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7 Questions to Ask a Patent Translation Services Company

Jun 23, 2021

Selecting the right translation partner can mean the difference between an on-time, on-budget delivery–or a logistical nightmare that drains your budget and exposes your company to undue risk. Developing a product and successfully bringing it to market takes years, sometimes decades. To get to the final stages of securing your IP only to find that a key phrase has been mistranslated risks wasting all those efforts. So, here are seven important questions to ask any patent translation services provider before initiating a working relationship.

“What is your vetting process for translators?”

Ask the language services provider (LSP) to outline their translator vetting and selection process, including the process for ensuring translators stay current with industry standards. Translators should be in-country, tested regularly, and have a proven track record in your field.

“How do you select translators for each project?”

Translator placement is extremely important and should be chosen very carefully. At Morningside, we go beyond general industry background and look for translators with more granular experience. For example, a patent translator with experience translating materials related to arrhythmia is different than a translator possessing generalized medical device translation experience.

“How can we be sure you’ll be ready when we need you?”

Look for organizations with the capacity to take on your project on your schedule. There are a limited number of patent translators–especially for specific products or industries–so it’s important to select an LSP with a deep network of qualified translators. The translation company should also take the initiative to understand the patent translation process from your end. This allows their teams to adjust their workflow to align with yours.

“What is your quality control process?”

Every company’s quality control methods will vary slightly, but your patent translation services partner must maintain a rigorous QC process. The translation company should dedicate at least two sets of eyes to every project, if not more. Morningside maintains ISO 17100 certification, denoting rigorous quality standards specifically for translation companies. Understanding your partner’s quality control process also lets you know the amount of time they will require to deliver accurate translations.

“What security measures do you maintain?”

Intellectual property documents contain valuable secrets that can have disastrous consequences for your company if exposed. Your translation partner must maintain exacting standards for file transfer, data protection, file tracking, client access portals, and more, especially when staff members are working from home. Morningside maintains ISO 27001 certification to show our clients that their IP remains protected at every stage.

“How do you maintain consistency within and across documents?”

Patent documents should leave very little room for interpretation. To ensure your IP is protected against challengers, word choices take on added significance. Translation memory tools, glossaries, and termbases establish consistency among key phrases from the start of the project. These tools can also help you save money by reducing the number of words ultimately requiring translation. 

“Will our documents be filing-ready?”

Every patent office has unique requirements for accepted file types, including how the information in each document is ordered. At Morningside, we assist with direct filing, PCT national phase entry, and EP validation, so we understand how to comply with standards set by each individual patent office. Eliminating the extra step of reviewing and re-ordering the structure of your documents saves costs and ensures your documents are accepted the first time around.

IP translation experience matters

There are many translation partners in the marketplace: some have departments dedicated to patents, while others lack sufficient expertise and experience. Issues stemming from patent translation inconsistencies generally take years to come to light. Partnering with a startup organization means you can’t know whether their end-product will stand the test of time. Instead, select a proven organization with a long history of success.

Trust a language services provider with 20+ years of patent translation expertise. Contact us to request a quote for your next project.

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