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An ATA Professional Development Event
Presented by the American Translators Association
and the National Capital Area Chapter of ATA

Patent Translation Seminar
Doubletree Crystal City     Arlington, VA     June 17-18, 2006

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Take advantage of special Early-Bird rates available until June 9.


Earn up to 8 CEPs for the ATA Certification Program. LEARN MORE


An ATA certification exam sitting will be held on Sunday, June 18. This will be a standard exam, not specialty-specific.


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Abstracts & Bios

Practical Aspects of Patent Translation

This presentation will look at the practical aspects of patent translation, including an introduction of the documents an average translator is likely to see and how to figure out their place in the patent process. The speaker will illustrate how to determine the intended use of the translation, which to some extent will determine the formatting and style of that translation, as well as how to search for, download, and print reference documents from the various patent office websites. During a brief discussion of the set phrases that occur in almost all patent translations, the speaker will examine texts most often used in the major patent languages. A large portion of this presentation will be dedicated to explaining a practical procedure for drafting and revising a patent translation.

Tom Clark is a freelance translator in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has been translating German and French patents, among other things, for more years than he cares to admit. He also taught German and French translation at the University of Pittsburgh from 1985-1999.


A Glimpse into the Workings of an In-house Patent Translation Department

This presentation will provide a brief history of a patent translation department within one of the country's oldest and leading intellectual property law firms. The speakers will discuss how the department was formed, its greatest successes and failures, especially with regard to the introduction of technology and networked translation memories, and the recruiting and training of talented patent translators. This presentation will also provide an overview of the procedures and techniques used in translating each patent or patent application and how to leverage the expertise of colleagues both in a team environment and in freelance patent translation practices as well. The second half of the presentation will be dedicated to the state of the department today and the greatest challenges that it will face in the future. This segment will also include a reflection on the recruitment of new talent and thus will address the question of what it takes to be an effective translator in this environment.

Suzanne Gagliardi is an ATA-certified (German- and French-into-English) independent translator specializing in patent translation. She holds a B.A. from Colgate University and has completed translation studies in France, Austria, and Germany. After working as a translator in the chemical and banking industry in Frankfurt and for a German microscope manufacturer in New York, she became the translation coordinator for Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, where, over the course of 15 years, she had the responsibility of translating or of overseeing the translation of thousands of patent applications. She has also appeared as a guest lecturer at the New York University Certificate in Translation program.

Hans-Jakob Wilhelm, Ph.D., a native of East Germany, holds an M.A. in German literature and a Ph.D. in philosophy from McGill University. Translating mainly from German into English, his experience ranges from corporate design and marketing to technology, science, and philosophy, and his translation work in these fields has resulted in a number of book publications. In 2004, he joined the patent translation team at the intellectual property law firm Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, where he recently assumed the role of translation coordinator. He also teaches philosophy as an adjunct professor at The New School in New York City.


Techniques for Preparing Exact, Literal, or Mirror Translations

This presentation will identify the situations in which varying degrees of literalness are required, as well as the gray areas where there is some debate. A literal translation technique based on a "conservation of lexemes" will be described, together with a discussion of "equivalent phrasing" and how to choose between the two approaches. The speaker will touch on common pitfalls in literal translations and how to avoid them, as well as tips for adding translators' notes to literal translations and how to deal with amendments.

Martin Cross began his career in translation 20 years ago as an in-house editor of Japanese-to-English patent translations. He has since worked as a translator and translation editor for law firms and translation agencies in Japan, Italy, and France, translating from the languages of all three countries. In 1997, he founded Patent Translations Inc., which provides translations of patents in Japanese, Chinese, German, French, and Russian. He now spends a lot of his time training translators and editors in patent convention and patentese.


Patent Translation Handbook: A Progress Report

A multi-author book about the translation of patents into English from languages other than Japanese has been in development since 2002. Progress on this complex project has been slow but steady, and completion is now in sight. This session will summarize the book's contents, introduce several of the authors, and give seminar participants an opportunity to ask questions about the work and its purpose.

Nick Hartmann began working full-time as an independent technical and scientific translator in 1984, and now specializes in translating patents and related documents, as well as other technical material, for corporate clients and law firms in the U.S. and Europe. He was elected to ATA's Board of Directors in 2004. Prior to this, he served the Association as director and secretary, as administrator of the Science and Technology Division, and as a member of the Client Education, Science and Technology Information, and Terminology Committees, and The ATA Chronicle editorial board. He is ATA-certified (French>English, German>English, and Italian>English).


The Hitchhiking Translator's Guide to the Intellectual Property Galaxy

This presentation will provide an overview of intellectual property law and the major issues in its three primary categories—patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Using examples taken from actual court decisions in the United States and Europe, the speaker will examine what can be protected by intellectual property rights and what those rights entail. Particular attention will be paid to language issues that form an integral part of intellectual property law, such as the abililty to protect a trademarked brand name and exclusive rights over particular usages of language itself in copyright. The presentation will also consider the role of multilingualism in intellectual property cases that may be of special interest to linguists and translators.

Richard L. Creech is the proprietor of Esquire Language Services and provides foreign language services to the legal community, including assistance with document review projects and the translation of patents and other legal materials. In addition to being a translator, he is an attorney and language scholar whose career has focused on the interaction of legal and linguistic systems. He has a bachelor's degree in linguistics from Harvard University, a juris doctorate degree from the Northwestern University School of Law, and a master's degree in international and European law from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He has authored several published works on the relationship between language and law and has given frequent talks on this subject in Europe, Australia, and the United States.


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