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Botando a Boca No Trombone

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Zeca do Trombone

A Lusophone is someone who speaks the Portuguese language natively or by adoption. As an adjective, it means “Portuguese-speaking.” The word itself is derived from the name of the ancient Roman province of Lusitania, which covered an area that is today Portugal.

Sousafone é um instrumento de sopro da família dos metais. Trata-se de uma tuba especial que o executante apoia no ombro para que possa executá-la enquanto anda ou marcha.

Here in Brazil, botando a boca no trombone (“putting your mouth to the trombone”) is an expression that means something like “going and telling the whole world about it,” “complaining loudly about something,” “blabbing it all over town,” “coming out with it.”

Think of our expression, “getting on the horn.”

This new blog of mine has in mind to do something of the kind with the news clipping on Brazilian business that I have fallen into the habit of doing lately.

As you may or may not know, I am a business and technical translator and journalist from Brooklyn, New York, living in São Paulo with my better half, the lovely Mina de Letras.

I am not exactly quite sure yet what I mean to do for a living down here, but in any event have been taking copious daily notes for a while now on Brazilian business news pra inglês ver (for non-New World Lusophones, that is) — compiling sources (reliable and unreliable), talking with local journalists, reading mountains of books, newspaper and magazines, downloading spreadsheets and prospectuses, and generally trying to scout the place out as thoroughly as possible.

Why not, I thought, not stick these running notes up on the Web? Without all the pasquinagem — satirical clowning around — I tend to indulge myself in on my previous blog, The New Market Machines.

Which has more or less outlived its usefulness to me, I am beginning to think.

Think of it a New World Lusophone version of NMM’s “open-source Bloomberg box” concept: How much good business intelligence can you dig up from open sources, and how well can you use free, open-source software to churn into some kind of useful form?

Less colorfully, think of it as the preliminary sketch of a future Brazilian business news clipping service in translation. I really think if I stare at all this newsflow long enough, it will eventually start to make sense to me.

I was talking with a New York-based investor’s news service recently, for example, about a correspondent position down here — I did not get the gig — and was asked to dig up as many leads as I could for the kind of story this potential employer was looking for.

I found I could dig up quite a few stories you would not ordinary read about, either in the English-language business press or in the local business press.

How? By doing as the Tupi do: scouring the state, federal and municipal Official Diaries, or the mandatory disclosure to (and by) local regulators, or constantly searching for off-beat news sources that no one else tends to read — particularly the struggling, funky, plucky and often talented B2B press here.

You could even occasionally get off your fat blogging ass, call a cab or book a flight to Rio, and actually go out into the world in search of information. I am hoping to be doing more of that shortly.

At any rate, stay tuned. I am going to try to get down to business here.

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AchaNotícias (“find news”) is getting to be a useful and supplement to, if not a substitute for, Google News Brasil. Click to zoom.

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