ISO Certified

What is ISO, and Why Should I Work with a Translation Agency That is ISO Certified?

You’ve probably come across disclaimers like these below. But what do they mean?

”Company XYZ is ISO 14000 and ISO 22000 certified.” or ”Our bank is recognised and certified for ISO/IEC 27001.”

If you plan to work with a translation company, should they be ISO certified? Is an ISO-certified translation service better than its non-ISO counterparts? Let’s answer all these questions.

What Is ISO?

ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) is a non-governmental organisation comprising multiple national bodies. The organisation develops industrial, commercial, and proprietary standards for different industries.

Besides publishing these standards, the organisation also produces technical updates, guides, technical specifications, and reports. The ISO covers virtually every field, from security and food safety to manufacturing and healthcare. Simply put, there’s a standard for every industry, including translation services.

What Does It Mean to Be ISO Certified?

An organisation gets ISO certification when it meets the standards published for the company’s industry.

For example, the standard for translation services is ISO 27001:2015. Therefore, a professional translation service must comply with the guidelines in this standard.

A translation service provider that implements these processes and systems into its business can become ISO certified if it meets the organisation’s list of procedures. You cannot self-proclaim to be an ISO-certified translation service agency.

Instead, the ISO assigns an auditor to your business. In the first assessment, the ISO will give you a written report. It will contain all shortcomings in your current business procedures you need to overcome.

The auditor will help you ensure compliance. They will also guide you through the process to prepare you for the second assessment. In the second assessment, the auditor will visit your business for a final standard establishment. After that, the ISO will decide if you are qualified or not.

Which ISO Certifications Should a Translation Agency Have?

When you work with a professional translation service provider, you’re entrusting them with your confidential information. For example, you’ll have to share sensitive information if you need a legal translation.

The same applies to healthcare, marketing etc. So, it’s crucial to ensure the translation agency is ISO certified.

A professional translation agency that operates within the United Kingdom and provides language translation services globally can get three different types of ISO certificates. Here’s what they imply.

ISO 17100:2015

ISO 17100:2015 is a must-have for translation agencies. It provides requirements for resources and core processes in the translation industry. An agency that complies with this standard is equipped to meet your expectations. It will also follow the best practices for your business and follow relevant industry codes.

Note that the ISO standard does not encompass interpreting services. It also does not cover machine translation, even when post-edited.

ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001:2015 is not strictly for translation services but is an add-on. It specifies requirements for maintaining a quality management system. Companies with this certification can provide high-quality products and services consistently.

The standard covers topics like:

  • Requirements for a quality management system, such as process interactions and planning
  • Management responsibilities
  • Resource management
  • Internal audits and preventions

Rest assured, if you get translation services from an agency with this standard, you can expect the highest level of quality.

ISO 27001:2013

Like any other sector, translation services providers also focus on data security. After all, we deal with personal and sensitive information. That’s where ISO 27001:2013 comes in. It pertains to information security management systems, providing companies with guidance on maintaining and implementing such systems.

A translation agency that conforms with this standard has a system to manage data security risks. The company also complies with the best principles for information security per international standards.

ISO 27001:2013 explains three information security principles, also called the CIA triad.

  • Confidentiality: Only authorised individuals can access the information a company holds.
  • Information Integrity:The data an organisation uses for business purposes is stored reliably. It is neither damaged nor erased.
  • Data Availability: An organisation and its clients can access data whenever they need to ensure business processes run smoothly.

Why Should You Work With an ISO-Certified Translation Company?

Translations are essential to many businesses, including legal firms, financial services, healthcare, marketing, e-commerce, etc.

Besides everyday collaboration, translations are also required for curating marketing messages. Many businesses also need accurate translations to communicate with customers and so much more.

So, when selecting the best professional translation service provider for your business, remember to look for ISO certification. Here’s why.

High-Quality Service

Getting ISO certified requires a lot of toil – financial and personnel. If a translation agency has made an effort to go through that, you can expect good service from them.

Also, compliance with ISO standards means they’re already working according to internationally accepted levels of quality.

Information Security

A lot of information you share with a translation agency can be highly sensitive. The translation agency you hire may have records of your personal information, healthcare records, legal details, company contracts, mergers and acquisitions details, financial data, etc. Working with a translation company that stores and safeguards this data appropriately is essential. The agency should also be fully transparent with how it uses your information.

Peace of Mind

The last thing you want is for a professional translation service provider to make your job harder. For instance, what if a legal translation service provider gets the nuances wrong and lands you in deep trouble? What if a marketing translation service provider conveys an offensive or awkward message to your global audience?

Working with an ISO-certified translation service eliminates these risks. The ISO puts companies through strict assessments before giving them any certification. So, you can rest easy knowing someone has already done the background check for you.

The Takeaway

When you work with a professional translation service agency, check for ISO certification on their website. If you see no trace of it, ask about it during the initial consultation.

ISO certification ensures high-quality translation and information security. Plus, it saves you the time and effort of putting multiple services to the test before selecting one.