Translation quality standards consist of a comprehensive set of guidelines and principles that establish the expected level of quality for translation services. These standards are implemented to ensure that translations are not only precise and culturally appropriate but also cater to the specific requirements of the target audience. The primary objective of these standards is to enhance the overall quality of translation services while furnishing a structure for gauging and assessing translation quality.

Multiple organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), and the American Translators Association (ATA), have established various translation quality standards. These standards offer a standardized framework for assessing translation quality, allowing customers to compare translation services and helping translators to enhance their abilities and fulfil client expectations.

One of the most widely recognized translation quality standards is ISO 17100:2015 Translation services — Requirements for translation services. This standard specifies the qualifications and experience that translators should possess, as well as the use of translation memory and terminology databases. The standard also includes quality control measures to ensure translations’ accuracy and cultural sensitivity.

The ISO 20771:2020 Legal Translation – Requirements is an exceptional quality standard that outlines the qualifications and experience required by legal translators. It also touches on various aspects, such as specialized terminology, confidentiality, quality control measures, and project management. Adhering to this standard guarantees the delivery of accurate, reliable, and compliant legal translations while also helping to establish quality management systems. With this standard, clients can rest assured that their legal translations meet all requirements.

The ISO 13485:2016 is an essential quality standard for all translation companies that provide translation services for the medical device industry.

In addition to sector-specific norms, quality management benchmarks have broad applicability, such as ISO 9001 Quality management, which can be employed to gauge translation services. ISO 9001 delineates the requisite constituents of a quality management system and establishes a framework to ensure that services are consistently rendered at a superior level.

The main principle of the European quality standard EN-15038:2006 is that at least two people work on the translation process: a translator and an editor (reviewer).

Another important translation quality standard is the ATA Translation Certification Program. This program certifies professional translators after they pass a comprehensive exam that evaluates their translation skills, knowledge of translation theory, and best practices. ATA certification is a respected mark of excellence in the translation industry and guarantees clients that their translations will meet high-quality standards.

Translation quality standards have been established to elevate the quality of translation services and allow clients to evaluate the quality of their translations. These standards provide a common framework for assessing and measuring translation quality, which facilitates the comparison of different translation services by clients and enhances translators’ skills to meet client expectations.

Maintaining translation quality standards is undoubtedly essential, but it’s not the only factor contributing to a translation’s overall quality. Other crucial considerations include the complexity of the source text, the target audience, and the translation purpose. Therefore, it’s imperative to carefully assess the specific requirements of each translation project to ensure that all aspects of the translation are of the highest quality.

To sum up, quality standards play a crucial role in the translation industry by establishing consistent criteria for assessing translation quality. Applying these standards has resulted in better translation services and reassured clients of receiving high-quality translations. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that translation quality assessment should also factor in other variables and be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.