Translation of medical, technical and chemical patents requires a special attention
Specifics of patent translations
Patent documents are subject to high demands on formatting and specific terminology. Whether it is a phase of patent purity analysis, a patent search or the preparation of a patent application.
Examples of specialized patent terminology:
- method is translated as „způsob“ (not „metoda“)
- embodiment is „provedení“
- composition is „kompozice“ (not „složení“)
- the phrase „characterised in that …“ is translated as „vyznačující se tím, že…“
The document will be formatted by our graphic designers, who will insert the text into the universal or your prepared template.
Along with document formatting and before submitting a translation, all texts undergo a final check by our in-house editors. We always want to be completely sure that the translation is of the best quality.
A good team is crucial
Firstly, we needed to put together a team. For the translation of a chemical patent, the following specialists are needed:
- translator with specialization in chemical and patent terminology
- linguistic proofreader – a native speaker of the target language
- project manager who coordinates the work
- deputy project manager who is familiar with the project
During the training of the team, all of its members were familiarized with the project schedule, text that was to be translated, glossary of special patent terminology, patent rules and MS Word template for the right layout and formatting of the translated text.
Briefings like these are very important for these kinds of projects. If all the members know what they are working on and what the final result should look like, it has a positive impact on the quality of their work.
Preparation of the text for translation
The final step was to convert the text from PDF format to MS Word.
For this, we use professional conversion tools that provide higher quality output in comparison to free online tools. This conversion includes editing of the graphic layout.
- editing of the first page of the patent document and removal of template texts
- deletion of all line numbers
- deletion of section breaks
- conversion from two- to one-column layout
- editing of tables and pictures in text fields
- correction of upper and lower indices for chemical symbols and formulae
- deletion of texts irrelevant for translation (duplicate patent claims in other languages, references).
Translation and proofreading
The first thing we usually translate is the list of reference marks. By doing this, we create a terminology base that can be confirmed by the client and then used during the translation process. The translation of reference marks is then consistent, even in extensive texts that are translated over the course of several months. However, reference marks are not common in chemical patents, which applied to this case. The translation itself was done by a single linguist. If a translation is required in a shorter space of time, we use the Memsource CAT tool. This tool enables multiple translators to access the same translation memory and terminology and patent termbases at the same time, thereby guaranteeing consistency in terminology and style. The translation was done in segments and periodically proofread by our internal linguistic editor, a native Czech speaker. The purpose of the proofreading was to identify and correct possible mistakes that the translator might have overlooked.
Formatting and layout editing
When the translation was finished, it was necessary to adjust the document according to the client’s template. This was done by our internal editor who specializes in editing translations of patents. This process usually involves:
- adjustments to line spacing, font and font size
- adjustments to header, footer and margin size
- insertion of page numbering
- indentation of numbered paragraphs
- spacing pictures and the insertion of titles
Before handing over the final document to our client, the project manager visually checks the whole document. We always want to be sure the translated patent document is flawless.
Conclusion and evaluation
From our experience, we know that the implementation process and the level of expertise of the implementation team need to be continuously improved. We therefore always draw up a report based on the client’s feedback, which serves as a tool for improving our future services.
In the case of this chemical patent, the client was an international chain of patent agencies. The client was satisfied with the translation, their only remark concerned the landscape orientation of the page numbering (such patents usually contain wide tables). After the final briefing of the implementation team, this remark was inserted into our patent manual, so we always pay attention to it when working on other patents from this client.
In summary, the key elements of high-quality and professional patent translations are:
- a professional and trained implementation team that is proficient in the corresponding terminology
- careful preparation of the document for translation and introductory briefing of the implementation team
- punctiliousness, i.e. adherence to the time schedule
- detailed implementation process for patent translation
- detailed manual and patent terminology glossary; - careful linguistic proofreading
- precise formatting and layout of the final document
- the ability to critically self-evaluate the work done and use any feedback for improving future services.
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