NYCT May Meeting – Panel on Patent Translation

Panelists included Aaron Hebenstreit, Sand Jones and Sam Bett from Morningside Translations

Sam Bett explained what a patent is and what can be patented. A patent is a legal right that an inventor can apply for. They are generally for a 20-year term. No one is then permitted to use their invention without their permission. The panel then discussed the criteria necessary for a patent.

There is no international patent. Patents are granted in each country or selected countries. Various patents can be costly. (WIPO) World Intellectual Property Organization was discussed. They administer treaties and are a big source of translation work.

Many documents are associated with Patent Translation
1- The abstract
2- The claims, which sets out the legal scope.
3 – The description, or what it is
4- The drawings

How to get started in patent translation? Sandy explained that she worked with legal and one day a patent came across her desk. That started it all. Sandy emphasized and the rest of the panel concurred that a translator must have strong research skills. Research is half the job. Mistakes can be expensive. Consistency very important. However, no technical background is needed to start with patents.

What makes one suited to patents? Well, are you curious? Interested in how things work? These traits and language skills are what makes one suited to pursue patent work. At this time Japanese, German, Korean, Chinese seem to be the languages that offer the most work.

The panel also answered questions from the membership.