I just finished reading through a frightful exchange between a customer and a translator in regards to a job for the partial translation of a patent application. A few things scared me about the exchange:
1. The customer was expecting to find a translator who was fully versed in patent translation from Japanese to English and instead had his job picked up by someone like me, a general translator and probably a long-time lover of the the Japanese language with above average skill in translating Japanese to English.
2. From what I could tell from the exchange, the translator was not very well versed in patent translation which made it hard for him or her to respond to the customer's concerns and complaints.
The gap between the customer's expectations and the prowess of the translator in patent translation resulted in frustration on both sides. To the translator that fell prey to a demanding client, I just want to say don't take it too hard. I think we've all been there (at least I know I have); you do your best to complete a piece of work that may or may not be a within your expertise and client throws which results in all our work and time going straight down the drain. To be fair, there are no winners when this happens since the customer is left still waiting for someone else to try and pull Excaliber from the rock. After reading the discourse on the job page, however, I was not even tempted.
I believe that there may be certain kinds of translations that do not belong on Mygengo (at least not yet). There are companies that handle nothing but patent translations. They hire people with science degrees who end up doing nothing but patent translation for hours a day. They have access to great vaults of information on patent terminology and formatting to say nothing of their own experience in the field. How can we be expected to compete with specialists of that calibre? Well, without the proper professional development, I, personally speaking cannot . . . but maybe we can. Here is what I propose. Since I have been talking about patent translation, let's use this entry as a hub for collecting links to any useful patent translation site/resource we can come up with. This way, the next time one of us is in need of assistance, we will not have to scour the entire Googlescape to come up with some useful pointers for patent translation. Who is with me?
Japanese to English