Translation standards

Quality standards for the translation process

Just as standards are applied to all production processes and services in order to guarantee a specified degree of quality, they are also applicable to translation processes. The most common examples of such standards are the quality management standards defined in the ISO 9000 series of standards. These define generally applicable elements for traceable quality management processes. However, for some time now there have been specific standards for translation services.

DIN 2345: “Translation Contracts“

DIN 2345 starts by referring to other applicable standards (such as DIN 1422-1 for the presentation of manuscripts and typo scripts or standards for the transcription of foreign alphabets), then defines the used terminology such as “translating competence” or “parallel text”, explaining terms that might be unknown to non-professionals intending to order translations. This is then followed by chapters on management of translation projects, source text, the creation of the target text, proofreading and ultimately on the declaration of conformity/registration.

DIN EN 15038: “Translation Services”

On August 1, 2006 DIN EN 15038 “Translation Services” came into force which made the registration or certification according to DIN 2345 impossible. In contrast to DIN 2345, this standard focuses more on project management processes and not so much on the translation process itself. Therefore and because of other obligatory regulations this standard is harder to comply with for individual translators than for translation agencies.

In defining the requirements for translation service providers, DIN EN 15038 names certain fields that have to be taken into account::

  • purpose of the translation and the context in which it is used
  • the documentation
  • human and technical resources
  • quality and project management
  • contractual framework
  • translation processes
  • additional services that can be offered by the translation service provider

By means of a declaration of conformity, translation service providers have the option of obliging themselves to adhere to this new standard and to register with “DIN CERTCO Gesellschaft für Konformitätsbewertung mbH” (the German association for conformity evaluation DIN CERTCO). This is also an important advantage of the new standard: It is accepted in 29 countries and therefore facilitates international cooperation.