Why work with an ISO-certified LSP?

Why work with an ISO-certified LSP?

Oct 03, 2018

We’ve all faced the problem of having to decide who to turn to for help in solving problems: which doctor or lawyer to consult, which hairdresser or tax consultant … This is a fairly easy process if you can look at and judge the results of the work they’ve previously done.

But how do you select a language service provider (LSP)? It’s hard to evaluate the translation quality of a language you and your friends/colleagues don’t understand. How can you know if your carefully crafted safety warnings or marketing messages comes across as intended in a language you do not read or speak? And how can you determine if the LSP’s processes meet your quality requirements?

A good start in selecting the right LSP is to see if they are certified to recognized standards issued by the "International Organization for Standardization" (ISO). There are several ISO standards that apply to the translation industry, ranging from the very general ISO 9001, through the translation-specific ISO 17100 to various standards applicable to other industries which require translation services, such as ISO 13485 and ISO 14971.

Certification to these standards is issued by independent, external organizations based on extensive on-site audits by professional, trained auditors. Annual surveillance reviews ensure continuing compliance with the latest updates to the standards.

There are no guarantees for translation quality, but certification to ISO standards is a valuable method for narrowing down your list of potential suppliers. It provides a clear, traceable system for the accreditation of LSPs. Companies willing to invest the time and effort into establishing and maintaining their ISO certification demonstrate their commitment to a quality management system and offering the best services possible in line with international standards and industry best practices.

So what does this mean in practice? What are the actual advantages of working with a certified language service provider?

  • An ISO-certified LSP knows what they’re doing; their processes are tried and tested, predictable, traceable and efficient. Translation quality is ensured through hard-wired process requirements, including edit or revision of the original translation by a 2nd qualified, professional linguist.
  • Certified LSPs use professional linguists who are trained to capture the nuances of your message in accurate language appropriate to the subject matter and target audience. Documentation of linguists’ qualifications and training should be provided on request.
  • They employ experienced, competent project managers who consistently execute standardized processes and coordinate project communication, relieving the strain on your internal staff. You should be able to step back and monitor your projects’ progress with full peace of mind.
  • A certified LSP's linguists and project managers have access to and are skilled in the use of the appropriate translation management technology and tools to improve translation quality and consistency and to cut project time and cost.
  • ISO standards require high levels of operational security to ensure safe, confidential handling, storage, retrieval, archiving and destruction of data and documents.

And last but not least, if your company itself is also ISO-certified, working with an ISO-certified LSP makes everything easier, from onboarding (fewer hoops and less paperwork) to passing those important internal and external audits. It’s like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together rather than pounding a square peg into a round hole.

OmniLingua has had a robust, mature quality management system in place since the mid-1990s. We first certified to ISO standards in 2009. Since then, OmniLingua has been audited annually by the well-respected global organization TÜV SÜD America, and is certified to the following standards:

ISO 9001

ISO 9001: 2015

Requires a quality approach, quality manual, standard processes and a direction to process improvement.

ISO 17100

ISO 17100:2015

Global standard for quality translation service that meets client expectations, industry codes and best-practice guides or legislation.

ISO 13485

ISO 13485:2016

Specific to Medical Device, Pharmaceutical and Clinical translation projects that require the absolute highest level of accuracy and consistency.



OmniLingua just had surveillance audits for all of these certifications in early September. We passed with flying colors, including 2 Best in Class findings.

To learn more about ISO standards for the translation industry and the processes OmniLingua has in place to ensure compliance visit our website or contact us today.



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