Translation quality for foreign filing

While we presently accept externally-prepared translations in principle, we sometimes find that translations we receive from clients are not of high quality.

Additional costs are then incurred in having our agents “fix” the translation.  Worse (if it’s not bad enough), the client may end up paying the full cost again to have it translated from scratch – not ideal if they’ve already paid for the first one!

You should be able to say the following about a patent translation:

  1. It is a true and accurate translation of the source document.

  2. The translator is a native speaker of the destination language.

  3. The translator is technically skilled in the relevant technology.

  4. It takes into account any specialist legal language used by patent attorneys in the destination country, including idiomatic translation of special technical or legal words used in the source document. 

  5. It satisfies local formal requirements relating to character set, font size, spacing, margins and so on.

In our experience, translations prepared by anyone other than a specialist patent translator run the risk of significant deficiencies in some or all of the above areas.

For example, it is rare that even a person very skilled in the relevant technical field who writes well in the destination language and has a good understanding of the source language will have any knowledge of the legal language issues, or of the formalities.

The service level agreements we have with our agents require them to satisfy all the above criteria. We also require that the translation either be prepared by a patent attorney or comprehensively reviewed by a patent attorney prior to filing.

In virtually all countries, it is the translation that forms the basis for your rights. Any weakness or deficiency in the translation is a weakness or deficiency in the resultant protection – and worse, it’s one you won’t know about until it’s too late.

If you have thoughts about translations (and particularly the importance of quality), we’d love to hear them. 


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