Examiners may consult the translators in the Translations Service Center of the Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) for oral assistance in translating foreign patents or literature that are possible references for an application being examined. Examiners may also request human (written) translations of pertinent portions of references being considered for citation or already cited in applications. See MPEP § 901.06(a), STIC Services – Translations, and MPEP § 903.03, Availability of Foreign Patents.
Examiners may request human (written) translations at any point in the examination process, at the discretion of the individual examiner, but are encouraged to use oral assistance, language reference resources, and machine translations where possible in the early phases of examination. See MPEP § 2120. Examiners can request human (written) translations, or machine translations, by submitting an online request using the Translations Request Form available through STIC’s NPL website on the USPTO intranet. Examiners should check the box for either a human (written) translation or machine translation. The Translations Service Center uses email as the sole delivery method for human (written) translations. The STIC maintains a listing of available machine translations tools on its website https://usptogov.sharepoint.com/sites/09cdab00/.
Examiners may also contact in-house translators directly via phone or email. To obtain immediate oral and partial human (written) translations, Examiners may walk-in to the Translations Service Center and meet directly with a Translator.
Equivalent versions of foreign specifications, that is, members of the same patent family, are often available in English or other languages known to the examiner. In addition, copies of previously translated documents are stored in the Translations Service Center. Before any translation request is processed, the staff of the Translations Service Center checks for equivalents or previous translations. The staff of STIC’s Foreign Patent and Scientific Literature Service Center or the Translations Service Center can assist examiners in locating equivalents or abstracts. See MPEP § 901.06(a), STIC Services – Foreign Patent Services.