Less than 5% of Brazilians speak English

A few days ago we had the opportunity to participate in the international congress of ABRATES in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. One of the sessions, presented by Juliana Pazetti, showed that, according to a survey conducted in 2018 by the Brazilian Association of English Culture and Babbel, only 5% of the population speaks English and less than 1% speaks Spanish.

When we take for granted that, being relatively similar languages, all Brazilians understand Spanish, opportunities to close deals are lost. In the case of online commercial transactions, it should be remembered that 72 % of consumers say they are more likely to buy a product if the information is in their language.

We must take into account an important reality: Brazil is a fundamental ally of Spanish foreign trade. In fact, from 2010 to 2013, it was our first customer in Latin America, ahead of Mexico. In subsequent years, partly due to the recession of the Brazilian economy, according to ICEX data, Spanish exports to Brazil decreased; in the case of 2018, 3.4% year-on-year (2 423 million euros) compared to the 4% growth of imports in the same period (4 445 million euros). Even so, the figures are still important so as not to give them the attention they deserve from a communication point of view.

Trade with Brazil is concentrated in a few sectors. The main Spanish exports to Brazil are semi-manufactured products (39%), capital goods (20%), energy products (20%), food and beverages (9%) and consumer goods (5%). If your company is among these sectors and wishes to increase its presence in the country, you should consider whether your commercial communication strategy is to address Brazilian in your own language.

Brazil and the UK have long historical ties in trade and investment. The largest South American economy, Brazil has a familiar, European-style business culture. Total trade between the UK and Brazil was worth £5.8 billion in 2018, a 4.7% increase from 2017.

More information on exporting from the UK to Brazil can be found here:

But a digital presence in the local language is just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the mandatory requirements for exporting to Brazil, mastering it will be essential to defend the interests of the company and its shareholders in a country with a different idiosyncrasy to that of origin, as well as the correct dissemination of the culture of the corporation adapted to that of the destination country. It is important not to leave anything to chance, to protect the reputation of the organization and manage it conveniently, controlling the subtleties of the language.

It is equally important to have an interpreter who will give us security in our total understanding of the message, including non-verbal language. A lot is at stake in Spanish and British exports to Brazil. Only a trained professional will make us grasp all the content and intention; even if we have some mastery of the language, having interpretation helps us to save time and reformulate our message.

If your company is thinking of expanding its presence in Brazil or any other country, Nuadda can accompany you on this trip taking care of any aspect of your multilingual communication.