When choosing a translation partner, you’ll be looking for reassurance that you have selected a safe pair of hands. It can be a nerve-wracking job to find the right provider, especially if you don’t have in-house native speakers to check that translations are accurate.
That’s why providers like ourselves make a big song and dance about our accreditations and certifications. In the absence of a recommendation from a trusted colleague or peer, these stamps of approval and badges of honour are the next best thing.
Although the translation industry is unregulated, we do have our own professional organisations. They include amongst others, the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), the Institute of Translating and Interpreting (ITI), and the American Translators Association (ATA) in the US.
As well as professional bodies, we also have our own ISO standard. ISO 17100 may not sound very glamorous but it’s ours!
Why you should check for ISO 17100
This international standard ensures that accredited translation services providers work to approved quality management systems. It also ensures that those involved in a translation project – project managers, translators, revisers, proofreaders and reviewers – are qualified and meet specific criteria.
This means you can have greater trust in the process; an independent auditor has certified that our translations are translated by subject experts, revised by subject experts and checked by us. Additionally, the qualifications and expertise of our suppliers has been independently checked and verified.
The processes that come under scrutiny include:
- Translation – by qualified translators. Translators will check their own work for accuracy and consistency.
- Revision – a second pair of eyes. A reviser (not the translator) who compares the source and target text and checks for errors and any other issues.
- Review – this is an optional step in ISO 17100 but one that we certainly do anyway. The focus here is on ensuring that the translation output is appropriate for the agreed purpose and domain.
- Proofreading – another optional step, but vital in our opinion.
- Final verification – as it says, the last check before a final version is delivered to the client ensuring that the translation is aligned with its objectives, target market and domain.
- Naturally to obtain ISO 17100 you have to jump through a lot of hoops. That’s why we like to highlight our certification and welcome any compliments for achieving it – it takes time and a lot of internal assessments, but it’s well worth it.
You may also notice that many translation providers have ISO 9001, another quality management standard. This is not a unique standard for the translation industry and is mainly about management systems, rather than setting out minimum quality standards for translation, but it’s definitely one to add to your list of ‘must haves’.
This is because it’s relevant to the service industry and how our quality management systems are aligned with your needs. It focuses on ensuring we understand our customers’ requirements and our services and products are designed to meet them. ISO 9001 also looks for continuous improvement, which means that we are constantly looking for ways to deliver a better service for our clients.
Guess what? We’ve got both ISO 17100 and ISO 9001 so you can tick those off your list if you’re comparing different providers. We’ve also got ISO 14001, which helps us manage the environmental impact of our business and we’ll soon be working towards ISO 18587 (the quality standard for the post editing of machine translation) when the draft is approved.
So we’re kind of ISO-ed up to the hilt here at Geo Languages. These Quality Assurance standards are important, so however dull they may sound, they ensure that our services are optimised for quality. Quality in translation terms means accuracy and consistency, and this is essential for any successful translation project.
If you want to know more about our quality management system and how we ensure high quality translations for clients across a wide range of sectors, please get in touch.