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ASTM Committee F43 on Language Services and Products

By: Dr. Bill Rivers (ASTM)

18 December 2012

The purpose of the ASTM Committee F43 is to enhance the quality of language services and products, boost the profile of language as a profession, and increase transparency and trust in the language industry among its customers and the public at large. Read about the committee’s progress. 

The global language industry continues to expand rapidly, and now accounts for more than $15b annually in the US. In March of 2011, the language services industry came together under the aegis of ASTM and established Main Committee ASTM F43, “Language Services and Products,” to address the need for consensus-based industry standards and to meet the requirements of the rapidly expanding language industry. More than 140 national associations, companies, and government agencies active in translating, interpreting, language training, machine translation, human language technology, and language testing, among other sub-sectors, are now active in ASTM F43 and its seven subcommittees.

Compared to other professions – engineering, the health professions, architecture – the language enterprise is at an early stage of developing a cohesive presence in terms of public awareness, client education, governmental relations, accreditation, standards development, and standards enforcement. F43 activities encompass the breadth of the language enterprise in the US and internationally, developing standards within ASTM to enhance the quality of the language services and products developed and delivered, enhancing the profile of language as a profession, and increasing transparency and trust in the industry among its customers and the public at large.

ASTM F43 has a total of seven active subcommittees:

  • F43.01 Language Interpreting
  • F43.02 Foreign Language Instruction
  • F43.03 Language Translation
  • F43.04 Language Testing
  • F43.05 Quality Assurance in Language Services
  • F43.90 Executive
  • F43.95 US TAG to ISO TC232
  • F43.96 US TAG to ISO/TC 37 Terminology and other Language and Content Resources

At present, ASTM F43 has the following standards under its jurisdiction:

Additional standards under development include a standard practice for performance testing, quality assurance in language services, and revisions of the current training, translation, and interpreting standards.

The ASTM Technical Subcommittee F43.03 on Language Translation and ASTM Technical Subcommittee F43.05 on Quality Assurance in Language Services will meet in conjunction with GALA 2013 on Sunday, 17 March 2013 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, USA. Both meetings are open to all interested parties. More information can be found at www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/F43.htm. For inquiries, contact Bill Rivers or Ashley Wiand.

William P. Rivers, Ph.D., Chair, ASTM Committee F43 on Language Services and Products- Dr. Rivers brings 20 years of experience in culture and language for economic development and national security, with expertise in research, assessment, program evaluation, and policy development and advocacy. He chairs ASTM Technical Committee F43, Language Services and Products and the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 232, Training in the Informal Sector.  Dr. Rivers is the Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Languages and International Education, a GALA associate member.

Before joining JNCL-NCLIS, he served as Chief Scientist at Integrated Training Solutions, Inc., a small business in Arlington, Virginia, where he focused on strategic planning, management, and advanced technologies for language and culture programs in the public sector. While at ITS, he served in a contractor role as the Chief Linguist of the National Language Service Corps. Prior to working at ITS, he was a founding member of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) at the University of Maryland, and was a staff member of the National Foreign Language Center from 1994 to 2003.