Actually I have a pretty good idea of the answer now, having spoken to some people who know (Brazilian) Portuguese a lot better than I do. It seems like this is just correct pronunciation-- if, in Portuguese, there is an L after a vowel, it ends up more like a W in English. (and if the L starts the word, then it just sounds like an L.)
Again, this is a case where, in English, when talking about salt (or pepper) in GENERAL, you NEVER include the article, as it is a mass noun. When in CONTRAST, you say, 'Pass me THE salt (instead of the pepper) but English often does not include the article every time. The filter should understand that, and not penalize the English speaker.
- to say "the salt" in english and is not completely impossible or uncommon
- then one might never add the article in portuguese, so i think it's better this way because at least you caught that you add the article in portuguese
- you must always learn a gender specific language with the articles, and since the translation of "o" and "a" are "the," might as well add them