World Portuguese Language Day: new discoveries



Four centuries after the Portuguese discoveries, we rediscover Portuguese. On Unesco’s initiative, it has been established that the World Portuguese Language Day will take place every year on May  5th. More than 260 thousand people use Portuguese daily as their mother tongue, in addition to many others who, after discovering it, fell in love with it. The Portuguese language has always had its own identity, is recognized at every social level, and is constantly evolving, but this initiative provides it with additional value in terms of notability as a global language and a vehicle of international communication. 

In this inaugural celebration, the president of the Portuguese Republic, Marcello Rebelo de Souza, highlighted the strength of the language spoken in five continents; praised the brilliance of authors such as Camões, Saramago, Mia Couto, Jorge Amado, Hélder Proença, Rubem Fonseca, and all those who, by using it, continuously enrich it. The president has defined the Portuguese language as “a language of the future, alive, different in unity, that changes over time and space, although remains the same in essence”.

The Director-General of Unesco, Audrey Azoulay, has expressed her thoughts stating that Portuguese is a creative language, of music, literature, and cinema, and at the same time, it is a language of science, innovation, pedagogy, and solidarity. “A language of seas and oceans”, she has defined it. Yes, it is a language of seas and oceans thanks to the Portuguese exploration in the 15th century that dawned the Age of Discoveries, allowing the Portuguese to leave important traits in many different cultures.

portuguese=landing-in-brazil-1500The landing of Pedro Alvares Cabral in Brazil in 1500 – Museo Paulista, Public domain Mark 1.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Navigating around Africa and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, the Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500. This route contributed to the spreading of the Portuguese language in five continents (excluding Antarctica) making it become the official language in nine countries in the world: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, São Tomé and Principe, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, and Macau. We find traces of the Portuguese language also in India, France, Spain, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Japan, among others, making it the 6th most spoken mother tongue around the world. Now, it reiterates its importance as a working language in international organizations such as the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the Mercosur.

“The Portuguese language is built daily by people from all continents, in a never-ending enrichment of its multiculturalism”, said the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, emphasizing that the date is a “fair recognition of the Portuguese language’s global relevance”. In Portugal, to celebrate the first World Portuguese Language Day and the 30th anniversary of the International Association for Portuguese Language Communication, the CTT (Post office and Telegraphs) have issued a set of stamps with a print run of 100 thousand copies.

In Brazil, the celebration occurs along with the Capital’s 60th anniversary with the release of the book “Sonhar Brasília”, a collection of texts written by authors from the countries belonging to CPLP–Community of the Portuguese-speaking countries, created in 1996. The work, composed of unpublished and illustrated texts, is the first common publication among the Portuguese-speaking countries which highlights the cultural and linguistic diversity of each of them. Meanwhile, the celebrations have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the launch of the print edition has been postponed to the second half of 2020. Although the celebrations were hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the launch of the print edition was initially postponed, a free digital version is available at Unesco’s digital library.

national-labrary-rio-de- janeiroThe National Library of Rio de Janeiro, is one of many legacies left by the Portuguese in Brazil. Halleypo, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported


The Luz Station houses the Museum of the Portuguese Language –Cralize Dominio pubblico

Dom Pedro II image - Public Domain

Pedro II (in English Peter II) ruled Brazil between 1831 and 1889 when the monarchy was abolished. He was the second and last Emperor of Brazil and died in 1891 in exile in France. When preparing the body, Gaston d’Orléans (Gaston of Orleans) the Count of Eu, married with the emperor’s daughter princess Isabel, found among  Pedro’s personal objects a package containing soil from Brazil and next to it a message: “It is soil from my country, I wish for it to be placed inside my coffin in case I die away from my homeland.” Following his will, the package was placed next to him in the coffin. His remains returned to Brazil in 1921. The emperor’s body is kept in the Cathedral of São Pedro de Alcântara in Petrópolis, a city founded by him in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Pedro II is recognized as “the perpetual defender of Brazil”. In his final words, he expressed a wish: “May God grant me these last wishes—peace and prosperity for Brazil” (below the crown worn by Dom Pedro in his coronation as Emperor of Brazil in 1841)


What now, José?

