What is the purpose of ISO 17100?

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ISO standards play a crucial role in various aspects of economic and social life, providing common references for the quality, safety, efficiency and sustainability of products, services and processes worldwide. They help promote harmonization, innovation and competitiveness in international markets, while ensuring the protection of consumers, the environment and stakeholders.

When it comes to translation, ISO 17100 sets out detailed requirements for the translation process to ensure a high level of quality and consistency in the translation services provided.

It is important to note that ISO 17100 does not allow the use of the raw result of machine translation and its post-editing. This falls within the scope of ISO 18587.

Key requirements for ISO 17100

1/ Linguistic and technical skills:

Translators must demonstrate exceptional mastery of both source and target languages, going far beyond mere conversational competence. Their ability to understand and express linguistic nuances, cultural subtleties and specialized terminology is crucial to producing accurate and natural translations.

They must also possess specialized knowledge of the translation field, as well as an understanding of the stylistic and cultural conventions of the languages concerned.

Translators must provide documented evidence that they meet at least one of the following criteria:

a) a translation qualification recognized by a diploma issued by a higher education institution;

b) a qualification in another field recognized by a diploma issued by an institution of higher education, supplemented by more than two years’ full-time professional experience in translation;

c) more than five years’ full-time professional experience in translation.

Reviewers must have the skills of a translator, a defined qualification, and experience in the relevant field.

Expert proofreaders must be specialists in the field with an appropriate qualification from a higher education institution or experience in the field.

Project managers must have documented competence in assisting the TSP with translation services, with formal or informal project management training. In addition, they must understand the translation services sector, the translation process and have project management skills.

2/ Project management:

ISO 17100 requires translation agencies to establish structured and documented processes to effectively manage each translation project. This includes:

clear documentation of project management processes,

detailed planning of objectives, deadlines and resource requirements,

organization of appropriate human and technical resources,

coordination of the various activities involved in the translation process,

regular monitoring and control of project progress.

3/ Use of appropriate resources:

The agency must select qualified translators and editors according to the skills required for each translation project.

It must also put in place processes to ensure the appropriate use of translation tools and technologies, while maintaining data confidentiality and security.

4/ Translation processes:

The standard requires documented processes for the receipt, analysis and evaluation of source documents, as well as for the translation itself.

It also stipulates that translations must be reviewed and corrected by qualified revisers to ensure the accuracy, consistency and clarity of the translated text.

5/ Quality management:

The translation agency must implement quality control processes throughout the translation process, including linguistic and technical checks, as well as assessments of compliance with customer requirements.

It must also document comments and corrections made throughout the translation process to ensure traceability and continuous quality improvement.

6/ Delivery and customer returns:

The agency must establish processes for delivering final translations to customers, including checking compliance with agreed requirements and managing any returns and complaints.


In summary, ISO 17100 establishes rigorous requirements for each stage of the translation process, from the selection of appropriate human and technical resources to the final delivery of translations to customers. It is based on the production of an entirely human translation.

At Birdwell, we already meet these requirements, which is why, in order to guarantee the quality of our translation services and provide new customers with a framework of trust, we have initiated the process of obtaining ISO 17100 certification.

To find out more, please contact us.

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