Back to the spelling reform

Recovering the subject of our post on the new Portuguese spelling reform, in this post I will try to keep you abreast of the latest updates 2016 brings about.

As of January, 1st, 2016 the number of Portuguese speakers officially using the new spelling reform has risen to 215 million: 204 million from Brazil alone, 10,3 million from Portugal and 512 thousand from Cape Verde (which has been officially using the new spelling since last October). Although Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau have ratified the agreement, they still don’t have a fixed date for its official implementation.

In spite of cooperating actively to the elaboration of the Common Orthographic Vocabulary, and of being the Portuguese speaking country which made the highest financial contribution to the creation of a digital vocabulary platform, Angola hasn’t ratified the new reform so far. Consequently, it hasn’t been officially approved at any governmental level, according to Marisa Guião de Mendonça, CEO of the International Portuguese Language Institute (IILP). The reason for that lies in the fact that Angola has been asking to include some loans from other national languages. In fact, apart from Portuguese, there are six other national languages in Angola, and the vocabulary should include such native diversity.

On the contrary, in line with the same source, the implementation of the agreement in São Tomé and Príncipe has been running “seamlessly“, and a visit by Marisa Guião de Mendonça is scheduled for early 2016, in order to make out in loco how far the process has been carried out.

In Timor-Leste, on the other hand, local authorities seem to have defined a different priority regarding linguistic issues: the spreading and usage of the Portuguese language throughout the population. Although Portuguese is the official language, the majority of the Timorese people rather speak other national languages, such as Tetum. Therefore, the greatest concern right now is the sound implantation of the language at a broader level, regardless of its version.

Obviously each country is progressing at its own pace, and as we all know languages do not evolve by decree. In particular, in the case of the Portuguese language, which is spoken in eight countries but spread through four continents, a handful of different levels, numerous customs and diverse perspectives have to be considered. Just think of it as a beautiful typical Portuguese tile panel!

tile heart


ANSI Signal Words

If you translate technical texts, I am pretty sure you already came across words such as “Danger”, “Warning”, “Caution” or “Notice”. At least in Portuguese documents I have been finding quite a few different wordings for these signal words, which is not exactly a good thing.

Signal words are mainly used in user manuals as well as in signs. They refer to situations where the user is advised to behave in a way that avoids dangers or requires special attention to a particular detail. Each signal word implies a certain degree of severity, therefore they have an underlying symbolic color.

Luckily, a few years ago my Internet diggings led me to a table developed on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) by a Canadian translation company called Parenty Reitmeier. Since then, I have been using the signal words consistently in my translations, and have been persuading my clients for the need of harmonizing these short but paramount words. By publishing it here I hope I can contribute to the spreading of the correct use of these terms.

Thank you very much for the permission to publish your table in my blog, Lynn!

ANSI Signal words1ANSI Signal words2

Ancient words from the mountains

IMG_4052Never heard about “Southwest Script”, Southwestern Script”, “Tartessian” or South Lusitanian” before? Well, if that’s the case, I am proud to introduce you to the most ancient known script of the Iberian Peninsula!

It is believed to have been used some when between the 5 – 7 centuries b.C. in funerary steles. So far, around 75 of these stones have been found, and some can be seen in the MESA museum dedicated to this script, which is located in Almodovar, South of Portugal.

It is precisely in this region (Algarve and Alentejo) that its most relevant heritage has been found. Its origins are still not clear, but apparently it may be a variant of the Phoenician alphabet left behind during the extensive trade exchanges that used to take place in the Mediterranean. Since it has not been deciphered so far, it is one of the unfolded mysteries History has left us, although it reveals the civilization treasures and cultural wealth back then.

A BBC team has recently visited Almodovar and is preparing a documentary on the subject. I will keep you posted and will create a link as soon as the work is ready to watch.

If you happen to be in Lisbon until the end of September, save some time and do visit an itinerant exhibition held at the National Archeological Museum about “The Iron Age in the South of Portugal: Epigraphy and Culture“.

