On January 26, 2023, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) opened applications to the 2023 round of its PCT Fellowship Program for Graduate Students, with the goal of providing training and on-the-job experience.
WIPO, a self-funding agency of the United Nations, administers 26 international treaties related to international property (IP) protection. These include the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which enables applicants to file just one “international” patent application to patent an invention simultaneously in numerous countries.
For a sense of scale, in 2020, WIPO sought outside translation providers for French, German, Russian, and Spanish to English translation of patent abstracts and patentability reports — work expected to total 26 million words.
PCT Translation Division staff provide guidance during the Fellowship program, which generally lasts at least three months and takes place on site at WIPO’s Geneva, Switzerland headquarters. Fellows receive a monthly stipend of CHF 5,000 (USD 5,410).
The program consists of three types of Fellowship positions, and candidates may apply for more than one type of position, via separate applications, if they meet the requirements.
Terminology fellows will create terminology entries for the PCT Termbase and publication in WIPO’s multilingual terminology portal, WIPO Pearl. Native speakers of Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, with excellent knowledge of English, are welcome to apply.
For 2023, WIPO wants translation fellows to translate patent abstracts and patent examination documents from Japanese into English — no other language combinations.
Translation technology fellows will work in either English or French as they learn how to use and support systems for translation, terminology management, and machine translation (WIPO uses its own MT tool, WIPO Translate).
While all candidates must be current or recent graduates of Master’s or PhD programs, the relevant subject matter varies.
Terminology and translation fellows might pursue degrees in terminology, translation, a related linguistic discipline, or a technical field (provided their linguistic ability is strong).
Translation technology fellows, on the other hand, should ideally study translation technology, translation, or a related linguistic discipline with a translation tech component or in a technical field (e.g., computational linguistics or IT).
Following an initial screening, shortlisted candidates will take either a terminology, translation, or aptitude test, depending on their selected track.
The application deadline is February 26, 2023, and WIPO will inform all applicants of their application status by May 1, 2023. Candidates can also register in advance to participate in information sessions about the Fellowship program, led by members of WIPO’s PCT Translation Division, scheduled for February 7, 2023, and February 8, 2023.