30 October 2012
Last Thursday, the EPO released the second batch of languages automatically translated from and into English via the Patent Translate service on our Espacenet website. The new languages are: Danish, Dutch, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish. This means that half of the 28 European languages included in the programme are now available, with full coverage scheduled for 2014. In addition, the first Asian languages will become available in the next few months.
Patent Translate was launched on 29 February 2012 with seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish. Since then, the number of connections to the new service has steadily increased, to a current daily average of 20 000. An important feature of the system is that translation requests are automatically anonymised, so their origin cannot be traced. The EPO only records the languages used: unsurprisingly, the most popular language pair at present is statistically German-English.
The success of Patent Translate is not only a source of pride to us; more importantly, it is essential to the continuous improvement of the system. Because of the specific technology provided by Google, the more the service is used by the public, the better it becomes. In effect, it is trained by its users, in an ongoing process which has already led to quality improvements for the first batch of languages launched in February of this year.
For the EPO, this four-year programme has a major significance, which more than justifies the efforts required to set up the service and make it available free of charge to our users. Patent Translate fits perfectly with our strategic focus on facilitating access to patent information. It also exemplifies our fruitful cooperation with a range of partners, in particular the national patent offices of the European Patent Network.
I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who has contributed to the Patent Translate project, as part of the continuous improvement of our services.