There are many standards and guidelines already in use within the language industry, such as:
- ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems – Requirements
- ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services – Requirements for Translation Services
- ASTM F2575-06 Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation
- SAE J2450 Translation Quality Metric
All of the above documents focus on various aspects of translation work, almost exclusively with an eye toward the process of how the LSC delivers a translation that meets the client’s specific needs.
Most of you reading this have never heard of this new standard for LSCs, which is not surprising, since it was only voted and approved as a standard in March of 2018. The F3130-18 standard focuses on the LSC demonstrating credibility, longevity and reliability in delivery of language services. The goal is to provide a means for corporate and government purchasing agents to distinguish between legitimate, reliable and capable LSCs and other purveyors of language services. Rather than focusing on the minutiae of providing language services, the F3130-18 standard covers the LSC’s:
- Operational health
- Financial health
- Insurance coverage
- Adherence to the law
- Client satisfaction
- Ability to recruit and screen employees
- Ability to recruit and screen qualified Independent Contractors
- Commitment to Quality Control (QC)
- Commitment to Quality Assurance (QA)
- Adequacy of IT resources (hardware and software)
- Data and physical security
When searching for a reputable LSC, aside from being ISO Certified, there was no other way to distinguish an LSC that held itself to a higher standard from one that did not. For roughly the past ten years, a select committee has worked diligently to come up with just such a standard, resulting in ASTM F3130-18. The buyer of language services should have a higher level of confidence when engaging an ASTM F3130-18 certified company that they will receive what they requested, by the delivery date specified and be more than satisfied with the result.
The language industry has come a long way in the past twenty years and is moving into a time when the entire industry will receive recognition as a profession. Keep in mind that when you need a legal or medical document translated, in most cases a doctor or lawyer is involved in the translation, and he or she first had to undertake the education and training required for their profession, to which a linguistic component is added, in addition to their extensive knowledge in their respective field. Just as the majority of linguists are professionals, so too, the LSC that operates in an ethical and professional manner should receive recognition under the ASTM F3130-18 standard.
Expect there to be a surge in LSCs becoming certified under ASTM F3130-18 now that a certifying body, Orion Assessment Services and audit checklist exists.