25 October 2012
In a move to further improve multilingual access to information contained in patent documents, the European Patent Office (EPO) today made available a second set of European languages in its free automatic translation service Patent Translate. With the addition of Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish, the service now enables on-the-fly-translation from, and into, English for thirteen languages and is accessible on the EPO's free online patent database, Espacenet.
"Patent Translate facilitates access to state-of-the-art technologies for European inventors and businesses by removing the language barrier from patent documentation," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "We are very pleased to offer to users in this new group of countries better access to patent documents from all over the world, while making information about their inventions readily available in English to a very large number of users. This is an important step forward in ensuring patent quality, and contributes to strengthening the competitiveness of European enterprises," he said.
Patent Translate was launched this February to enable multilingual access to the vast collection of patent documents available on the EPO website. Starting with a first set of languages allowing automatic translation from and into English for French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, by the end of 2014 the service is expected to cover all 28 languages of the EPO's 38 member states, plus the most important non-European languages in patents, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
The service aims to help European businesses better search and identify relevant patent documents for their R&D projects. It is integrated into the EPO's free patent database, Espacenet, which includes more than 75 million entries from around the world. Patent Translate is also expected to facilitate the implementation of the future unitary patent, which includes an important chapter on translation. With the unitary patent reducing the burden on companies to provide mandatory translations, automatic translation will be even more important as a means of offering free access to patent documents in any official language. The development of this tool underlines the EPO's role as a leading global provider of patent information.