0800 633 5985

Portuguese High Court Interpreters


Portuguese High Court Interpreters

The proprietor of this agency for interpreters has had a life-long interest in Portuguese language and culture.

This started when I was looking through my father’s collection of gramophone records and found an LP entitled Teach Yourself Portuguese together with the accompanying book. The idea was to play the record, listen to the sentences in Portuguese and repeat them. It was difficult to hear the Portuguese due to the noise of the crackling of the needle on the record. I was particularly struck by the formality of the sentences and the nasal sounds. There was no humour in the course, and the record had been produced in the nineteen sixties at a time when the dictator, Salazar, was in power in Portugal.

I then read short Portuguese grammar books by Hugo and Berlitz, and watched a BBC series aimed at teaching Portuguese speaking for British tourists.

Then I enrolled in O Level and A Level Portuguese in England. At around this point, I discovered Willis’ An Essential Course in Modern Portuguese which provides a comprehensive overview of Portuguese grammar.

Shortly afterwards, I read Southey’s Journal of a Residence in Portugal. Southey provides magical descriptions of the Portuguese landscape and wine, and interspersed in the text are references to his reading of the classics of eighteenth century literature. Southey is one of a number of early nineteenth century English writers to bring alive the magic of journeys in Portugal to a readership at home.

At this stage, still depending on the foreign view of Portuguese, I discovered Portuguese Literature by Aubrey Bell, first published in 1914. Bell views Portuguese Literature not from a Portuguese contextual perspective, but from a British or Western European literary perspective. As such it can be unfairly damning in its judgement, the language can be pompous, and now seems so dated that it can be hard for a modern reader to understand. But this handbook is wide-ranging, and in the absence of any similar overview in English, has remained a point of reference, at least for Portuguese literature from Portugal.

A far broader overview of Portuguese literature was published by Inocêncio and this looks at Portuguese books from the point of view of book-collecting, and notes the various successive editions and collations, and even what prices the books changed hands for. Inocêncio also provides endearing, personal commentaries with regards to the books he has come across. As such, Inocêncio has remained the bible of antiquarian book-dealers and collectors, and whilst not always accurate, his good-humoured approach is endlessly quotable.

For an English reader from a protestant background, it is necessary to accept that Portuguese literature is sometimes inevitably permeated by the promotion of the Catholic faith. This is unavoidable.

For the reader who is simply looking for a good read, the sixteenth century sonnets of Camões, Diogo Bernardes and Sá de Miranda offer instant pleasure and lasting satisfaction.

Eighteenth century writers such as Manuel Bernardes and Manoel Consciencia exhort their readers never to deviate from the Catholic faith, and their work can also be appreciated as examples of classical Portuguese writing.

Whilst Southey described Portugal in the early nineteenth century for English readers, the tables are turned in the late nineteenth century in works such as Uma Família Inglesa by Júlio Dinis which is a careful study of an English family operating in the city of Porto, which at times hilariously borders on parody, and Cartas de Inglaterra by Eça de Queirós, which describes English society to the Portuguese – both critically and with affection.

As I now arrange interpreters in Portuguese for High Court hearings in London, I can confirm that this agency has speakers of Portuguese from Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Madeira and Cape Verde.

This agency has made a small contribution in providing interpreters to some of Portugal’s largest companies, and as such, has made a small contribution towards furthering their wider interests in London and the United Kingdom.

Dai-me uma lei, Senhora, de querer-vos,
Que a guarde, sob pena de enojar-vos;
Pois a fé que me obriga a tanto amar-vos
Fará que fique em lei de obedecer-vos.

Luís de Camões

To get a competitive quote for a Portuguese interpreter, please telephone Freecall 0800 633 5985 or….