Online Translation Guide      | Home |

Language translation is more of an art than a science. While computers are wonderful at dealing with numbers, language is, in many ways, much more complex. The often ambiguous nature of human language is such that even highly trained human translators need to research the exact translation of some words and/or phrases within a particular context. Before contemplating the purchase of a language translation program to translate Portuguese to English and English to Portuguese on your computer, ask yourself these questions:

Do you need to translate more than a few  pages of text every week?
Do you often translate materials which may contain confidential, sensitive or proprietary information?
Do you absolutely require the ability (not just think it would be "nice") to translate several different types of text files (.doc, .rtf, .txt, ..pdf, .html, .xls, etc.) inside a variety of different computer programs and applications?
Do you need to create your own personalized and customized translation database(s) so that you maintain consistent translations from one document to the next?
Do you need to hear the Portuguese text spoken (even if by a synthesized voice) as part of a language learning exercise?

If you can honestly answer yes to all or most of these questions, then maybe you should contemplate the purchase of a language translation software program to install and run on your own system. Visit our Translation Software Buyers Guide page for helpful information about language translation software.

If you can answer no to most if not all of these questions, then the free, online translators should provide you with all that you need. For most people, the free, online translators are the way to go, if for no other reason than to save money.

However, no online or other machine translation program in the world can produce translations as accurate as an experienced, well trained professional human translator. None. To obtain the best possible results from an online translator, the source text to be translated should employ simple, direct, concise language, use short declarative sentences, be spelled correctly and be grammatically correct. Good source text is clearly written, easily understood and concise. See Tips for Making Better Translations for specific things you can do to obtain better translations.

Sometimes, and for some people, expectations and the reality of online translators are worlds apart. Unfortunately, no matter what some may claim, Star Trek's "Universal Translator" remains science fiction. The best one can normally expect from an online translator is the "gist" of a piece of text or what is sometimes referred to as a "draft translation." Consequently, if you have a  very important document or piece of text that requires translation—a contract, agreement, user's manual, customer brochure,  etc.—there is no substitute for having it translated by an experienced, well trained professional human translator.

Because of its flexibility, the general overall quality of the translations it provides, and the fact that there is constant improvement, we recommend Google Translate as the best free online Portuguese to English and English to Portuguese translator available on the Internet today. The quality of Google Translate's Portuguese to English translations would appear to be as good (if not better) than many commercially available translation software products on the market today. The quality of Google Translate's English to Portuguese translations is not as good, however, the same can be said of numerous commercially available translation software products.

Additionally, you can download and install a free Google Translate Toolbar that will function right on your browser's menu bar. Google Translate also offers the Google Translate Toolkit (with free registration) that can help translators work faster and better by allowing then to upload and translate documents on their system or documents from a desktop or the web. With Google's Translate Toolkit, you may also download and publish translations, publish translations to Wikipedia™ or Knol , chat and share translations online, collaborate online with other translators, and use features like translation memories and multilingual glossaries.

Again, to obtain the best possible results from a machine translator (including those online), the source text to be translated should employ simple, direct, concise language, use short declarative sentences, be spelled correctly and be grammatically correct. See Tips for Making Better Translations for specific things you can do to obtain better translations.

The free online translators we recommend for Portuguese to English and English to Portuguese translation are as follows with the best at the top:

Google Translate
type in text
paste in text (highlight the text you want to translate and use: Ctrl + C to copy it and Ctrl + V to paste it)
upload a document (including .html, .htm, .doc, .txt, .rtf, odt, .srt, .sub and .aea)
translate web pages (URLs)

PROMPT
type in text (up to 3,000 characters without registration, 10,000 characters with free registration)
paste in text (highlight the text you want to translate and use: Ctrl + C to copy it and Ctrl + V to paste it)
translate web pages (URLs)

SYSTRANet
type in text
paste in text (highlight the text you want to translate and use: Ctrl + C to copy it and Ctrl + V to paste it)
translate web pages (URLs)
dictionary lookup
 

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