscape, language will remain one of the most critical factors determining the success of Portuguese companies on the global stage. Professional translation services play a vital role in overcoming linguistic barriers in languages spoken in Portugal.

GTE Localize with certified translators and interpreters can support you in facilitating international cooperation and enabling Portugal to thrive in trade and cultural exchange. We offer complementary services such as website globalization, software localization, interpreting, desktop publishing, and more to provide fully integrated language solutions. Our teams of project managers expertly coordinate complex translation projects of any scope and deadline. So contact us now to get the most reasonable quote and best solution for your Portuguese translation projects!

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