Translation has traditionally been one of the more over-looked aspects of the patent and intellectual property business, but with the IP landscape continuing to grow and expand across international borders, it has become a vital part of the overall "IP workflow." Whether it's translating a patent application for filing in another country, patent examiners at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) researching an application's "patentability," or supporting patent litigation, if you've never had to procure a high-quality, cost-effective translation before, know that it is not always an easy task.
As a buyer of translation services, whether you are a patent attorney, paralegal, patent agent, researcher at an IP services firm or even an inventor, there are a few tips to help you get the most for your money when it comes to translations!
Translation Agency, Freelance Translator, or Machine Translation?
There are three main options when it comes to obtaining a translation, with each having its own set of advantages and disadvantages. First of all is going with a translation agency. The advantages of using a translation agency are typically an integrated, comprehensive quality control process (usually based on the industry standard of "TEP" - Translation, Editing & Proofreading, all done by separate linguists), the ability to provide "certified" translations, and the capacity to handle larger volumes in multiple languages and across a wider spectrum of subject matter expertise.
The main disadvantage of a translation company is usually price - of the three options presented here this will usually be the highest cost option, though as described the risks associated with the other options can mean that the higher initial cost is well worth it., Contracting with individual freelance translators is another option, and usually less costly than working with a translation company. If you pursue this route, however, be prepared for the need to commit a significant amount of time to project management, as you will not only need to field any queries from the linguist, but often times coordinate with one translator and one separate editor per translation project.
Also, if you frequently handle patents in a wide variety of technical fields and languages, you would need to recruit and develop a fairly large pool of qualified linguists in order to meet your needs. Not to mention, most freelance translators have numerous clients, so when your urgent translation need arises, their time may already be booked. In the end, the amount of time necessary to manage all of these factors and contingencies can yield a hefty cost. Lastly, many freelance translators prefer to work through translation companies, as it affords them a degree of anonymity as well as relieves them of all of the associated administrative burdens, including invoicing and payment collection. If you do choose to explore this option, though, there are a number of resources online to find translators, such as the American Translators Association (ATA) website directory. The last option is the cheapest of the three, but also carries the most risk - machine translation. Machine translation technology, or translation software, has improved significantly in recent years, and does have some applicability to patent translations. Within the last couple of months, there have been a number of reports about the EU Patent Office submitting content to Google to feed into its "Google Translate" program to help boost its accuracy, and while some of the better machine translation programs can give you a fairly reasonable idea of the content of a foreign-language document, they still don't come close to a professional, certified translation, which is often required for patent application filings, litigation, etc. If, however, you only need to get the gist of the meaning, machine translation may be a viable option.
How to pick the right translation vendor!
So, working with a translation company is probably your best bet. If you do decide to move forward with one, you want to make sure you select the best one to fit your needs, which usually involve cost, turnaround time, communication & customer care, and quality.
The translation industry is a rapidly growing one, and competition is often fierce. With a low barrier to entry, there are literally tens of thousands of language service providers worldwide. You want to make sure you choose one that is reputable, which you can determine based on the number of years they have been in the business, a listing of past clients and even references. You should also make sure that they have specific experience in the highly-specialized field of patents. Different companies tend to specialize in a few specific areas, and you really wouldn't want to deal with a company who normally handles health insurance applications to translate your patent for an advanced radiological imaging device!
So because of so many translation agencies around, how do you start to get the best service? When you're searching for any translation agency, lots of ideas will tell you the mind. How will you know whether or not they can perform your work well? Could they be reliable? What's the rate from the service? In the following paragraphs, we'll talk about some helpful tips to get the best translation company for the business.
To begin with, you have to look for a translation company and you will find essentially 3 ways to do it. The very first strategy is to search through the local directory for example Phone Book. Simply lookup the Translation category and also you will be able to find couples of agencies available.
The 2nd way is by using search engines like google for example Yahoo to consider translation agencies. You can check out search engines like google and kind in queries like "Translation Service" and "Translation Agencies" plus they should return you some results. Go to the top couple of agencies within the google listing listing and appear with the credentials and services on their own websites.
The final strategy for finding a company is to inquire about a referral. Your colleagues, work associates and buddies might have cope with some agencies before, so that you can request a direct referral from their store.
Once you have short-listed a couple of agencies, the next thing is to make contact with them. When you're contacting these agencies, it is crucial that you're with the information you need to be able to have an accurate quote. Agencies may wish to understand what languages you're converting from and into, the format of the document, the duration of your work, and also the nature of the text. Using these information ready, the companies will have the ability to offer you accurate quotes.
When you're talking with these agencies, make certain that you simply question them questions regarding their translation service. For those who have question or question, this is actually the ideal time to inquire about. An expert translation agency can answer the questions you have very easily.
Once you have contacted a couple of agencies, the time has come to select a translation company for the work. Your choice could be according to cost, working relationship, credential, location and speed and services information. To find the right agency, there's no solid rule. It really is your decision to choose the one which you are feeling is easily the most appropriate for the work.