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  To understand exactly what patent translation consists of, and why it absolutely must be done by professional translators, it’s important to first understand what a patent is: an extremely complex text that can be of both a technical and legal nature which allows those who have created an invention to be able to exclusively produce and market it in a specific territory and period of time. It is a document of fundamental importance for those who invest in the research and development of innovative products and processes, as it prevents third parties from reproducing and using the invention without authorisation. For all intents and purposes, it is a way of protecting intellectual property.  

Features and challenges of patent translation

Those who read a patent must be able to understand and possibly reproduce the invention described, as well as identify possible counterfeits by third parties. This makes the translation of patents an extremely delicate task: the language and syntax used must be clear and detailed, since they must ensure total understanding of the text. Translating a patent into the language of the countries where you intend to file them means affirming and protecting its value as concerns international distribution: in fact, translations of intellectual property and industrial property documents are a decisive growth factor for companies seeking to expand abroad.   The clarity of a patent’s form and content is an essential feature of this type of document, which are written for various subjects:
  • the patentee and his legal representative (agent);
  • the official state examiner;
  • various levels of Courts which interpret the content in terms of the legislation involved;
  • potential investors;
  • lawyers;
  • researchers.
  Therefore, one of the challenges posed by the translation of intellectual property documents is the large number of subjects involved in the various patent procedures. It is clear that such a delicate job must necessarily be entrusted to a professional in the sector who is able to respect:
  • fidelity to the source text, to safeguard the integrity of the concepts expressed by those filing the patent;
  • terminological accuracy, which must strictly follow the standards of the patent material.
  To all this is added the clarity of the text, in each of its specific structural components:
  • title
  • summary
  • state of the art
  • description of the invention
  • description of preferential embodiments
  • any drawings
  • main and secondary claims

Patent translation: why rely on professionals?

Contacting a translation agency or a professional patent translator not only means ensuring that the patent is entrusted to someone who has thorough knowledge of the source and target language, but also has specific experience and skills for certain patent areas (medical-scientific, chemical-pharmaceutical, electronic, mechanical, etc.). Moreover, a patent is a text with an extremely precise structure, characterized by specific language including numerous repetitions and redundancies which must be maintained in the translation, since they serve to convey certain information. The patent language is simple, even dry, which leaves no room for synonyms or a lexical flourish: fundamentally, it must be clear for the experts.   This is why an expert patent translator must also be familiar with computer-assisted translation software (also known as “CAT tools”, such as Trados, memoQ or OmegaT), which help the linguist manage the terminology and the numerous repetitions present in a patent.   The team at Translation Agency has been working with various patent firms for decades: this close collaboration has allowed us to accumulate a great deal of experience in the field (we translate three million words per year for patent firms), guaranteeing the professionalism and sector-specific skills of our numerous linguistic collaborators. If you need to translate a patent to protect your intellectual property with the aim of distribution abroad, Translation Agency can help you: simply contact us and we’ll be happy to indicate the strategy that best suits your needs with our ad hoc consultancy.