Looking for professional translators can be daunting. How do you know which service is right for your project and how do you ensure that you’ll receive a quality final product? What about your official documents or if you have legal documents that need translation? Do these special documents need notarized translations or a translation company with special certification?

Using an ISO 9001:2015-certified translation service is one way to feel confident that the vendor you select can deliver on its promises. Certified translation services work with independent third party auditors, such as TÜV or ISOQAR to document their processes and conduct regular audits of their quality control processes and compliance with ISO standards.

Certified Translation Service

ISO 9001:2015 certification translation services require the following:

  • Development of a quality assurance policy and manual that covers all aspects of the translation process and is carefully followed by professional translators, project managers, and staff on every project.
  • Regular audits by both internal resources and an independent third party to ensure compliance and assess effectiveness.
  • Meticulous record keeping to document operations and policy or process updates.
  • Detailed processes for client communications to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • Problem resolution processes that help identify the root cause of issues and implement necessary corrections.

Having these processes in place ensures regular quality control checks throughout the entire translation process to guarantee a high level of accuracy for ISO 9001:2015-certified translation services.

How to Verify Certification

To validate a vendor’s certification, you can request a copy of the translation service’s certificate, issued by a third party. Be sure to confirm it is current.

If needed, you may also request a copy of their quality control manual for your files and a project translation certificate upon completion of your project.

Certified Companies or Certified Translations? 

It is important to note that a certified translation service does not automatically produce certified translations for every client. The certification a translation company earns from a third-party organization serves to verify that certain practices are carried out within the company. For example, an ISO 9001:2015 certification, as mentioned above, is earned by a company practicing a stringent set of quality control procedures and adhering to specified and documented quality standards. 

Undoubtedly, these quality control measures will ensure that all products or services produced by the company will be of significant quality. But in the realm of language translation, even the highest quality document translations are not automatically considered certified translations in a legal or official capacity. 

Certified translations may require that you receive extra documentation from the translator or translation company that verifies the accuracy and quality of the work performed. In order to certify a translated document or set of documents, the following is required: 

  • a copy of the document in its original language
  • a translated copy
  • a signed affidavit attesting to the accuracy of the document and the competency of the translator or translating service

When Do You Need Certified Translations?

In certain instances, such as for medical device manufacturers or to comply with your organization’s in-house quality control policies, using certified translation services may be a requirement rather than “nice to have” option. 

Other important documents that may require certified translations can include: 

  • State and federal legal documents 
  • Official communications from United States embassies/representatives 
  • Various business or personal legal documents 
  • Official documents needed for citizenship, like a birth certificate 
  • High quality industry documentation 
  • Official research from educational institutes 
  • Industries whose level of regulation require all documents translated to be done by a certified translation company

We often think of medical-related manufacturers as companies most often needing certified translations. But many other industries at times require certified translations, such as travel and tourism, information technology, finance and banking, and of course, anything legal from virtually any industry. 

When in doubt, always ask the company or educational institution if they require certified translations, or if the work of any legal translator would be acceptable. Most certified translators promote some indicator of their certification in order for prospective clients to see that they possess an extra level of verification. 

Added level of commitment

ISO certification is not a simple process. The extra time, effort and costs a company invests in obtaining and maintaining certification reflects directly on their level of care and commitment to getting the translation process right, from the initial stages to the final product in the target language. This effort is particularly notable as certification is not required for many types of translation.

Knowing a company has obtained ISO certification credentials for its professional translations should provide you with an added level of confidence that the company is fully committed to delivering the highest quality translation possible. These translation companies come highly recommended and are not the typical Internet-based houses that offer a turnaround time of 24 hours or less and a free quote through a chatbot. 

While companies that are not ISO-certified can still deliver a quality translation, there’s not the same level of guarantee. Another way to look at it: If a company hasn’t taken the time and effort to get ISO 9001:2015-certified, what is the likelihood that they have taken the time or devoted the resources to develop the type of detailed processes that ensure an accurate translation?