What now, José? If the Portuguese language is becoming more and more important due to economic relations, in my view it’s the literature that shows its higher value. I recognize the greatness of Portuguese-speaking authors, from Camões, Saramago. Mia Couto and many others, but here I will stand for my own side. “No tempo do eu menino”, as said by the poet Manuel Bandeira when referring to when he was just a boy, my father opened widely to me the doors to the world of books. As soon as I was born (you see, he was a bit exaggerated), he started to buy me small storybooks, and I still remember my treasure: hundreds of little books. So very early on, he gave me his greatest legacy, the taste of reading.

First, I slipped into the magical world of those little books and without realizing many years later I had dived into the “Reino das Águas Claras” (in free translation “Kingdom of the Clear Waters”), of the Brazilian writer and translator Monteiro Lobato, known for his works and characters. Fantasy has accompanied me over the years and even when I grew up it didn’t take any effort to “follow” Emília, Monteiro Lobato’s naughty doll, who left the pages of his books gaining television space. From book to book, I’ve built my way: I shared with Cecília Meireles (poet and writer) the heavy and everlasting doubt “whether to wear a glove or a ring” and I got lost in reflection; I flew with the “Asas de Papel” (Paper Wings), created by Marcelo Xavier and together we arrived “at the king’s party”. We have “crossed time as if we were passing through a door”.

These authors are the tip of the iceberg of Brazilian literature. Diving in those “Clear Waters” of the “Sítio do Pica-pau Amarelo” (in free translation “Yellow Woodpecker Farm) is also a dip in the works that came later: Machado de Assis, José de Alencar, Graciliano Ramos, Guimarães Rosa, Jorge Amado, João Cabral de Melo Neto, Joaquim Manuel de Macedo and Rubem Braga, among many others. Even stumbling on that “stone in the middle of the road”, left by Carlos Drummond de Andrade was decisive to me because I was able to experience that stumbling sometimes can lead us forward more quickly, and that’s how I found Ruth Rocha, Ana Maria Machado, Luís Fernando Verissimo, Ariano Suassuna, Carlos Eduardo Novaes and Millôr Fernandes. And, how not to love the “Velha Contrabandista” (the Old lady smuggler) by Stanislaw Ponte Preta, “Abobrinha” (the Pumpkin) by Drummond, or Fernando Sabino’s “Singular Eloquence” (“Eloquência Singular”?

But I won’t be the one to say what the Portuguese language represents. I call in question Clarice Lispector, Ukrainian writer, journalist, and translator, naturalized Brazilian, who passed away in 1977. In an interview, she confessed: “This is a declaration of love. I love the Portuguese language. It’s not easy. It’s not malleable. […] The Portuguese language is a real challenge for anyone who writes. Especially for those who write taking the first layer of superficiality from things and people. Sometimes it reacts to a more complicated thought. Sometimes it gets scared by the unpredictable in a sentence. I like to handle it – as I liked to handle a horse and lead it by the reins, sometimes slowly, sometimes at a gallop.” For sure, I couldn’t have ended May without validating this statement.

The bronze statue sitting on a bench on Copacabana beach, the neighborhood where the poet lived for many years and where he liked to sit in the late afternoons to listen to the noise of the sea and watch the sunset. Drummond left us in 1987 and the statue was unveiled in 2002. Photo by Carlos Varela- Flickr.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade, depicted on a Brazilian 50 cruzados novo banknote, 1990. Image from Wikimedia Commons.Image by Ecliptics, Wikimedia Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

What now, José?
The party’s over,
the light went off,
the people are gone,
the night’s gone colder,
what now, José?
what now,  you?
you, who are nameless,
who mocks others,
you, who makes verses,
who loves, protests?
What now, José?

You have no love,
have nothing to say,
have no tenderness, 
can’t drink anymore,
can’t smoke anymore,
let alone spit,
the night’s gone colder,
dawn hasn’t come,
the tram hasn’t come,
laughter hasn’t come,
nor utopia come
and it’s all over
and it’s all fled
and it’s all got moldy,
what now, José?

