What ISO 17100 means for you and your translations

What ISO 17100 means for you and your translations

What ISO 17100 means for you and your translations

If you’ve had a look around our website or social channels, you’ll know we talk about quality a lot. In fact, we’re a little fanatical about it, to be honest! We’re always looking for ways to improve and maintain our high standards when it comes to translation. That’s why we go the extra mile to keep our ISO accreditation. 

Our ISO accreditation essentially means you don’t have to take just our and our clients’ word for it when it comes to quality. We hold ourselves accountable to the high industry standard set by ISO in everything we create. 

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 upon by experts. They are the crème de la crème of process, backed up by the best in the business. 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 consistently high-quality translation services. 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?

Excuse us while we pat ourselves on the back for just a moment, because we’re particularly proud of this one. ISO 17100 is 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 look at how we establish, implement and monitor all policies, procedures, and working practices. It is a big undertaking, and that’s coming from a company that lives and breathes audits! The standards themselves are regularly reviewed to ensure that they represent up to date industry best practices. 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’ve now held this accreditation for the last 20 years.

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
  • Significant additional workload for internal staff
  • Delays to project timelines

It’s there to put your mind at ease, safe in the knowledge that our linguists are fully qualified and we have the best systems possible at our disposal, your 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?

While ISO 17100 results in a fairly all-encompassing reference for quality, there are a few specific areas that it looks at. These include:

Resources and people

This area focuses on how to assign people and other resources effectively to ensure the best possible performance. The standard establishes qualifications and professional competencies of the key roles involved in translation. To keep this up to date, it also requires the recording and regular maintenance of the necessary competencies.

>> 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

This area covers 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

This looks at processes used to complete the work, i.e. processes for proofreading, 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

This focuses all around capturing and applying feedback at the end of the project, ensuring the end result exactly meets requirements. The ISO 17100 standard encourages interaction with the client, wherever possible, 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 subsequently develop 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 they should be shouting about it from the rooftops! Seriously though, it’s something to be proud of, so the chances are it will be visible on their marketing materials and website. And, of course, if in doubt—ask. 

If your potential partner doesn’t have these accreditations, you may want to think about how you will ensure you get a quality result. Are there questions you can ask, or processes you can implement?

We consider ISO 17100 to be a critical ingredient to a successful translation partnership and it ultimately helps to protect you, the customer, from poor quality translations. It also assures accurate project scoping and continuous improvement. We’re proud to be both ISO 17100 and ISO 9001 accredited.

For more information about global strategy and ensuring high-quality translations, take a look at our guide: Kickstarting international growth with an effective translation and localisation strategy.

kickstart your translation strategy

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