Standards and Quality go hand in hand. You do not need standards to produce good quality, but to consistently deliver quality – to deliver sustained quality – you must adhere to the right standards!
Standards can be thought of as industry best practices. Things that have been tried and proven and become so important that they are deemed essential to delivering anything of substance and quality. Aside from quality, standards also help drive ethical practices and help draw a frame of reference around what is expected of specific members of an industry.
In our industry, there are several well-known entities that publish and administer standards for translation professionals. According to the ATA, here are 6 basic tenets covered by the ISO standards for translation services:
- Translating competence
- Linguistic and textual competence in the source and target languages
- Competence in research, information acquisition, and processing
- Cultural competence
- Technical competence
- Domain competence
Obviously this is a great list and a great start. Fortunately, the standards in this ISO doctrine goes deeper and provides much more guidance to members of the industry. There are several other well-known standards bodies as well. Here (in no particular order) is a quick list of some of the integral standards organizations for the translations industry:
- ISO Translation services (ISO 17100:2015)
- American translation-services standard (ASTM F2575-06)
- Language Industry Association of Canada (CAN CGSB 131.10)
- European quality standard (EN-15038)
And for good measure, 2 of the more essential organizations which focus on quality – not just for the translations industry, but applicable to almost any industry:
Buyer beware – a word of caution:
Just because someone pastes standards’ logos or doctrine on their website or publications does not mean they are ethical or able to produce great quality! Ask questions, dig deeper and get to know your translation partner! We (Foreign Translations) have been in business since 1998. We get that clients want a trusted, ethical partner. We encourage you to read our website, especially about us and our core values.
- ATA Chronicle “Three Crazy Ideas about Translation Standards”
- Wikipedia: “Translation-quality standards”