Since I’ve started working in the language industry in 2014, I’ve learned that language translation services not only help brands grow and increase their revenue. They also help brands make a difference in the world. And with that comes great responsibility for the translation output the localization companies deliver.
I’ve heard so many times that talking about quality is overrated. And yet, because of the responsibility coming with translation and localization services, The International Organization for Standarization (ISO) created a set of rules for translation and localization services companies, called ISO 17100:2015 Translation services — Requirements for translation services.
They did this to ensure the accuracy of translation delivered by the translation agencies and also excellent user experience for customers that actually get to use the translated content.
There are certain industries and services that accuracy of the translated content is crucial for people’s safety, like in medicine for example. Your customers’ lives are at stake when it comes to content connected to treatment, clinical trials, medication and so on. It also applies to other industries too. A great and safe user experience is always to consider when it comes to product content translation.
When you choose your translation provider, regardless of your content type, make sure they are ISO 17100 certified.
This certificate does not mean just the quality checks. This is a regulation that sets high standards for translation companies in terms of their process. To ensure accurate translation, a localization company needs to have a rigorous process in place and people adhering to it as thoroughly as possible. Before your translation is delivered to you, there’s a whole set of steps to be taken to ensure the quality is as expected or better. A revision performed by another qualified person is one of the standard procedures guaranteed by the ISO 17100 certification. And it should be a standard procedure at any translation agency worth its salt.
Striving to meet and exceed the expectations implied by the certification, your translation agency should also be working on constantly improving and innovating their processes to make sure they deliver a translation that will help you offer your customers an excellent and safe experience.
We live in the AI era, where machine learning and machine translation are not sci-fi topics anymore. Big tech companies invest in the development and use of machine translation and we can see it progressing on a daily basis.
In response to that, The ISO produced a new standard for translation companies, called ISO 18587, Translation Services – Post-editing of machine translation output – Requirements. This is a very specific set of rules for post-editing of machine translation output.
The focus has been shifted from translators (who work under the ISO 17100 regulation, of course), to post-editors. They have to possess the same qualifications as the translators, this does not change. Your translation agency that you partner up with, has to be able to prove their post-editors’ qualifications as stated in the regulations.
There’s also a very specific distinction between light and full post-editing. Depending on the content, you might need machine translation that delivers you a product comparable with human translation or you might need a text that is easily comprehensible, but not comparable to human translation outcome. Of course, then you are guaranteed the quality provided by the post-editors that, as mentioned before, are as qualified as the translators. Your content will not be lost in translation.
Your translation company’s professionals must also have, as a rule, full knowledge and understanding of the CAT tools and terminology management systems. Your machine translation output has to be handled by fully skilled and experienced linguists with expertise in the translation tools and procedures to ensure all the measures for quality delivered are taken. That’s why the ISO 18587 requires the content to be processed by the CAT tools to first be pre-edited by a professional.
As you know, there are many stages of a translation and localization process. And each stage is regulated by specific requirements to make sure your content meets the linguistic and cultural requirements, provides excellent user experience to your customer and makes the difference in the world by offering access to proper, accurate and clear information to anyone anywhere in any language of your choosing.
It’s your decision, as always, to choose a translation agency that you like. Just please remember to keep it safe. That’s what the ISO standards in the translation and localization industry are for.