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Ensure Translation Quality With an ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services-Certified Approach

ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services (International Organization for Standardization) certificate is issued to agencies that comply with the specified requirements for all aspects of the translation process. These requirements include provisions for translation service providers (TSPs) concerning the management of core processes, resources, qualification requirements, and other actions necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service.


ISO 17100:2015 Translation ServicesUnfortunately “quality assurance” is often part of the translation process that is overlooked versus turnaround time or speed.  In many cases clients’ first questions for translation providers is ‘how fast you can turn this around’ and they tend to choose the provider who can provide the fastest delivery. The fact is they never considered this may compromise the quality, which will cause more damage than delivering the translation late. Quality issues often follow when they choose the speedy provider.  Quality assurance steps should never be skipped and the requirements for ISO 17100:2015 certification provide very solid guidelines for translation companies to follow in order to better ensure providing quality translations. So how can a translation company ensure their quality complies with ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services certification?


A. Resources

Any qualified translation agency should have a documented process for resource selection and qualification. At the end of the day, it is the professionals that complete the translation and proofreading that are ultimately responsible for the quality of a translation.  No tools or processes can replace the proper selection of a qualified team of experienced translators.

Translators recruited and selected must have the proper level of education and must be native speakers of the language into which they translate. At GPI for example, translators must go through a three-part testing process before they are qualified to work with GPI:


  1. General translation test
  2. Subject matter test (e.g., legal, medical, or telephony)
  3. Technical proficiency test


All translators and translation teams, whether in-house or virtual, utilize translation memory management tools (TM), execute nondisclosure agreements, and perform work in accordance with GPI’s Quality Assurance Procedures and Security Policies and Procedures (SPP). Here, the language team not only refers to the translator who performs the translation, but also the reviewer and editor with whom they perform the complete set of tasks called TEP (translation, editing and proofreading).


GPI’s translation teams must submit a signed QA checklist upon completion of a translation, editing and/or proofreading (TEP) task. This helps translators and editors keep an “attention to detail” mindset when performing translations AND allows translation project managers to check that no steps were skipped in the translation process. In addition, if a client has any quality assurance steps or preferred workflows, GPI can incorporate these steps into our ISO-complaint translation process.


B. Translation Pre-Production Process

Quality assurance actually needs to start before the translation step.  Before the actual translation begins, tasks such as analysis of source files, quote generation, client communications to collect all requirements, project preparation, assignment of teams and any technical aspects of a translation project must be handled well to ensure a project gets off to a good start.

For the pre-production process, one important item is to analyze the client’s inquiry in order to identify the client’s exact specifications and requirements. This determines what team is needed to complete the translation and of course allows the translation agency to correctly scope and budget the work for a quotation before entering the project launch.

The pre-production process should also identify any technical capability or steps needed such as content analysis, file preparation, utilizing translation memory, terminology database selection, etc.


C. Production Process

During the production process, the translation team for sure has the core responsibility to ensure the translation is completed as ordered. While the translation teams take care of the linguistic steps, a translation project manager will monitor the whole process from a macro perspective. The key responsibility of the project manager includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Assign a competent translation, technical and desktop publishing team for the tasks
  2. Schedule internal kick-off call to ensure all parties are on the same page in conforming with the client’s requirements, assignments and scopes
  3. Ensure the project is in progress as per the schedule and deadline
  4. Communicate and track changes if any to schedule and scope
  5. Manage internal queries and client feedback
  6. Deliver the project as per agreement with the client
  7. Invoicing and other administrative tasks


D. Post Production Process

In this step, the project manager will have the responsibility to manage client feedback and comments if any and share with the translation or desktop publishing teams to make any changes and redeliver. External or internal discussions can take place to ensure proper solutions and agreements are achieved, before correction, implementation and redelivery.


Once the project is finally edited and redelivered, the project manager should follow a checklist-based process to ensure all the steps are followed, before closing the project.



Quality assurance steps are important in a translation project life cycle. The ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services certification provides great guidelines and requirements that help translation agencies achieve acceptable levels of quality translations when providing their services to clients.