"Good afternoon, how are you?"
Translation:Boa tarde, como vai você?
So my problem is that I'm learning Portuguese coming from a Spanish background so when I see this sentence, I want to say como está você? However, this is a question for native brazilian portuguese speakers: what do you guys say/use as your everyday, "Hi, how are you?" I'll be going to São Paulo soon, and don't want to say this phrase in a way that is not commonly used.
I'm looking over the sentence again and realize that 'esta' is the correct conjugation for 'voce' so the correct translation would be 'Bom tarde, como esta voce'. Is the difference between 'voce' and 'tu' the same as the difference between 'tu' and 'usted' in Spanish? That is, 'voce' is the formal way of saying 'you' whereas 'tu' is a more familiar way of saying 'tu'?
Actually, o senhor/a senhora is the formal in Portugal (and other Portuguese speaking places in Asia & Africa).
Você really is just not used, and certainly not as formal and polite. If used at all it is more of an equalizer with those one does not know, so an "unfamiliar" 3rd Person treatment. Many find it rude, crude, and uncultured and even insulting (though they give more leeway to Brazilians as they know that is just how Brazilians talk – and yet never seem to notice that the Portuguese do not use it...).
Seriously, you will not likely find "você" in books from Portugal. Any use you do find is likely from the ubiquity of "você" in Brazil used by Brazilian media and by Brazilian expats in PT.
Although there is one older Portuguese teacher who does teach você but she also insists on vós as well.
In Brazil, its used differently and can vary by location. For example, in Rio de Janeiro almost no one uses the "tu" form of "you", and when they do it is when talking to a child (and even then not always!). Head south to Florianopolis, and you will hear "tu" used more often. I dont know about sao paulo, never been there.