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Proof of experience
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:20
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
thanks for the informative description Apr 15, 2020

RobinB wrote:
And even some individual freelancers are now ISO 17100-certified, for example because it allows them to sell their translations directly to regulated industries and compete with the agencies on a level playing field.


First of all, I would like to thank you for your input and work on this standard and sharing this experience with us.

I have a 2015 version of this standard so I am probably missing something from the updates. But how exactly could this work for an individual translator? While a translator could also perform the role of a project manager, the ISO process presumes a team consisting of a translator, reviewer and reviser which obviously cannot be the same person, at least, if you follow the best industry practices.

I find ISO 17100 requirements quite reasonable. You need to check qualifications and follow the process to avoid cutting the corners. My experience is that it is not the standard but the companies that introduce extra demands which are not based on the best practices. One thing is the checklist which can be a very useful tool. Unfortunately they are often implemented wrong by agencies and in clear contradiction to previous experience. It is clear that the managers who implemented them haven't even read the classic work by Atul Gawande titled by the same name – The Checklist.

On the other hand, the ISO 17100 also requires that linguists should receive the feedback. That's where many LSPs fall short. We should be able to report these issues so that the certified LSPs can show that they actually follow their practices.

Besides LSP work, we need to describe best translation practices as well. How exactly translator can verify their expertise as a translator? It is clear that many translators are not industry experts of the texts they are translating (although some are). We simply don't have that many experts who could be also translators. Nevertheless, translators possess specials skils and one aspect of that is being able to quickly do the research on new related subjects. Some specialist texts take a lot of time to write and edit. Then they are given to translators with an expectation that they will be deeply understood and critically evaluated in a relatively short time. That's a very special skill that needs to be appreciated more.

[Edited at 2020-04-15 15:11 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:20
German to English
Individual certification Apr 15, 2020

Hi Kaspars,

Those are very useful comments and questions.

Individual translators who obtain ISO 17100 certification will necessarily have to outsource revision (and any review). That goes without saying. They can actually also handle the PM role themselves, as long as they document everything like a "real" PM would do.

As far as subject area expertise is concerned, I do think it's something that can be learned, without necessarily obtaining any formal quali
... See more
Hi Kaspars,

Those are very useful comments and questions.

Individual translators who obtain ISO 17100 certification will necessarily have to outsource revision (and any review). That goes without saying. They can actually also handle the PM role themselves, as long as they document everything like a "real" PM would do.

As far as subject area expertise is concerned, I do think it's something that can be learned, without necessarily obtaining any formal qualifications in the field. For example, the mainstay of my work over the past 25 years or so has been financial accounting and reporting, in particular International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and German GAAP. I'm not a trained accountant but, based on the accounting 101 I studied in my postgraduate course, and on my experience with project budgeting and advising business clients about their finances in the real world before I became a translator, I learned enough to attend professional short courses for accountants without making an utter fool of myself, to the point where I was invited to coordinate the editorial review committee of the German version of IFRSs. I also translate the German Accounting Standards (GASs), and a former member of the International Accounting Standards Board is on record as saying that I have a technical and political grasp of IFRSs equivalent to a high-ranking national partner at one of the Big Four accounting firms.

I have many years of experience in translator training, and one of the things I try to drill into the attendees and students is that "you don't have to know all the answers, but you do have to know where to look for them." To be honest, that's no different to many subject area experts.

I know several translators who have gained equivalent expertise in other fields. It takes time, it takes money, it takes patience, but it can be done. At least, it could be done in the world BC. I don't know how that's going to work in the world AC. Maybe it will be easier?
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Kaspars Melkis
 
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