ISO Compliance 17100: What Does it Mean?

Whether you’re a local business branching out overseas or an international company looking to increase your market potential, choosing the right translation partner is critical to your long-term success. 

However, the market is vast with a myriad of translation providers offering an even larger number of services. So how do you select the right translation company over so many? Here’s where the ISO 17100 standard can help you narrow down your list of potential vendors. 

What is the ISO 17100? 

If you’re a company seeking out translation services, you may have come across the ISO 17100. It is based largely on the EN 15038, which was released in 2006 as a way to set the standards used in translation quality management. 

This doesn’t mean that companies without ISO compliance are not to be trusted. At Language Department, we’ve been adhering to these guidelines long before obtaining our ISO 1700 certification. However, it is an official recognition of compliance with industry standards.  

EN 15038 vs ISO 17100 

While ISO 17100 and the EN 15038 share many similarities, the ISO 17100 has a notable addition – “domain competency.” This new section helps to define the knowledge, skills, and competence required of a translation team. This includes their ability to carry out detailed resource management, and above all else, deliver quality translations quickly and efficiently. 

Why choose an ISO 17100 certified translation service?

When companies employ an ISO 17100 translation service, they can have confidence that there is a solid management system in place. In other words, the translation agency is meeting all the requirements necessary to deliver consistent, quality translations.  For those who hire an ISO 17100 standard agency, you will have documentary proof that they’re upholding the specific criteria, including: 


ISO-certified translators need a recognized graduate qualification or equivalent professional experience. Learning the skills of the translator is an iterative process that can be improved with time and experience. Therefore, it’s equally important that they pass an extensive evaluation process that tests both their linguistic skills and technical expertise. 


Quality assurance requires input from the whole team: the translators, editors, and project managers. Before the start of the translation process, the product manager will execute a strategy to meet the client’s requirements. This includes accurately calculating the resources needed to deliver the translations. Success depends on a productive working relationship between the translation team and the clients. 


During this stage, the product manager will manage the translation project from end to end, allowing for seamless collaboration between the client and the translator. The translation is done by an experienced and certified translator who is fluent in both the source and target language. The ability for the translator to check their own work after the document is completed is essential. 


At the end of the production process, the translated materials are checked over by a second translator. This is called bilingual editing. They will do a general sense check but will also take a broader view, ensuring it adheres to relevant specifications and style guides.

Ideally, both translators should work together to achieve the best possible translation. This means exchanging ideas back and forth and eliminating any mistakes where possible. 


The iSO 17100 standard/s official definition of proofreading is “(to) examine the revised target language and apply corrections before printing.”  This is a thorough review performed by someone other than the translator. 

In most cases, a professional proofreader or editor. It’s their role to examine the document for grammar mistakes, typos and formatting issues. These checks are necessary to ensure the document is error-free before it’s submitted to the client. 


The ISO 17100 clearly states that “the use of raw output from machine translation plus post-editing is outside the scope of this international standard.” Although machine translation isn’t covered in this standard, at Language Department, you can rest assured that only certified translators with experience in post-editing will work on your projects. 

At Language Department, you can have peace of mind that our services will meet the highest standards in accordance with ISO 17100 (2015). We wear our badge with pride – so reach out to us today so we can deliver the best translation services for your business.  

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