What ISO 17100 means for you and your translations

If you’ve looked around our website, you’ll have seen us talking about quality a lot. We are fanatical about it. That’s why we go the extra mile to maintain our ISO accreditation. That way you don’t have to take just ours, and our clients’ word for it. We hold ourselves accountable to the high industry standard set by ISO. Here is a little more about what those letters mean and how it impacts the work we can do for you.

What is ISO?

ISO standards are internationally agreed by experts. As the organisation explains: “Think of them as a formula that describes the best way of doing something”. It specifies the steps a company needs to take to deliver a consistently high-quality translation service. This includes how to:

● Establish core processes required to deliver the service to the highest standard
● Train translators and other suppliers
● Manage people involved in the delivery of the service
● Use technology effectively

Comtec has the ISO 17100 standard, but what does that mean?

This is something we’re particularly proud of. It’s one of the highest standards in translation and we were one of the first translation companies to achieve it. To qualify we had to undergo an initial rigorous assessment with ongoing annual audits, which looked at how we establish, implement and monitor all policies, procedures, and working practices. The standards themselves are regularly reviewed to ensure that they represent up to date industry best practice. As such, we are also regularly assessed to make sure we’re keeping up.

We are also ISO 9001 accredited. This is the general quality accreditation for translation businesses that existed before ISO 17100. We have now had this accreditation for over 20 years and were one of the first translation companies to get the new ISO 17100 accreditation when it was first released back in 2006.

Why does it matter to me?

ISO 17100 helps to protect you (the customer) from poor translations which can result in:
● Errors being picked up by employees or customers
● Incorrect information being circulated – potentially very damaging if there is a legal or regulatory impact
● The significant additional workload of internal staff
● Delays to project timelines

This puts your mind at ease knowing that our linguists are fully qualified, we have the best systems possible, our documents are securely stored and rigorous standards are continually being assessed and met. It allows us to promise high-quality translations for all our projects.

How did you get accredited?

There are a few key areas that the ISO 17100 looks at. These include:

Resources & People

How to assign people and other resources effectively to ensure the best possible performance. The standard establishes qualifications and professional competences of the key roles involved in translation. To keep this up to date it also requires the recording and regular maintenance of the required competences.

>> Your benefit: This ensures that you know that everyone involved in your project is appropriately qualified and their expertise is suited to your particular project.

Pre-production

How to effectively set up projects, i.e. contracts, quoting and project scoping.
This includes:
● Requirements for handling requests for quotes, enquiries and assessment
● Requirements for the agreement between the client and the translation company
● Handling of project-related client information
● Administrative activities
● Technical aspects of project preparation
● Linguistic specification
● Any other relevant factors

>> Your benefit: This ensures that all necessary information is collected to provide a comprehensive quote and clear scope for the project.

Production

Processes used to complete the work, i.e. processes for proof-reading, revision and verification. There are a variety of different stages involved in a translation project. This section determines the standards for elements such as project management, completion of sample translation, translation, proofreading and client reviews.

>> Your benefit: This ensures that the quality is checked from both a language and content accuracy perspective.

Post-production

Capturing and applying feedback at the end of the project, ensuring the end result exactly meets requirements. The ISO 17100 standard encourages interaction wherever possible with the client to collect feedback and close off projects in a consistent and comprehensive manner to capture all necessary learnings.

>> Your benefit: All feedback and lessons learnt are incorporated into future projects. We have a culture of continuous improvement.

How to find out if your translation partner has ISO accreditation and what to do if they don’t

If a supplier is accredited, then it should be visible on their marketing materials and website. They should be proud to shout about it from the rooftops, so it’s likely they’ll let you know.

If your potential partner doesn’t have these accreditations, then think about how you will ensure you get a quality result.

We consider ISO 17100 to be a critical element of a high-quality translation partner and it ultimately helps to protect you, the customer, from poor quality translations. It also provides assurance of accurate project scoping and continuous improvement. We’re proud to be both ISO 17100 and ISO 9001 accredited.

Get in touch or download our checklist to help you shortlist your translation partner.

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