As far as I am concerned, I have just visited the MESA museum and completely fell in love with the soldier depicted in the stele above! I am thankful and happy to know that the official entities are taking proper care of those magnificent art pieces and that there are many experts, both in Portugal and abroad, who are dedicating their time and work to preserving such treasures. Who knows what this writing is concealing?… Let’s hope one day they find our own Rosetta Stone with the key.


Writing is the only perfect form of time.

Keeping busy

keepcalmTime flies when you are busy or having fun, right? Well, for me at least this year is running so fast that I could really use some 48-hour days sometimes!

Proof is the first seven months of the year have been amazingly productive. Two weeks ago I celebrated the conclusion of my Text Revision and Editing course at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Lisbon. So I am now feeling more prepared than ever for all the revision work I often have in hands, and more aware of the small details that make the Portuguese language a beauty! Count me in for the “four-eye principle”!

As also planned since last December, I recently joined the TermNet International Terminology Summer School in Germany, so I spent the second week of July in my lovely second hometown: Cologne. I can tell you: I had a great time!

One of the most interesting items in a summer school program always has to be the “happy hours activities” after classes. As Prof. Klaus Dirk-Schmitz likes to keep every detail under control, he managed to join us in some nice terraces in the Südstadt to enjoy a cold Kölsch at the end of the day, so that we could properly digest all the rich information we had just been presented. Time to socialize and get to know better some of the other incredibly nice participants from all over the world. Have a look at my DIY movie!

TSS_logoAs to the extensive and intensive program, it was absolutely worth the effort! Five days of interesting sessions, varying from the basics of terminology to ISO standards, all the way through terminology software, bespoken solutions and hands-on cases and presentations. I will come back to the contents later in another post.

This training is supposed to prepare the participants for the exam as ECQA Certified Terminology Manager, which I will be taking in September. One more rod for my own back, I guess… 🙂

In the meanwhile I still managed to pay my dear friends at TermCoord in Luxembourg a visit, where I had the pleasure to avidly hear Mr. Rodolfo Maslias and his team discussing issues about terminology, new resources and new platforms. I thank you so much for the time and attention you dedicated to me, specially Mr. Maslias and Maria Pia Montoro. 😉

For now, I will take the opportunity to focus again on my translation jobs that always keep my calendar alive! I wonder if I will have time to get some sun at the beach nearby…

New DGT TM release


Guess what: DGT has just released the 2015 version of the updated DGT TM. Several new TUs have been added to the previous TMs, some of them from 2015 documents (thank you for calling my attention, Lisa!). Earlier this year I mentioned the differences between the DGT TM, the JRC-Acquis TM and the DGT-Acquis TM, feel free to have a look again in this post.

So this time you’ll have three .zip-files for download, as well as the link to the extraction tool (TMXtract.jar), which will help you create the bilingual files you need. Just download the zip-files without unzipping them. Then just add the three files together in the input file field of TMXtract, and name the output file. This way you will have a single .tmx file as a result, which can then be easily imported to a brand new TM you create in your CAT-tool.

For those of your who are proficient in German, you’ll probably be able to find further useful details in Ü wie Übersetzen website.

For the files, click here.

Don’t forget: have fun with your work!

A fresh new membership


Just joined Mediterranean Editors & Translators, which seems to be an active and competent association of language service providers fostering high-quality language support services.

What really inspired me to join was the clear distinction made between the several tasks that may be performed by language consultants, depending on what the client expects from a final text. Have a look here to see what I mean.

The Eleventh Annual Mediterranean Editors & Translators Meeting (METM15) will be held in Coimbra, on 29-31 October 2015! Another good reason to revisit my hometown!

