What is Certified Medical Translation

The ISO 17100 translation standard

The ISO 17100 standard is an international quality standard for translation service providers that replaces the European standard EN 15038. ISO 17100 defines requirements with regard to the essential processes, resources and all other elements in order to create a high-quality translation service that meets the defined criteria. These are in particular the qualifications and competencies of the employees who are responsible for the translation processes at the certified service provider. All translation standards essentially contain requirements from two areas: quality assurance andRisk management.

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They originally come from the field of corporate management and the financial world and are geared towards the processes in which errors within a company can lead to considerable economic damage and even loss of image. Since translations are also services that are provided by companies and freelancers, there are opportunities for certification in this area too, which ensure the quality of the language service. It would be fatal to translate the components of a machine incorrectly or to localize an advertising slogan in such a way that it is received as an insult, not as a marketing tag. The economic damage would be immeasurable.

Therefore, in this context, the two translation standards are ISO 17100 (Translation services and quality management in translation companies, successor standard to DIN EN 15038) and DIN ISO 9001 (quality management standard for companies, more general) are of great importance.

Why does certification of the translation according to ISO 17100 make sense?

Regularly checking the quality of what is on offer is now a must in every industry. It creates trust between the customer and the company. This is even more true in the translation industry, as there are few experts and customers who can evaluate the quality of the service received. Of course, a translator could also explain the quality of his or her translations himself or refer solely to customer reviews. In times when there is talk of fake feedback, especially on Amazon and Ebay, this method lacks total trust in the self-declaration.
The standards and guidelines can also represent added value for translation companies that are being certified. The guidelines of ISO 17100 require a procedural corporate structure within which the employees - from translators to terminologists to project managers - know their respective competencies and have the appropriate qualifications. In addition, there is a need for an evaluation instance for customer feedback, which works for quality management, as well as a confidentiality agreement on confidential customer information.

What demands are still placed on certified translators?

Anyone who wants to be certified according to the two standards must have quality controls carried out on their company at regular intervals. DIN standards are usually not valid for more than five years, often even a maximum of two years.

However, ISO 17100 also specifies some specific requirements for the translation process. There are high standards of language, style and consistency of terminology; work withCAT tools and professional software for internal company processes is required.

The translators, terminologists, project managers, etc. involved must be adequately qualified, be it through professional experience, university degree or training. In addition, continuous training and further education must be proven.

Who does the ISO 17100 certification?

In Germany, certification is largely carried out by TÜV and other quality assurance associations such as DEKRA. Conversations, tests and reports are necessary for verification.

Finally, there is a problem for smaller companies and private individuals: The process for certified translation is cost-intensive, even without the follow-up costs for aligning the company with the standard, there are already a number of fees. Therefore, certification is usually only attractive and affordable for larger service providers.


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Felix Hoberg

Felix is ​​a translator with the working languages ​​French and Spanish and blogs from Leipzig about relevant content for translators and interpreters at Translators.jetzt