What is ISO 17100? Learn more about ISO’s requirements for translation services

If you’re researching to find the right language service provider (LSP) for your company, you may have seen references to ISO 17100. While this set of standards and or even a certification may be foreign to many businesses, it plays an important role in enforcing quality assurance and standardized protocols for businesses seeking out quality translation services.

An ISO 17100 certification is an excellent tool to help you identify credible, proven LSPs whose translation services have been vetted and approved by an independent party. Here’s a deeper look at this ISO standard and what it means for your business.

ISO 17100: The basics

ISO standards are developed and enforced by the International Organization for Standardization. This non-governmental organization is a leader in establishing global standards across a number of different industries. These standards play a central role in maintaining quality assurance for international business dealings.

The ISO 17100:2015 standard outlines “requirements for the core processes, resources, and other aspects necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service that meets applicable specifications.” 

Third-party organizations, like BSI, take the set of guidelines set forth within an ISO standard and audit companies’ practices against these standards. If their practices are compliant with whichever standard is audited, they in turn provide a certification demonstrating compliance with the ISO standard in question. This certification serves as a stamp of approval and validation that the company you’re vetting has done their due diligence to ensure quality standards are met throughout all their processes.

How translation clients benefit from an ISO 17100 certification

When you choose an ISO 17100-certified LSP to provide translations, you can have confidence in translations meeting important international standards and offering reliable, consistent translation performance. Errors and inconsistencies can delay delivering of translated materials, and even affect a client’s own business performance if poor translations lead to data errors, incorrect language in legal documents, or other potentially costly errors.

While compliance doesn’t guarantee perfect translations on its own, it offers insight into whether the translation provider you’re considering has a translation management system in place and qualified translation experts ready to deliver consistent quality in any translation projects you may request.

The limits of ISO 17100

While this certification is incredibly useful for businesses seeking out qualified translators, it’s important to understand what ISO 17100 represents, as well as what its scope excludes. As far as language services are concerned, businesses should consider ISO 17100 doesn’t apply to interpreters. If you’re in need of interpreting services, ISO 17100 certifications can help validate the credibility of an LSP that offers both translations and interpretations, but the certification is earned independent of interpreting services.

Similarly, while ISO 17100 is used to certify translation services, other ISO certifications are used to certify different aspects of a company’s services and operations. ISO 9001, for example, is a standard specific to the quality management systems in place at a company, which directly impacts customer satisfaction.

Remove risk from your LSP relationship

By choosing an LSP maintaining an ISO 17100 certification, you can be confident in the quality of your translation services and customer service you will receive from your translation partner. Don’t invite unnecessary risks by working with LSPs whose internal practices can’t stand up to the scrutiny of external auditing. 

Contact Protranslating today to learn more about our commitment to exceptional service.

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