A Portuguese translator is one who is able to translate written Portuguese to or from at least one other language. For instance, a Portuguese translator may be able to translate Portuguese into English, and English into Portuguese. The language which is being translated is known as the source language, and the language into which it is being translated is known as the target language. It is important for a translator to have a good grasp of both languages, in order to translate not just words, but idiomatic expressions and meaning as well.
A Portuguese translator differs from an interpreter in that a translator tends to focus only on the written word, while an interpreter specializes spoken language. It is often more common for a translator to take a document written in a foreign language and translate it into their native language; for instance, a native Portuguese translator may be more likely to take a document and translate it from English into Portuguese than the opposite. This is not always the case, however, and certainly many sufficiently bilingual translators are able to work in both directions, though this choice may depend upon the subtlety of the text.
Translators often work in government, international business, medical, law, literary, or educational fields, among others. They may translate technical writing, such as for corporate manuals or business communications, legal documents, or educational materials, just to name a few. Many translators focus on specific fields in order to master common terminology of that particular field, and they may frequently work with reference books and thesauruses to make sure they are accurately translating the meaning of the document. Translating complex documents may involve extensive research. Translators are also needed in the entertainment industry, such as to create subtitles for films.
If a Portuguese translator is unsure of the meaning of a particular phrase or sentence in a document, he or she may need to meet with clients to discuss the information. After a complete translation, the translator will likely need to proofread his or her own work for spelling and grammatical errors. Translators often have strict deadlines they need to meet as well.
Most translators have college degrees in language, communications, or related fields. They may begin as freelancers, and will need to create a network of clients and contacts on their own. A freelance Portuguese translator may then be able to find a job with a company that offers translation services. As the economy of the world becomes more global every day, excellent translators are virtually always needed.