Step forward for Online Patent Translation

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced this week that the language coverage of their free translation tool Patent Translate is now complete – one year ahead of schedule. 

Since 2012 the EPO has been working with Google, the national patent offices of the member states and other major patent offices worldwide, to improve the access to accurate online patent translation.  The result is the Patent Translate tool, which is integrated into the EPO's free online patent database Espacenet and the European publication server.  The Patent Translate tool offers on-the-fly-translation* of patent documents.   Following the latest update to the Patent Translate tool, support is now provided for Korean, plus eight more official languages of member states ─ Albanian, Croatian, Estonian, Macedonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Serbian and Turkish.  As a result Patent Translate now provides coverage for all 28 official languages of the EPO's 38 member states, plus Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

Whilst the accuracy of any automated translation service is limited, the prospect of obtaining free on-fly-translations allows interested parties to rapidly discern whether a document cited in an inconvenient language is relevant, and if so, whether the additional cost of a human translation is justified.  The ever increasing availability of services such as Patent Translate is a great benefit to all stakeholders in the patent system.

*Patent Translate provides translations between English and 31 other languages, namely Albanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Translation from and into French and German is also available for 17 of these languages. 

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David Slattery


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