Risks in Translation of Prior Art and Evidence
The most common problem is that of the attorney being misled regarding the scope of the disclosure. If the translator fails to grasp the technical content, the result will be a mistranslation. In addition, linguists who are not specialized in patent translation often attempt to paraphrase carefully constructed claims or descriptions with the aim of making them simpler and easier to read. The scope of the disclosure can be seriously misrepresented as a result. Similar problems may also arise due to careless omissions or the inadvertent use of language that is narrower than that used in the original.
Naturally, the first concern is that of losing a key argument when a flawed translation is successfully contested. There is also a risk of overlooking a winning strategy because the translation that you are working from lacks the requisite clarity and authority to be used as the basis for an argument. Finally, when time is important, struggling to second-guess a poor translation can waste precious attorney resources.
Examiners often reach erroneous conclusions by relying on machine translations, abstracts or their own limited foreign language skills. If the translation you provide in your response is equally confusing, you may fail to change the examiner's mind. Even after the patent is allowed, if you drafted the claims based on a flawed understanding of the prior art, your patent may be vulnerable to future challenges when a future adversary obtains a better translation.
How PTI Can Help
A certified translation from PTI maintains a one-to-one correspondence with the wording of the source text, and yet is as clear and easy to read as a document originally written in English.1 After translation by a subject expert with training in patent practice, a second linguist checks for any possible errors or omissions, by making a word-by-word comparison of the source and target texts. The final edited translation is mirror formatted to match the original, including reproduction of the drawings. This is a translation that you can read and work from without worry and without wasting time.
If your client will also see the translation, keep in mind that high-quality work on the part of your suppliers reflects well on the professionalism of your office.
1) PTI has extensive written procedures developed specifically for the translation of patents, which make this feat possible. For an overview of PTI's approach, you may want to read the chapter on literal translation written by Martin Cross for the ATA Patent Translator's Handbook, particularly from page 22 onward.
In the past I have spent a lot of time rewriting poorly written translations of Japanese patents or having to guess what the translator meant. Patent Translations Inc. provides high-quality translations that save me time and worry. I also appreciate their attention to detail and their prompt service.
-Steven Roberts, Patent Attorney