I have just received a fax from OHIM's fax Department. It is in Spanish. Why am I so pleased. I don't read Spanish. I can cope with French and German but my Spanish is limited to the strictly survival variety. However, when dealing with an opposition matter I had to send a communication in Spanish. I wrote it in English and translated it using a very cheap SYSTRAN product. It was not an entirely straightforward submission so it was good news when the response came back indicating that my submissions had been understood and acted upon.
However, a little later the same day I sent a fax in English. It was only partially received at OHIM and because they had received a fax from me in Spanish just minutes earlier, they sent the Spanish fax transmission failure notice. Now I am pleased not only because that shows initiative and a positive attempt to be helpful on the part of OHIM's guardians of the fax machines, but also that my machine translation passed the test of appearing to be written by a Spanish speaker.
Hopefully, the increasing availability of machine translation will not only help SOLO practitioners be linguists but also help the wider profession solve the impasse facing the community patent. It won't help with oral proceedings but they are only a small element of any patent case.