Did you know that the Portuguese language is one of the most widespread languages in the world with over 265 million speakers? Another interesting fact that you can use as a party icebreaker is that Portuguese is one of the world’s fastest-growing languages that will dominate the business world as well as the official language of ten countries. It is also celebrated on May 5th otherwise known as “World Portuguese Language Day” (UNESCO, 2021).
As a major language of international communication, Portuguese is highly requested by A Data Pro clients who want to remain on top of trends and successfully communicate with Portuguese-speaking audiences. We have employees from all over the world catering to their needs and in this instalment of the Confession Series, we spoke with four Portuguese analysts. Here is what they had to say:
What it is like to be a Portuguese analyst?
(Part of A Data Pro for 3 years)
Luiz was born and raised in Brazil and “Portuguese is my mother tongue (disclaimer of no fun story behind that!). A funny yet useful coincidence, however, is that half of my family is from Madeira Islands, in Portugal, and given that I am only the second generation of the family in Brazil, I was also raised being exposed to their vocabulary and accent and got used to speaking it according to the context. On a personal note, I would stick with the more “musical” Brazilian Portuguese accent (sorry grammy!).”
Throughout his time at A Data Pro, Luiz has worked on many projects and he shared some of the challenges he has faced when working with the language:
“I believe that the first thing that stands out is that Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese is string building and research, which can be tricky given the differences in vocabulary in almost every area, from the names of fruits to the names of tools, types of clothes, among others. However, in my experience, the greatest challenge working with this language and its variations has been the relation between the high volumes of content and defining relevance, always taking context, tone and sentiment into account. Last but not least, slang… there’s always something new!”
Luiz says that “combining research and logic is my primary reaction to any challenge, and Google is the go-to search tool “for me and all Flamengo fans” – as in an old reference to something being common knowledge to many – based on the historically large number of fans of that football club in Brazil. In my opinion, finding and understanding the context of conversations, trends, reactions, is always a good path towards interpreting data and delivering reliable information. Finally, “when push comes to shove”, I consult with friends and family (young cousins can be very helpful when new slang comes into play!)
We asked Luiz what his favourite part about working at A Data Pro is. He said:
“Honestly, I like a lot of things but especially the people! Even though I have never met my colleagues personally, there is a real connection, there is fun, laughter… always aligned with a strong work ethic and reliability. Team spirit is very present and at every opportunity, seniors and managers have allowed or pushed me to “think outside the box” – sounds like I love a cliché eh?! I found empowerment and recognition at A Data Pro, which in my eyes are key in a professional journey. Oh and morning memes! It is not a real morning if I do not start it with coffee and those memorable memes in the chats!”
Sports are an important part of Luiz’s life.
“I am a huuuge sports fan, I consume it like oxygen! I played handball for a total of 16 years, which is more than half of my life. I have worked since 2014 managing the official transportation at the ATP Geneva Open tennis tournament. I started a basketball team at university in Geneva when I was the president of the association of students… However, what usually stands out is that I am a Brazilian who loves ice hockey more than football! From Rogers Arena in Vancouver to La Patinoire des Vernets in Geneva, beer, friends and hockey became one of my favourite hobbies.”
(Part of A Data Pro for 4 and a half years)
Learning Portuguese was not Yana’s first choice, but it became her best one: “After 8 years of Maths in school, I decided that I didn’t want to have a single subject related to it. So, I chose to study a language that is not very common, which would allow me to find interesting jobs, travel and live abroad, and get to know new cultures. Portuguese was actually my second choice after Japanese and at first, I was pretty sad that I didn’t make it to the first one. But I do not have any regrets now – I find Portuguese to be a beautiful language, I just love its melody, the Portuguese culture, the Brazilian music, the food. And I really love Portuguese people, I think that they are pretty similar to us – Bulgarians. Probably a bit calmer haha.”
Yana is a part of the Social Media and Coding account, and in the beginning, the biggest challenge for her was the slang. “People would use a lot of abbreviations or strange combinations of consonants that I have never come across while studying. So, deciphering the social media posts was quite challenging for me. Another challenge that is still present in my work is the coverage of both the European and the Brazilian forms of Portuguese. It is especially relevant for projects related to collecting keywords, as most of the time the difference in the diacritics would make it a different word for the algorithms which use the keywords.”
Yana says that: “For every challenge, it always works like that – checking, checking, checking, asking. In dictionaries, in articles from reliable sources, in Google, of course. For some slang that I struggle with, I would ask my colleagues who are native speakers and they always do their best to help. The writing of the diacritics in the Brazilian and the European Portuguese has some rules, so even if it is a word that I am not familiar with I would assume that it would have different writing (and I would check). I also use Google advanced search to filter information for Brazil and Portugal separately or check both Brazilian and Portuguese news media channels to compare a topic coverage.”
