The yearly meeting of the International Organization for Standardization’s Technical Committee 37 (ISO/TC 37) was held in Madrid on June 24–29. The committee is responsible for developing international standards for translation and interpreting. It was the first time GALA, with representatives in attendance, participated as a partner organization.
There are quite a few arguments in favor of introducing standards for translation and interpreting. First, they equip service providers with the work practices they need to provide high-quality service. Second, providers who publicly adhere to standards or can brandish a certificate of conformity stand out from the competition. That helps clients make smarter decisions when choosing a language partner and ultimately enjoy a better product.
While the language-services business has made major strides over the past few decades, before May 2012 it didn’t have a single global standard.
With that in mind, the ISO created a task force in 2007 to look at the translation and interpreting industry. The task force was set up under the aegis of ISO/TC 37 and included experts from a variety of standards organizations around the world.
Subcommittee 5, which handles standards for translation and interpreting, is working on four main projects:
— ISO 11669 (Guidance for Translation Projects), which was published in May 2012, lays out general guidelines for language suppliers and clients that let both sides agree on quality demands before getting down to business. It also includes recommendations for effective project management.
— ISO 17100 (Requirements for Translation Services), currently being developed, determines the minimum requirements for the processes and resources used by service providers. Once published, this standard will replace EN 15038 and establish globally accepted criteria for process quality in the translation industry.
— ISO 13611 (Guidelines for Community Interpreting), currently being developed, describes just a few of the situations that require interpreting, though it will be used as a basis on which to build an international standard for interpreting.
— Finally, there is a terminology task force doing its best to clearly define some of the industry’s basic concepts —
“translation,” “content,” “language-service provider,” “revision,” etc. Those definitions will be added to existing ISO standards and help both clients and suppliers speak the same language. Precise terminology will also simplify the negotiations held before signing language-service agreements in addition to helping sidestep misunderstandings with respect to quality.
ISO/TC 37 delegates get together every year to discuss tricky issues and keep ongoing projects moving forward.
Madrid in 2012 saw GALA representatives Serge Gladkoff (president of Logrus International and GALA standards director) and Demid Tishin (CEO at All Correct) make significant contributions to 17100, 13611, and 14080 (the latter was discontinued by the ISO/TC 37 participating countries). The GALA delegates added to the technical expertise they offered by bringing insightful comments and valuable additions to the table, most of which were included in the projects’ latest versions. Among other questions being discussed with regard to the 17100 standard, the GALA representatives raised the issue of whether editing all translated materials with the help of a dedicated specialist is a required step on the path to top quality or if other techniques could be as effective (for example, strictly selecting translators according to their skills in addition to doing random quality checks and using a fully automated quality-control system). GALA plans to run a study aimed at gathering a consensus within the association and larger community with regard to that issue.
Demid Tishin on the ISO/TC 37 meeting: “The Madrid meeting was light years ahead of last year’s event in Seoul. Firstly, GALA was involved in the discussions. We saw a new mechanism for taking into account what leading translation companies around the world think about what industry standards should look like. Secondly, an official terminology group was set up, something that will help eliminate disagreements on what words like ‘translation,’ ‘editing,’ and so on mean. Thirdly, more delegates were able to make it to Madrid than were in Seoul. We had enough manpower to split into teams and get more done. No less important, however, was that the 14080 project, which hadn’t been enjoying much success, was dropped in favor of focusing on the 17100 standard and getting it ready to publish.”
You can purchase the ISO 11669 standard here.
Click here to go to the ISO/TC 37 homepage.
The All Correct Group, which was founded in 2006, is headquartered in Ireland, while its production office is in Samara to go along with an additional office in Tolyatti. The company’s mission is to offer its clients the translations to and from Russian they need for their businesses.
The All Correct Group plays a role developing translation and localization standards as part of ISO, GALA, and IGDA, and is also an associate member of the Union of Translators of Russia as well as GALA.