Current standards for translation
Thread poster: Tobi H
Oct 12, 2010

Hi everybody,
I’m a German translation student and I'm currently doing an internship in a translation bureau in Berlin. Since I like to have something „bigger“ to write about in my internship report, I've asked to get such a task. Now, I have to gather information on standards and other certifications regarding quality assurance / quality management in the translation / localization process. Later then, I will have to present this information in an arranged and understandable way (so the company can decide better whether to get such a certification). I will also have the opportunity to write my bachelor thesis in the company if the topic should prove suitable.

Since I hardly found any current information (and I mean really current) on that topic, I’d like to know about your opinions and experience. I’d appreciate it if you could think about the following questions:

How important is it for clients to give work to a certificated translation bureau?
(And how important is it for them whether you have an official certification or whether you just say „Well, we follow the guidelines of the XY standard but we are not certified“?)

Are there any other standards than the EN 15038 and ISO 9000 standard that can be useful for a German translation bureau?

Is it, for instance, possible to officially get an American certification as a German company (the ASTM F2575 – 06 standard sounds interesting to me)?

Do you know any useful links or other sources about the topic?

These are the questions that are coming to my mind for now.
Thanks in advance!

PS: I hope that I posted this in the right forum.


Tobi H
ASTM standards Oct 15, 2010

I've recently read that ASTM standards are voluntary standards. I suppose this means that you can't / don't have to get certfied with these.


Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
just some ideas Oct 15, 2010

Hi Tobi,

I can't answer your question on ASTM, but since you also mention certificates and such, have you considered checking out certifications for certain software tools? Like, SDL certification or similar? Maybe this will also be relevant for your agency?

If we're talking about a German agency, I don't really see the point of getting a certification from a different country unless you have many regular clients from that country. Otherwise, if you are certified by, let's say, an American institution but most of your clients are from Europe, this wouldn't make much sense, would it?

Regarding your question about the importance of certification, I think this depends on the subject matter. For example, I have various clients who want simple product manuals translated - of course, they don't care about me being certified.

However, I've seen various job offers for legal or business translations where certification was required (makes sense, since these texts require top-quality work).

Just some food for thought, since no one else has replied yet..icon_smile.gif


Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:57
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Learning how to research is a good excercise Oct 15, 2010

Google "translation standards". It will give you about 25.000 hits.
And please share your resultsicon_smile.gif


Tobi H
Your experience Oct 18, 2010

Thank you for your thoughts.

@ Simone

Tool certifications ... that's not a bad hint.

@ Siegfried

Of course, I googled and googled and googled. The information I got from this is quite useful but when I started this thread, I thought about getting information from people who have made their own experience, own opinion and who maybe have a different perspective than mine.

You liked me to share my results. Here is a very short summary:

The first standard that was widely used among translation companies is the ISO 9000. It is still very popular but on the other hand it is a very general quality management standard.
The first real translation standard in Germany was the DIN 2345 which then got replaced by the European standard EN 15038. It also replaced national translation standards from other countries (like the Austrian ÖNORM D 1200). Most German translation companies with certifications usually have the ISO 9000/9001 or the EN 15038 (or both). I also found the voluntary F 2575 standard from ASTM which doesn't seem to be used by many companies.
Some years ago, the ISO started to develop an international translation standard.

As I said, a very short summary icon_smile.gif


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