Where can I find courses about patent translation?
Thread poster: Mutazz Hassan

Mutazz Hassan
Local time: 04:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 21, 2018

Hello, everyone.

I am looking for someone who can help me learn patent translation. It's a highly technical field, and my educational background is in linguistics. I was hoping to find someone who can guide me through the basics of patent translation.

Thank you!


Alice Crisan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:30
English to Romanian
Blog about patent translation Jun 23, 2018


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Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
German to English
+ ...
thoughts about background Jun 23, 2018

I ran into two patent translators some years ago, and got to see their way of thinking and working. One was an engineer with experience in that field, and the other had a Masters or PhD in physics. I did one or two minor patent translations and decided this was not for me, because I do not have the background of these two gentlemen. Which leads to the question:

Does one look for courses about patent translation, or does one get the background of a patent translator? This is an actual question.


Daniel Frisano
Local time: 04:30
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
A few considerations Jun 23, 2018

There are certain principles you need to follow strictly, e.g., absolute consistency in terminology within the same document, and using standard equivalents in your target language for typical patent terms and phrases (in a preferred embodiment, according to claim X, skilled in the art, etc.).

There are certain advantages, such as not being required to make the text "not boring". If the source text repeats the word "component" six times in two lines of text, just repeat it. If your source text says 40 times "for example" (and they do), say it 40 times in your target.

If a sentence is ambiguous, meaning that it admits variable degrees of generality/specificity, when in doubt err towards the general - being too specific is a capital sin. This includes not taking unwelcome initiatives: if a subordinate sentence seems to lack a subject or be otherwise left hanging, don't volunteer the missing entity even when it is reasonably clear from the context, but rather find a way to reproduce the exact structure. If it is poorly built, don't try to improve it if that means adding any bit of information.

Fix only blatant mistakes, which are quite rare (except for mistakes in reference numbers, which are relatively common).

There are certain style convolutions that are highly appreciated or even compulsory, e.g., in clauses introduced by "wherein" and such.

EVERYTHING is meaningful. If you see "moreover", "also" and "additionally" all in the same sentence, resist the temptation of omitting one of them, redundant as it may seem. If you see "A is connected and B is connected to...", never turn it into "A and B are connected to...".

You don't really need a course. The best thing you can do is get your hands on a reliable bilingual glossary for patent lingo and study patents translated in your target language. If you are willing to invest your time, you can pick an already translated patent and translate claim 1 (the heart of every patent) by yourself, then compare your version with the published one. You will certainly learn a lot from this effort.

Having a solid technical-scientific background helps, but is not really required. You can get by with a thorough research on the specific subject before you start with your document.

Most importantly, you need to build a highly rigorous mindset. Switching from a patent to, say, a marketing-oriented text for a website and back requires tons of mental flexibility - imagine working for several days as a scientist, then switching to salesman and vice versa.

Your background in linguistics can be useful. Patents involve a lot of linguistic subtleties.

[Edited at 2018-06-24 09:18 GMT]


Mutazz Hassan
Local time: 04:30
English to Arabic
+ ...
Japanese to Arabic Translator Jun 26, 2018

Does one look for courses about patent translation, or does one get the background of a patent translator? This is an actual question.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to question. I'm a Japanese to Arabic translator, and I believe that it would be less challenging for me to get patent translation jobs in my language pair. It's also quiet hard to find studying materials about patent translation.


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Where can I find courses about patent translation?

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