Currently, only about one in every hundred translation companies worldwide has successfully completed the certification process.
We are proud to be among them.
When you place a purchase order with a translation agency, you assume that the provider will complete the project flawlessly and perfectly. You realize that a premium-quality translation will increase the value of your product, while a poor-quality translation can damage your company’s reputation or ruin your personal reputation, not to mention translations of medical texts, where incorrect terminology or misinterpreted instructions can be a matter of life and death.
It is true that finding the right language service provider can be quite nerve-racking, especially if you don’t have a native speaker on hand who can quickly check that the translations meet your expectations.
This is one of the reasons that there is so much talk about the various certifications and accreditations in the translation industry today. In addition to the recommendations and references of satisfied customers, they represent another tool which translation agencies can use to support their prestige and prove to clients that they are the best partners to turn to with translation requests.
Although anyone can register and be licensed as a translator, we have professional associations and organizations. In the Czech Republic, these include the Association of Czech Translation Agencies, of which we are a proud member, and the Chamber of Court Interpreters.
And just as we have our organizations, we also have a standard dedicated to the quality of translation services – ISO 17100. You may not have heard of it, but it has been around for some time now! We have only relatively recently been certified.
The international standard ISO 17100 was introduced in May 2015, and it is based on the European standard EN 15038, which it further develops. It includes new provisions on the qualifications of translators and project managers, on obtaining customer feedback, on data protection, on technical and technological resources, etc.
So why should certification serve as a guarantee of a higher level of quality when compared with non-certified providers?
- The standard particularly focuses on human resources and sets strict criteria for the selection of translators and proofreaders (reviewers) with whom we work – they not only need to have the necessary qualifications at a university level or long-term, full-time professional translation experience, but they also need to present, for example, sufficient cultural or technical competences. This means that they should, for instance, know the name of the lady who has held the British throne for more than 67 years, or know how far they can travel if they fill up their car with 5 gallons of diesel fuel. As regards their technical skills, translator candidates need to be advanced users of Memsource, a CAT tool that we use to process our translation projects.
Therefore, our team does not include any students or au-pairs who have just returned from England and, though they may have perfect spoken English, will undertake the translations of contracts or technical documentation. Our employees need to not only have proper qualifications, but also continue in their development and training. They grow both professionally and in terms of productivity.
- ISO 17100 precisely defines the steps for each translation project stage – including the analysis and processing of inquiries by project managers, identifying the best possible vendor, running quality assurance processes, and the final checks and approval before delivery. Multiple checks before finalization eliminate translation errors and subsequent complaints from customers.
We believe that adhering to this established framework increases customers’ trust in our services and reassures them of the quality they are getting for their money.
- The standard requires that translation service providers set up a system for archiving projects and ensure due data protection.
- Another significant part of the translation process, collecting customer feedback, cannot be forgotten.
We ask our customers how satisfied they are both with individual projects and also by using regular satisfaction questionnaires. We understand that satisfied customers remain loyal and will come back to us, and good relationships with our clients are of the utmost importance to us. We aren’t ashamed to say that we share any positive feedback not only within the team, but also with our other customers, in the form of references.
So these are, in a nutshell, the main aspects of ISO 17100 that we consider most relevant in improving the quality of our translation services, and owing to which we decided to undergo this complex certification procedure.
Author: Irena Šotková
Comment this post