management and quality

Standardisation

Although a series of European regulations applicable to translation had existed for many years, there was no common reference establishing minimum criteria for professional, quality service in translation. For this reason, the EUATC proposed the creation of a European standard for translation services to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).

The initiative was welcomed by all stakeholders in the industry – mainly translation companies, freelance translators, translation company associations such as the EUATC and the International Federation of Translators (FIT), universities, customers and standardisation organisations –, and in 2002 an international committee was set up encompassing the different national committees within their respective standardisation bodies. The process lasted until September 2006, when it was published in many European languages.

For a proposal to become a standard, it must meet the following conditions:

  • it must be voluntary, in that the industry must be in favour of standardisation;
  • it must be the result of consensus among industry stakeholders;
  • it must be the result of experience;
  • it must be approved by a recognised body, which in this case is the CEN and its
  • national organisations;
  • it must be made public: all interested parties must be able to acquire it.

Two types of standards exist:

  • General standards, such as ISO 9001, which globally cover all of a company’s processes.
  • Service and product standards, such as EN-15038, which cover a specific service or product of a company.
  • These standards are much more concrete and serve to supplement the general standards.
The creation of the European standard for translation: an initiative that became a reality in September 2006.