Portuguese Spelling Reform

Acordo LP
The gradual adaptation to the new Portuguese spelling reform (AO90) started in May 2009. That was the reason that took me 4 months to Brazil back then, in order to better understand the idiosyncrasies of our language overseas.
All 8 Portuguese speaking countries have signed the reform, only Angola did not ratify it so far. Officially, it should be implemented everywhere by 2015/2016, after a 6-year transition period.
This week, on May 13th, the reform came into force, only in Portugal so far. Unfortunately, it is not consensual and although it is official, not everyone agrees with its use. On the contrary, in Brazil, where it shall come into force next January, a colleague who works for the Brazilian Presidency informed me that it has been in use since 2009 without further ado. The fact that the changes in the Brazilian version imply only 0,5% of the words, whereas in Portugal this figure is approx. threefold may be a good reason for that.

The important information I wish you to keep is that, no matter whether the reform is accepted or not, please do not expect to have one version only. There will always be differences between the Afro-European and the Brazilian Portuguese versions!

So far we have been working according to the client’s wishes, i.e., with / without the reform, for Brazil or for Portugal. In your place, I would inform clients that the reform is now official in Portugal, but please do keep asking them whether they need the translation for Portugal or for Brazil, and according to the new or the old reform.
In order to keep abreast of the evolution of the spelling reform — and also to qualify as a Proofreader to help you implement the so-called Four-Eye-Check — in June I will be finishing the course Advanced Studies in Text Revision and Editing at the Universidade Católica in Lisbon.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information.


By now all of you have most certainly downloaded the valuable DGT and IATE TMs, and started working with them. They definitely make our work a lot more fun, efficient and reliable!

In-house we have also been happily working with another extremely useful online corpus since 2008, before all these famous resources turned so popular among public users. I mean the JRC-Acquis Communautaire Corpus, which consists of a parallel corpus of the full text Eur-Lex documents. The advantage compared to the DGT TM is that in the Acquis each sentence is in its context, while in the TMs the sentences are isolated.

It includes all legislative corpora between 1950 and 2006 and can be downloaded here.

But that’s not all: you might as well come across another Acquis: the DGT-Acquis. The difference between this one and the one mentioned above is the time frame they cover: this one’s corpora start in 2004, so there might be some overlap until 2006. Download here.

Have fun!

Acquis Communautaire

2015 menelau © Menelau Sete

A new calendar is now hanging on our wall. 2014 was rich in exciting projects and good prospects for the future. We have kept our loyal client portfolio, gained some new nice clients, updated valuable tools, streamlined a great deal of out terminology resources, and so many other interesting tasks. It was also the year where we finally harmonized our social media and started rationalizing our work practices with this blog.

For 2015, three major events are on our mind:

– TERMNET International Terminology Summer School,

– Possible certification as a ECQA Certified Terminology Manager,

– Translating Europe Forum, in Brussels,

… and everything else that might seem interesting to help us fulfill and keep our quality concept.

We would like to thank all our clients who believed in our approach so far. With our enthusiasm and dedication, we hope we keep deserving your preference in the times to come!

All the best for good health, success, safe trips and happy moments in 2015!


indie.ana words team



Instead of sending colleagues and clients Christmas postcards and gifts, this year we have again chosen to change lives and to make a contribution through Kiva to someone in the world who knows how to appreciate the value of a loan.

Kiva is a non-profit organization “with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty”. It’s different from charity: it’s not a donation, it’s a loan through microfinancing system.

kiva christmas

This will be our 15th loan, we’re starting to get addicted to it! 🙂 It’s an amazing feeling to know we’re lending money to someone who will do their best to pay you back. That means their activity is launching, their quality of life is improving. With your money back, you can lend to someone else. Opt among Education, Food, Women, Green, Agriculture, Transportation, Conflict Zone, and so many other criteria. Choose among countries, sectors, activities, partners.

This time, we are keeping our fingers crossed for the success of Suzan, a 42-year old Lebanese baker! That’s a humble way we found to be part of a wider and global Merry Christmas – we hope you are sympathetic with the idea as well!

To all of you here, there and everywhere, indie.ana would also like to wish

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Kiva for Christmas