A focus on quality is a “given” basic requirement when working with providers. Quality control assurances are a common mantra in marketing materials. However, how do you truly know the right procedures are implemented and functioning every day? It becomes more complicated with the translation industry. There are many different diplomas, degrees, and certifications a translator may obtain. A translator may be extremely qualified, with extensive experience and assured against errors and omissions. Even so, how can one ensure the daily workflow reflects this? Enter industry standards – an objective way to oversee that controls are effectively in place.
The ISO 9001 and the ISO 17100 are quality management systems designed to make sure that organizations meet certain standards and can best serve customers’ needs. There are many benefits to ISO certification, especially ISO 17100, which applies directly to translation services.
You may have heard of the ISO standard 9001, but the relatively new translation agency standard ISO 17100 applies specifically to translation industry procedures. This international standard replaces the European EN 15038. It is important to note, though, that it does not apply to machine translation or interpretation.
What does this mean? A translation provider with ISO credentials has annual independent audits performed to ensure efficient management operations. These objective evaluations benchmark the agency’s operations to see if they are correctly performed and, therefore, allow an organization to maintain their ISO certification.
One of the important pioneers of translation industry standards was the LISA organization. The Localization Industry Standards Association or LISA existed from 1990 to February 2011. The standards set by LISA raised the bar on translation memory management, term base management and the use of the XML authoring and localization framework. A focus on accuracy is the highlight of a LISA approved workflow. If a translator or agency has a LISA structured control in place, consistent quality should be expected.
GALA – the Globalization and Localization Association is a useful source of information and includes details about these standards on their site.
Something important to know (apart from the fact that your provider has quality controls in place) is what kind of quality control is used specifically. Look at your own organization and find out what you consider to be the important requirements to entrust a provider with your global message. An ISO certification or adherence to a LISA standard does not guarantee 100% perfection, but helps to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Terralingua Translations is an ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certified translation agency that has implemented an internal in-house evaluation program built on LISA standards. You can find out more and contact a local office at www.terralinguatranslations.com.