A Portuguese translator converts written documents and information into another language or from another language into Portuguese. To become a Portuguese translator, you must be fluent in Portuguese and a second language, such as English. There are no specific degree requirements if you want to become a Portuguese translator; proficiency in two languages is what is key. Many translators have college educations, though, and might have degrees in translation studies, the languages in which they work or the area in which they perform translation work, such as finance or healthcare. Training in the specifics of translating is often required by employers, and certificate programs and courses can be found through colleges and vocational schools.
If you want to become a Portuguese translator and you come from a bilingual household, then the secondary language you translate Portuguese into and from might already be decided for you, assuming that it is a language that is in demand. If you don't know a second language, or if you know Portuguese and English but want to translate Portuguese into and from a language other than English, then learning another language will be your number one objective. Keep in mind that you want to select a second language where translators are in high demand. Take high school and college courses in the language, attend specialty language schools and travel to countries where it is spoken.
Even if you were raised bilingually and know a second language, it is also important to travel and spend time among the cultures of the languages in which you want to work. Understanding the differences in the way the same language might be spoken and written in different countries is important. For example, understanding the regional differences in the Portuguese that is spoken in Portugal as compared to Brazil will be helpful. It also is necessary to stay up to date on any changes in the languages, such as words coming into common usage or changing meanings of words.
Translators work with written material, so strong writing ability is necessary to become a Portuguese translator. Translated documents should have the same flow as source documents, so attention to structure, tone and detail in writing is important. The ability to capture the cultural idiosyncrasies of the language being translated into also is necessary. Editing and proofreading skills are needed to ensure that translated documents are accurate and free of typographical and grammatical errors.
To become a Portuguese translator, you often will need experience to get hired. Look for volunteer opportunities through nonprofit organizations to build your experience. You can also seek out internships in the field. Contact professional organizations for translators in order to discover what kind of certifications they offer that can make you more attractive to employers. After you have some experience, look for possible openings by contacting translation services agencies and different organizations in the fields in which you wish to work, such as high-tech companies or healthcare organizations.