Translators: Worldwide standard on services

International Standard ISO 17100 harmonizes quality criteria for translation service providers

Vienna (AS prm, 09.07.2015)

The new International Standard ISO 17100 on translation services was issued recently. At the same time, it was published as a European standard and, as a result, taken over as ÖNORM EN ISO 17100 into the Austrian body of standards. Hence, it supersedes the existing standard ÖNORM EN 15038.

The standard defines requirements for resources and processes ensuring high-quality translation services. It allows service providers of any size to demonstrate the conformity of specified translation services and the performance of their processes and resources in line with applicable specifications. These may be defined by the customer or in relevant industry codes, best-practice guides, or legislation.

The standard does not apply to interpretation services or the use of raw output from machine translation.

Requirements for translation service providers

ISO 17100 replaces EN 15038 and, like the latter standard, defines the requirements to be met by translation service providers (TSPs) with regard to personnel and technical resources, quality and project management, contractual framework conditions and processes for rendering services.

The changes essentially relate to new defintions, the exclusion of stylistic requirements and the addition of graphs illustrating, for example, the translation work flow.

From the perspective of a global sector like translation services, the new standard has clear advantages. "While the previous standard was also accepted and applied outside Europe, but the new ISO 17100 now offers a globally valid reference describing the state of the art for translation services for the first time," explains Dr. Peter Jonas who is responsible for certification at Austrian Standards.

In line with the Vienna Agreement that is to prevent duplication in International (ISO) and European standards (CEN), the ISO standard was also adopted as a European standard.

Certification of translation service providers

Since the introduction of EN 15038 at the latest, certification has become an important opportunity for translation service providers to evidence the quality of their services and has increased in significance as a differentiation in global competition.

As the two standards EN 15038 and ISO 17100 are virtually identical in contents, little changes with regard to certificates. Certificates issued under EN 15038 were generally converted into ISO 17100 certificates and remain valid.


ÖNORM EN ISO 17100 Translation services -- Requirements for translation services