ISO Standards in the Translation Industry

The massive growth and evolution of the language industry has created a need for standardization of content translation. As a result, the International Organization for Standardization, ISO, has come up with standards governing the quality of translations.

Translation quality is vital in the medical, legal, accounting, and IP fields, where poor quality translation can cause business loss or even death (mainly in the medical field).

In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about ISO standards in the translation industry. Let’s get started.

What’s the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)?

ISO is an international nongovernmental organization that brings together various national standards bodies to help develop and publish a wide range of commercial, proprietary, and industrial standards. These standards play a critical role in fostering quality assurance in international dealings.

Typically, ISO is not an acronym for this organization but a name derived from the ancient Greek word, isos, which means equivalent or equal. Practically, this organization would have different acronyms in different languages, and for purposes of universal recognition, the founders decided to go by the name ISO.

This organization, launched in 1947, plays a key role in facilitating international trade by laying down common standards among different countries to ensure that products and services are of good quality, safe and reliable for consumers.

The Specifics of the Translation Industry’s ISO 17100

ISO 17100 is the internationally recognized standard governing the translation industry. This standard establishes and defines the criteria for providing translation services. It covers all the aspects of the translation process that directly affect the quality and delivery of the translation service, such as human and technological resources.

This ISO standard requires that all translation service providers (TSP) perform at least two key steps:

  • Translation: This is where the translator translates the content and then reviews it.
  • Revision: Here, the translated content is reviewed by another translator. The translator compares the translated content to the original piece and makes any necessary corrections.

The Road to ISO 17100

ISO 17100 certification means that the company abides by all the standards set toward the delivery of quality translation services that meet the client and industry requirements. The ISO 17100 certification process follows three major steps:

  1. Initial Assessment

This’s the first stage where the company gets in touch with the relevant ISO authorities in the area to book an assessment.

Upon assessment, the ISO auditor identifies all the areas of non-compliance and recommends points of improvement to meet the requirements.

The auditor then gathers all the relevant information to prepare or compile a manual.

  1. Writing of Manual

The second process in the ISO 17100 certification process is the compilation of a manual. Here all the compulsory procedures are included alongside the company’s current business procedures.

  1. Presentation of Certification

Once the company meets all the established requirements (resources, pre-production, production, and post-production), the manual is presented before an ISO committee, and once everything is approved, the ISO 17100 certificate is issued. The company is now certified and can use the certification mark on its website and stationery.

The ISO 17100 certification process takes approximately between 6-8 weeks. This certification is valid for a period of three years, after which the company needs to recertify that it operates at the prevailing standards in the industry.

What ISO Certification Means for Translation Buyers

  • If a translation services provider is ISO-certified, you can trust they’ve reached a higher level of compliance with standards that lead to a more stringent, professional, and accurate translation product.
  • It assures clients that the company employs a well-trained and qualified human team of translators and interpreters who handle their tasks in the most professional way possible.
  • Certification heightens motivation and morale among employees because they follow defined procedures and processes in handling tasks, and this translates into higher-quality work.
  • It promotes international deals because by following the laid down standards, the content is translated without losing its original meaning, which is vital in industries such as medicine, legal, and accounting, to mention a few.

As the need for translation services increases globally, translation quality and accuracy can’t be overlooked. The ISO parameters ensure a company’s translations adhere to well-defined, reiterative processes of output and revision aimed at a higher quality level.

So, next time you’re looking for translation services, be sure to check that your translation service provider is ISO 17100 certified.

Contact us today for quality, professional, and affordable translation services that are ISO 17100 certified.

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