My first foreign deal looks like a Portuguese one

I wasn’t expecting this but the first deal I’m really looking to sew up for my company is to negotiate with a Portuguese company. I was expecting it to be an English-language company and a basic deal, but I’ve been given the job of negotiating with this Portuguese company in what could be quite a protracted set of negotiations.

I’m quite nervous about this because apart from being a new job and me having lots of other things going round in my head, I’m not particularly experienced in this, and I have virtually no knowledge of Portugal, its culture or its language. So I’m really going to have to do some reading about this.

I’m also concerned as to how going to negotiate when there is a language barrier. I’ve spoken to their representative on the phone and although he can speak very basic English, I’m not sure there is enough there for us to negotiate a contract.

So what I’ve decided to do, and I’ve told him, is we will communicate through email mostly. When it comes to the details we will communicate through email, rather than over the phone. What I’m going to do is use a Portuguese translation service to translate emails to Portuguese, and then from Portuguese to English, so that I get an accurate translation.

There are lots of sites out there I have found who can translate portugese, like for example,, where you upload your text and they get a translator to put it into the language you want, which includes a non-literal translation, which is great.

So what I’m going to do is use the Portuguese translator through this service to change my emails into Portuguese, send them, and then get the replies translated into English from Portuguese. That way I will get a full picture and so will my Portuguese representative, which will allow us to both feel confident in what is going on.

I’m pretty pleased I thought of doing this, and I do wonder if I’m being tested a bit by my boss. To give me a Portuguese deal to negotiate was a bit odd, considering my experience and lack of Portuguese language skills, so I’m wondering if it’s a test to see if I can think outside the box and how far I can get without having to ask for help. Time will tell on that, but I’m determined to do it myself now I’ve worked out a strategy that me and the person I will be negotiating with have both agreed could work.