Why is ASTM F43 important to corporate buyers of language services?

For over six years a group of dedicated people have worked to develop ASTM standards for Quality Assurance in Language Services. ASTM created Technical Committee F43 for Language Services and Products in 2010. There are nine subcommittees, with F43.05 being the subcommittee working on a standard for Language Service Companies (LSCs) for Quality Assurance in Language Services.

 At a high level, this is a foundation standard that will form the basis for more specific standards that relate to Translation, Interpreting, Instruction, etc. This base standard is currently going through the voting process. The document is a first for the industry in that it is attempting to define what makes a reliable, stable and professional LSC. Currently no such standard exists with the result being no specific credential a buyer of language services can specify in a Statement of Work (SOW) or Request for Proposal (RFP).

 In order to mature as an industry, we need to develop and adhere to recognized standards. ISO 17100 exists for Translation Services Management System, but has a different focus and is not as broad as what we are developing in the ASTM F43.05 subcommittee. ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 9001:2015 speak to Quality Management, but are not Language Industry specific.

 ASTM requires that representation within a Technical Committee there must be a balance of Language Service Companies, Language Service Providers (the actual translator, interpreter, independent linguist, etc.), General Interest (academics, associations etc.) and the Corporate (or government buyers of language services. Those who purchase from LSCs have a vested interest in ensuring the ASTM standard will produce a credentialed LSC whom they can trust to deliver when bidding on their contracts.

 You may obtain additional information at: https://www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/F43.htm  

For any other questions or help, you may also contact Ashley Wiand at ASTM awiand@astm.org  tel. 610-832-9551.

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