For the uninitiated, finding translators sounds easy. Often, inexperienced company executives just entering the international market talk about translating as if it were simple a skill requiring little more than bilingual literacy. In fact, it is much more than that. In a recent article in World Intellectual Property Review, MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon and translation expert Heide Ruplinger explain why good translation is so important in the patent industry.
“Just as writing a patent requires specific expertise, translating one requires the same expertise with the additional skill of native fluency in the target language”, says Michael Sneddon. The authors are convinced that being a patent translator requires much more than just a bilingual business background. Just as writing a patent requires specific expertise, translating one requires the same expertise with the additional skill of native fluency in the target language. Therefore all patent translators must have not only an understanding of the accepted format and structure of a patent but also of its specific technical field. A company greatly increases its risk of being involved in costly litigation and potentially losing its intellectual property protection when it uses a translator without patent and relevant subject expertise.
The usage of state of the art translation technology is another aspect the authors consider crucial for good patent translations: “Many translators employ their own skills and a text editor to complete translation projects. As a result, translation time is long and costs are high. Cost savings and accuracy can improve by finding a translation vendor that is proficient in the skilful use of technology. Companies using a translation memory tool have the ability to speed the translation process and reduce costs over time as the translation data is continuously recorded.”