Peculiarities of Patent Translation

Translating patent and patent applications, specialists face a peculiar “patent language” that has been influenced by certain procedures of patent draft and grant. First of all, it includes a wide usage of clichés and set phrases, abundance of synonyms and cases of tautology, as well as words that have a fully different meaning in patents from those indicated in dictionaries. Also, translators should not forget about archaisms and bureaucratic items.

Set phrases and clichés must be used in accordance with a part of patent they occur in. It is clear that there are different clichés for beginning, main part and concluding part of every sentence. As for synonyms, there are two groups of them. The first group includes words that become synonymous only in phrases, while the second embraces words, synonymous relations of which do not depend upon their linguistic encirclement. Regardless of the group, these words must be paid a great attention from translators while rendering them into a foreign language.

Another interesting moment is tautology. For English patents, it is a normal thing that two words with approximately the same meaning are used together to describe a situation in a more precise way. When rendering into the Russian language, these cases must be omitted, because Russian avoids such cases of repetition.

Also, translators encounter problems of polysemantic words while translating patents from English into Russian. The fact is that it is difficult to separately determine a meaning of such a word. Only context, linguistic environment of this word, and grammatical constructions it is used in can help to find a real and correct meaning. There are cases, when one and the same word has totally different meanings in two consequent sentences since it was used within different phrases.

The usage of archaisms and bureaucratic items in patents is predetermined by their structure as well as a wide variety of appendices and drawings. These words are difficult to translate even if one has a dictionary. That is why patents must be translated only by highly educated and experienced specialists. And finally, English patents abound with grammatical constructions from the first person, which must be rendered with the help of impersonal sentences in the Russian language.

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