GALA Provides Global Industry Presence and Participation in Global Standardization Process
The annual meeting of ISO Technical Committee 37 (ISO TC 37), which develops standards for the translation and interpretation industry, was held from 24 to 29 June 2012 in Madrid. It was the first ISO TC 37 meeting in which GALA officially participated as a liaison organization via its representatives from the GALA Standards Initiative.
GALA delegates submitted feedback to the ISO standards draft and participated in discussions as industry experts. GALA has been approved by standard ISO voting process as liaison of SC5. The first ISO standard for translation services (ISO 11669) was published in May 2012 with more to come out in 2013. With GALA being approved as liaison, any GALA member can join in the global standardization process through the GALA Standards Initiative and may request participation in certain activities. The process of approving volunteers to be the official GALA representatives in ISO TC 37 is simple, democratic and meritocratic.
There are many benefits in using translation and interpretation standards. One of them is to provide LSPs with best practices to deliver great services. Another is to help LSPs stand out from the crowd by declaring their conformity to these best practices or through certification audit. Yet another is to help buyers make informed decisions and get better results.
Even though the translation industry was rapidly developing for decades, until May 2012 there were no global industry standards available.
- ISO 9001 was a too broad quality management standard that did not specify translation services, and it was not hugely popular.
- European EN 15038, American ASTM F2575 and Canadian CGSB-131.10 were more relevant to the industry than ISO 9001, but were all regional standards.
As a reply to these problems, in 2007 International Standards Organization (ISO) formed a working group on translation and interpretation services. The group was shaped under the umbrella of Technical Committee 37, with experts delegated by national standard institutions from all over the world. Organizations such as FIT, InfoTerm and OASIS could also participate as liaison organizations. In 2011 the list of liaisons was expanded by including GALA.
There are four major projects within Subcommittee 5, which deals with translation and interpretation standards:
- ISO 11669 “Guidance for Translation Projects”, published in May 2012, is a general framework for buyers and vendors of translation services, which helps all parties to define quality requirements before they jump in a project. It also provides recommendations to efficiently manage translation assignments.
- ISO 17100 “Requirements for translation services” (under development) sets minimum requirements to LSPs’ processes and resources to deliver high quality translations. The standard will replace EN 15038 after publication and become the industry benchmark on a global scale.
- ISO 13611 “Guidelines for community interpreting” (under development), though only addressing a limited number of interpretation situations, will be an important step to a general standard for interpretation services.
- Finally, there is a terminology workgroup that strives to better define basic industry concepts – “translation”, “content”, “LSP”, “revision”, “review” and others. These definitions will be incorporated in all relevant ISO standards, and would help clients and providers speak the same language of business. Among other benefits, this can raise quality of bidding procedures and decrease number of disputes over quality.
Every year delegates to ISO TC 37 meet in person to discuss controversial issues and move current projects to a next stage.
In 2012, in Madrid, the GALA’s representatives Serge Gladkoff (President, Logrus International and GALA Standards Director) and Demid Tishin (CEO, All Correct Language Solutions) made a significant contribution to projects 17100, 13611 and 14080 (terminated). GALA delegates submitted not only technical, but many editorial comments, the majority of which were incorporated in the latest version of the drafts. Among other issues for 17100, the GALA delegation raised the question whether total revision of translated content by an additional expert translator is mandatory to achieve high quality, or if other workflow options can be as efficient. For example, better translator selection plus quality spot checks plus total automated QA. GALA is planning to conduct a survey within the membership to find out what they think about the issue.
GALA is planning to continue collaboration with ISO TC 37 through commenting on standards, participating in web conferences, and visiting the next in-person TC 37 meetings.
Any GALA member is welcome can join this global standardization process by requesting current drafts from the GALA Standards Director and submitting comments, as well as submitting the request to participate in meetings (subject to approval of the GALA Standards Initiative). Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to represent the industry and participate in discussions.
GALA Standards Initiative activities are funded by dedicated funding.
GALA representatives for June’s meeting: Serge Gladkoff, GALA Standards Director, and Demid Tishin, an industry expert from GALA member company All Correct Language Solutions (Russia)
Summary prepared by Demid Tishin, All Correct Language Solutions