The importance of a standard to adhere to when working within the field of translation is impossible to overestimate, since working across different languages requires a firm grip on the process at every step of the way.

Without such a stylistic ballast, translators can very easily fall prey to the perennial ‘lost in translation’ problem.
This is why it’s important to appreciate the importance of working with ISO 17100 certified translation agencies, which is the latest industry standard that all translators need to be fully conversant in, and which first came into being on May 1, 2015. Here are some of the key points pertaining to this crucial standard within the translation industry.

First off: what is such certification for?
Standards in translation exist to monitor quality for translation companies. This is far from simply being an academic exercise: remember that certain industries and services value complete accuracy as a resource – in the case of the field of medicine, for example, a shakily translated term or instruction could actually become a life-or-death matter.

For this reason, the ISO 17100 certification is a marker of quality for translation agencies and a guarantee of excellence for clients who use them, since it strives to create a clear and traceable system of accreditation for all companies working in the field of translation.

Who’s behind it?
ISO 17100 certification was prepared by the International Standards Organization’s Technical Committee ISO/TC 37, and it uses the previous European standard, EN 15038, as a benchmark to build upon. Part of the logic of expanding on the EN 15038 European remit with this new certification is to create a system that could have a wider range and be confidently applied across international lines.

Officially, the ISO 17100 is defined by the same Committee as including,

“Provisions for translation service providers (TSPs) concerning the management of core processes, minimum qualification requirements, the availability and management of resources, and other actions necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service.”

Which aspects of translation does it cover?
As such, the ethos of the ISO 17100 certification is less about the intrinsic quality of the translations in and of themselves – i.e., whether an individual piece of translation reads well or scores highly on the accuracy chart – and more about ensuring that each necessary step of the process is being seen to by the entity in question.
In short, the certification places emphasis on the procedures that will ensure the translation process is as rigorous as can be. These include a crucial new emphasis on a second pair of eyes, as the translation will need to be seen by at least another qualified person who is not the original translator, before being handed over for review, proofreading and final verification, and then delivered to the client.

Polish up for greatness
Working with a ISO 17100 certified agency will not only ensure that you’re on the right professional track and keeping up with industry expectations. It also communicates this message loud and clear to your customers who, in this interconnected age where information is readily available at the click of a button – or the facility of a rapid Google search – will also be kept up to date with all the necessary standards before seeking out Translation Training services.
For this reason above all, trusting a certified translation agency that operates under this new standard may be the wisest business move you could make if you’re aiming to go global.