What is patent translation?

Manufacturers or inventers of new products often decide to protect their product from someone else copying their design and taking advantage of the time and money which had been invested in the research and development stage. This usually involves applying for a patent, which once granted, prevents the design being used by anyone else unless permission is granted. The only snag in the current sales and marketing environment is that patents are normally only valid in the jurisdiction where it was granted. If the product is sold in any other country, the original patent may be invalid, which creates the possibility that the design can be easily copied and sold without being able to do anything to stop it. Unfortunately for the developer or manufacturer this means that patents need to be applied for in the countries where the product is marketed. 

The next step before a patent has been granted is to have the patent translated so that the details of the product and the specifications covered by the patent can be described accurately. This will be a necessity in most countries where patent licensing is available for foreign products. The translation of the patent will become standard identification of the new protection offered by the patent agency once granted. This is important because without accurate translation, it may still be possible for the device or product design to be copied.

When do you need patent translation services?

Patent translation services are required whenever a developer or manufacturer seeks foreign patent protection. The original patent will be very specific to the design of the product and will be a unique identifier which must be translated accurately if it is to be approved for a foreign patent.

Patent translation costs

The cost of patent translation varies quite widely, dependent on the nature of the product or device, the language of the original patent and the length of the patent. Most professional patent translators charge by the word count. For an average patent translation of say, 8,000 words, that could amount to a minimum of $2,000 based on a charge of $0.25 (U.S.) per word. That might be more for more “difficult” languages like Korean, or less for more common international languages like German or French. The most expensive patent translation projects will be for medical patents, biotechnology, pharmaceutical items, basically all patents with very technical content.

The importance of quality translation services for patents

There is nothing to be gained by sidestepping the translation process for patents. For a start, your application for a patent will usually not be even considered by a foreign patent board or agency unless it is presented in the local, official language. Then, a poorly translated patent may be rejected as it is not good enough to meet the criteria for patents in the country where you have applied for patent protection in. 

It might seem just another expense which you would rather avoid, but in reality there is no other alternative than to use a quality patent translation service to deal with your patent translation.


If you have a unique design or product which you wish to protect and already have a patent in your country of origin, then you will want to apply for a patent for each country you want the product to be marketed in. To get a patent, and for the new patent to be understood clearly after issue, you should ensure you use a certified patent translation agency to translate your patent.