'Portuguese Pills' by WhatsApp: a typically Brazilian experience

Tags: Oral
Logullo P1, Riera R1, Torloni MR1, Logullo P1, Martimbianco ALC1, Logullo P1, Freitas CG1, Mazzucca ACP1, Batista MR1, Cruz CDO1, de Albuquerque JV1, Pedrosa MR1, da Silva AA1, Parra MT1, Tavares MCC1, Atallah 1
1Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp) and Brazilian Cochrane Center, Brazil

Background: The Brazilian Cochrane Centre (BCC) reviews systematic review abstracts translated into Portuguese by volunteers. During the last year, we have identified the main mistakes and difficulties our translators had with their own language. WhatsApp has become increasingly popular in Brazil, and people use it both personally and professionally, individually or in groups: family groups, work groups. People stay connected through their mobile phones, which they use all the time, in all places.

Objectives: To describe our experience with dissemination of tips for Portuguese use by WhatsApp.

Methods and Results: The volunteers in the BCC, who are also researchers at Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), have a WhatsApp group. They share information on a daily basis about research findings news, courses or symposia, exams questions, duty schedules, group meetings etc. In December 2015, we started to send Tweeter-like texts, about Portuguese grammar — but with a funny or ironic tone — to the BCC WhatsApp group: the 'Portuguese Pills'. They receive these short, easy to read messages (about 150 words) in their mobile phones, without needing a computer. The 'Portuguese Pills' are inspired and prepared during the revision process of the Cochrane Abstracts translated by the volunteers. They always touch on sensitive issues: the mistakes that translators do in their routine work. The idea was to make them remember things they certainly learned in school, but as busy researchers, they did not have the time to study again, nor did they have appropriate grammar books to consult (and would not be familiar with those). The response was very good. Our translators got used to receiving these tips on the use of Portuguese and answered the messages immediately: "I did not remember this, thank you", or "I didn't know it worked this way! Now I understand!", "Thanks a lot. Very helpful" (Fig 1). They feel that the tips can be used both in their translation activity for Cochrane and for their personal life: thesis, dissertations, grants reports.

Conclusions: Whatsapp proved a very useful tool in the update of Portuguese grammar rules for the volunteers.