What now, José?
your kind word,
your glimpse of fever,
your greed and fasting,
your library,
your vein of gold,
your suit of glass,
your incoherence,
your hate — what now?

With the keys in your hand
you want to open the door,
there is no door;
you want to drown in the sea,
but the sea dried up,
you want to go home,
but home isn’t there.
José, what now?

If you’d scream,
if you’d groan,
if you’d play,
the Viennese waltz,
if you’d sleep,
if you’d get tired,
if you’d die…
But you don’t die,
you are tough, José!

Alone in the dark
like a beast in a lair,
with no pagan gods,
with no bare wall
to lean against,
with no black horse
that flees at a gallop,
you march on, José!
José, where to?



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O fardo da formiga

O fardo da formiga (title in Portuguese) is a novel loosely based on a true story that occurred in 2001 in Reggio Calabria. Written by Demetrio Verbaro, the book tells us about a young man, Carlo Fante, whose life was marked by a tragic event when he was only a kid. Carlo, now thirty years old, married, and father of a four-year-old son, is hired as a gardener at the San Gregorio psychiatric institute. There he meets Filippo, Mimì, Bart, and Vera, and a true friendship is born among them. Each one, though, has a heavy ache in their heart, resulting from past mistakes they carry on their shoulders as a burden like the ants do every day in their lives.

Filippo is overwhelmed by his burden while Bart and Mimì managed to free themselves, live and reintegrate into society. Carlo falls in love with Vera and faces a difficult choice: the love for his family or the passion for a fascinating woman. He takes this doubt with him until the last chapter of the book which has an unpredictable ending. Demetrio Verbaro was born in Reggio Calabria in 1981. Being used to the wonderful natural landscape in that Southern Italian region, he let his passion for nature show up in his book, contrasting a grayscale of pain and affliction, experienced by the characters, with the colorful Calabrian scenarios, meticulously described by him. O fardo da formiga (The burden of the ant in free English translation) tells us about friendship, acceptance, understanding, loyalty, overcoming, and love. It’s a story full of empathy and twists.

Originally written in Italian (Il carico della formica), the book was already translated into Portuguese, French, and Spanish. The Portuguese edition is available on,, and in Kindle edition format and paperback.


Source language – Italian

“Carlo ripensò alle ultime parole pronunciate da suo nonno materno, poco prima di morire: “Ho vissuto come una formica: su e giù dal campo al formicaio e viceversa, a testa bassa, sotto il peso di un enorme chicco di grano. La mia mente non è stata nemmeno sfiorata dall’idea che potessi scuotermi dalle spalle quel peso, quell’ opprimente carico che mi impediva persino di alzare gli occhi al cielo, ed andarmene semplicemente via. Ero una formica operaia che sognava di abbondonare la colonia, inoltrarsi nel bosco e scoprire la vita. Ma non l’ho mai fatto!!! Questo è il mio lascito per te, un semplice consiglio: non seguire il mio esempio! Tutti gli esseri umani portano un carico sulle spalle, scopri il tuo e liberatene subito! Vattene daReggio Calabria, gira il mondo, insegui i tuoi desideri. Promettimelo!” Carlo aveva solo nove anni, non aveva capito niente di quello che suo nonno gli aveva detto, non capiva nemmeno che fosse in fin di vita, anzi la stessa morte, per lui, era un concetto ignoto. Capiva, però, che quel vecchio di fronte a lui stava soffrendo. Mosso a compassione, gli baciò la mano rugosa, tempestata di macchie nere, sussurrandogli: “ Va bene, nonnino, seguirò il tuo consiglio. Te lo prometto!”

