Part of an effort to preserve and celebrate the history of the Portuguese language in the city, officials in Macau have announced the creation of an examination center to qualify translators to translate Chinese into Portuguese.
If one were to walk through several neighborhoods Macau, it might appear that the city has been transported to the Iberian Peninsula, replete with narrow cobblestone streets and rooftop petiscos restaurants. Indeed, like the neighboring Hong Kong, Macau was a long-established trading post with Europe. There, the Portuguese controlled trade, and just as the UK leased Hong Kong, the Portuguese held a 100-year land lease in Macau until 1999, when the city was handed over to the People’s Republic of China under the “One country, two systems” policy.
Home to around 650,000, Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is made up mostly of Han-Chinese, who largely speak Cantonese, and the common written language is Traditional Chinese. While the Portuguese language is spoken by less than 2% of the city’s residents, the language still has an established presence, and not just in some of its cuisine and architecture.
Since the handover in 1999, Portuguese as a second language has more than doubled in primary and secondary schools, in an effort to preserve the unique cultural and linguistic heritage of the city. Furthermore, the Las Vegas of China — as Macau has been deemed for its huge gambling industry, which is several times larger than Vegas — has also established a new translation examination center for translators who translate Chinese into Portuguese.
The center will be held at the Macau Polytechnic Institute (IPM) and will be the first internationally recognized center in Macau and Hong Kong for examining candidates for qualifications to translate Chinese into Portuguese. Making the announcement to the Macau Legislative Assembly last week, Ao Ieong U, the city government’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, will promote the development of an alliance for the teaching of the Portuguese language in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
“We are establishing another internationally qualified examination center,” said Ao. “The IPM has already contacted the respective departments and in due course we will publish the results of these plans.”