Translation Quality and EN 15038 Compliant Processes
Selecting a language service provider that is EN 15038 compliant provides an additional, objective standard by which to judge translation. At Dynamic Language we know that high quality services are crucial for client satisfaction, and we strive for peak efficiency of our quality management systems. We are proudly committed to the EN 15038 standard, in addition to ISO 9001:2008.
On this page, you will find answers to common questions about EN 15038 compliance, and how our commitment to this quality standard can benefit you:
- What is EN 15038 Compliant Translation?
- Why was it created?
- What are the benefits of choosing an EN 15038 compliant provider?
- What are primary requirements?
What is EN 15038 Compliant Translation?
EN 15038 is a quality standard developed especially for translation providers. Created by CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, it defines a process to ensure consistent quality in translations, with multiple steps and roles. It is the official standard of the following CEN member countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
Why was it created?
For a long time, many European translation providers lacked a reliable method of demonstrating the quality of the services they provide to their clients. Many already used ISO 9001 certification as a demonstration of their commitment to quality management systems. However, the ISO 9001 standard doesn’t address the kind of translation-specific processes which many translators consider so important in determining quality outcomes.
In 2006, a quality standard specifically written for the translation industry, EN 15038, was published by CEN. This was a serious attempt to regulate translation-specific quality management. This standard is gaining acceptance worldwide, and is now used as a benchmark in the European Union.
What are the benefits of choosing an EN 15038 compliant provider?
The first benefit is the biggest – confidence. When you do business with a compliant translation provider, you can rest assured that they are abiding by recognized specialist standards when working on your projects. In addition, your projects will be translated by only the most appropriately qualified staff. Many people out there speak a second language, but not all of them are truly equipped to translate. An EN 15038 provider will collaborate only with those who are professionally qualified to undertake the task in an efficient manner, to the latest industry standards.
Put all this together, and working with an EN 15038 provider allows you to understand what is expected of a reputable translation provider, making you a savvy customer for future projects.
What are primary requirements?
The standards are split into 3 main areas: Basic Requirements, Client-Provider Relationships, and Procedures.
First things first: EN 15038 providers must have the right technology and equipment, and a documented quality management system. Other basic obligations include ensuring resource availability, and having a dedicated Project Manager to supervise tasks according to procedures and client agreements. Providers are also required to have a process for handling client materials, and for monitoring the quality of delivered translations and taking corrective actions.
Interestingly, this section also outlines the level of competence required by linguists. Under EN 15038, translators must have a mastery of both the source and target language, and must be able to translate to the level of the target audience in terms of grammar, terminology, and style. For example, translators are required to have recognized formal qualifications and/or at least several years of documented professional experience in translation. So before your project even starts, steps are taken to ensure that only the best people are chosen to meet your needs.
Communication is key to a smooth and successful translation project, which is why this section is so important. In a nutshell, the service provider must have documented procedures for pretty much every step in the Client-Provider relationship. These include:
- Determining the project feasibility, and quoting clients with cost and timeline estimates
- Entering into client agreements, agreeing on and documenting any deviations
- Handling translation projects, maintaining contact with the client throughout
- Final verification, for archiving, follow up, and assurance of client satisfaction
Procedures in Translation Services
Ask an insider in the localization industry, and they’ll tell you that translation is an important part of the process, but it’s far from the only element. It might not be so obvious for those on the outside, but a project can involve a wealth of processes: analysis, file engineering, transcription, style guide creation, DTP, testing, etc. EN 15038 requirements involve the entire process, from start to finish, and everything in between. So whether it’s administration or terminology research, the standards state that the provider must have documented procedures in place for each step.
What is the difference between EN 15038 and ISO 9001?
The EN 15038 standard not only introduces requirements for compliance with certain common procedures, as is the case with ISO 9001, but it also monitors the processes specifically developed for the overall execution of the translation – from project kickoff to final delivery. EN 15038 certifies the translation service itself and not just the process management, as is the case with ISO 9001.