Target language – Portuguese

“Carlo se lembrou das últimas palavras pronunciadas pelo seu avô materno pouco antes de morrer: “Eu vivi como uma formiga: pra cima e pra baixo, do campo para o formigueiro e vice-versa, com a cabeça baixa, sob o peso de um enorme grão de trigo. Nem sequer passou pela minha cabeça que eu pudesse sacudir aquele pesado fardo dos meus ombros, aquele fardo esmagador que me impedia de olhar para o céu, e simplesmente ir embora. Eu era uma formiga operária que sonhava abandonar a colônia, ir mato adentro e descobrir a vida. Mas nunca fui!!! Este é o meu legado pra você, um conselho simples: não siga o meu exemplo! Todos os seres humanos carregam um fardo sobre os ombros, conheça o seu e livre-se dele o quanto antes! Vá embora de Régio da Calábria, gire pelo mundo, vá atrás de seus sonhos. Você me promete!” Carlo tinha apenas nove anos, não compreendia as palavras do avô, nem sequer entendia que ele estava morrendo; de fato, a morte para ele ainda era um conceito desconhecido. Ele compreendeu, porém, que aquele velho ali diante dele estava sofrendo. Movido pela compaixão, beijou sua mão enrugada, cravejada de manchas escuras, e disse baixinho: “Tudo bem, vovô, vou seguir seu conselho. Prometo!”

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O tradutor insubstituível

tradutor insubstituivel book

A book by translators for translator. O Tradutor Insubstituível (title in Portuguese) has just arrived to conquer Portuguese readers. Written by Marco Cevoli, it shows the importance of specialization to translation professionals. It also teaches how to present effectively to stand out in the marketplace and become unique… irreplaceable. Cevoli is specialized in the technical field and started his career as a translator in 1997. After having worked in companies and translation agencies, he founded in 2008 the Qabiria Studio, a translation and localization agency in Spain. At Qabiria, he provides consulting and training services for translators, as well as translating from Spanish, English, and Germany to Italian.

O Tradutor Insubstituível is the result of a series of webinars led by STL Formazione. Thus, it gives advice and shows strategies that will help a professional to build a successful career. In its more than 100 pages, it brings together practical solutions for those who seek their uniqueness. The topics range from how to fulfill the dream to build your own brand, write a CV that stands out, create an online portfolio, and even a video presentation on how to use QR codes and brochures to promote yourself. Furthermore, each of all seven chapters is concluded by an interview with qualified professionals. They talk about their experience and prove to be true guides for the newbie or for those who want to boost their career.

Originally written in Italian, Il Traduttore Insostituibile, the book was published in 2017 and has now been released in Portuguese. So, if you are determined to be an irreplaceable translator, you can pick up the e-book by clicking this link. Soon the paperback version will be available on Amazon.

Good reading and happy translating! 


Source language – Italian

“Si tratta di un percorso non facile, che costringerà il lettore ad analizzarsi a fondo, ma che porterà benefici concreti alla sua reputazione e alla sua attività. L’obiettivo finale è che i clienti scelgano proprio noi, perché siamo unici, perché offriamo un servizio diverso da quello offerto da tutti gli altri, perché lo offriamo in un modo diverso, in modo migliore, con maggiori garanzie, perché trasmettiamo fiducia, professionalità, sicurezza, perché risolviamo problemi anziché porne di nuovi. In una parola, perché siamo insostituibili.”

Target language – Portuguese

“Não se trata de um percurso fácil, o leitor será forçado a fazer uma análise minuciosa, mas que trará benefícios concretos para sua reputação e seus negócios. O objetivo final é que os clientes nos escolham, porque somos únicos; porque oferecemos um serviço diverso daquele oferecido por todos os outros, de uma forma diferente, melhor, com maiores garantias; porque transmitimos confiança, profissionalismo, segurança; porque ao invés de criar novos problemas, nós os resolvemos. Em uma única palavra, porque somos insubstituíveis.”

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O meu gato odeia Schrödinger

I’ ve shown the content to my friends, relatives, parents, cats and I tell you, it was frenetic (especially when it comes to the cat)”. O meu gato odeia Schrödinger (title in Portuguese) is a not so serious but deep introduction to the principles of quantum physics, as defined by the author, Luca Montemagno. Inspired by his cat, he explains in a funny way how quantum physics and the universe work. Montemagno is an engineer, lives in Naples, Italy, and has been working in information technology for more than 15 years.

