Why ISO 17100 is crucial for translation

Accuracy and consistency are so important when you’re looking for a translation provider, and even more so for technical translations. But it’s difficult to check and compare quality levels, especially if you don’t have native speakers in-house. That’s why certification – and particularly ISO 17100 – is so valuable in giving you the reassurance you need.

ISO 17100 is an international quality standard specifically for the translation industry. It states the requirements for every aspect of the translation process, including:

  • How core processes are managed
  • The minimum qualifications for each person involved
  • The availability and management of resources
  • Data protection and confidentiality

Ultimately, when a translation provider has ISO 17100 certification, it shows they’re capable of meeting industry codes, best-practice guides and legislation, as well as your own specifications.

Let’s look at some of the other benefits this standard brings…

Easy to understand the process and compare providers

Often, language service providers and freelance translators use their own terms to describe the steps in a translation workflow, which can be confusing. ISO 17100 provides a glossary that standardises the terminology used. This simplifies things when you’re communicating with ISO-compliant translation providers and ensures you can easily compare potential suppliers like-for-like.

Entrust your translations to qualified linguists and project managers

For a translation provider to achieve ISO 17100, everyone on the project team must meet its criteria for qualifications and expertise, including project managers, translators, revisers and reviewers. This is checked and verified during the certification process by an independent auditor so you can be confident you’re working with competent subject experts.

Clearly defined quality assurance at every stage

Approved systems and processes

One of the most important aspects of ISO 17100 certification is that compliant companies must show that their business and quality assurance processes are in line with the standard. It puts an emphasis on the translation process being as rigorous as possible, so the resulting work is of the best quality.

Agreement in advance

In the latest release of the ISO 17100 standard, there’s an increased focus on the pre-production stage. It underscores that the success of translation projects is down to strong collaboration between clients and providers. A high-quality provider will take a consultative approach to ensure they’re answering your challenges and have everything they need from you before beginning work. This includes agreeing elements such as the quality of the target text and the use of style guides.

An exacting translation process

When it comes to the translation process itself, ISO 17100 defines clear steps that must be followed. These include:

  • Translation (including a check by the translator themself)
  • Revision (this must be done by a second qualified linguist)
  • Review (an optional but important step to assess the translation against agreed objectives)
  • Proofreading (an optional, but we believe essential, pre-publication check)
  • Final verification

As different translators complete the translation and revision stages, and a qualified manager coordinates and scrutinises the project, the margin for error is significantly reduced. The standard also demands that client feedback is collated on the translation itself and the overall service, which further boosts quality levels.

Protection for your files

To be compliant with ISO 17100, language providers must use a fully traceable system that enables your files to be safely backed up, archived and easily retrieved. So you can be sure the work on your project won’t be lost. The standard also stresses that current data protection requirements must be met. This is particularly relevant if your translations are confidential and involve sensitive information.

A stamp of quality for highly regulated industries

ISO 17100 is so valuable in ensuring the quality of output and service for translation projects that it’s often one of the essential criteria in RFPs. This is especially important in sectors that are highly regulated themselves, such as the manufacturing or pharmaceutical industries.

In-depth auditing and continual monitoring

It goes without saying that securing ISO 17100 certification is not at all easy. It involves stringent auditing by an independent body to ensure your systems, processes, service, employees and suppliers meet the requirements. And these elements are monitored on an on-going basis.

We’re pleased to say we have ISO 17100, so you can be fully confident in the quality of our work and service. If you’d like to find out more or chat about your next translation project, we’d love to hear from you.

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