ISO-Certified Language Services to Ensure Quality Translations for Regulated Industries

welocalize March 24, 2021

The ISO logo has become widespread across organizations all over the world. For many, it’s synonymous with quality management and often associated with manufacturing. However, there are over 21,000 ISO standards covering every industry, including language services. 

ISO standards are developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It’s an independent, non-governmental international organization made up of 165 national standards bodies. By bringing together experts worldwide to draft, review, approve, publish, and enforce international standards, ISO helps facilitate trade within globally understood principles. 

Companies get certified in ISO to make their processes more efficient. And it creates customer confidence that businesses follow industry best practices. That makes the ISO logo a strong trust signal. 

ISO’s Role in Translation and Language Services

Being ISO-certified is important in global content and multilingual communication. It helps ensure document translation and content assets are accurate, consistent, and reliable. 

General ISO standards provide a framework for language service providers (LSPs) in optimizing their business operations. ISO standards specific to LSPs apply to all aspects of the translation process itself. This includes setting the qualifications for translators, nurturing relationships with customers, handling client feedback, and protecting client data. 

Important Industries for ISO

ISO helps all organizations across all industries. With translation and language services, certain sectors require highly precise translations and processes. As such, they have more exacting standards. These include those that rely heavily on technical, scientific, legal, medical, and patient facing documents. 

Regulators and governments also rely on ISO standards to develop and enforce relevant regulations. That’s why regulated industries, such as financial services, technology, utilities, legal, healthcare, and life scienceslean on ISO certifications for compliance.  

ISO for Global Brands

There are some 51 ISO standards related to the translation and interpreting industry. However, there’s only a handful that many consider must-haves. 

ISO 9001, for a quality management system, is the most popular certification worldwide. While not specific to LSPs, it demonstrates that their processes are well documented, complied with, and continually improving. 

However, there are more industry-specific ISO standards relevant to LSPs. For example, ISO 17100:2015 for translation services and ISO 18587:2017 for post-editing of machine translation output. 

ISO 17100 doesn’t guarantee perfection. However, it helps ensure consistent quality translation work. It gives clients a higher level of assurance that an LSP follows a translation management system and commits to international standards. The latest published standard, ISO 18587, provides a framework for high-quality human post-editing machine translation. 

There’s also ISO 13485:2016, which is specific to quality management systems for medical devices. This one is critical for LSPs that produce translation work for the healthcare industry. An error in translation could result in life-threatening consequences. 

Choosing an ISO-Certified LSP

If you’re looking for translation and language services, your LSP selection criteria should include ISO certification. ISO 9001:2015 is the bare minimum. Yet, 40% of boutique LSPs lack this essential standard, according to language industry intelligence firm Slator. You should also look for an LSP that’s certified in ISO 17100 and ISO 18587. 

Welocalize holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 17100:2015, ISO 13485:2016, and ISO 18587:2017 certifications, a quality portfolio found at only 8% of LSPs. This shows our commitment to global best practices and international standards. This gives you the confidence that we can produce and deliver high-quality language services and machine translation. 

Companies looking to decrease time-to-market and translation costs, without reducing quality, have a variety of options. One approach to speed up the translation portion of the clinical process is the use of machine translation (MT). MT solutions can include various degrees of software training inputs combined with light or heavy post-editing to refine final proofs. The important thing is to find a language services provider with access to a range of solutions and certifications, such as ISO-certified PEMT, and then works to best suit the needs of their client.  

For more information about Welocalize’s ISO-certified localization and translation solutions, get in touch with us.