Protecting Your IP: Understanding Patent Translation

Category: Industry


Patent translation is the practice of protecting your intellectual property with regards to patents in languages other than your own, by translating a patent from language into another. Requiring more technical ability and an in-depth understanding of many areas of the target language, patent translation is a must for ensuring your product ideas are not copied on the international market.

How patent translation is different

In this post, we’re going to explore the unique combination of three areas of language that are required to accurately translate patents, along with examining the need for accuracy and the audiences for patent applications. 

It builds upon multiple fields of study, working together for greater clarity and increased protection of intellectual property.

Use of legal terminology 

The first major requirement for patent translation is the translator being able to translate legal terminology. In order to ensure the absolute protection of a patent in another country and language, a translator with experience and knowledge of the law can be brought on board, particularly in the case of disputes concerning a patent application or by a third party.

Industry-specific language 

Of great importance in the patent translation process is industry-specific knowledge and the lexicon that comes with understanding it. The translator selected to work on a given translation depends on whether the patent is related to pharmaceuticals, medicine, chemistry or mechanics, for example. As each field involves special terminology, it is common for translators to specialise in at least one industry, so as to ensure an accurate translation.

Descriptive language for patent illustrations

As well as involving specific legal and industry language, patent translation relies on the translator accurately describing the accompanying illustrations and sketches provided as part of an application. This depends further on the translator’s understanding of the industry and the specific language used in patents, as well as their ability to accurately translate technical language.

The need for accurate patent translation 

Patent translation is about more than filing documents with a government office. An incorrect application can open a business up to:

  • Idea theft
  • Increased competition from similar products
  • Loss of value on the patent
  • Production delays

All of this can harm your bottom line, and make recovery more difficult as the market changes. 

As some countries are more prone to copying ideas and mass production of similar products, it’s essential to get it right the first time. The best way to do that is to first understand who will be reading it, and the intended purpose. 

Understanding the audience

There are two types of audiences for patent translation. The first are those who deal with filing, where the languages need to be simple and clear. This helps to avoid confusion and speeds up the process of the successful patent application. Avoiding technical jargon while still conveying the meaning of the application of the product is vital.

When a patent is needed as legal evidence, it is important that the translation is as close to the technical specifications as possible. Typically, only the parts of the patent application that are required in the dispute need to be translated.

How we can help

The value of a good translator cannot be understated with regards to patent translation. With experience in 46 languages across multiple industries, we can help protect your intellectual property worldwide. Get in touch now for a free quote.

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