Scientific And Technical Translation: Why So Complex?

Translations itself is a difficult task since translating from one language to another requires linguistic equivalents for concepts, which some languages might lack. Scientific and technical translation field makes translation even more complex since translation is not only required for the syntactic structures, but all the technicalities needs to be maintained throughout the translation. Sometimes, things get worse when meanings of some words are even not available in bi-linguistic dictionaries.

In cases, where relevant words are difficult to found out, it is advised to use automated translation tools to create and store personal or shared translation memories (such as through CAT tools), or use of Cross Lingual Information Retrieval (CLIR) system to provide the comparable corresponding words from the bilingual dictionaries. A translator must pay all of his/her devotion and attention towards the patent details to avoid missing crucial technical aspects and to assure that no factual errors are left behind.

Scientific And Technical Translation Is A Bit Tricky For Translators!

Being clear about the technicalities does not mean its presentation to be less resourceful and insightful. Accuracy and precision in both understanding and presenting the details are must for a good insightful patent translation. Scientific and legal translation is difficult for translators and requires significant amount of focus on the following aspects:

  • Precision and Completeness in writing: The very basic and crucial aspect of scientific and legal translation is to ensure that all the technical details of a patent application, must convey the exact meaning of the original text through non-literal terms. However, if relevant terms are hard to find in the translated language or sentences are not properly translated though the use of word-to-word translation, sentences can be re-casted and reframed. This often leads to use of literal terms that are supposed to enhance the readability, but unfortunately incur unnecessary ambiguity and grammatical errors in the translation. The best way to avoid such errors is to take help from a professional translator with enough significant knowledge and core-industry experience in translation.
  • Clarity of concepts: Expressing the correct information in clear language will make the translation appropriate. Details can be made clearer by repeating some technical terms, deleting unnecessary words, and quoting new terms that enhances readability. When a translation is done, the complete patent application needs to be translated, that includes all the specification written in text, all the labelling from the patent drawings, and all its claims. Clarity must be maintained throughout the application to maintain consistency in data presentation. This brings us to our next point of focus, i.e. Consistency.
  • Consistency in Data & Presentation: Here, we are not only focusing about maintaining consistency in data throughout the translations, but we also want to its presentation to be consistent. For example, data consistency can be ensured by checking that same elements or symbols (such as punctuation) are used in the entire patent application. Consistency in presentation can be ensured by checking all fonts, styles, etc. are same at all places. Consistency will ensure that there are no spelling, punctuation, and grammatical mistakes.
  • Use of correct numbers: Claims are always numbered in specific numbering format, depending upon the territorial IP rules or the rules of the organization under which patent application is filed. While translating, the translator must ensure that all the numbers must also be translated according to the translated language and as per the client’s requirements. Another way of maintaining consistency among the numbers is to use numbers in reference with the INID codes, which are internationally agreed numbers for data identification. This is use by patent offices to depict correct bibliographic details.
  • Use of right punctuations: It is advised that parenthesis, brackets, dashed, and underlining must not be changed, as according to English punctuation rules, punctuations which are integral part of standard format must be retained. Even for scientific and legal translation, these guidelines may or may not be strict depending upon the target translated language.      

A patent application is a medium of textual communication that lays the foundation of an invention. Therefore, translations of legal applications that marks its claims and declarations forever, must be done in the most appropriate and legal manner that brings the same meaning and information from the translated text as before translation. We, at Patent Translation Express, facilitate translation activities of our clients with our professional team of translators which have an experience of patent translations in IP industry, of more than 8 years. Visit our service page to know more about our services.

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