Why IPTranslator?

Machine Translation: faster, cheaper, and consistent

What is the difference between machine translation vs. manual translation when translating a 10 page patent document from Chinese into English?


Machine Translation is not designed to replace professional translation but there are many cases where costly and time-consuming manual translation is simply not necessary.

Translation for information purposes such as during patent searches are ideal for machine translation. The same document can be translated in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost! Machine translation can always be reviewed and corrected where necessary to improve readability and deliver to clients.

IPTranslator Features

  • Software adapted specifically for patent translation
  • Highly accurate patent terminology translation
  • Preservation of critical information such as chemical names
  • 18 translation pairs supported, including Chinese, German, and Japanese
  • Support for common file formats – including PDFs with OCR
  • Only pay for what you need to translate
  • Translate patent full texts in less than 15 minutes
  • Translate multiple files at the same time
  • Safe, secure, and confidential translation

Coming Soon! Request a professional translation / revision of your MT through our translator partner

Supported Languages

English <> French       French <> English
English <> Spanish       Spanish <> English
English <> German       German <> English
English <> Portuguese       Portuguese <> English
English <> Simplified Chinese       Simplified Chinese <> English
English <> Traditional Chinese       Traditional Chinese <> English
English <> Korean       Korean <> English
English <> Russian       Russian <> English
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Hints and Tips!

Machine Translation does not always produce perfect translations and we are not trying to imply that it does. However, understanding the limits and the capabilities of the technology will help you to get the most out of our service. Check out our pro tips below to help you better understand what’s happening.

Better Quality Input = Better Quality Translation

Machine Translation assumes that the input, regardless of the language, is correct in terms of spelling, formatting, etc. If this is not the case, there will be an negative impact on the quality of the translation. A common source of trouble with MT are documents than have gone through OCR (optical character recognition). These documents typically contain mistakes and result is poorer MT output.

Tip! Only translate PDFs as a last resort. If you can find the text in another format, e.g. in Espacenet, copy and paste it into a Word document and use that for translation.

Machine Translation and PDFs

IPTranslator developed the ability to translate PDFs because it is a service that has not previously been available for patent information. As we advise above, PDFs should only be used as a last resort. However, it is important to note that there are actually two types of PDF: image-based and text-based. Image-based PDFs should be used as a last resort but text-based PDFs are fine. This article by Paul Filkin explains why: PDFs explained.

Tip! If you can highlight and copy the text in a PDF document, it is not image-based and is OK for machine translation.

Not All Translations Are Equal

Without an understanding of what’s happening under the hood, MT can be a frustrating technology. You will not always get consistent quality across different documents and the biggest contributor to this, for domain-adapted MT, is the language pair involved. In a nutshell, some languages are easier for MT than others.

As a rule of thumb, the closer two languages are in terms of the order of the words, the better the machine translations will be. For example, if you translate a chemical patent from French into English, there is a good chance it will be more actionable than a similar Japanese to English translation. We have written about this extensively in our Language Challenges Series blog.

Tip! Set your expectations based on languages. Typically (but not always!) MT between European (particularly Romance) languages will be better than MT for Asian languages.

All Is Not Lost!

Machine Translation is not perfect and, sometimes, it is simply not effective. This could be due to a specific patent document being particularly difficult and, perhaps, less suitable for MT. This might not apply to the whole document, however. Just because the specification or title is poorly translated does not mean that all of the claims are poorly translated.

You can still save time and money overall by only sending lower quality machine translations to your translation service provider. Our clients find that things typically balance out over the course of a given period and that savings are consistently made.

Tip! Try another document. Domain-adapted machine translation can be an effective tool so don’t rule it out based on a small sample size.