From an innovative skin disinfectant to cutting-edge materials for decellularising and recellularising human organs, over the past decade we have covered a wide spectrum of medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical topics in our Polish patent translation projects. This work has given us a wealth of experience which we always enjoy sharing with our clients to enhance our working relationship and ensure every project meets their high standards. So how can we further improve the way we work together and increase your chances of making your Polish patent translation project a real success?
As a seasoned Polish patent translator, I have a few confessions to me make. It is nothing scandalous, of course, but there are certain challenges we tend to face in our everyday pursuit of perfection which you, as the client, are in the best position to help us with. The pressure is immense. Patents are the most expensive and time-consuming type of intellectual property, which apart from the obvious benefits of granting your business or organisation the exclusive right to make, use or sell your invention, very often play a key role in attracting funding.
We recognise and truly value the trust and confidence our clients place in us to assist them with their Polish patent translation requirements. We take this responsibility very seriously and aim to return our clients’ confidence by providing a service of the highest quality to ensure our Polish translations are accepted by the European Patent Office (EPO). Below we have compiled the list of the most common issues we encounter in our work and suggestions of how you can help us overcome them.
Professionally edit non-native writing
Only speak patentese when necessary
Correct any factual errors
Assist with any new terminology
Offer a reasonable deadline
Patent specifications written by professionals whose English is not their native language can sometimes be completely incomprehensible. This ‘impenetrability’ of the original text introduces a level of uncertainty into the translation. We have recently worked on a patent application in English whose authors were Chinese speakers. Although the technical terminology was flawless, we genuinely struggled with understanding some parts of the text at the sentence level. This is not to say non-native writing should be discredited all together, but the complexity of patent disclosures requires a good proficiency of the target language. For this reason, we recommend you have your patent application professionally reviewed and edited before submission.
It is typical of patents to use highly specialised terms masqueraded as everyday words and expressions. The extensive use of this legal jargon has even earned itself a name. Patentese is a language in its own right, more often than not, characterised by grammatical constructions which would be unthinkable in any other form of writing. As Polish patent translators, we need to be well versed in patent terminology to be able to make out the essence of the invention. However, the denser the thicket of patentese, the more difficult it is to decipher the true meaning. We advise you to limit the use of patentese to the necessary minimum.
When the EPO makes the decision to grant a European patent, the text issued for grant, known as Druckexemplar, and used for translation should be free of any mistakes. That is, in theory. Although this happens very rarely, some factual errors and inaccuracies can still be present in the original copy and then infiltrate the translation. As professional Polish patent translators, it is our duty to follow the original English version to the letter and replicate any flaws it has. Some of the mistakes we have seen in our Polish patent translation projects were as basic as an incorrect number used in one claim to refer to another claim. However simple these errors are, they have the potential of invalidating the claims. Make sure you proofread the original version of the patent before submitting it for translation. You can find more information on the importance of proofreading in this helpful blog post on the patent grant procedure.
Innovation lies at the very heart of each invention. However, the novelty is not limited to the invention itself. It is also reflected in the terminology used in its description and subsequently in its translation. On many occasions, we needed to coin new terms to accurately describe the new concept. In those cases, we tend to err on the side of caution and after we have exhausted all terminology resources, we use what we call a calque, i.e. we provide a literal, word-for-word translation of the English term. It is always helpful when the client is available to explain any novel terms they have used in their document.
With tight submission timeframes (i.e. three months from the date the EPO publishes in The European Patent Bulletin a mention the patent has been granted to the date by which a Polish translation of the patent needs to be filed to the Polish Patent Office), working on a Polish patent translation project sometimes feels like a race against time. The issues I have discussed above can substantially slow down this process. In addition, the multiple levels of quality control, including translation, editing and final linguistic proofreading by sometimes three different translators, mean there is little room for flexibility. For example, a 10,000-word patent application will require approximately ten working days for translation, including detailed terminology research, up to two working days for editing and one to two working days for final linguistic proofreading and quality check. Bearing all these factors in mind, a reasonable deadline is always appreciated!
As Polish patent translators, we recognise translation is part of a complex patent application process. That is why we believe in collaborating with you to achieve the best possible result for you. I hope the tips I have shared here will help to make our next Polish patent translation project even a greater success!
Do you have any advice on more efficient ways of working with your patent translator team? Please share them with us below.