Legal Cases That Demonstrate the Need for Professional Translators: Part 2

In previous posts, we’ve looked at the numerous financial and legal repercussions caused by poorly translated documents. The mistranslation of a single sentence in a quarterly earnings report for Sharp Corp. caused significant doubts for investors, stockholders, and potential customers about the ongoing existence of Sharp Corp. as a functioning financial entity. The case of Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co. illustrates that an improper translation submitted to the USPTO may narrow the scope of the patent claim, since the mistranslation will necessitate an amendment to the patent document.  In the case of Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung, submission of only a partial patent translation led to a charge of inequitable conduct and rendered the patent unenforceable.  Highly qualified professional translators of legal, technical, and patent documents will be able to avoid these pitfalls by providing only the most linguistically and technically accurate translations and possessing an in-depth knowledge of the  patent process.

Today, we’ll look at two more court cases that highlight the consequences of using low-quality translations for legal purposes. You may risk having your translation rejected during the court case due to a poor translation process or questionable translator qualifications. You may also risk the invalidation of your patent claims due to the inadequate translation of a piece of prior art.

After the jump, read about the repercussions of low-quality translations in these two court cases, and learn how  you can obtain the highest-quality legal, technical, and patent translation!

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Legal Cases That Demonstrate the Need for Professional Translators

We previously looked at an instance where a poorly translated sentence in a single quarterly earnings report greatly harmed the financial image of Sharp Corp., a large producer of electronics. This event illustrates the need for a professional translation of important financial, technical, and legal documents that will be used during litigation or to make business decisions. An article from the China IP News by Richard V. Burgujian, Esther H. Lim, Wenye Tan, and Ningling Wang, titled “Practical Considerations and Strategies in Drafting U.S. Patent Applications,” provides descriptions of two cases that demonstrate the importance of using  high-quality professional patent translations during litigation. A poorly translated patent application may need to be amended to improve the translation of a foreign word, and this amendment may narrow the scope of the patent and therefore decrease its value. A patent may be deemed unenforceable if the references submitted with a patent application are not fully translated. A company or individual will pay the price of narrower patent claims or complete loss of patent rights if poorly translated documents are submitted during patent litigation.

Continue reading to learn about two patent cases that illustrate the importance of high-quality patent translations during litigation, and learn how you can obtain the most linguistically and technically accurate professional translations in order to avoid the consequences of a poorly translated document!
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The Future of Patent Translations: Human or Machine?

The EPO recently partnered with Google to offer free machine translation of patents into multiple languages on espacenet.  According to an EPO news release from March 24, 2011, “the EPO will use Google Translate technology to offer translation of patents on its website into 28 European languages, as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.”   This news made me wonder: what is the future of human translation of patent documents?  Can professional translators compete with the speed and lower prices of machine translation services?

I decided to ask an expert, Sonja Olson, Director of Translation Services at Landon IP.  If anyone would know how human translation compares to machine translation, Sonja would know.  I also found some useful articles that highlighted the importance of professional input in the patent translation process, especially if the document will be used for legal purposes.  Read on to see what insights the journal articles and my conversation with Sonja provided about the future of patent translation!

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