5 Common Mistakes in Portuguese eCommerce Translation

June 21, 2022
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It's easy to make unintended mistakes when translating your eCommerce websites for a Portuguese-speaking market. As a global company, these mistakes can cost you dearly.
The impact of incorrectly translated eCommerce content could be significant. Your company could lose potential customers and revenue because of misunderstandings or omissions.
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the possibility for error. With the right approach, your eCommerce website can be highly effective, no matter which Portuguese-speaking markets you target.
Let's explore some of the common mistakes global companies make with Portuguese eCommerce translation…

Why it's important to translate your eCommerce into Portuguese

If your company operates in Portuguese-speaking markets, the translation of your eCommerce website can be extremely important.
The two largest markets, Brazil and Portugal, have a combined population of over 220 million people. They represent very interesting opportunities for growing your company internationally.
People are more likely to buy from your company and remain valued customers if you communicate with them in their own language.
According to the British council, only 5.1% of people in Brazil have some knowledge of English. If you want to reach the 94.9% of non-English-speaking customers, you will need to translate your eCommerce content.
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Brazil and Portugal: Rising opportunities and challenges for global companies

While various markets speak Portuguese, let's look at the two major markets: Brazil and Portugal. Together, they represent a vast potential for growth in your eCommerce sales.
As is often the case in business, each opportunity also comes with some challenges.
Let's look at each market individually:

Brazil's young, tech-savvy population

Brazil has the 7th largest population in the world,. If you can access this market effectively, this represents a significant number of potential customers.
One opportunity for companies is that the country has a growing and engaged online population. The Brazilian eCommerce market is huge. It is the biggest eCommerce market in Latin America and the Covid-19 pandemic brought about even more growth than previously.
The country also has a large young population. 37.17% of the population was below 24 years old in 2022. This is 18% higher than in the USA and 52% higher than Portugal. Younger people are more tech-savvy and expect online platforms to suit their needs.
Despite this, internet penetration is still relatively low in Brazil. Across the country, only 61% of people have access to the internet, compared to 88% in the USA.
Finally, Brazil is a large credit card market. In 2016, Brazilians carried out 5.9 million credit card transactions and this will have increased since then. However, credit cards are often limited to purchases in the local currency (the Brazilian Real) and consumers are used to paying for purchases in installments.
If you don't take these factors into account, you could struggle to take advantage of the eCommerce opportunities in Brazil.

Portugal's door into Europe

Portugal is a much smaller market with only 10.31 million people. It also has an older population with a reasonably high level of internet penetration (84.2% in 2021).
For US-based global companies, Portugal represents an interesting opportunity — a gateway into Europe.
The Portuguese government has recently been promoting stronger ties between North America and Portugal, with initiatives such as Open for Business. Companies such as Google and Amazon have also moved many operations to Portugal in recent years.

5 common mistakes in Portuguese eCommerce translation

There are a few mistakes that eCommerce businesses can make when moving into Portuguese-speaking markets.
Some of the most common mistakes are:

1. Not understanding the cultural differences

There are various cultural differences between Portuguese-speaking countries. Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde have some cultural similarities but they are very different markets.
For example, according to a McKinsey report only one third of consumers are loyal to brands and often prioritize price over other factors.

2. Lack of a clear, streamlined review process

With eCommerce content, it is essential to have a robust process in place to review your translations before they go live on your website.
Often, various stakeholders need to check your eCommerce translations including legal and sales. Without a robust review process, costly mistakes can slip through the net.

3. Only focusing on the language translation

It's not simply enough to translate the text on your eCommerce website into Portuguese. It's also important to consider the other aspects of the localization process.
Ecommerce localization incorporates a variety of steps, including converting pricing, video engineering, and integrating differing payment platforms.
It is also vital to consider all stages of a buyer’s journey, not just the eCommerce site in isolation. For example, how will after-sales support be handled?

4. Ignoring mobile

Both Brazil and Portugal are primarily mobile markets. Brazil currently has over 167 million mobile internet users. In 2021, the number of mobile connections in Portugal was equivalent to 155.1% of the population.
Mobile users have different needs and expectations than desktop users do. Your eCommerce website should take these needs into account.
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5. Approaching translation with no clear strategy

Translating an eCommerce website is a complex task. You should not undertake it lightly.
It's important to plan your eCommerce translation process strategically. Together with your translation provider, consider which elements need to be localized for each of your Portuguese-speaking markets. Consider how the key messages need to change between markets and how you can achieve this most efficiently.

How to avoid these mistakes and ensure success with your Portuguese eCommerce translation

There are tremendous opportunities to be had when you translate your eCommerce content into Portuguese-speaking markets. But it's important to avoid the common mistakes listed above to ensure your translations are accurate.
One way to avoid such mistakes is to use a provider with experience serving your specific Portuguese-speaking markets. Their experience will help you make the right changes to ensure your eCommerce website that attracts and keeps the right customers.
You will also make your life much easier by looking strategically at your eCommerce content. When you create a strategy that considers the different markets you are targeting, you can ensure your translations are accurate and effective.
For more information about how you can improve your eCommerce website, check out our dedicated eCommerce localization page.