There are many translation companies certified by the ISO 9011 standard and/or that have adopted the procedures determined by European Standard EN 15038. As of May 1, 2015, ISO 1700 standard has replaced the latter and is now the new quality standard internationally recognized and aimed at all language service providers, including freelance translators. Basically, it defines the requirements for procedures, resources and other aspects necessary for providing a quality translation service, in line with the best professional practices.
Some translation companies have already adopted the new standard but this is still somewhat rare among freelance translators. The certification process can be expensive and requires a great deal of effort, but it also brings significant benefits, as adopting some of the required measures can and should actually contribute to improving administrative, safety, quality and continuous professional development procedures. As a participant in one of the discussion panels in ELIA Together 2016, Anna Hoffmeister, a consultant at docConsult GmbH, one of the companies that has the power to grant this certification, advised freelance translators not to be afraid of the paperwork or effort involved in this certification process. Ana believes that many freelancers will already have implemented many of the procedures required by this certification in their usual work routine. Take the example of a more cautious professional that keeps his work organized so that someone else can take over, in case of illness or emergency.
So, among other aspects, a freelance translator that is certified by this standard will have:
- Suitable qualifications to pursue this career: these qualifications may be a recognized academic background in translation studies, granted by an accredited higher education institution, higher education in another field and a minimum of two years full-time professional experience as a translator or, if they have no higher level of education, they should have proven professional experience of at least five years in the translation field.
- A system that enables them to keep efficient and effective records of all work done, assuring its confidentiality, archiving, storage, access or document deletion, whenever necessary.
- Computer equipment, including both hardware and software, communication technologies and CAT tools that optimize terminology management tasks and other linguistic matters.
- A way to assure that all translations are revised by a second qualified professional.
In a field that fights so hard for professional accreditation, I for one can’t help but wonder if this could be the way.