Holding a patent can give your company a major competitive advantage and protect your exciting, innovative product ideas. However, filing a patent only protects you under the laws of the country in which you’ve filed it. As such, if you plan to take the world by storm with your revolutionary new product, you’ll need a streamlined global patent translation process.
Understanding The Global Patent Landscape
According to the WIPO World Intellectual Property Indicators Report, patent filing increased by 1.6% in 2020, as the pandemic gave birth to a wide range of innovations around the globe. At the same time, design filing rose by 2% and trademarks by 13.7%.
This indicates the intensity of the patent filing landscape, as creators around the world seek to protect their ideas. With that in mind, if you plan to protect your idea in more than one country, it’s time to understand the patent translation process.
How Much Does It Cost To Translate A Document?
The cost of a translation depends on both the nature of your content and the language pairing that you need.
For patent translation, you’ll need to use a specialist translator who is experienced at translating patents. That means paying more for your translator. If your patent uses specialist terminology, such as medical terms, you’ll need a translator who is experienced at working in that field too, which will increase the cost of your translation even more. In short, the more highly skilled and specialised your translator, the bigger your bill.
Your language pairing will also have a bearing on how much it costs to translate your patent. Say you need an English to Italian translation. That will cost you less than a translation from (for example) Quechua to Xhosa would. That’s because there are more people who speak both English and Italian than there are who speak both Quechua and Xhosa, so finding native Italian translators is easier. It comes down to supply and demand – Italian translation services are more common, so procuring English to Italian translation services for your patent will be both easier and cheaper than working with less commonly spoken languages.
Where Can I Translate My Documents In Italian?
Let’s stick with using Italian translation services as our example. Choosing where to translate your documents – that is, which translation agency to use and whether to work with humans or machines (or both) – will also impact on cost.
Machine translation has come a long way in recent years, but for patent documents the human touch is still essential. This means choosing either a professional human translator, who you can engage directly or through an agency, or opting for post-editing machine translation, when you use a computer to translate first and then a human improves the resulting copy.
Streamlining Your Global Patent Translation Process
Understanding the translation options above is a key part of streamlining your global patent translation process – an undertaking which can save you both time and money.
If you plan to translate your patent into multiple languages, then it’s likely that going down the agency route will save you time. You’ll have a project manager to understand your needs, so you don’t need to repeatedly explain things to multiple translators that you’ve appointed individually. The project manager will do all of that for you, for whichever languages you need. They will also chase the translators to ensure their work is completed on time and take care of paying each of your linguists – so you save time by only needing to pay the agency.
Many language businesses work through cloud-based management platforms these days, so that can help to streamline your approach as well. You can enjoy real-time snapshots of how the translation is progressing for each language, whenever you choose. That means no time wasted contacting individual translators for updates.
Patents by Country
While we’ve used Italian translation services to discuss the patent process above, Italian is far from the only language you will need if you plan to protect your idea around the world. Interestingly, it is China which is filing more patents than any other country, with 695,400 in 2021. That’s followed by the US with 595,700 patents filed, by Japan with 502,600 and by South Korea with 206,780. In total, the top ten countries accounted for over 88% of all patent applications filed during 2021.
These countries may well be high up on your patent translation priority list, packed as they are with creators and innovators who are keen to legally protect their ideas. However, you also need to consider where you plan to sell your product. If France, Germany and Italy are your target markets, for example, then French, German and Italian should top your list of patent translation languages. Being clear on which languages you require and why is essential to ensuring you get the best out of your global patent translation process.