ISO 17100

ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services-Requirements for Translation Services was published on May 1, 2015. It was prepared by the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee ISO/TC 37, Terminology and other language and content resources, Subcommittee SC 5, Translation, interpreting and related technology.


This standard "specifies requirements for all aspects of the translation process directly affecting the quality and delivery of translation services. It includes provisions for translation service providers (TSPs) concerning the management of core processes, minimum qualification requirements, the availability and management of resources, and other actions necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service. The use of raw output from machine translation plus post-editing is outside the scope of this standard. Neither does it apply to interpreting services.[1]

Based on EN 15038, this standard transfers the original EN 15038 requirements to the ISO framework. For example, it defines resource types including human resources (such as translators, revisers, reviewers, proofreaders and project managers) as well as technical and technological resources. Translation steps including translation (including a check of translation by the translator himself or herself), revision by a second person, review (an optional step, designed in order to assess the suitability of the translation against the agreed purpose, domain, and the recommended corrective measures), proofreading (an optional pre-publication check) and final verification are defined by this standard. Besides the standard itself, there are six Annexes that help to explain certain aspects of the standard by providing examples or graphics so as to visualize the standard, e.g. Annex A visualizes translation workflow, Annex D lists pre-production tasks.

Minimum standards

The new characteristics of ISO 17100 compared to EN 15038 are: firstly, it sets minimum standards such as the requirements for translations to be subject to revision by a second person, which is an obligatory part of the standard.


Secondly, although widely and controversially discussed whilst in development, a new requirement regarding the appropriate qualifications in the subject area regarding the translation work is added in the standard as it prescribes that a translator should have “a certificate of competence in translation awarded by an appropriate government body”. "In this way, translator, proofreader and reviser all need to have sufficient knowledge in the field of the texts to be translated to understand and deal with any problems [2]".


Thirdly, the work involved in the pre-production processes has been extended considerably. In this ISO standard, the success of a translation project lies in the cooperation between clients and contractors, rather than completely a responsibility of the contractors. Meanwhile, all relevant requirements including quality of the target text, nature and scope of quality assurance, use of style guides should also be defined and agreed on in advance.

Feedback process

Fourthly, the standard requires a process for handling client feedback, which is used to find out the actual quality of translation and the satisfaction of client. Meanwhile, the translation service provider is also responsible for the archiving of translation projects.

Data protection

Last but not the least, ISO 17100 states that data protection requirements must be met as translations are sometimes confidential, involving sensitive information from the client.


  1. ^ ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services-Requirements for Translation Services. Technical Committee ISO/TC37, 2015.
  2. ^ From EN 15038 to ISO 17100: the new standard for translation processes. TL Conference 2014 Warsaw.
Association of Translation Companies

The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) is a professional membership association promoting language services in the United Kingdom and beyond. The ATC represents the interests of translation companies operating in the UK's expanding language services industry which is home to over 1,500 translation companies, is worth more than £1 billion and employs more than 12, 000 people.

The ATC's stated vision is to create recognition and trust for stakeholders by promoting and regulating quality-driven language industry standards and best practice, and to support and nurture its members for sustainability and growth.

EN 15038

EN 15038 is a withdrawn quality standard developed especially for translation services providers. The EN 15038 standard ensured the consistent quality of the service. In 2015, CEN withdrew EN 15038 and adopted ISO 17100 as a European standard.

Many European translation companies have long felt the need for a reliable method of demonstrating the quality of the services they provide to their customers. Many sought ISO 9001 certification as a demonstration of their commitment to quality management systems. However, as the ISO 9001 standard does not address the sort of translation-specific processes which many translators consider important in determining quality outcomes, this standard did not become widely accepted as a "guarantee of quality" in the industry. In 2006, a quality standard, specifically written for the translation industry, EN 15038, was published by CEN, the European Committee for Standardization. This was a serious attempt to provide certification of translation-specific quality management using independent, on-site audits by recognized certification bodies. This standard is gaining acceptance worldwide and the European Union has begun including it as a benchmark in its tender specifications.


ISO/TC 37 is a technical committee within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that prepares standards and other documents concerning methodology and principles for terminology and language resources.

Title: Terminology and other language and content resources

Scope: Standardization of principles, methods and applications relating to terminology and other language and content resources in the contexts of multilingual communication and cultural diversity

ISO/TC 37 is a so-called "horizontal committee", providing guidelines for all other technical committees that develop standards on how to manage their terminological problems. However, the standards developed by ISO/TC 37 are not restricted to ISO. Collaboration with industry is sought to ensure that the requirements and needs from all possible users of standards concerning terminology, language and structured content are duly and timely addressed.

Involvement in standards development is open to all stakeholders and requests can be made to the TC through any liaison or member organization (see the list of current members and liaisons of ISO/TC 37:)

ISO/TC 37 standards are therefore fundamental and should form the basis for many localization, translation, and other industry applications.

Language Marketplace

Language Marketplace Inc is a business translation services company with its corporate headquarters located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. According to their website, it provides translation and interpreter services in over 140 languages and mentions a client base of over 3000 organizations worldwide in both the public and private sectors. Notable public sector clients include Health Canada, Correctional Services of Canada, RCMP, and Public Services and Procurement Canada. Notable private sector clients include TransCanada Pipelines, Agrium, and Hertz Corporation.

Language industry

The language industry is the sector of activity dedicated to facilitating multilingual communication, both oral and written. According to the European Commission's Directorate-General of Translation, the language industry comprises the activities of translation, interpreting, subtitling and dubbing, software and website globalisation, language technology tools development, international conference organisation, language teaching and linguistic consultancy. According to the Canadian Language Industry Association, this sector comprises translation (with interpreting, subtitling and localisation), language training and language technologies. The European Language Industry Association limits the sector to translation, localisation, internationalisation and globalisation. An older, perhaps outdated view confines the language industry to computerised language processing and places it within the information technology industry. An emerging view expands this sector to include editing for authors who write in a second language—especially English—for international communication.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 16000-17999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

Translation-quality standards

Like any supplier of goods or services, a translator potentially bears ethical and legal obligations toward his patron or employer. This has turned to be of enormous importance with the development of the language industry at global scale. For the protection of both parties, standards have been developed that seek to spell out their mutual duties.

ISO standards by standard number

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