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Google To Translate European Patents 53

An anonymous reader writes "Internet search company Google Inc on Tuesday said it has signed a deal with the European Patent Office (EPO) to use the company's technology to translate patents into 29 European languages that will pave the way for a simplified European patent system. Google's deal, which comes after years of infighting, is expected to make it easier for inventors and scientists from across the continent to access information on patents with the EPO that has 38 member countries."
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Google To Translate European Patents

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  • Coming to a continent near you!

  • by 2phar ( 137027 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:10AM (#34415116)
    The EU requirement to translate all its business into every language of every member state isn't something that makes me think simplicity!
    • And which is the 'original' language (given that translation can be a bit tricky)?

      In the States, for example, some contracts--and not to say that patents are any sort of contract; but to draw a parallel to something where competing versions might differ and become subject to a matter for the courts, who would need a single point of reference--are translated to Spanish, but include a clause that states, more or less, "In the case of conflict between this contract and any translated version, the English vers
      • The situation in Europe is a bit more complex, but not quite the way you imagined.

        The EU is not a single jurisdiction, in fact quite the contrary. Despite the common misunderstanding the supranational cooperation only extends so far, the EU is not a federal state. The member nations are sovereign and the courts operate in the national language(s).

        The EU itself has to offer translations of its documents in all of the official languages of the member nations, however the same does not apply to any of the memb

    • No, but they key word was democracy.

      Access to official information in your native language is a democratic right [where your language is the official language of said member country of the European Union].

  • Some background data (Score:4, Informative)

    by geegel ( 1587009 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:35AM (#34415194)

    The official EPO release: link [epo.org]

    The EU Commission policy that started it all: link [europa.eu]

    • Patent 1010101

      Dear Aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all, and method for manufacturing same.

  • by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:36AM (#34415198) Journal
    They will inevitably end up with mistranslations like 'computer chips' that become 'las papas fritas con sal de la computadora'. I wonder if they can uphold a patent with these kinds of errors...
    • I was going to say, Google translate is ANYTHING but accurate. My wife (who's Japanese) laughs at some of the things Google comes up with...

    • by Motard ( 1553251 )

      They will inevitably end up with mistranslations like 'computer chips' that become 'las papas fritas con sal de la computadora'. I wonder if they can uphold a patent with these kinds of errors...

      Translated from English to Japanaese and back again...

      Japanese to English translation
      The present invention, the method to handle comprises four main way is to write data to the database: one to form the bit encoding is compact and efficient than) to link the file to the file and manipulate data files ready to receive additional data; 3) files above to determine the physical memory address potential for data files, comprehensive sufficiently arbitrary memory is divided into blocks of data are By optimizing available memory space of the media, and 2) to form a single memory medium overall data structure with pointers to link a file, all the physical memory space yet to be fully To take full advantage of search in order to allow all the data required to read the small, 4), wherein the lookup table to generate a block dotted with references to the table is added to track physical disk location-related data is needed to read. The invention further system, the method above, so you can write a fixed-size memory media can be used in the database to another computer system, running on the computer system database that contains the first comprising said that, memory access speed, as is reducing the computing power required to obtain such information density of information that is stored in memory media, to increase still enhanced .

      Actually, I think it's slightly easier to comprehend now.

    • That example is especially funny since in European Spanish, computer isn't "computadora" but "ordenador".

    • Yes, but that would make the patent more readable. It might even make the patent valid!

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:47AM (#34415244) Homepage

    It is not easy for me to follow my company's patents when they deal with technologies we use and I am familiar with. I am sure automatically translated versions would be pretty much incomprehensible.

  • Riiiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timmmm ( 636430 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @06:56AM (#34415280)

    I wonder if they can translate US patents into English...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if they can translate US patents into English...

      Sure, they'll just add the letter 'u' to the word "color".

  • that they've filled a patent for this technology?
  • by fremsley471 ( 792813 ) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @07:47AM (#34415500)
    Christ, I know it's futile to complain about the summaries, but "Internet search company Google Inc"! Glad I wasn't confused by all the other Googles out there. Any article that feels it has to explain who Google are doesn't really improve the SNR here. Huge chunks of the 7 billion people on this planet won't know what Google do, but they're unlikely to be getting their news online.
  • Patents should only be enforceable if official versions are available to product developers in a language of the developer's country.

    Machine translations will not be considered official, so product developers will have to avoid infringing the original (official) patent which is in some other language. If machine translations are truly there for information purposes only, then that's harmless, but in all proposals so far, machine translations have been proposed because foreign language patents will become e

    • Patents are only enforceable in the country in which they are filed. The language doesn't matter. You are complaining about a problem that does not exist.
      • Y'd think!

        What you describe is the current situation, but the European Commission has been working on a Community Patent since 2000 which will be published officially only in English and would be valid across the whole EU (of if they don't get agreement on that, it will be opt-in, and 25 out of 27 countries have indicated they'd opt-in). Human translations to French and German would be made (of all or part of the patent), and machine translations for the other 26 languages.

        So, there will be a law in Spain,

  • I'm going to patent a hovercraft for transporting eels.

  • Is there a patent on translating patents?
  • There are plenty of machine translation conferences/shared tasks going on that are targeting patent translation (e.g. PatentMT - http://ntcir.nii.ac.jp/PatentMT/ [nii.ac.jp]). Instead of just handing this patent task to Google, why didn't the European Commission host an MT shared task and give a prize to the winner? There are a lot of decent systems being designed by universities and research laboratories, especially in Europe. Oh, well, at least the European Commission is starting to adopt machine translation.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.