Category Archives: texts

Tough words to translate: Diferencial

Diferencial can be a lot tougher to translate than people imagine.

Unless you are talking about maths or engineering, it is never Differential.

Some translate it as Competitive Advantage, which is fine in some contexts. When giving a company presentation,  you can comfortably say, “Our competitive advantage is….”.

In some cases, however, these same words can sound excessive. I was translating an informal letter the other day, which read: I would like to give you more details about our new company, but I can say that our competitive….. it just sounded off.

Competitive edge? No.

According to, synonyms of Competitive Advantage are:

artfulness, bettering, cageyness, canniness, competition, competitive edge, cunning, cutthroat, gamesmanship, outfoxing, outsmarting, outwitting, rivaling.

Then in I found a good one:

Value Proposition!

Leverage Part II

Regardless of dictionary definitions, I absolutely agree with a friend of mine when he says leverage is NOT  verb. I also read an interesting article right here in WordPress entitled, Leverage is NOT a verb.

To lever is the verb from which the noun leverage originates. Therefore, to leverage cannot be a verb. It´s that simple.

It´s like saying to arrange – arrangement, and then inventing to arrangement. I arrangemented, etc.

The use of this word has become to essential in business, more to prove you know how to use it than actual need, that these mutations have become sadly inevitable. We only need one person to say, “he leveraged….” to create an epidemic.

Remember, leverage should be used as a noun, or should be preceded by a verb such as to gain, to obtain, etc.

Businessperson, executive, entrepreneur????

These two words are used in very different contexts in Portuguese (and in English, too).

An “empresário” is usually someone who starts his/her own company or venture as an individual/natural person, not as a company. He/she is not necessarily part of a company and can be the owner of a coffee-shop or restaurant, for example, which has nothing to do with the corporate world. Empresário is also someone that opens a company under their name, called an “Empresa Individual”.

An “executivo” is employed by a corporation or company and is necessarily connected to the corporate world.

So how do we say these words in English?

Businessperson for the first case sounds aged. Entrepreneur is the best option, and then there is always the dreaded “self-employed”. In fact, I must admit that the Brazilian version sounds much better.

In the second case, we just use executive.

Target audience vs. target market

Today, we had to tackle the difference between target audience and target market in a translation. Público-alvo, in Portuguese, is used in both cases.

So what is the difference? Target audience (or target group) is largely used in Advertising to determine the sex, age, etc. of the audience a particular campaign should appeal to. A target audience is basically a specific group of individuals you are trying to attract.

A target market, although similar, is actually the market segment you are targeting.

The only difference then is that target market is a segment, a more technical term, while a target audience is a group of people, a more generic term.