What is a certified translation company?

There are numerous ways to standardize work practices, even translations! Yes, a translation provider can comply with ISO 17100, which standards were released in 2015. What sets a certified translation company apart from a regular one and what exactly must they comply with? Here are a few aspects of this certification.

ISO 17100, a standard worth complying with!

Certified translation services ensure clients that the same processes will be applied regarding their work, and that these processes are both verifiable and traceable. While this compliance can benefit any type of client, it is especially important for certain sensitive industries, for whom precision and exactness of language and/or confidentiality and data security are paramount.

While the scope of the standard does not cover the quality of the actual translation itself, it defines all the translation processes that support this output, including the resources, management, technology use, as well as pre- and post-translation processes.

ISO-certified translation companies work within a frame that sets all the necessary building blocks for providing a quality service.

About resources

ISO 17100 provides very specific guidelines for human resources involved in the process, whether translators, linguists, project managers, reviewers, proofreaders or localization engineers.

ISO-certified translation companies can only hire or contract resources that meet or exceed specifications, thus ensuring of their competence.

In order to comply with ISO 17100 standards, resources must provide documented evidence that they meet at least one of these criteria:

• A graduate qualification in translation from a higher learning institution
• A graduate qualification from a higher learning institution in a related field and at least two years of full-time translation experience
• Five years of full-time translation experience
• A certificate in translation from a government body.

Furthermore, the same competencies and qualifications must be possessed by revisers and reviewers, who should additionally demonstrate revision experience. Project managers should possess appropriate competence, whether acquired as part of formal or informal training, in order to support the translation process. They should also acquire an understanding and knowledge of the translation industry and processes.

About technology

The translation standard additionally frames all the technical and technological resources required to carry out translation projects.

This includes any technical equipment, communication equipment, hardware and software, information resources and media, as well as specifically translation-related tool, for instance translation management systems and terminology systems. All of these belong to an infrastructure which must be both available and usable.

The proper treatment of technological equipment is not only related to the translation-specific tasks, but also to the “safe and confidential handling, storage, retrieval, archiving and disposal of all relevant data and documents ”.

Translation providers have must have a process in place for ensuring the security and safe keeping of all client-related information.

About processes

There are three steps to a translation project according to ISO 17100: pre-production, production and post-production.

Pre-production: Analyzing clients’ inquiries and assessing their feasibility. Providing a detailed quotation, and finalizing a written agreement, including all the terms and conditions.

Production: Apart for the translation itself, which has to be carried out according to established terminology and style rules, the production process implies many specifications. Translation projects must be coordinated by a project manager, and translators have to check their own work. Furthermore, at least one revision step -performed by another resource than the translator- is mandatory, and includes the comparison between the text in the source and target language.

Post-production: Receiving the client feedback and making appropriate corrections. Finally, a process must be in place to archive the project and meet any legal obligations.

Why choose an ISO 17100 translation provider?

There are many reasons why selecting an ISO-certified translation partner is the right choice. First and foremost, certified companies are held to a higher standard. All the conditions for delivering excellent translation services are put in place.

Choosing a certified company also means predictability and reliability, since all the steps are clearly defined and documented, agreements have to signed and all conditions must be made clear in advance.

Additionally, the required feedback is an important step, as customer satisfaction and constant improvement are two main goals.