Yana appreciates the diversity at A Data Pro:
“I think that my favourite part is the diversity – of projects, of people, of tasks. For me, being able to work on various projects that are completely different from each other and require different approaches is of great value because it makes me use my brain. The fact that I work with so many people from all around the world is amazing, as I would learn so many interesting things about their countries and traditions, about their beliefs. I love it! And one more thing is the fact that the company helps me and encourages me to learn and upgrade my skills. The internal trainings that we have are giving me a lot of knowledge, which is so important for me and helps me to get better.”
Yana loves nature and outside her work for A Data Pro, she works on a meaningful project:
“I live with my boyfriend and our almost-two-year-old daughter, Elena, in the village of Balanite near Gabrovo, which was one of the best decisions in my life! I love gardening, even though I am not consistent enough with it. I love nature, I love to create, read, travel, and meet people. An important project that I am helping my boyfriend with is NoPoint Atelier. It’s a shared artists studio for silkscreen and riso printing that we built here in the house. We started the project a few years ago and I really believe that it is something special, as I see how people feel here and how much they fell in love with the place.”
(Part of A Data Pro for 2 years)
Mihaela has a fascinating history with Portuguese: “I studied Spanish at school, and I was fascinated with the language. However, as I wanted to learn a new language, I started learning Portuguese at the “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo. In 2017, I won a scholarship to study in Lisbon, Portugal, and this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I fell in love with the charm of the country, its gorgeous beaches, lovely Portuguese people, and fascinating history. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Linguistics.”
What is the biggest challenge about working with Portuguese?
“Summarizing lawsuits from Brazilian databases. In some of the cases, your subject might be involved in hundreds of litigation proceedings and at the beginning it was really difficult for me to manage to cope with them. Another issue is the terminology difference between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. Portuguese is spoken in various countries, which have specific traditions, litigation databases, laws, etc.
Mihaela says that she gained a lot of experience which helped her to overcome the challenges she faced.
“When dealing with numerous lawsuits, I try to prioritize them by significance. The more experience I gained with litigation proceedings, the more I became confident in understanding them. When I am not sure about the meaning of a certain word, I always try to find it in different sources and contexts so that I understand it.”
What do you like the most about your work in A Data Pro?
“I like working in A Data Pro because I have the opportunity to practice the language I love. Another thing I like the most is the possibility to work from home and the colleagues. I like researching because it expands my knowledge of both English and Portuguese.”
Mihaela is passionate about “cats and cactuses. Cats are definitely the definition of cuteness! A year ago, I adopted a cat and she literally changed my life. She always makes me smile! I also have a collection of over 100 cactuses. I find them really beautiful especially when they bloom. I also love cooking and travelling.”
(Part of A Data Pro for 2 months)
At A Data Pro, we have employees from all over the world. Lucas is also from Brazil, so Portuguese is his native language. He says that the hardest part about working professionally with Portuguese is “definitely researching litigation cases and court documents. Portuguese used in legal-related issues is very different from Portuguese used daily. It’s excessively formal, full of technical terms and sentences are not structured in the most logical way. In the end, messages are not as straightforward as they should be, making even the simple ones very hard to understand. It’s almost a different language entirely.”
We asked Lucas how he overcame this challenge. He said:
“The more you read, the more you are able to identify keywords, and keywords can help you understand the idea behind the message. There is no need to understand every single word in a court order, as long as you are able to understand the main parts of it. That’s why it’s important to expand your vocabulary.”
Lucas’ favourite part about A Data Pro?
“I like the investigation aspect of it. I like the idea of going after information that it’s not always visible for everyone and trying to understand what’s behind those companies and individuals. I also enjoy the idea of being part of an international team with people working from different places and in different languages.”
Lucas really likes “travelling, getting to know different cultures and trying different cuisines. Another hobby would be sports, especially football. I follow it closely and I love playing. Finally, I’m into reading. History and economics are my favourite genres.”
Thank you for tuning in to this edition of the Confession Series! If you are interested, you can also read about the journeys and experiences of A Data Pro’s Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French and even more from our Spanish analysts!
Thank you for tuning in to this edition of the Confession Series! If you are interested, you can also read about the journeys and experiences of A Data Pro’s Japanese, Korean, Chinese and French analysts. You can also find out more about our Spanish analysts here and here.