Tag Archives: quality control

The Importance of Quality Standards

The Importance of Quality Standards

The Importance of Quality StandardsIt has been said that translation is more of an art than a science. Though aspects of translation require craftsmanship, the procedures and protocols of carrying out quality work have important parameters. When selecting a translation partner, you want to ensure quality standards and protocols are in place but how can you insure this?

ISO 9001 and 17100

One method for ensuring quality is to look for a partner who has obtained an ISO certification. The International Organization for Standardization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. Two certifications which apply to the translation industry are the 9001 and the 17100.

Many are aware of the ISO 9001 which is an international standard of a quality management system. A quality management system (QMS) is a set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution in the core business area of an organization. Production, development and service protocols impact an organization’s ability to meet customer requirements.

The ISO 17100 is a new internationally recognized standard for the translation industry which addresses requirements related to the essential processes for providing quality translations services including the capabilities of the company’s resources. Machine translation and interpretation protocols are not included in 17100.

The 17100 not only evaluates an efficient management system but also assesses file security, staff development and general working practices. An independent ISO audit is required to maintain and ensure adherence to these specifications.


The Localization Industry Standards Association or LISA was an organization based on standards created to address the translation of computer software into different languages. Though LISA is no longer an active organization, their work still drives many translation and localization standards. Adobe, IBM, Cisco, HP and Xerox were members. LISA represented its partners at the International Organization for Standardization. The Termbase eXchange (TBX) was developed by LISA, which became an ISO standard. Many LISA standards are used by the OASIS Open Architecture of XML Authoring and Localization.

LISA’s quality control system involves a series of ratings. There is a scoring system with levels set for translation style, accuracy, consistency and language rules. LISA is also used during the localization process. Localization applies to adapting websites, apps, videogames and other translated texts to fit a target audience’s culture and style.

QA the QA

Though these are a few standard control systems that translation companies rely upon, they are not the only ones in use. A thorough question and answer assessment of a translation provider about their quality assurance will uncover the protocols and procedures in place to ensure your company receives quality deliverables.


Terralingua is an ISO 9001 and 17100 certified professional translation agency utilizing LISA standards. If you would like to know more about our services, or you need help with a translation project, please visit our website for further details.

Quality Control - “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”

Quality Control – “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”

Quality Control - “Is Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?”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.