Patent Translate is a machine translation service specifically "trained" to handle elaborate patent vocabulary and grammar. It is now available in Espacenet and the European publication server, as well as via Google Translate.
It takes a statistical approach, comparing the source document sentence by sentence to millions of patent documents previously translated by humans. The final translation profits from this "previous learning" by the translation engine.
In co-operation with the national patent offices in its member states, the EPO is providing Google with millions of official, human-translated patent documents. These are used to train the translation engine to handle technical subject-matter and the specific style and format used for patent documents.
Patent Translate was launched in February 2012 enabling translation from and to English for French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish, covering approximately 90% of all patents issued in Europe. In October 2012 it was extended to cover translations between English and seven additional languages, namely Danish, Dutch, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish. In December 2012 the Chinese-English option was launched. In coming years the service will be available for all languages of the EPO member states, and the non-European languages most relevant in the patent world.
The machine translation should give you the gist of any patent or patent-related document, and help you to determine whether it is relevant. You might decide on this basis whether you need to invest in a human translation of the document.
Please note that the engine cannot provide legally binding translations.
We know that confidentiality is crucial for users of information provided by the EPO, so our agreement with Google ensures that nobody has access to information about your searches or translations.
Patent Translate will be extended to cover all 28 languages of the EPO's member states by 2014. As almost 60% of applications currently originate from non-EPO countries, we are also working to provide machine translation services for other languages such as Japanese, Korean and Russian.
Every year, millions of documents are added to the EPO's databases. These new documents will also be fed into the system, continually improving the engine.