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ISO 17100 certification

ISO Certification in Translation: what it means

Unlike other professional services industries, there exists no Recognised Qualifying Body for the translation industry. While you might seek out a Chartered Accountant to take care of your accounts, when it comes to translation service providers, things are a little more blurry….

ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation) is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 162 national standards bodies. It provides world-class specifications for products, services and systems across all industries.

The purpose of these specifications is to assure clients and customers of the quality, safety and efficiency of products and services they are procuring. In short, they provide a benchmark of quality that is recognised across the globe. The ISO 17100 certification therefore identifies translation service providers you can rely on for a professional service of industry standard.

ISO 17100: Translation Services Management System

ISO 17100: Translation Services Management System is the latest recognised standard for translation service providers. As the name suggests, it covers the systems and processes involved in providing a translations service. As such, it applies not directly to individual translators (see below, under Resources), rather to providers of a translation service, i.e. a translation agency / company.

What ISO 17100 covers

ISO 17100 illustrates ‘best practice’ in translation services. Various facets of service provision are covered in the specifications. These include the commissioning of translations, proof reading and review, contractual requirements and project management, traceability of the translation process and other aspects that affect the quality of translation delivery:


ISO 17100 identifies a number of job titles relevant to the translation service provision. These are the role of the translator, reviser, reviewer, proofreader and project manager.

Specifically, the latest ISO standard states that a translator should have a ‘certificate of competence in translation awarded by an appropriate government body’. This ensures that the translator has adequate knowledge and experience in a field to not only translate but more importantly, understand the implications of your text.

Legal and medical texts are obvious examples of subject areas where this understanding is vital – quite literally, a matter of life or death. Though there are plenty more or less obvious examples whereby the translator’s familiarity with or experience of a sector can mean the difference between a meaningful or useless final translation. Marketing is one of these; think of puns that get lost in translation and social media terminology that is translated out of context.

The ISO standard also sets criteria relating to technological resources, including ICT systems, backup, security etc. to ensure your files and work are kept safe, retrievable, traceable and confidential.


As you will know by now, a translation job involves more than the actual translation activity itself. Each of the people listed above have a role to play in this process – from the moment you place your order to the moment you receive final delivery… and even beyond that point.

Upon receipt of your translation order, your text will be assessed for content and purpose, before being assigned to a suitably qualified translator. In line with ISO specifications, the translation must be checked by the translator themselves, then revised by a second person, before being reviewed and proofread. A final verification will be performed by your dedicated project manager to ensure the text delivers on our contractual promise. 

This structured process enables us to coordinate, manage and track the workflow, as well as provides a fail-safe guarantee of quality and accuracy, eliminating margin for error at each phase.

Why ISO 17100 certification matters

The ISO 17100 standard offers a specialist, standardised structure specific to the provision of translation services. By choosing an ISO-certified agency, you can rest assured that all the necessary measures and procedures for a quality translation service have been considered and adhered to.

In addition to these guarantees, using an ISO-certified translation partner may also prove significant if you are ever likely to be involved in projects or contracts that demand a recognised management system.

Tongue Tied’s ISO 17100 certification guarantees translation services of the gold industry standard – if not better…


As always, we remain open to your feedback. So if there is anything we can do to improve our processes or service to you, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re ready when you are!

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