The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) released the EN 15038 (European Quality Standard for Translation Services) in 2006. EN 15038 establishes and defines the requirements for the provision of quality services for translation service providers (TSPs).
EN 15038 is a quality standard developed especially for language translation services providers.
It is a translation industry-specific standard which providers both translation services providers and their clients with clear criteria for achieving and evaluating highest quality of language translation services.
Main characteristics of EN 15038:
- Specifies the requirements for professional competences of each participant in the translation process;
- Specifies the requirements for the process used in the provision of translation services;
- Sets out the steps in the client-TSP relations;
- Sets out provisions for translation services procedures (Project Management, Preparation and Translation).
Receiving EN 15038 Certification
To receive EN 15038 certification, a translation services provider has to be audited by a third-party independent certifying organization, which is registrar licensed to issue the certification.
The audit is a comprehensive assessment of TSP’s quality management system.
To earn this certification, a translation services provider is required to establish, throughout document and monitor the processed for:
- managing client inquiries;
- determining project feasibilities;
- drawing quotations and agreements with clients;
- drawing the contractual terms and conditions;
- ensuring professional competences of participants in the translation process (translators, reviewers, revisers, and proofreaders);
- ensuring the availability of technical resources required (technology, software, communication equipment);
- project assignment;
- pre-translating, source texts analysis, terminology work and style guides;
- project management;
- offering value added services;
- quality assurance management;
- work flow/ operational processes documentation;
- final verification;
- concluding and delivering translation projects.
In order to keep their EN 15038 certification, all certified companies must undergo regular audits which guarantee that the quality levels sets by CEN are maintained. If any discrepancy is found, the certification shall be revoked.
Main benefits for a TSP of gaining EN 15038 Certification:
- Having a set of strict guidance to comply with;
- Improvement of human and technical resources;
- Improvement of corporate image and a better placement on market;
- Processes control helps to become more cost-effective and efficient;
- Improvement of internal communication;
- Improvement of key business and customer satisfaction.
Main clients’ benefits of working with a translation services provider that is EN 15038 certified:
- Certainty that the translation services provider, in handling the client’s project, will conform to the strict international quality standards set by the European Center for Standardization.
- Confidence that the human and technical resources used in the translation process meet the requirements that are set by translation experts across Europe.
- Strict project management and quality assurance systems in place.
- Safe and confidential handling of the client’s documents.
- TSP is continuously monitoring and improving the quality of language services provided.
- High-quality end results thanks to well-organized and monitored work flows.
EN 15038 is the most important European certification awarded within the language translation industry and a relevantly small number of translation companies have succeeded in achieving it.
The standard is gaining acceptance worldwide and the European Union, the United Nations bodies and authorities, and various international organizations and institutions have begun including it as a benchmark in their tender specifications.
The European Standard EN 15038 has–more than any other standard in the service sector–impacted the translation industry.
Both translation services providers as well as their clients are increasingly aware of the standard and use it as a tool for quality assurance and evaluation in their business transactions.