2 March 2012

Google Launches New Translation Service With EPO

This week, the European Patent Office (EPO) launched a patent translation service in association with Google. The new machine translation service, called Patent Translate, is free and enables translation from and to English for French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish, covering 90% of all patents issued in Europe.

The service can now be accessed online via Espacenet or the EPO Publication Server.  All you have to do is find the text you want translated, click the appropriate button and you obtain a translation.  Obviously the quality of the translation will be the key to its success.

The EPO and Google have cooperated for just under a year, and the launch of this service is the culmination of the first stage of that project.  The EPO heralds the arrival of the new service as “a landmark towards the removal of language barriers worldwide from patent documentation”.  Given the size and breadth of the information contained in the EPO’s patent library, the new service certainly is a useful tool for businesses and innovators to identify and understand relevant patent documents in their own language.  From a research perspective, benefit will also be seen as it will now be much easier to access the huge amount of technical information to be found in the EPO’s patent library.

The translations are based on the Google translate system, and the cooperation between the two parties has reportedly led to a significant improvement in the quality of the machine translation of patents.  Part of the joint project has involved the EPO providing several hundred thousand high quality translations of patents in the seven languages which Google then used to “train” its translate system.

More languages are scheduled for introduction into the service, leading to the project’s completion by the end of 2014, by which time all 32 EPO languages will be included as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian