The Benefits of Choosing an ISO certified LSP

There are many language service providers (LSPs), and all claim to offer a superior level of service. Sadly, many of those claims are far from the truth. How can you ensure that you choose the right LSP for your project? One that will deliver the finest translations and outstanding localisation together with impressive customer service? To guarantee that you benefit from the quality of work and customer support that you are looking for, it is a good idea to choose an ISO certified LSP.

What is ISO Certification?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organisation with a membership of 167 national standards bodies. It was established in 1947. Responding to requests from industry and other stakeholders, the ISO brings together experts that work to develop international standards for businesses. The aim is to promote best practice and innovation while finding solutions to global challenges. ISO certification is a form of quality assurance that can be useful to bear in mind when choosing which service provider you should work with. All ISO standards are voluntarily adopted by businesses. Conformity is assessed and certified by independent, external bodies and not by the ISO itself. Following certification, businesses are assessed periodically for adherence to the standards.

Which ISO standards are relevant to the translation industry?

Language service providers may offer a range of different services including translation, localization, interpreting, copywriting, proofreading, training and much more. For this reason, many ISO standards could be relevant to the activities of these businesses. However, when choosing an LSP, the principal ISO certifications to look for are ISO 9001 and ISO 17100.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems in business. It is relevant to all businesses, regardless of the industry sector they operate in. To achieve certification, an organisation must demonstrate that:

  • It can identify its client’s needs and provide services that meet or exceed these
  • It can enhance client satisfaction by applying a quality management system
  • It has evolved a process to ensure continual improvement

This standard encompasses risk strategies, the measurement of performance and the use of feedback to drive improvements. It requires that the company’s vision must be clearly defined and effectively communicated. Employees of the business must be given measurable objectives to work towards and internal process should be evolved and managed to achieve the highest levels of efficiency. A factual approach to decision making should be adopted.

What is ISO 17100?

ISO 17100 is a set of standards that have been evolved specifically for the translation industry. This set of standards lays out the “requirements for the core processes, resources, and other aspects necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service that meets applicable specifications.” To achieve ISO 17100 certification, an LSP must offer services that meet prescribed industry standards. The organisation must demonstrate best-practice and must adhere to any relevant legislation. ISO 17100 sets out clear steps that must be followed when an LSP undertakes a project: Translation Revision Review Proofreading Final verification The standard identifies what is required for every aspect of the translation process including:

  • How processes are managed
  • The resources available to translators
  • Data protection and confidentiality

ISO 17100 requires that translators and revisors have at least five year’s professional experience or a degree in translation. Alternatively, they should possess another relevant qualification plus two years of professional experience. Defined processes for project management must be adhered to and projects must be completed with the highest level of efficiency.

What are the benefits of using an ISO certified LSP?

Only a small minority of LSPs achieve ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certification. The fact that these organisations have undertaken the certification process and all that it entails should give you greater peace of mind. It demonstrates that these businesses possess the expertise to undertake translation projects and that they care about the level of service they provide. That much is obvious. But there are less obvious benefits that are worthy of consideration:

Clear terminology Both freelance translators and LSPs will have their own terminology for describing their processes. This can be confusing when you change provider or if you are using multiple providers. ISO 17100 lays out standard terminology to be used and includes a glossary. You will be able to compare like with like when researching LSPs.

Effective collaboration The ISO 17100 standard emphasises the importance of effective and early collaboration between client and service provider. You will be consulted from the outset and your certified LSP will be dedicated to fully understanding your project.

Traceable systems Certified providers use fully traceable systems. Clients’ files are backed up and archived. Data will be stored safely and yet remain easily retrievable. You can be sure that your project will not be lost, and that sensitive information will be protected.

Guaranteed quality ISO 9001 certification requires the establishment of robust management systems. These translate into superior services, excellent customer service and a reduction in errors.

Responsiveness Businesses that utilise facts and measurable parameters are better able to respond to and adapt to their clients’ needs, changes in the market and new innovations.

Is Word Connection ISO certified?

At Word Connection, we are proud to say that we have achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifications. We know that it isn’t easy to choose the right LSP. Having completed the certification process, we are in no doubt that you will be more likely to benefit from excellent results when you choose an ISO certified organisation. The standards required for ISO certification are high and encompass all aspects of service provision. ISO standards also drive businesses to strive for continued improvement in everything that they do.

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