After explaining why his cat hates Schrödinger (certainly, all kitties do), Montemagno introduces us to several basic concepts of quantum physics. Among the terms addressed we have classical and quantum physics, space-time, relativity, Big Bang, Universe, Multiverse, and Black Holes. In addition, he describes the String and Everything Theories, the Schrödinger Equation, and a universe of other subjects. All of them are explained in order to arouse curiosity and interest in further exploration.

Originally written in Italian and published in 2015, “Il mio gatto odia Schrödinger” soon reached the top position at in the Physics category, becoming a best-seller. Besides the Italian edition, the book was already translated into Portuguese and English (My cat hates Schrödinger). The Portuguese edition is available from,, and in kindle format. Well, at this point it should be better to follow the author’s recommendations: “That’s enough for now. We’ve already spent too much time chatting. Science awaits us, I’ll see you on the other side of the mirror.“ Have a good reading!


…but not before to confess to you that translating “O meu gato odeia Schrödinger” to Portuguese was frenetic! 



Source language – Italian

“Ed ecco quindi profilarsi davanti ai nostri occhi il famoso esperimento felino. Ve lo spiego con calma.
Dinanzi a voi avete una scatola perfettamente isolata dall’esterno:

– prendete un gatto (consenziente ed a cui avete fatto firmare apposita liberatoria legale)
– un atomo radioattivo
– una lattina di materiale radioattivo.

Mi raccomando di non confondere le tre cose: prendere un gatto radioattivo, una lattina di atomi di gatti fluorescenti, o del materiale scritto da gatti consenzienti non darebbe lo stesso risultato.
Chiudete la scatola e mettetela da parte (pregando che il gatto non tenti di vendicarsi).

Il punto è che l’atomo decadrà, ipotizziamo entro un giorno, ed in quel momento verrà attivato un dispositivo che farà aprire la lattina, la quale di conseguenza farà morire il gatto a causa dei gas tossici emessi (ecco il motivo della liberatoria).

SCIENTIFICAMENTE: un attimo prima dell’apertura, lo stato che descrive il sistema totale della scatola (atomo più lattina più gatto) sarà con probabilità del cinquanta per cento nella configurazione:

Gatto vivo – atomo integro
Gatto morto – atomo disintegrato

Abbastanza chiaro finora. O no?

Ciò che potrebbe però spiazzarvi è che la meccanica quantistica, dice che il gatto si troverà in una condizione stranissima: né VIVO, né MORTO.

A me sta cosa mi spiazza. È affascinante.

Il gatto è in uno stato INCAZZATO sì, ma INDEFINITO.


Target language – Portuguese

“E eis que aparece diante dos nossos olhos o famoso experimento felino. Explico com calma para você. 
Na sua frente tem uma caixa completamente isolada do ambiente externo:

– pegue um gato (voluntário e ao qual você fez assinar uma declaração de consentimento)
– um átomo radioativo
– uma latinha de material radioativo.

Recomendo não confundir essas três coisas: pegar um gato radioativo, uma latinha de átomos de gatos fluorescentes, ou material escrito por gatos voluntários não daria o mesmo resultado. 
Lacre a caixa e deixe-a de lado (rezando para que o gato não tente se vingar).

A questão é que o átomo decairá, digamos dentro de um dia, e naquele instante será ativado um dispositivo que abrirá a latinha e, como consequência, matará o gato devido aos gases tóxicos emitidos (aqui está a razão do consentimento).

CIENTIFICAMENTE: um instante antes da abertura, o estado que descreve o sistema completo da caixa (átomo mais latinha mais gato) apresenta 50% de probabilidade na seguinte configuração:

Gato vivo – átomo íntegro
Gato morto – átomo decaído

Até aqui está claro o suficiente. Ou não?

O que poderia desorientá-lo, no entanto, é que a mecânica quântica diz que o gato se encontrará em uma condição “estranhíssima”: nem VIVO, nem MORTO.

