"Best Practice - Patent Translations for Procter Gamble"
solutions Best Practice - Patent Translations for Procter & Gamble Because of the highly sensitive content and the specialized knowledge required, patent translation often causes great expenses. When translating patents for Procter & Gamble, MultiLing shows how costs can be reduced while improving quality. photo: Multiling 20 NOVEMBER 2006 solutions By Michael Sneddon knowledge of the source and target use of translation memory technology a translation request arises, MultiLing languages, patent translators must when translating patents for interna- staff is automatically informed and can With research facilities in North Amer- have specialized, technical education tional filings would be a mistake; a 10 immediately start the translation proc- ica, Europe, and Asia, Procter & Gam- and experience in the subject area, as to 20 percent reuse still represents sig- ess. MultiLing also brought its own ble spends billions of dollars annually well as knowledge of patent law and nificant savings. project management technology to inventing new procedures, chemical correct legal terminology. This skill set In addition, translation technology is the table: GoldenEye®. By accessing compounds, and products such as is rare, and therefore, labor costs are useful not only for translation, but also GoldenEye, anywhere in the world at soaps, detergents, cleaners, and cos- high. for terminology management. Proper any time, day or night, P&G staff can metics. In order to protect the fruits Patent law firms have been slow to management of terminology allows quickly check the status of projects, of its research, P&G invests heavily in adopt new technology. For example, for the consistent use of the correct easily track progress, and verify deliv- writing, filing, and prosecuting pat- these firms often translate directly terminology by all translators. During ery. ents. These official documents protect from hardcopy documents, which are translation, this technology presents The coordinated efforts of MultiL- the owner from competitors seeking transferred by courier or by fax, rather terminology automatically to transla- ing and P&G reversed the rising cost to copy his intellectual property and than using more efficient electronic tors, reducing interruptions and im- trends of the vendor’s patent transla- give him a monopoly for a certain pe- transfer of files and translation mem- proving their productivity. Also, while tion process. Specifically, this new, riod of time. In exchange he shares his ory technology that require the use of continuously advancing the linguistic completely re-engineered process new discovery with the world. electronic files. Using scores of local portion, the quality of the translations has: Documenting inventions, writing pat- law firms required P&G to manage and improves over time. Finally, translation Reduced administrative, mainte- ents that describe and protect these track everything, adding to the com- memory technology can preserve for- nance, and data handling costs inventions, and filing these patents in pany’s administrative overhead. matting codes and layout information, Shortened turnaround time through foreign countries are complex tasks reducing the time a desktop publisher leverage of previous translations that require the work of specialists, Saving costs by reusing content needs to ensure that the translated Reduced risk of errors (by eliminat- both technical and legal. Translating Investigating translation companies document looks as professional as the ing the human factor from routine patents for foreign filings is a part of included research into what enabling source document. Therefore, the use operations) this process and presents its own com- technologies are used and how these of translation technology improves Preserved the consistency, format- plexity. translation companies have imple- productivity and quality and reduces ting, and integrity of documents Over ten years ago, P&G noticed that mented this technology into their costs throughout the entire translation Established automated schedule its external costs for international pat- processes. Today, every competent and multilingual publishing process. compliance ent filing were increasing dramati- translation company uses translation Established reliable control over cally. The largest component of that memory technology, which allows Continuous process improvements quality increase was the cost of translation. the reuse of previously translated text By consolidating its patent transla- Eliminated complexity P&G was filing hundreds of patents when producing publication quality tion providers to a few vendors, and As a result, more patents are being annually in over twenty different translations. This should not be con- working with MultiLing to streamline filed internationally at significant sav- countries and costs were escalating in fused with “machine translation,” which its internal processes, P&G found it ings to P&G, with higher quality and a dramatic fashion. So the challenge gives a rough idea of content and can could not only reduce its translation less burden on its staff. was to either slow down the increase be helpful for information purposes costs and improve quality, but it could in costs, or better yet, decrease costs. only. substantially reduce its internal admin- After analyzing the situation, P&G re- It is true that the reuse of text in patent istrative costs as well. contact alized that its translation process was translations is not found as frequently To their credit, the P&G staff respon- not uniform and required a complete as in technical documents. While sible for the process change treated investigation and reassessment. The some technical documents may re- MultiLing as an integrated, long-term company decided to review options use more than 80 percent, the reuse partner, whose expertise was valued, for translating patents rather than re- of text for patents may range from 10 rather than as a fungible vendor. lying only on its in-country patent law to 20 percent, depending on volumes Through sharing responsibility for firms, who invoiced for patent transla- within specific domains. One reason joint-processes, MultiLing and P&G tions as part of a separate profit center. for this is that the source language for worked together to streamline com- The importance and the sensitivity of patents is specialized to the invention munication and coordination proce- Michael V. Sneddon is President the text to be translated makes it easy being described. After all, each inven- dures between the two companies, and CEO of MultiLing Corporation, for law firms to justify their high fees tion eligible for patentability is, by defi- including fully sharing all information. a multi-national language services for patent translations. nition, unique. Another reason is that Eventually, MultiLing received online and technology company head- The reality is that most translators sentences in patents are often long access to P&G’s patent information, quartered in the United States. lack the skill set required to translate and complex, reducing opportunities eliminating the need for P&G staff to email@example.com patents for international filings. Why for reuse. However, given the high vol- notify MultiLing when a patent was www.multiling.com is this? In addition to having a perfect umes required by P&G, neglecting the ready for production. Now, as soon as NOVEMBER 2006 21