ISO 17100 Quality Standard Requirements for Translation Services

ISO 17100:2015 supersedes UNE-EN 15038:2006.

The ISO 17100 Quality Standard ‘includes 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.’ A translation service provider is a person or organization that provides professional translation services.

The ISO 17100:2015 International Quality Standard 'specifies requirements for all aspects of the translation process directly affecting the quality and delivery of translation services:'

  • Resources. The standard establishes qualifications and professional competences of translators, revisers (bilingual editors), reviewers (monolingual editors), project managers, etc. And it requires recording regular maintenance and updating of required competences.
  • Pre-production processes and activities. The standard details the requirements for handling requests for quotation, enquiry and feasibility assessment, the agreement between the client and the translation company, handling project-related client information, administrative activities, technical aspects of project preparation, linguistic specification, and other relevant factors.
  • Production process. The different stages of the production process are discussed: translation service project management, document translation and check by a professional translator, in-depth revision by a second linguist (bilingual editing), review (monolingual editing by domain specialists) and proofreading (target language content revision and correction before printing) when the client hires any of these two value added services, and the final verification and release of the translation by a qualified project manager.
  • Post-production processes. Unlike UNE EN 15038, the ISO 17100 quality standard highlights the importance of interacting with the client, both in the initial translation services agreement where all the special features of the project are gathered, and in managing possible modifications, claims, feedback, customer satisfaction assessment and closing administration.

Translation + independent revision (bilingual editing)

As with the previous UNE EN-15038 Quality Standard, the most important feature of the IS0 17100 Quality Standard is the definition of the translation process, in which the translation is just one of the steps of the process and does not guarantee quality if no revision by a second translator is carried out, as well as the precise definition of the professional abilities of each of the participants in the the translation process, principally the translators, revisers and translation project managers. Translators’ required competences defined in the ISO 17100 standard include translation competence, linguistic and textual competence in the source and the target language, competence in research, information acquisition, and processing, cultural competence, technical competence, and domain competence.

Any translation service under ISO 17100:2015 must include, as a minimum, translation and revision (bilingual editing).

  • Translation. A translator with the appropriate competences translates the documents and after finalising the initial translation, checks his/her own work.
  • Revision (bilingual editing). Another person other than the translator revises the translation. The standard defines revision as a ‘bilingual examination of target language content against source language content for its suitability for the agreed purpose.’

Professional competences of translators and revisers

The quality standard obliges translation company to work exclusively with translators who can provide documentary proof that they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • a recognised graduate qualification in translation from an institution of higher education;
  • a recognised graduate qualification in any other field from an institution of higher education plus two years of full-time professional experience in translating;
  • five years of full-time professional experience in translating.

Translation degrees have different names in different countries. This could be considered as ‘Linguistic Studies’, ‘Modern Languages’, etc.

The revisers or bilingual editors, as well as meeting one of the three aforementioned criteria, must have experience in translation or revision in the specialisation field in which they are conducting the revision.

LinguaVox is a certified translation company with offices in Europe and the USA.