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In patent applications, every word counts. IP professionals draft applications using precise language and explicit terms to ensure not only that the application will be granted, but also that it will be enforceable. When filing an application overseas, it is equally important that the translated text retain the same precise, unambiguous language. A poorly translated word or phrase can literally cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
In January, we reported on a big breakthrough in negotiations on adopting a European-wide patent that would have big ramifications for many of our clients and for the translation industry as a whole. Under the current patent system, after the EPO grants a patent, the holder is still required to translate the patent into the official languages of most EU member states where they want the patent validated. Several countries (including France and Germany) have waved this requirement and others (including Denmark and Sweden) only require a translation of the patent’s claims. Still, the European Commission estimates that validating a European patent in 13 EU countries costs about $26,000, of which $18,000 is spent on patent translations. Compare that to the far lower cost of $2,400 to file a patent in the United States.
You may have noticed that it can take more words to say something in one language than in another. For example, it takes three words in French (s’il vous plaît) to accomplish what you can with one word of English (please). And in general, French and other romance languages are wordier than English. A document with 1,000 English words translated into French will convert into approximately 1,150 target words, a 15% increase in the document’s word count.
Talk about a niche translation service. Today Translations, a British translation company will “certify” unusual baby names for ambitious couples who want exotic names for their children. For about $1,700, the company’s translators will perform a name translation audit, providing parents-to-be with the meaning of their child’s chosen name in over 100 languages.
We kicked off this month by attending the LegalTech 2010 Conference at the New York Hilton for the very first time! With over 13,000 litigation support specialists, attorneys, and paralegals, LegalTech was a great opportunity to get some face time with the legal community at large, including those in need of legal translations from translation companies.