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Official documents, translations and misunderstandings

Cheryl Thomas - Sunday, September 30, 2018
Official documents, translations and misunderstandings

It can take a considerable amount of time and perseverance to obtain some info. It took me 7 months of visits to Espargos at least twice a month to get one official and necessary document amended due to an error that was made on a record system at the Camara Municipal.

That's not to say that's the 'norm', but sometimes I'm surprised when I obtain or have something processed quickly. There is also often the need to travel to Espargos to speak to officials at other offices, the waiting time and the travel time back to Santa Maria can be quite lengthy.

When documents are obtained, they are generally written in Portuguese, so unless you understand Portuguese, you will need help with translation. There are a number of official translators in Cape Verde and in other countries that can translate Portuguese to another language. It may be easier to get them translated in your home country.

Without help or support when making your request for info in Cape Verde there may be misunderstanding, incorrect translation (verbal or written), so without help, there may be occasions where the info you are provided with is different to that which, you thought you'd requested, resulting in further delays. Some documents you may have obtained some months ago may have been superseded or, new rules or amendments may have been made without notification, making some of the info people have previously obtained, void.

There is also the issue of knowing who to ask for information or where to go to request it, that can sometimes be confusing and frustrating. It may be better to take someone with you that you can explain your requirements to and, has some knowledge of where to go and people to see and let you know what you should wear or take with you. You don't want to get to the Registry Office and be told they won't serve or speak to you because you are wearing shorts!

I sometimes receive requests for help with providing official information, as may a number of other business owners or contacts here in Cape Verde. However, certain requests could require a considerable amount of time and effort, which I often don't have. I can't speak for others, but they may have their own commitments to prioritise too.

Very little info is, as far as I know, available in other languages. If you speak Italian or Spanish, then information gathering may be slightly easier when making enquiries in person.

I am not aware of any Customer Service websites you can contact to ask general questions, or where I know you can receive answers. A number of people have asked for contacts or help to contact someone to ask about taxes, finance, INPS, registration, Electra and Utility bill service. I'm sure there are people on the islands that will provide this service by doing the donkey work for a fee, but I don't know who they are though or what they would charge (just in case you ask).

If you speak fluent Portuguese, then it's much easier and better than speaking to someone at a Government office in English, who may only speak a little English, because they won't be able to explain everything clearly or accurately to you, they will likely be missing out important bits of info that you need to know.

 

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