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By Imulok Marcus

Over the years, language professionals, translators and service providers are able to fully utilise the technology development to boost their careers or services. They are using the Internet adeptly to adopt new ways to reach potential client globally. In order to sustain this complex, intricate system there should be a quality standard to ensure both clients and employee receive mutual satisfaction. Quality Standards are the requirements or the guidelines in order to meet the expectation of the clients. In language industry, things will go awry when language professionals or translators do not meet the clients’ expectations. They would produce texts that are unsatisfactory which lead to damage on their image and reputation. Hence, professionals, language service providers and organisation should promote and implement quality standards.

When Germany started their own quality standards in 1998, other countries start to follow with their own guidelines and requirements. Germany has its own standard, the German DIN 2345 whereas Canada implements its own quality standards, the Canadian CAN CGSB 131.10. For other country that does not have its own translation standard guidelines such as Malaysia, it follows the latest quality standards, ISO 17100:2015. The quality standards are developed by the Europeans which allow a standardization of quality standards across the globe. Quality standards are different from country to country, the differences should be minimised especially in a global working environment. Thus in order to meet the expectation of a client, one should ask for clarification which quality standard he or she prefer. 

Quality standard is also applied depending on the company itself be it small company or big company. The more popular the quality standard is, the more likely it is to be used and accepted in the working environment. With the changing market and advanced technology, expectations are also changing. The form and content especially language is expecting to meet the standard requirement. Language has norms and is highly prescribed. Despite that, it has some variation such as orthography or lexicon. French in Canada might differ slightly compared to French in France. It is best to minimise the term variation upon agreement to avoid any deviations and errors.
Language professionals, translators and service providers that work within the language field, their work are often affected by their environment standard. A well-developed translated work or other product however uses language which is highly standardised especially when working on a written text. Hence it is beneficial for them to adopt a standard quality when working on a project. They can improve their own quality standard by checking errors and recording them. By identifying the errors, they can save time in the future by minimising the tendency to make error in certain area. Another way to improve their quality standard is to document their working progress. By recording the progress, they can improve themselves and identify which areas that they fall short and fix them. Documentation will allows them to fill the gaps and identify their weaknesses and strengths. They will be efficient in completing any tasks given.

In order to ensure a good quality of translation, both client and employee must have a reference point. There should be a clear agreement between client and translator such as terminology to be used in the project. Dealing with language, one must infuse professionalism by identifying the basic errors such as wrong term, syntactic error, and etc. Other than that, a creative work would require less strict requirement compared to a legal document. A translation in literature work does not need one to follow the quality standards strictly whereas a legal contract will need the translator to follow it thoroughly because it affects the client’s abilities to use the product.

There are many ways to ensure the quality standards are met. Since different country has a different quality standard, this could add into confusion. For example, a German client might expect a service that adheres to his or her country. The translators should take note on the preference of his or her clients. Besides, some individuals should not charge their clients more to meet the quality standard. It should become a principle to follow a good quality standard to maintain professionalism. If a Malay translator were to translate an English text for a client in the long run, he or she should remain using a quality standard without charging the client extra for using the quality standard. Therefore, the language professionals and translators should discuss and agree upon an agreement on the quality standard that is expected of. This is in order to avoid any miscommunication and poor product.  

If the expectations are not met then dissatisfaction might arise. The client might not want to pay the services. The language professionals and translators would have wasted their effort and their energy taking on that particular project. Fortunately, legal measures could be taken when the client suddenly does not want to pay if both parties have agreed to follow a specific guideline. For example, if certain terminologies have been agreed upon, the client cannot decide to suddenly back out from the project when it is already agreed that the terminologies are correct. Documentation is also important for this purpose – to avoid being cheated out from doing a task. Language professionals, translators and service providers have to protect themselves too.  

To conclude, both language professionals and translators need to implement quality standards because it is not only beneficial for the client but it also enable them to work efficiently. With good quality, words will reach potential clients faster. It is a win-win situation for both parties.  


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By Shaifali Khulbe

An ordinary person without much knowledge of translation might wonder about what the phrase 'quality standards of translation'  mean. Since translation is usually taken for granted from a person knowing two or more language, it is expected of anyone who speaks more than one language to be able to translate naturally. In reality, translation is not just the art of changing one language into another, the spirit of the source language must be kept alive in the language to be translated in. As such, one must pay attention to the context and respect teh social and the cultural references while translating. The reader or listener must be able to sense the same feeling while reading the translated language as one experiences in the source language. Then only is it a true work of translation. 

While one misses the point of professionalism in such translation work, one does not even consider there to be such a thing called a quality standard of translation. Thus to enter the professional world of translation and master the art of translation one must aware oneself of  these standards.

So basically the quality standards were constructed for the manufacturing buisiness. As in a buisiness, both parties, the employer and the employee, have certain duties to fulfil towards each other, such standards were put forward to respect the spirit of fair buisiness and keep a check on mutual duties. 

The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems standards is designed to help organizations meet the needs of customers and the stakeholders while dealing with the fundamentals of quality management systems including the seven quality management principles upon which the family of standards is based. ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard must fulfill. It is one of the widely used management tools today with over one million organizations certified under it.

With the growing interest in quality management over the period of time,  certain quality standards have been developed for translation services including  the Italian UNI 10574, the German DIN 2345, the Austrian Önorm D 1200 and Önorm D 1201, and the Canadian CAN CGSB 131.10.

One interesting step taken for the translation services in Europe is the formation of  European Committee for Standardization (CEN) publishing  EN: 15038, which works as  the European equivalent of ISO. It was recently updated in 2015 to a new standard to be used in Europe called ISO 17100:2015.  

The knowledge of all these standards and how they is really important for the translation business. When dealing with specific areas of translation like legal translations, commercial or technical translations having a knowledge of a more specific terminology is important as these areas include working with already standardized documents . 

After knowing briefly about how the traslation standards work in the current industial world and how they are an important aspect of translation services, one can easily figure out how the lack of awareness about these standards actually hampers the professional development of translators and language professionals. A translator with updated knowlege of these standards and following them well and the organizations providing translation services and certified accordingly for maintaining these standards are certainly more reliable and trustworthy and are going to produce a work of better quality than those without such knowledge. 

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