Himani Khera

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By Himani Khera
 
Quality standards
Like any supplier of goods or services, a translator potentially bears ethical and legal obligations toward his patron. This has turned to be of enormous importance with the development of language industry at global scale. For the protection of both parties, standards have been developed that seek to spell out their mutual duties.

As interest in quality management has grown, specific quality standards have been developed for translation services. These have included the Italian UNI 10574, the German DIN 2345, the Austrian Onorm D 1200 and Onorm D 101, and the Canadian CAN CGSB 131.10. in 215, EN 15038 was replaced by ISO 17100:2015.

When do we need a translator? When we don’t know the targeted language. However, it is difficult to assess the quality of the translated text. Anyhow, there are some translation agencies which offer quality standard certifications which show that how they are managing the processes, which also means that business follows a professional framework that is independently assessed as being fit for purpose.

Quality of a translation service is not only to determine the effectiveness of work but also the elements of the service. For example: speed of delivery, account management and technical aspects including the way your information is handled. Not only does the quality standard certification shows us the level of service to be offered but it also helps translation customers understand price differentials between different providers. Furthermore, it also helps to identify the quality focus of translation services that use different quality standards. In other words, it helps clients to understand what questions they should put up to the translation agency before signing them.

Before we move further, we need to know what exactly standard means:
Standard is level of quality, required or agreed and is a measure for comparison purpose.

5 key standards about which everyone must know are:

  1. Get the bigger picture- understand what quality means for services and processes.
  2. Check your Translation Services
  3. Optimize your Interpretation Services
  4. Assess the quality of a Translation
  5. Know the Techie standards for Exchanging Data

There are two main types of translation quality standards:

  • Process-oriented: these standards focus on establishing and maintaining a process of translation, review and approval that, when followed diligently by qualified professionals, will consistently result in translations that meet customer expectations.
  • Metrics-oriented: these standards focus on establishing actual quality metrics against which a translation can be measured and rated as high or low quality.

Translation service industry is an industry where expectations of consumer play a vital role. But, once as noticed, due to lack of consumer oriented guidelines for translation services, there had been a mismatch of assumptions and goals between the consumer and the service provider which further affected the project quality. This situation created the need to stipulate translation standards to protect and educate translation consumers and help the translator develop professionalism.

To overcome the mismatch between client and the translator, there have been concerted efforts by professionals, language service providers and organizations involved in promotion and implementation of quality standards to prepare and disseminate guidelines for quality standards in translation activities.

There have been some assumptions related to quality standards like improving quality; cost and time are antithetical goals. If a company improves quality it will only be through increased cost or longer turn-around since quality assurance is an added process that takes time to complete. But the reality is just not the same. It’s actually almost every process will have inefficiencies that can be corrected to gain improvements at essentially no cost. The problem is in identifying these inefficiencies – while some may be obvious, such as manual processing of files that could be easily automated, not all problems are immediately obvious, and some may be so deeply rooted in a process that they cannot be seen at all without careful examination of the entire translation process.

There are few problems regarding quality standards which could be summed up as follows:

  • Translation quality must include localization quality and must be applied from the uniform definition of quality stipulated in ISO. It is also important to check the definitions of quality assurance, quality assessment and quality management.
  • Certification could be granted to a person, a company or a process. None of the standards evaluated has defined procedures and hierarchies about this matter.
  • The use of technology for translation tasks has to be precisely described as it is in existing standards.
  • Copyrights specifications and rules should be clearly stated.
  • All the items that build a Code of Ethics have to be defined, taking the necessary definitions from other ISO-Standards.
  • Services different from translation must be determined, listed, classified and described as clearly as possible.

With its unique linguistic history and culture and growing consumer profile, India is a highly potential market along with the other emerging markets like China and Latin America. Simultaneously, the nascent industry has lots to learn from industry leaders who have gone much ahead in terms of developing well organized translation management process that involves terminology management and standardization of terms, quality control standards and customer satisfaction, and above all use of technology including human assisted machine translation. In this regard our Indian government, academic institutions and translators association can collaborate with each other device and implement mechanism that meets market demands and expectations.
 
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