A mim isto desestabiliza. É fascinante.

O gato está em um estado EMPUTECIDO sim, mas INDEFINIDO.

Nem VIVO, nem MORTO.”

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O homem das pipas

O homem das pipas (title in Portuguese) tells the tale of a    sensitive teenager who meets an old, solitary, wise fisherman.  Luis, the old man, lives on a deserted beach. He is socially rejected, feared, and laughed at due to the way he lives. But to him, what people think is not important. His amusement is flying the kites he builds. Isaac, the boy, is eager to understand life. Every day he asks himself existential questions and tries hard to understand people’s behavior. Thus, told by Erik Minghini, a magical encounter occurs.

The author claims to live a permanent dualism between science and spirituality. He works as a chemist and has been practicing yoga for several years. O homem das pipas is his first novel. In the book’s foreword, Minghini writes: “if by reading this story someone finds some point of reflection (of agreement or disagreement) I’ll be happy. I believe that activating the mind and questioning yourself is a good way of living.” He believes in life and in the growth of people making it clear through the values shown in his work.

The book was originally written in Italian (L’uomo degli aquiloni) and was already translated into Portuguese, Spanish and French. The Portuguese edition is available in Kindle format from, e O homem das pipas is a timeless story. A book to be read at any ago.


Source language – Italian

— Non ce la faccio… vorrei essere sempre felice ma a volte non ci riesco.

— Non devi cercare di essere sempre felice… se insegui la felicità non riuscirai mai a godertela appieno.

— Tu dici?

— Certo! Non sai quella storiella del gattino che si rincorre la coda credendo che sia la felicità. Con più la rincorre, con più quella gli scappa. Se lui invece non la insegue, sarà la coda che gli starà sempre appresso. È così perché la felicità è dentro di noi. Non cercarla, vivila. Non inseguire la felicità: vivi e la felicità sarà il tuo premio.


Target language – Portuguese

— Não consigo… eu queria estar sempre feliz, mas às vezes não posso.

— Você não deve tentar ser feliz sempre… se você vai atrás da felicidade jamais conseguirá desfrutá-la ao máximo.

— Você acha?

— Claro! Você não conhece aquela história do gatinho que corre atrás do rabo acreditando ser a felicidade? Mais ele persegue o rabo, mais o rabo lhe escapa. Se, ao invés, ele não o perseguisse, o rabo estaria sempre ao seu alcance. É assim, a felicidade está dentro de nós. Não deve procurá-la, mas vivê-la. Não corra atrás da felicidade: viva e a felicidade será o seu prêmio.


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Esmeralda Grunch e a Tulipa Vermelha

Esmeralda Grunch e a Tulipa Vermelha (title in Portuguese) is an adorable story about a flower fairy and a tulip written by Debbie Manber Kupfer. Esmeralda lives in a gorgeous red tulip. They became best friends. A friendship bathed by the morning sunlight and by the grumblings of an ever-worried tulip. Debbie is a writer, lives in St. Louis, and works as a freelance puzzle constructor. Debbie is also the author of “P.A.W.S.”, “Cecilia’s tale”, and other stories for children and young people.

This is a work that small children will love. In addition to dealing with a valuable theme, friendship, the book has bright and colorful images by Tina Wijesiri. Originally written in English (Esmeralda Grunch and the Red Tulip) the book was already translated into Portuguese, Italian, French, and German. The Portuguese edition is available from in Kindle format, and from e, in both, Kindle and paperback. Take a look and discover the mysterious world of fairies and flowers.



Source language – English

“But Esmeralda couldn’t wait. She pushed her way up through the deep red petals and out into the cool morning air. She breathed deeply and let the first rays of the sun touch her tiny gossamer wings.”

Target language – Portuguese

“Mas Esmeralda não podia esperar. Ela abriu caminho através das pétalas de vermelho intenso e saiu para o ar fresco da manhã. Respirou fundo e deixou que os primeiros raios de sol tocassem suas pequenas e delicadas asas.”

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