Friday, January 6, 2017

WIPO’s New Patent Translation Tool Beats Google Translate (At Least for Chinese/English)

One of the many challenges in IP work is translation of foreign documents, especially patents. Translating between Chinese and English is especially difficult for machine translation, where strange or even nonsense results are common due to the complexity of Chinese and the difficult legal and technical phrasing that is common in patents. Google Translate is quite poor in this context, and the outstanding translation tools at also generally don’t work well for patents.

Fortnately, WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization) has recently released a powerful tool specially for patent translation, WIPO Translate. The results have been stunningly good in my testing so far, vastly outperforming prior systems.

WIPO Translate can handle a variety of language pairs both ways, all involving English and either Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Only about one paragraph at a time can be translated, so you can’t yet dump an entire patent all at once into WIPO translate. I hope that limitation will be lifted in the future.

In using the WIPO Translate tool, you can select a technical field to help focus the translation and improve the chances of the appropriate terminology being used.