Patent translation: interview with InnovaLang

Here we share with our readers an interview with Federico Perotto, founder and sole director of InnovaLang, with whom LexTranslate partners for patent translation projects.


Federico: please tell us a few words about yourself

I am from Turin, and I have spent most of my time in the Piedmont mountains that I love. I graduated from the University of Turin in linguistics and later gained an EMBA at ESCP Europe. I teach patent language and translation in a Master’s degree in technical-scientific and legal-administrative translation classes, and I enjoy launching and managing a thousand ideas and initiatives… Among which InnovaLang is the most important!


How was the InnovaLang project born?

In 2001 I started as a freelance translator, actually working with a colleague on a translation agency project initially dedicated to the A/V domain; but since 2003 my contribution has focused on the patent sector, in which I specialized creating a separate business unit that in 2011 became independent under the InnovaLang brand, which stands precisely for Innovation in Languages and Language of Innovation, claiming from the name deep roots in the IP field.


What makes patent translation so special?

In patents we find a combination of specific technical-scientific jargon and features that typically belong to the legal-bureaucratic area of communication. Sets of “best option” terms must deal with stringent univocity, sector coherence and style preferences requirements: here, the translation should constitute a proper semantic cast of the source document. There must always be a 100% match between source document and translation: this is what makes our core business distinct. We rely upon the contribution of professionals specialized in various sectors and competent in all the languages we work with so that both the translation and the revision (quality control) that we thoroughly carry out is done to the highest quality.


How do you see the Italian and European market in this sector?

Thanks to the missed ratification to the London Agreement of 2008, which would have provided for the optionality of the translation into Italian of the European Patents’ validations at the UIBM (Italian Patent Office), the Italian market keeps growing, in line with the constant increase recorded for year on year patent applications to the EPO. As far as the European market is concerned, the Unitary Patent for various reasons does not seem, except in isolated cases, to constitute a valid alternative to the European Patent, and this has led to substantial stability in the translation market regarding English / German / French and from / to the languages of the countries that have not ratified the London Agreement, such as Italy and Spain. The competitiveness of other solutions, e.g. (for some products and industries only) the Utility Model, could in the future add interesting prospects to our market. All this however depending, in the medium-long term, on the post-Covid19 crisis which to some extent will affect the R&D budgets globally, and therefore the industrial property rights policies: we will probably see the first consequences by 2021.


What is the added value of experience in the legal patent field, when it comes to these translation projects?

Beyond the search for links between applied linguistics rules and instructions collected by a few IP firms’ clients, which in 2008 led me to publish the manual “La traduzione brevettuale” (The Patent Translation), and the drafting / filing of a utility model to understand how the sector worked from the inventor’s point of view, I would say that the training received at the Studio Aprà in Turin provided me with an awareness and perspective that neither from the linguistic side, nor from the engineering side alone, I could have obtained.


Do you have any anecdotes of your experiences to share?

My experience in this sector allowed me to have an in-depth knowledge about the subject matter and the needs of IP Attorneys to such an extent they believe that I, like most of them, am an engineer!


What suggestions would you give to young graduates who would like to follow in your footsteps or work with you?

Curiosity and intellectual openness certainly make the difference, but obviously motivation, humility and a strong propensity for continuous training cannot be missing, a principle that I apply to myself: in fact, at present, I am enrolling to attend the Master of Laws in Intellectual Property at the International Training Center of Turin.